mike.swain DeleteThis @verizon.net (Michael Swain) wrote in
> I'm looking to buy a folding touring kayak, and after much research I
> narrowed my choices down to the Feathercraft Kahuna. I took one for a
> test drive recently and liked the way it tracked, even for a
> relatively short boat (14' 9"). The biggest complaint about it I've
> heard is that it's difficult to assemble. It takes about 2-hours when
> you first try it, which goes down to 30-minutes after some practice
> and several bruised knuckles. Some also say that it slows down in
> rough water, although that's probably true of any folding kayak. Does
> anyone else agree with this assessment?
> My main concern is its durability. Has anyone owned a Feathercraft
> Kahuna or K-Light (its immediate ancestor) for two years or more? How
> has it held up under heavy use? Is there any special maintenance that
> needs to be done to keep them working? Any help is appreciated.
I work in a paddling shop where we sell the Feathercraft Kayuna. I think
that it is a great boat. Feathercraft has done a great job in both their
design and use of materials. You are right that it can be difficult to
put together the first time as there are lots of parts and there is a
specific order to how it is put together. If you jump in and think "I
know what I am doing, this goes this way..." without following the
instructions, you will put a peice together and at the end have a left
over piece making you take it apart so that it can fit into the boat.
It does come with quite an extesive book and a video showing you how to
put it together. The first time for me took 1.5 hours but try number
three took me 35 min. Not to bad for just pulling out of the trunk of my
The material that they use for the decking and hull is great. It is very
strong and abrasion resistent. Long term use it will take some wear but
it is expected. If you do get a hole in the boat for what ever reason,
there is an emerg patch kit to get you back home. They also have an
amazing long term care and repair facility at the factotry and will
easily patch or repair any part. Since it comes apart, you just send the
part needing repair saving shipping, etc.
As far as the boat slowing down in rough water, I am not sure. Comparing
it to a glass boat, it will be slower just because of the loser material
along the hull compared to glass. I have paddled it several times on day
trips in different types of weather and though it was slower, it wasn't
a huge difference. Folding boats are designed for compactness. There
will always be a trade off for that. You can adjust the tension of the
hull and the internal sponsons help tighten things up quite a bit as
If you are paddling in a really rocky area, you might want to look into
getting the reienforced skid plates as an add on option. It will really
extend the life of the hull in the high aprasion areas. Also, be
carefull in the assembly process to keep sand out of your boat. It can
be murder on the poles. The poles fit together the same as a tent and
there isn't a lot of tolerance in the design and the fit together really
snug under the best conditions, a little grain of sand in there can make
Like anything else, the more you take care of it, the more it will take
care of you. Regular cleaning after each trip (if you are in salt water)
will go a long way and make sure that the skin is completly dry before
packing away when you get home. Also, keep them out of the sun when not
in use. Those three little tips will make the last a long time.
Everything is replaceable, things will wear out over time so you can get
the part and you are back in business.
Since I work at paddling shop, you can take them with a grain of salt
but I think that they are great boats.
David H. Johnston
Toronto, Ontario >> Stay informed about: Feathercraft Kahuna Kayak