05-13-2013Submitted by: Bloss
Reviews for Ultimate 12 Kayak by Native Watercraft
Based On: 21 Reviews
- Rating: 9 of 10 I have paddled many kayaks and canoes over the years but this one has by far the most comfortable seat of any of them. I'm 5'10" and 215 pounds and I find the boat very stable.
Though it is often advertised as a sit-on-top kayak I consider it a canoe hybrid, though it is more stable than any canoe, probably due to the dual tunnel hull that resembles a pontoon boat. It sports a fairly wide beam which is why it is paddled with a kayak paddle.
I have the basic version that weighs 50 pounds, and about 45 pounds with the removable seat out. I keep the tops of the gunwales free of attachments so that it can be pushed up onto the canoe rack on top of my car and the light weight makes that a fairly easy proposition.
This boat tracks straight without a lot of correction. It is not as quick as the Pungo 120, but is not as slow as the Hurricane Phoenix 120 sit-on-top I had a while back. After paddling kayaks for the last few years I appreciate the open bow that provides easy access to gear and the ability to stretch my legs and back without getting out of the boat.
This boat does have a sharp underside to the gunwale so when you grab it to pull the boat out of the water it cuts into your hand a bit. That's the only really negative aspect to the design that I've noticed so far.
I rate this boat a 9 out of 10 overall. If it was a bit faster I'd give it a 10, but nothing in this world is perfect.
03-20-2013Submitted by: Rdp
- Rating: 10 of 10 I use my Ultimate 12 Angler kayak primarily in local reservoirs. I haul it in the back of my pickup. It is just over 50 lbs and very easy to load and unload by myself even being 67 years old.
The seat is very comfortable and handles well in flat water. It is roomy with plenty of space for my fishing equipment. It has a very convenient anchor system and has mounting points for 4 rod holders. Thumbs up from me.
12-27-2012Submitted by: EAngels
- Rating: 10 of 10 December 2012 follow-up: I reviewed it already and its 4 main points that make it a keeper are:
1) very stable yet manueverable in a moderate river or lake...
2)Keeps you DRY all year round...
3) rugged poly roto molded with very nice adjustable seat and foot rests...
4) you can put a trolling motor on it easily! I bolted a small block on the stern to clamp a 30# Minn Kota to and steer with a simple pushrod and band-clamped 'horn' like an RC airplane rudder. A $25 digital controller throttles it more efficiently and much cooler than stock tiller/throttle. So I can cruise all day on a 30 amp deep cycle battery (about $100-110) with nothing in the way and still paddle when I want to get in close. For a lake with electric motors only (like a reservoir), this is ideal and you can pull it up on an island to 'stretch your legs'.
See my project: www.youtube.com/watch?v=dp6LYs4JCNA
09-17-2012Submitted by: Mullet
- Rating: 10 of 10 Bought the Ult12 this month. Had it on Grand Traverse Bay on a breezy day & it was totally stable; even rode out the big wakes of passing "yachts". Fishing from it is great. I really like it 4 fishing small lakes that have no true boat access. Thanks for building such a wonderful fishing yak.
04-06-2012Submitted by: EAngels
- Rating: 10 of 10 I expected to get a good sit on top kayak. So I went to the boat show in Farmville, Virginia...home of America's largest small boat store. I saw every boat worth looking at from all the makers. When I saw the Ultimate 12, it looked odd... like canoe/kayak with an odd looking seat and those weird double hulls things. So I thought. The sales rep was blunt: "Go take it out for 15 minutes; it will not turn over unless you deliberately do it. It will be faster straight, turn faster, track better and far more comfortable than anything here..."
And he was right. I got the sand color one and have had it in the river, on lakes and even Lake Gaston, NC one day when it was windy. The local Orvis shop manager had my exact same boat and outfitted just like mine at a local fishing expo/event at the James River in Richmond, VA. The Orvis guy can paddle whatever he wants.
Mine has been out on the hottest summer day, the cold winter days and all in between. Never tipped, never a problem of any sort, totally reliable and faster than nearly any guy in any kayak. And drier than ANYBODY from the shore to the rapids of normal churn. The drop down 'skeg' at the rear stabilizes it in a straight line. I use it all the time.
The seat is amazingly comfortable and fully adjustable; has adjustable foot rests. I even made a steel bracket that clamps on behind the seat and add a 12V battery and 30# trolling Minn Kota. Runs all day on a reservoir lake to fish with and plenty of room inside for a cooler, baits,rod, etc. Be sure yours is the model with foot rests... the original Ultimate 12.
Summary: I have never seen any small boat that comes close. You will never wear it out or break it and likely never tip it over. Do not stand up in it to fish unless it is a dead still lake. Some fly fisherman do that, but not me. Take my tip: get a very good 2 piece paddle. I settled on an all fiberglass, long one (240 cm) that has bent handles (for wrist and forearm comfort and better control) called the Werner 'Cascadia' model. Pricey and worth every penny! A paddle for this boat is like underwear or shoes: not the place to skimp on quality and comfort!
Above all! Wear a damn life jacket (about 60-80 for a Mustang made Basspro self inflator pro type). A river or lake doesn't know what car you drive or what degrees you earned. Be smart.
Ultimate 12 or larger; your pick. A 12' cartops easily at 55lbs empty with seat installed. Go look closer at them now at Native Watercraft. When other guys see mine, they know I have the best small boat on the water. And so do I.
09-24-2010Submitted by: dagrizz
- Rating: 10 of 10 Purchased the Ultimate 12 in June for my wife after purchasing a Native 12 for myself this spring. I had the opportunity to paddle both this summer and was amazed at the greater stability the Ultimate provided. It is also a very nimble performer in the water. I also enjoy the relative ease of entering and exiting the boat. Being a large man of 320 lbs, the ultimate also provides a very comfortable and roomy cockpit area with a very nice breathable seat.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoy the Ultimate 12. It is probably the best choice for me as I typically paddle slow rivers, small lakes and marshes. My wife and I must draw straws as to who gets to paddle the Ultimate when we go out on the water. Truly a fine boat.
07-09-2010Submitted by: jjwassom
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have had my U12 for a little over a month now an love it! I use it to rec paddle and fish our little lake where we live. It is extremely stable which is why I purchased it. This is my first kayak and I would not say it rides like a canoe, I am extremely fearful of the lack of stability I have encountered in canoes in the past. The seat is so comfortable and the ability to slide all the way forward to reach gear in the front is awesome when fishing. I plan to get the front and rear skirt to keep rain out, and continue to decide how to rig it for fishing. Great boat, I have stood up in it a couple of times which is amazing, just ask my wife. Buy it.
- Rating: 10 of 10 I bought a Native 12 September a year ago. I really enjoy the kayak for fishing--fly and bass. I have the peddle mechanism which is wonderful. It is great for trolling. I get a lot of kidding that I can peddle both on land and water (I have a bicycle with 2400 miles in 14 months).
The stability is great all though I don't intend to stand up in the kayak. I tried several carriers with no success. With the double hull, it was difficult to find one that would fit the hull. The one provided by Native is too expensive. So I made a carrier out of PVC pipe for about $80.00. The carrier has 8in wheels with a steel rod axle. The carrier has a level above the axle for the kayak to set on with two up rights that fit inside the peddle opening. The last time I used the carrier, I carried the kayak over 100 yards to the water very easy. Also for ease of fly-fishing, I mounted the seat on top of the kayak; gives me better peddle torque and lure space under the seat.
05-08-2009Submitted by: Alan
- Rating: 10 of 10 I bought this boat to fish the slow rivers. I own a QCC 700 and a WS Alto. I have owned several other performance sea kayaks so I expected this boat to paddle like a boat dock but I really didn't care since my time in the boat would be drifting and fishing.
I took it to the lake to try it out and I set my expectations very low so I wouldn't be disappointed. Boy was I surprised. It paddled like a kayak. It was fast enough to go somewhere, tracked straight and turned quick when needed. I couldn't believe it. So I ran a few more tests. The first thing I did was stand up. I even stood on one foot. The water came up high on the side of the boat but did not come in. How could this be? So I pulled into the shore, called my dog and she jumped right in. She jumped from one side to the other. No worries. This thing won't turn over. The only thing I didn't get a chance to try was how it reacted to strong winds and waves. I suspect it will blow around a bit but who cares. That is not what it is meant for. It is a rec boat and a fishing boat. I quickly outfitted mine with rod holders, anchor system, some cleats and a few more custom mods. I can't wait to get it on the river.
If I had to state a few negatives it may be that the plastic seems a little soft. My other plastic boats seems to have a harder plastic compound. I don't know enough about plastics to say if this is true but it seems to scratch easier than my others. I am also a little worried about the foot pads. They seem like they might break. If they do I will build some stronger ones.
I would recommend this boat for any recreational paddler that has no intentions of serious sea kayaking. I did not get a rudder or skeg and see no reason for it. For fishing it is a no-brainer. Buy the thing. You will love it if you use it for what it was designed to do.
10-01-2008Submitted by: johnbia
- Rating: 9 of 10 I picked up an Ultimate 12 last week. I had it out twice fishing so far. I have to say this seat is the most comfortable I ever tried. I used to get out of the canoe every hour or so to stretch - Not with this boat. I fished for 4 hours and had no back pain. It does waggle a bit even with the skeg down, but that's to be expected with a 12 foot boat.
09-23-2008Submitted by: Rich
- Rating: 9 of 10 Just bought an Ultimate 12 two weeks ago. Solid, stable, light enough to be usable for hard to reach places like the dozens of small lakes here in Northern California. I've used it for trout fishing several times now and am very happy with it. The 12 was priced right. The accessories, on the other hand, are pricey and have to be special ordered. Which is the reason I only gave it a 9
08-11-2008Submitted by: moosewatcher4
- Rating: 10 of 10 Just purchased a Native Ultimate 12 kayak and paddled it today. I am 6'3" and 228 lbs and 66 yrs old. This kayak was everything I hoped for and more. I have paddled a Loon 138 (classic) for five years and thought it was a quality boat that performed well on inland lakes here in New England. I bought the Ultimate 12 primarily for the comfort of the seat. It is fabulous. Wide rec boats are generally not fast, but this kayak is as fast as my Loon 138 and it turns on a dime. It is also probably the most stable boat I have been in and I have paddled several including the Pungo 120. Contrary to an earlier post, I saw now no problem with the side bulging when pressure was applied to the foot braces and they adjusted just fine. I think Native has produced a great boat based on my first 3 hours of paddling it.
06-30-2008Submitted by: Ken
- Rating: 9 of 10 I purchased the Ultimate 12 a few weeks ago mainly for fishing and photography. For it's intended purpose it is a good boat. Tracks well, not to much wiggle and easy to get into and out of. I did find that my 220 paddles were not wide enough for this boat and had to get 240cm paddles. I just wish this boat were a little lighter, or I was 20 years younger. This boat feels/handles more like a canoe than a kayak, over all very nice.
05-31-2008Submitted by: Jimmyrog62
- Rating: 9 of 10 I use mine for fishing. This little boat performs great.
I travel all over the United States with my job, and my Ultimate 12 travels with me. I have not tried to stand in the boat, and don't really plan to. The boat is very stable and paddles quite well. I like the pop down skeg. It's there when I need it, and out of the way when I don't. The foot pegs are comfortable, and I think this is a great boat.
05-21-2008Submitted by: dragons4
- Rating: 5 of 10 From reading reviews etc thought I would really like this boat for a kayak photog. platform. For me, even w/ the skeg down there was quite a bit of stern-wiggle when paddling. When I tried to use the footpegs to actually push on, the sides flexed out, and the foot pegs moved - I found it incredibly fiddly and difficult to get the little button on the foot peg aligned w/ the little square on the rail and often the little button didn't pop out into the little square so the footpeg didn't lock in place; not a good system for me. When paddling, I kept banging into the sides - the sides are very canoe-like and pretty much go straight up, no curve inward as in other SOTs. I also found that I was sitting ON the bar that the seat hinges on - not so comfortable. So, I decided that the Ultimate 12 was not the yak for me.
I have a Wilderness Systems Tempest 165 pro, which I like for general paddling (except that the seat/cockpit has gotten a tad too narrow for me). Besides wanting a yak w/ wider seat, I also wanted something more stable to use as a photography platform; after much testing I got a used LiquidLogic Manta Ray 14
05-01-2008Submitted by: BMM from Texas
- Rating: 9 of 10 I just purchased the Native Ultimate 12 footer and have found this boat to be just about everything it is advertised to be. I do not really care about being able to stand in the boat while fishing, but I love the stability when it comes to entering or exiting the craft. You can basically just step into the boat and sit down, even in 2 feet of water.
I do disagree with some of the reviews above in that I find the boat to track very well with or without the skeg and it compares pretty well to my Manta Ray 12. The Ultimate is also stable in the wind and tracks very well even in rough conditions on lakes and small ponds. It is a great boat for fishing with plenty of room for everything you might need.
As others have said, the cup holder is useless as a cup holder although I find it ideal for holding sinkers and small items. I do not agree that the storage space under the seat is easy access -- in fact, I find it pretty much useless unless you have the seat raised to the highest elevation, which I find uncomfortable for sitting. I would have rather had Hobie-like storage pouches along the inside wall of this boat. They could have easily been glued in place for storage of small items and I will probably purchase 3 or 4 of these pouches to mount in the Ultimate.
Otherwise, I have no other complaints and find this to be a very nice kayak and well worth the investment.
04-24-2008Submitted by: Edward
- Rating: 9 of 10 Great bass fishing boat and like the fact that the seat can be raised. Very stable but standing isn't recommended. I installed two rod holders on each side behind the seat. It's a keeper!
08-01-2007Submitted by: Richard Powell
- Rating: 7 of 10 I paddled this boat today as a demo (Polyethylene version), and found it to be both better and worse than I expected in some areas. It is a very stable boat, you can in fact stand in it, and it is wide and easy to get in and out of. Standing in it is not as effortless as the advertisement makes it out to be, I found it very similar to standing in our flat-bottomed canoe Ė you can, but it feels like you could go over if you lose your balance - definitely would not stand in it in a wind.
I was primarily interesting in this boat because I fly fish and wondered if I could stand and fly fish in this boat. To be honest, I think it is doubtful. I have seen a video of a fellow poling this boat. Maybe, but you would have to practice a bit first. So, the stability is good, but not amazing.
How does it paddle? One other review compared it to a tub. Not too far off, but unfair. With the skeg down it tracks reasonably well, not as nice as ďrealĒ kayak of similar length, but pretty good. What can you expect for a 12 footer. Dan, the helpful salesperson, suggested a longer paddle because of the width of the boat, and I think this would actually help a bit. It turns on a dime, and is VERY comfortable to sit in. I recently paddled the Necky Manitou and the seat in that boat is a medium density foam which I found to be firm but not at all hard on the bum after an hourís paddle. This seat is cool, comfortable and nicely adjustable. For casual poking along the shore, birding, fishing, and idling, I canít imagine a more comfortable experience. The Easy Foot foot-pads were easy to adjust, once I got aggressive enough with them, but one was broken on the boat I tried. They are made of plastic, so a possible weakness there.
Iím 45 and not terribly active and I found the boat to be a bit heavy to comfortably lift on and off of my Tracker by myself, but I could do it. I would be happier if it was about 10 pounds lighter, maybe the elite Composites is worth looking at, but its only 5 pounds lighter.
06-29-2007Submitted by: ADKJim
- Rating: 9 of 10 An almost perfect boat for photography. I'd give it 9 and a half if the scale had halves. Extremely stable, paddles easily, it is no racer but moves out pretty smartly and isn't much troubled by wind. I can get into very shallow water with the skeg raised.
I *love* this boat. So why isn't it a 10? I'm annoyed that the gunwales are unnecessarily wide at the center. There are depressions in them, I assume for fishing lures, etc. and a deeper round depression (to hold a drink?). When paddling I keep hitting my knuckles on the side and twice caught a fingernail on the skeg slider. The round depression is in the wrong place. Any can/bottle you put there will be knocked out when paddling. If they had pulled the sides in with some tumblehome, the trays for lures and the drink holder would be better situated in an extended seat pan. Petty complaints I know but they came so close to perfect.
05-29-2007Submitted by: MV
- Rating: 7 of 10 This is a stable tub which is well suited for fishing in small inland lakes. There is plenty of room in this craft.
Talk about stability, You can stand in this thing. If you are looking for a quick responsive kayak then you are better off with a Pungo which gives you stability and a fun Kayak to paddle with a big cockpit. But the Ultimate cannot be beat when it comes to stability and room. I am planning to use the craft for photography in wetlands. With the camera in a drysac and the bow skirt attached this should be the perfect craft as long as you don't have far to paddle. Tried to follow a 16 foot SOT and just could not keep up. Felt I was paddling a bathtub.
04-03-2007Submitted by: rbynum
- Rating: 9 of 10 This is a fun boat. I bought it a couple of weeks ago for fishing primarily, and because I have a few friends who are pretty large and have had some issues in the past trying to fit into a sit-in kayak. I like the versatility of the boat. It has an interesting hull design that allows it to remain stable in just about any condition. It comes standard with a drop skeg, and is pretty fast for the design. I have been to coast in it and down a river with some minor class I rapids and it handled everything well.
The seat is extremely adjustable and slides forward to reach items stored in the bow of the boat, and also detaches and can used as a camp chair. Very comfortable. They have some great accessories as well including front and aft covers and a 3/4 spray skirt. They even offer detachable cup holder :)
The down side is that it is pretty heavy for its size, over 50lbs, and a little unwieldy if you have to portage any distance. But not any more so than a small canoe.
Overall I like it pretty well. It's versatile and fun. I give it a 9 out of 10!
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