Expedition Sea Kayak Review

By Libby Bliss

from August 2006 Canoe and Kayak

My first time in a sea kayak, I embarked on a guided 17-day excursion down the coastline from Loreto to La Paz in Baja. As much as I remember the colorful cliff bands and catching and filleting a yellowfin, I also recall how important it was to have proper training and gear.

Some years later, after I had become a kayak instructor, I unearthed my Baja pictures only to see myself paddling with my paddle turned upside down! I have to smirk at my inexperience now, and even have the picture framed on my wall.
The six composites in this review are elite touring craft designed for those with their sights set on expeditionary adventures. Each manufacturer hopes its boat will be the one to bring a smile to their faces.
Four seasoned kayakers—two men and two women—paddled these boats to help such explorers in their decision-making.

Four seasoned kayakers—two men and two women—paddled these boats to help such explorers in their decision-making.

  • KAYAKER 1, 34 years old, 5’3″, 160 lbs., 12 years paddling experience, advanced skill level
  • KAYAKER 2, 51 (age), 5’9″, 187 lbs., 32 years experience, Intermediate-Expert
  • KAYAKER 3, 55 (age), 5’8″, 200lbs. , 30 years experience, Expert
  • KAYAKER 4, 49 (age), 5’2″, 126 lbs., 22 years experience, Advanced



Force Cat 5


Length: 18′

Width: 20.75”

Depth: 13”

Weight: 58 lbs

Material: Fiberglass/Kevlar

Price: $2,775/$3,375

Impex says: “For the paddler who wants increased speed and efficiency and is willing to work harder for maneuverability, the hull of the Force has decreased rocker. Although we still used our trademark shallow-V hull for maximum primary stability, we did combine a narrower beam and more aggressive medium chine to allow for increased turning ability in a long, sleek kayak.”

Pros: Fit legs and knees well, which allowed for good control. Padded thigh braces. Tracked nicely, turned easily when edged, and was responsive to draw and sweep strokes. The skeg can be dropped to the degree needed for varied paddling conditions.

Cons: Seat was uncomfortable. The skeg box in the rear hatch limits usable volume; scratch the kitchen sink but not the chocolate-covered almonds.

Bottom Line: The Force Cat 5 lives up to its billing.

The article was originally published on Canoe & Kayak

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