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One debatable problem; there's no bulkhead. On the one hand, this means I can easily chain the kayak to a secured object. On the other hand, no bulkhead means I need to find a flotation assist in the event of a capsize. Rather than spending money on bladder bags, I'll probably use a few beach balls. Hey, air is air.
I've paddled this boat on a river under choppy/windy conditions and the boat handled fine. All in all, I'd say this is a fine recreational kayak.
Overall, I've been really pleased with the kayak. I've paddled a few others and none have met my needs as well as the Sierra. I look forward to several day trips in the upcoming year.
The highlight of one of our "paddles" was seeing a moose browsing along the shore and being able to get close enough to not bother him at all. The Sierra is the kayak that suits our paddle time.
(1) Incredibly stable. I guess if you put a concerted effort into rolling this over it would be possible.
(2) Solo but can add a child seat for young child. STILL VERY STABLE!
(3) Great platform for fishing.
(4) Tracks very well, and I found an average stroke achieved about 2.9-3.0mph, have paddled it up to about 5.4mph on still water.
(5) Good all around boat for slow-medium rivers (not WW), lakes, ponds, and possibly shore line ocean.
(6) Awesome boat for the $$$.
(7) Kid can jump in and use in - no worries!
Would recommend to someone looking for a boat to test interest and use for a multitude of environments. I recently got a Corona and can now completely appreciate the benefits of this (and the Corona) in terms of their unique value to a given paddle.
Buy this and a Corona/Sole and you (and the family) will be in yaking heaven!
I like the way that the Sierra handles, it turns easily and tracks very well. Additionally, it handles rough seas(within reason) very well. The only time I had trouble was around the Cape Cod Canal, I was abot 30-40 feet away coming around a jetty/sandbar and was in 6-7 feet swells(not reccomended for anyone, OY!). It is also a light kayak for its group. My friend has a Pungo(Wilderness Systems) and curses when he has to move it, as it weighs 10-15 pounds more. The Sierra can be moved by one person very easily. I have also found accessories very easily for my Sierra. I have seen other yakkers have trouble getting accessories for their kayaks.
I gave a 9 as believe a 10 to be kept for only the best of the best. (this may be the Bentley of kayaks, as opposed to the Rolls Royce of Kayaks). However, I would give the enjoyment factor of the Sierra an 11.
When first looking, I kept adorning the sierra some reason. Though after I demo ride I defiantly had a sparkle in me eye. The boat seemed to track extremely well, and also even glided well when I would stop paddling. At first the boat seem to turn well, but once I learned to put it on an edge, I found that I could turn this yak on a dime, literally. Though the thing that caught my fancy the most was the large cockpit, with me being a large yaker (5'11" and 240 lbs. with 18” hips) I needed a yak with a lot of hip room. This boat seem to do this the best.
When purchasing, I ended up getting the Expedition edition for many reasons. For about $50 more, you get the rear entry hole with a NICE rubber cover and also a watertight foam bulkhead that provided flotation and watertight storage. I think this will be excellent for those camping trips and it should also pride me a place to store dry clothing, for those wet accidents.
Though the thing that made the final decision for me was that I will manly be using this yak for fishing, camping, and recreational use on shallow rocky rivers, such as the Shenandoah, James, and ect. That flows throughout Virginia. With this kind of use in mind, the flat boat of the Sierra, allows it to easily and stablaly glide over those rocks and boulders when a collision does occur.
Though this was the best choice for me, I would defiantly do a demo ride in a boat before buying, because the yak that I went to purchase and the yak that I bought were totally different boats.
If you are in the same category as me and looking for a similar yak, I would recommend that you look at the Pungo (deep water yak, but FAST), Big Critter (cheap, but sits bad), Swifty or Sparky (Small, but almost identical to Sierra), Delta (large shallow yak, but VERY STABLE)
For its rating I am giving it a 9, for the simple reason, it does not blow away its competitors in comparisons. So maybe next year perception will give it a better seat, more bungee straps on top, and a paddle holder included.
Unless you have a real need for a huge, oversized cockpit, the Swifty would be a better choice here - at $150 less in price, 1 foot smaller length, and 6 pounds lighter. Interestingly enough, my wife, who is a beginner paddler, preferred the enormous cockpit and really liked this boat. So it may depend upon your experience level - those with more experience paddling will probably find the Sierra like paddling a rowboat.
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