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Reviews for Journey 14 Kayak by Jackson Kayak


Rated: 8.56/10 Based On: 9 Reviews


Journey 14 Kayak by Jackson Kayak

Length: 14' 0" - Width: 24.50" - Starting at: $1099.00
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07-31-2014
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Great light touring kayak. Have taken multi day trips on Missouri Ozark rivers and really enjoyed how this boat handled. Easy to navigate twists and turns, edges nicely, and just handles well overall. I will say, it does take some solid paddling technique to keep it tracking straight over distance but I do kinda like that part --- just forces you to paddle correctly with proper torso rotation.

The outfitting is suuuuper comfortable with the sweet cheeks and hip padding. The backband is nice as well and comfy, allowing for quite a wide range of flexibility. The boat also rolls well, and with a little practice this kayak will come back around with a good hip snap.

I do love this boat and will have it with me for some time.

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09-30-2013
Submitted by: Mary SSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I absolutely love my new Jackson Journey 14. I have finally found the perfect kayak!
For me, though, the rudder makes all the difference in the ability to track. This is my 4th kayak and was hoping it was the one that was just right. The day I got the Journey, I had to put it in the water right away and check it out. I had not installed the rudder yet (or even adjusted the pedals). I was so disappointed with the tracking. I am not an expert paddler for sure, but thought I could handle a kayak better than it was performing for me.

BUT, when the rudder was installed and the pedals were adjusted, it was a dream! It was so fast and fun. When I stopped paddling it would glide so straight and smooth. Paddling upwind was super easy, too. A nice surprise also, is that there is room for my miniature schnauzer to ride with me in this fairly small cockpit. I thought I would have to give that up in a touring kayak.

I adore the Jackson Journey 14 and would give this kayak a perfect 10 except for 2 things - the tracking without the rudder and it does not have a paddle holder on the side of the boat. Otherwise it is truly what I had hoped for.

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08-19-2013
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The Journey 14 is my second kayak and my first kayak that isn't strictly a recreational kayak. I've been paddling it almost every week (except a couple months when the water was frozen) since early November in water ranging from lakes to rivers to small creeks. I've also paddled a few other boats by Current Designs, Boreal Design, Wilderness Systems, and Dagger... some plastic, some composite. I'm 5'10" and weight about 240, so I need a boat with a little bit of room.

I'm delighted with the Journey. It's got enough room but I can get snug enough to feel a good connection with the boat (the Wilderness Systems Tsunami 145, on the other hand, felt way too big). The seat is very comfortable and the back band adjustment is simple, easy to operate, and effective; much more so than other back band adjustment systems I've tried. The Journey tracks well, has good initial and secondary stability, is easy to put on edge (and hold there) so it's fairly maneuverable. I had no problems with steering it around on a shallow, narrow creek in central Pennsylvania this summer, when everyone else was paddling 10-foot boats.

There's plenty of storage space for longer trips if you want to do a weekend camping trip (perhaps longer, depending how you pack and how many luxuries you want). The hatches are mostly watertight, though when doing some wet exit and rolling practice, a bit of water gets in. I've never had water leak into the very convenient day hatch, though. The day hatch is easy to reach and has a softer rubber cover that is easy to remove and replace while on the water; no struggling or contorting in order to use it. The hanging bag on the inside assures that, not only does your stuff not bump around on the bottom of the boat, but it doesn't roll away, either, so it's always readily accessible.

The deck bungees and deck lines are well-placed and work well for a variety of gear. I always have a paddle float and bilge pump attached. Sometimes I'll also have a deck bag, water bottle, or raincoat (in a stuff sack) on the deck, too. The back deck bungees are designed to assist with a paddle float entry by firmly holding the paddle in place which is fantastic if you're trying to pump out the water from your cockpit. You can just leave the paddle attached for stability until you're ready to go.

I don't have a rudder on mine, but one can be easily installed, since all the cable tubes and attachment points are already on the boat. I've paddled in moderate to high crosswinds in mildly choppy (12" waves) water without much trouble even without a rudder. Occasional correcting strokes and some edging were all that were needed to keep me going where I needed to go. The Journey tracks very well on flat water.

I've paddled some higher end boats and none of the ones I paddled really blew me away in comparison... which was good because trying to justify the purchase of a new $3k kayak to my wife would have been an issue. Ha! I know I'll eventually get another boat (or two... or three), but for now, the Journey is exactly the boat I want and I'm delighted with it.

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12-03-2012
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My introduction to the Jackson Kayak Journey happened during a kayak demo. Trying two touring kayaks before the Journey left me undecided. The first kayak I tried almost rolled over as I was getting in. Needless to say, that kayak stayed put. The second kayak was a little better, but it didn’t have "that feel." Noticed a Jackson Kayak Journey sitting off to the side, which sparked my interest. I used the T-Grip handle to place it in the water. Carefully settling into the seat barely produced any movement. After making a few pedal adjustments, a staff member gave me a gentle shove. There I was, paddling a Jackson Kayak Journey and enjoying the comfort. The Journey had "that feel," and it felt good! The following notes were recorded after purchasing the Journey a month later:
  • Within the first 45 days of taking delivery of my JK Journey 14, I was paddling in winds up to 35 or 40 mph; 5 to 8 foot seas (with an occasional 10 foot swell) in the Pacific Ocean; playing around in the surf zone. Seal launches have been 100% successful. Packed it full of camping gear and still had room to spare. As a result of the adventures, the water conditions have to be very very nasty for me not to launch. The Jackson Kayak Journey has always been smooth, comfortable and stable, not to mention eye-catching. Loving how the Journey edges and maneuvers, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
  • Knowing how I was going to use the Journey; purchasing the Journey without a rudder system was not an option. When the winds are that high, all I have to do is point my Journey in the direction I want to go and it does the rest. To change direction, all I do is flex my toe. Turns out the Smart Track Rudder System performs to my expectations. Even when the rudder is out of the water, the JK Journey holds its line very well. The foot braces are solid and easy to adjust.
  • Couldn't have had a better day for a final shakedown (aka Sea Trial). Winds were from the northwest at 25 mph, gusting to 35 mph or more. The waves were larger than normal and hitting me from all directions. Despite having to do massive power strokes going into the wind, my JK Journey was cutting through the waves and riding over the top with little to no effort. The experience was very comfortable. I'm ready for more!!
  • I love the reflective material in the deck lines, as they are a great safety feature. The entire deck line system can be seen with a little bit of light. The deck lines also come in handy for self-rescues and assisting others into their kayaks. Assisted swimmers during the triathlon. The swimmers had something solid to hold on to while relieving their cramps.
  • My concern for available cargo space quickly dwindled. There is ample cargo space in the forward compartment, rear compartment, day hatch, the area forward of the Foot Braces and the area behind the seat. Wish I would've planned a 5-day trip!
  • It's nice to have the bungee cord system on the deck. Didn't need additional lines to carry the oversize gear with me. Still love the available space. Just when I think I have too much, there is always room for more gear.
  • Bought my second JK Journey! The newer JK Journey's have an improved seat configuration. The "Sweet Cheeks" provide a lot of additional comfort, especially during extended paddles. After an extended paddle my rear end was feeling great. The Sweet Cheeks provided a perfect mold and the comfort was out of this world. I never had to readjust my sitting position.
  • Woke up, packed up, and paddled out through a maze of trees that would normally be submerged. The Journey's rudder system worked very well. The Journey maneuvered through the thickets of trees, at a reasonable speed, with ease. The Journey maintained a straight line when the wind speed picked up on the open water and glided across the waves, as expected. I was astounded to see how stable the Journey was on video. The extra weight (of the camping gear) gave the Journey a lot of additional stability. It was a very smooth ride!
  • The new JK Journeys come with a GoPro mount; easily within reaching distance of the cockpit.
Hope my notes have given you an idea of how happy I am with the Jackson Kayak Journey. The last thing I can say, with 100 percent confidence; Don’t hold back. Take your Journey out in any conditions you feel comfortable with and don’t be afraid to push the envelope. The Journey will take care of you.
Here is one of my YouTube videos: www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wUDsbUTs14

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09-14-2012
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The Jackson Journey 14 is my third kayak. I started out with a Perception Carolina 14.5 that I loved and moved on to a Wilderness Systems Tsunami 14.5 for a little while. I bought the Journey with rudder for a friend and thought it was very comfortable. I did a few shake down trips adjusting the rudder system for him and found it to be a great kayak. At first I did not like the smart rudder but after studying it and making a few adjustments I found it to be a good system. Now I have my own Journey and find it to be fast and handle well in rough water. The boat is very stable and a lot of fun. My Journey is a slick plastic material that seems lighter than my other kayaks.
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09-12-2011
Submitted by: sherry bSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Update on Journey Smartrack rudder.
I learned that by adjusting the rudder cable, the ideal foot position on the upper, gas pedal part can be obtained. When I first demo'd a Smartrack rudder, the shop did not explain this to me even after I complained about the difficulty of reaching it with the ball of my foot or my toes. Now I am thoroughly happy with this system.

I still can only give the boat a 9 against all other boats because it is a heavy plastic boat. Fiberglass still wins with me as a better paddlecraft but I will say the Journey is durable. I have paddled it all over Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, river and lake and it is looking good!

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06-12-2011
Submitted by: sherrybSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I've had a half dozen outings in my new Journey now. It's been challenging trying to get out on the water with my work schedule, so I usually paddle a lot of chop and wind in the middle of the day. I bought my Journey sans rudder but after realizing that I paddle so much in wind and I don't live near any ocean rock gardens, I decided I will have one installed. Mostly, I paddle big mountain lakes where surprising gust fronts occur frequently off the nearby mountains and continental divide. I had one day when I paddled, still sans rudder, in gusts over 40 mph and sustained winds in the 30s! I was able to do it although I don't think I'll make a practice of that! I did make it back to my put-in on the other side of the lake, which is better than a couple guys in a little motor boat who had to abandon it on the far shore and take a long hike back to their car. I'm not bragging on me, but the boat for making it possible for me to get back.

I demo'd a Journey with a SmartTrak rudder and although the fixed, gas pedal style thing sounds like a good idea, I found it a little awkward to use (another reason I decided to forgo it initially). Compared to the WS Tsnunami140 (fiberglass) that I also have, I find the Journey to be a much more lively boat, stable but easy to tack and spin in rough water. I love the way it responds to turning by leaning. It's really fun!

I am only an intermediate paddler but I am really looking forward to all the new skills I can learn because this boat responds. If your only stroke repertoire is a straight on forward stroke you may not be happy with this boat. It asks for more but gives back with proper paddle technique. The WS by comparison is a bit doggy. Yes, it goes straight but gets stuck going straight too. Yes, you can sweep and pry but I will say it again, it is sluggish by comparison. I also once demo'd a plastic Tsunami 140 and it felt like a barge. I literally couldn't wait to get out of it.

I also prefer the athletic, whitewater style backband to the upright rigid seat of the WS Phase 3 outfitting. The Jackson seat is much more conducive to good roll technique and plenty comfortable enough. I sometimes have difficulty getting in the WS at difficult put-ins, snagging the top of the seat with my behind and having it fold down on me. The Jackson seating will allow a larger range of roll techniques.

I can only go an 8 on the rating though because I am not thoroughly happy with the rudder system and it is a PLASTIC boat which means heavier than if you wanted to spend some real money on a fiberglass model. However, plastic is durable and I have thrown it off the car a couple times trying to work out my loading technique and right now, in Colorado, our reservoirs are very low, making for rocky, less than ideal put-ins. The Journey is the go-to boat for those conditions for sure.

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09-07-2010
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     I had family in town and did not want to take the time to put my racks on etc so I decided to rent a boat along with them. We rented 3 Journey 14's for 2 hours. Outfitting was nice for this price range, comfortable cockpit and even a day hatch. The big negative came when we started paddling. This is a very heavy boat with very little glide. When you stop paddling it tends to turn sideways on you. This happened to all 3 of us. The boats we rented did not have a skeg or the optional rudder. The hull did not seem to have a lot of rocker to cause them to behave the way they did nor was it windy. I mentioned this when we returned them and was told that was their complaint to Jackson, these boats were different than the prototypes. The had grown very heavy and required consistent paddling to keep going in the same direction. I would give it an 8 or 9 on comfort but a 4 or5 on performance. I have owned two other 14' boats and the Journey would not be on my short list for another boat.
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02-16-2010
Submitted by: Jon TobiassenSend Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     Take home message… I would recommend the Jackson Journey 13 and 14 over the Tsunami line for two primary reasons:
In my experience, the Tsunami line does not enable advanced skill development to the same degree that the Journey line does. The Journey cockpit outfitting is simpler and more robust than that of the Tsunami.

I am a big guy… 6'3", 240lbs, 34" inseam and size 13 shoes. I have the Journey 14 prototype and find it to be an excellent roughwater playboat that responds extremely well to edging and advanced paddle technique. The boat spins very quickly when leaned and is a joy to paddle. The Tsunami 145 stalls badly, for me, when edging and I find it hinders advanced skill development. Jackson's Journey 14 is fairly quick for its beam but won't win any races… but that is not what touring boats are built for.

The Journey 14 is surprisingly stable. No seriously… I was actually surprised. I have paddled hundreds of different boats (not an exaggeration). The degree to which this boat supports you as you lean it hard over actually caught me off guard. I can easily stand up and paddle the boat around. At a recent pool session, one of my buddies was standing on the back deck of the Journey and kept trying to jump and land standing on the front deck. He couldn't quite stick the landing, though he came close several times. He thinking he had a shot at doing this trick speaks volumes about the confidence the Journey inspires.

The Journey14 prototype that I have does not have the final deck rigging but the placement of its fittings offers great flexibility for customization. I do lots of rough water paddling / fishing from my kayaks and have modified my decklines significantly. I am very happy with the utility and number of options this arrangement offers. The prototype is only a couple months old but it has seen significant rescue practice and none of the fittings have failed yet.

The Smart Track rudder system is the best I've seen. There are no sharp edges to scratch yourself on during rescues and the system provides for rock solid footpegs with gas pedal style steering. That said, at my weight (I can't speak for someone who only weighs 140lbs) the boat requires no rudder. Even in extreme conditions, the Journey handles very neutrally. I see rudders as a potential liability, and extra weight. I have removed the rudder system from the prototype and when I get my first production boat it will not have a rudder.

I frequently paddle roughwater here in New England and elsewhere, I tend to like rugged, high volume, responsive boats. I have had several NDK, Valley and Nigel Foster boats over the years. They were all faster… but none of them were tougher, more comfortable or more fun to paddle. I have only owned one boat that was as much fun to paddle in ocean rough water as the Journey 14. That boat was a P&H Orca 14 (now made by Venture Kayak). It is still a great boat… but its deck rigging leaves a lot to be desires and it is a light touring boat with only one bulkhead, which makes rescues more challenging. Due to its superior utility and safety, the Journey 14 has displaced the Orca 14 as my roughwater boat of choice.

I'm not a salesman for Jackson Kayak. I am just a paddler looking for the most fun, safe and functional boat to play in that I can find. When I saw the early renditions of the Journey go up on Jackson's website I reached out to the company to see what they had to offer. I'm impressed with what I've found.

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