Length: 12' 1" - Width: 33.00" - Starting at: $2299.00See More Details about this Kayak
The Outback is a very, very wide, very, very stable kayak. I'm 6'2, 245 pounds and I could really swing my hips hard and the kayak hardly budged. There are a few very convenient "cubbies" on the exterior top to store different things. 2 different size cup holders, long, flat open shelves, bungee netting compartments etc. I haven't even mentioned the rear gear-well or any of the hatches.
The Outback is very easy to pedal and steer with the rudder, and you can move along just fine. You can paddle it, but it will not track too well and it takes a little bit of effort. If you're a healthy, moderately fit adult you won't have a problem paddling it. The wind would definitely compound the tracking problem, and would require constant effort on your part. Paddling with the rudder down does greatly improve tracking, but it will not be as responsive when you want to change direction, unless you actually make minor corrections with the rudder as you go. The new Vantage CT seat for the 2015 models is AMAZING. You can really customize your position for comfort. You can raise/lower the front of the seat, raise/lower the back of the seat, adjust the seat back forward and back (even to a really comfy recline if you just want to lounge) and adjust lumbar support as well. I had no idea kayak seats could be this comfortable. The seat also has 4 pop-up plastic feet on the bottom so you can use it as a camping chair on the beach/dock/camp site.
Many roof-rack kayak carriers, especially the J-style (yakima bowdown, jaylow type) won't work with the Outback due to it's width. We strap it to the top of our car upside down, as recommended by Hobie themselves and have yet to have an issue.
You CAN put it on top of a car by yourself, but it will be quite unwieldy, and you could risk dropping it on your car. Much better just to use two people.
The way the hard-mounted handles are positioned leave more of the weight towards the stern, so it is not very balanced when carrying by those handles.
It's overall a fairly dry ride given your high seat position, but I did get a minor splash here and there when pedaling into the wind. You also get some "hull slap" which is the sound of water hitting the hull. Supposedly it can scare away fish, but I see people slaying fish all the time in outbacks, so take it for what it's worth.
I give it a 9, only because it isn't the easiest to unload by yourself (you're not buying it for ease of loading, you're buying it for stability!) This is a very stable, very comfortable kayak with plenty of easily accessible storage space. You can really move on the water when you want, or just meander along at an easy pace. Pedaling is much preferred over paddling, but paddling is still possible, when no other option is available. It's not the easiest to load/unload by yourself and I wouldn't recommend it, but it can be done.
I would absolutely recommend this kayak. The upfront cost is high, but so is the resale value. Can't put a price on experiences either.
The features make it simple to use. Rod holders are in the right place, plenty of space behind the seat for sizable ice chest, convenient hatch between your legs for tackle. The Mirage Drive makes this a fishing dream. Pole in one hand, drink in the other, no problem. You can create a bit of a wake without much effort at all. The speed is amazing if using the peddles. If you plan to paddle it very far, be prepared for a serious workout. It's like paddling a cinder block. Its size is built for stability, not paddling speed. Never leave shore without your fins. I have the anchor trolley which is very easy-to-use.
The only cons I see with the Outback are one the weight 75 pounds a lot for a single kayak and two it draws a little more water than a normal kayak making beach landings a little more difficult. I think the Outback is a good choice for anyone looking for a different kayaking experience and especially for someone with shoulder problems that wants to enjoy a paddle. Or should I say pedal.
Pros: mirage drive, plenty of storage space, rudder system, stable, rod holders.
Cons: Wish was a bit lighter, hatches not completely waterproof, price.
After several paddles or peddles, as you will, I think the Hobie is brilliant. Hobie has also fixed most of the problems that people seemed to have with earlier models mentioned before. There are two handles built in amidships for carrying, there are no leaks into the hull that I have found, there is no hatch under the seat now, the paddle is fairly large and works well for me at 6'3" 235 lbs. It is tricky to paddle and work the rudder system but if you are going in a straight line the rudder control has enough friction you can set it and it will hold straight.
The seat was quite comfortable after 4 hours of use. I can't wait to take it fishing! I have done some photography from it with a waterproof Lumix and a Nikon D90 and felt very secure. You could probably set a tripod on it! It is still a porker but necessity is the mother of invention and I have devised workarounds to loading and storing. I have the heavy duty cart which works well. Still, it's lighter than my Mad River Royalex Explorer canoe which is 75 lbs.
All told it's a engineering wonder and gets attention whenever I take it out and I usually have to show somebody how it works or take a test peddle.
I have my first fishing trip this weekend and it is an overnighter. Storage openings in the hull could be a bit larger, but with the right dry bags and some trial and error when packing, Iím sure that the average user will find that this kayak has plenty of usable storage.
I donít like the storage hole under the seat very much. Unlike the other storage areas, this one is not fitted with any rubber gaskets allowing for water to creep into the hull if you are in the ocean or rinsing it off after a trip.
I have purchased the sportsman package and sail kit. Both are well worth the money. If you want a craft that can be very versatile and fun to useÖ this is the craft for you.
Now for the good points. I find the boat extremely comfortable; however, I haven't spent more than 4 hours in it. The high back seat is really nice. It's very stable and seems like hit handles waves well. I haven't had it out in the real chop yet (it has been rather calm lately in my part of the Chesapeake), but I don't have any worries. I think it's also very maneuverable. Lastly, it is pretty fast. Without working too hard, I was able to keep up with a 13ft Dagger and a 17ft touring kayak. Admittedly, they weren't going full tilt, but I wasn't blown away by them either when they were paddling at a comfortable rate. Unfortunately, I didn't have a GPS to see how fast we were going. There is plenty of room for fishing equipment, and plenty of bungees. The detachable bag included with the seat is a nice touch and a good place to keep small tackle boxes. There's also a spot under where your legs would go for a larger flat tackle box. Fishing from it is definitely the best point. I can make all but the very finest adjustments to my position in the water with the pedals and the rudder without putting down my rod. That's a big plus. Meanwhile, my buddies in traditional yaks are constantly alternating between paddle and rod while I'm catching fish. In all, I think it's an excellent day-tripper and could be an overnighter with some dry bags. Given that you get a seat, a paddle, and a rudder in addition to the pedaling mechanism, the Outback is definitely money well spent, and I highly recommend it.
Also, I am re-building an old flatbed utility trailer to haul the kayaks, having tired of loading/unloading the pickup truck. I still recommend the Hobie cart, but only hand haul the boat itself, with accessories (pedals, sail, anchor, etc.) carried separately.
Lastly, I have involuntarily tested the ability of this vessel to upright itself from being completely "turned turtle" or hull up/sail down (under water). This was in our Intracoastal Waterway in a rather narrow section & I was able to flip it by myself with the grace of God & the encouragement of my wife.
We added cushioned stadium seats from Wal-Mart (& an inflatable neck pillow for occasional lumbar support), eyebolts (instead of Phillips screws) for the paddle bungees on the side (gunwale), silicone-lubed the hatch seals, glued the rubber grips on the bow/stern carrying handles, & repaired the popped cable tie on the up/down rudder lever (not fun; watch for rudder during launch, landing & take-out).
This boat definitely needs a better located drain plug & tighter seals---the ever-present slosh always sounds like gallons of water aboard, even though it might only be a gallon.
Cleats on the port side would be nice, too. For self-rescue, I grab the brass seat clip on the opposite side. A bimini-type top would be nice, too, for the sunny, no-sail river-peddling/paddling trips. I recently used a large golf umbrella as a parasol on Silver River. Great work, Hobie!
I also have the optional sail. The sail is well designed and sturdy enough. The only issue is sailing in anything above 8 or 10 knots. You can tip over before you know it. Perhaps a small keel to install in the pedal slot may be in order.
Generally, if you love kayaking, fishing, and touring. You can't beat a Mirage. My other kayak (Oceankayak Frenzy) is easier to load and unload, but this baby is a day tripper and well worth the extra trouble.
Admittedly the rod holders in front are not usable if you are casting from the cockpit. It is not so much heavy as unwieldy due to the width. I have learned to manage it by using the pedal opening and a finger in the rear rod holder to get it up to shoulder (and eventually head) to load it. Other nags are the water in the hull. I now suspect the useless under-seat screw down hatch. The rudder could be more robust but I am impressed that the material for the controls has withstood use and time.
The bottom line is that there is no more capable boat for fishing. Even at a lower initial price you can not outfit a yak comparably for much less. It is faster than the WS Tarpon, as stable as the biggest Fish'n'Dive and you can go and go and go using your leg muscles to propel the craft. You can see my rigging and pictures on the water at my site.
The serious negative I have found is the hard seat. I don't know what Hobie was thinking. It is hard as a rock. Since you use your legs your butt bone/muscles and they grind on the seat--ouch!! After a few hours of peddling I am still in pain 2 days later. I have ordered a cushion but why Hobie didn't think of this floors me. That is the only negative I have found but it can be easily remedied.
I have also been out in some pretty good ocean swells and kept dry and felt very secure.A bit pricey and heavy but I have zero regrets selling my WS Ride and getting it.
It paddles well but I keep the rudder down unless I want to do some manoeuvring. The pedal system is amazing, ultimately faster than paddling. When you find a comfortable cadence you can go for ages without tiring but it's good to switch over and paddle every now and then. It feels very stable and at this time of year I don't want to deliberately tip it to find out exactly what I can do on it.
It is, as I expected from Hobie's reputation, very well made. The design is thoughtful and complete for what I want to do - fish. May need an anchor for sea fishing though. It seems quite expensive, but when you factor in all the extras that come standard, I am happy with my purchase.
I was fairly impressed with the Perception Swing and to get that to as close as possible in specs to my Outback would have cost me to within $300 of what I paid for the Outback and I wouldn't have had the pedal propulsion system. I'm also fairly confident my arse would have been dragging in water most of the time. Can't wait to take it fishing and will post again in a few months.
This boat is extremely well thought out. With all the cutouts around the hull, I was able to keep everything at my fingertips: soft drink, pliers, fish scent, etc. The 2 rear rod holders keep the rods in easy reach, but well out of the way of casting. My only complaint with them is that the holes for the rod holders are too small to accept a pistol grip rod Ė but you can still strap one on the other side from the paddle holder. I had a full size tackle box in the area directly behind the seat, a cooler behind that, and a small bag with my soft plastic baits in the area right in front of the seat: and everything was well within easy reach!
This boat is very stable. I really donít believe that you can tip it. Getting in and out is a breeze, 10x easier than the canoe I fished out of last year. The rudder system works perfect. It looks too small to be that effective, but it really is. You can cut donuts with this thing.
Is it perfect? Nope. It is a heavy little beast, but not so heavy that I canít put it on the rack myself. The biggest complaint I have is the lack of handles Ė this makes it very hard to get up over your head. I have learned to strap one of my rack tie downs through one of the rear scupper holes and then the hole for the pedal system. Cinching it up tight against the hull gives one a centered ďhandleĒ that you can use to pick the boat up off the ground.
This boat is so much better than the Kevlar Canoe that I used last year that it ainít even silly. Easier to get in and out of (docks donít worry me any more), you have your arms free all day, it is tons faster, and it is a lot more stable. No more casting once and paddling 5 times Ė you just cast all day! I love it and give it a 10 out of 10.
I think it tracks well. I never operate it with out the foot pedels in place but I do paddle it and allow the fins to act as a centerboard the same for sailing. I find the rudder very responsive regardless of the mode of travel.
I am still learning the capabilities of this kayak and finding out that it is a very talented machine. Even under sail I have not tipped this, but I do think we need a better rigging set up for the main sheet.
All in all I give it a 15 - I know the scale is 1 - 10.
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