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Thread: Saturn Kaboats

  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Fishnugget View Post
    Kaboat for sale on Craigslist. 13' Alaska model with the C-7 valves made for Alaska from Alaska Raft Connection.

    https://anchorage.craigslist.org/boa/5388270542.html

    To bad this isn't a 15'

  2. #82
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    I've been contemplating the replacement for my 1-man, 9' cataraft. My 8 year old daughter has been showing more interest in floating around on the lakes and fishing with me, so that was becoming no longer practical. I settled on the 14' Saturn Kaboat. Ordered it through Brian over at Alaska Raft Connection, and it arrived last week. Was able to get out with it on some local Anchorage lakes over the weekend to get the first impressions. This is obviously not the right boat for everyone, but I thought I'd share my story and experience so far.

    What I wanted:
    -- Something light enough that I could move it from the truck to the lake by myself without requiring a trailer.
    -- Something small enough that I could just float around on the lakes by myself the majority of the time.
    -- Something big enough that I could take my daughter out with me when she's itching to go fishing... as well as the wife once or twice a year when she just wants a scenic tour around the lake when we're out camping.
    -- Something in the $500 price range.

    For most of the past winter, I was contemplating a canoe. We'd rented them several times out at the Nancy Lake SRA over the past few years when we all wanted to go out on the water together, and we enjoyed the experience. Plus, it fit my want-list above just about perfectly. (well, the cheaper end of the line anyway - several multi-thousand-dollar versions out there. Who knew!?!)

    But, as I kept looking and thinking, thinking and looking, another item got added to my want-list: Something that I could store in my limited storage space, kinda like my cataraft. Kinda ruled out the canoe. And then... somehow... I stumbled upon this thread while researching over the dark (but warm and snowless) winter, and my eyes were opened up to this "new" thing called a Kaboat. Wow -- that's almost perfect, and the price points are fairly well aligned with the canoes I'd been looking at. But it seemed MUCH more versatile than any canoe could be. And all those youtube videos with guys plowing their way up Nordic rivers, buzzing around in the ocean bays, and tooling around in the lakes. PERFECT!

    So I did it! Brian kept trying to talk me into his Alaska Outdoor eXtreme version... and if I had the money, I probably would have splurged on his 13-footer. But, I was already walking on thin ice by bumping my budget up to $700 (plus shipping), and I finally convinced him this was what fit my wants and needs the best, so he ordered it up and had it on his next shipment north. I'm not going to be hauling moose down the wild backcountry rivers, so I think this "lesser version" suits my needs just about perfectly.


    So anyway... on to the trial runs. My first trip was over to Sand Lake with the 50# Minnkota kicker. Had such a great time motoring around, we almost didn't get out the fishing poles. But, finally stopped for a few minutes next to the weed patch by the channel and brought in a little 8 inch stocker rainbow on a dry fly of some sort. I was standing up casting with no problems. The boat itself was stable as could be... nothing like the tipiness of a canoe with an 8 year old who has a hard time sitting still. She would ride up on the bow... then back to the front seat... then the sides... then back to the bow... then back to sit with me. In the "real" canoe, she was usually too nervous to even shift around in her seat, which would cause a little rocking. But the kaboat became a floating jungle gym for a while. There was a moment when we were both standing up that it got a little motion when we both tried to move, and after that she made sure I was sitting before she started moving around again. She even took charge of the trolling motor for a while.

    Next day, we went out to Jewel Lake. Daughter said she wanted to play at the beach, but daddy wanted to keep playing with his new boat, so we compromised by going to Jewel Lake. But this time, I wanted to go in "true canoe" mode, so I left the motor at home. Another fun day of paddling around, this time using the boat for a diving board and practicing our man overboard techniques. I very easily hauled myself out of the water and into the boat (from this side!) without so much as a hint of the thing tipping. Sunday was pretty windy, and so I got a good insight into how this thing would handle in the wind. Not bad at all. In the "real canoe", my daughter is not really enough ballast for me, and it was all I could do to keep the front pointed into the wind without completely weather-vaning around and heading the wrong way. In the kaboat, however, the headwind made almost no impact. With the 4 skeds on the bottom and the low profile, it tracked nicely.


    For the most part, I'm extremely happy with this purchase. It fits my needs almost perfectly, especially since I already had the 50# Minn Kota. (now I'm kinda jonsing for a 5 or 6 horse OB!) My older son and I have our sights set on an overnighter on the Nancy Lake trails, and maybe a long weekend float down the Little Su.

    Here are a few disappointing issues:

    1. The 18" inside wall-to-wall is much narrower than it looks, and much narrower than I think I thought it would be. I can sit on the floor just fine, but with my fishing-vest-style lifejacket on, I'm wedged in snugly. (I'm not a small guy - 6'1" and 250#). I also have a little Igloo cooler that juuuust wouldn't quite fit crossways, so we had to put it in lengthwise. It was also the same height as the seat, so it wouldn't fit under. It fit under a seat perfectly in the "real canoe". I almost want to deflate the tubes a little, put the cooler in, and reinflate them to snugly keep the cooler in place - it's that close of a tight fit. Would make a great seat.

    2. The oars. USELESS in a "rowboat" configuration, like they're designed. I was not able to row the boat with 2 oars in the oarlocks because I could not get the handles low enough into my lap to get them out of the water for the front stroke. I possibly could have done it by sitting on the floor, but you can't really pop the seats out when fully inflated. If I'm going in "canoe mode", I'll probably invest in some regular canoe paddles with T handles. I popped one of the oars off the oarlock and used it like a canoe paddle all day, but by the end of the day my hands were a little sore from the black plastic molded end on the oar.

    3. It does come with 3 seats, but they are pretty close together. I opted for the 14' over the 13' because of the 3rd seat and the fact that my wife likes to go for a ride around the lake a couple of times a year with my daughter and me. Although I'm sure we would fit, it will not be possible to paddle the kaboat like a canoe when someone is sitting on all 3 seats. When I sit on the back seat, my paddle comes across the boat (when I switch sides) forward of the seat in front of me. If someone was sitting there, I could not paddle. With a motor, it would probably be fine to have all 3 seats occupied. So I think I'll probably just never install the middle seat. If the three of us go for a ride, my wife will sit on the front seat, and my daughter will probably just bounce around between the side tubes and the bow up front, or she can also sit comfortably on the floor leaning up against the bow facing toward the back.

    4. No place to easily put the rods. In a real canoe, it's wide enough to set them butt-down inside below the seat in front of you, with the tips coming up and out, beside you. But due to the narrow interior, they just kinda kept getting in the way. I ended up putting them behind the back seat, with the tips facing up and out the back of the boat. Worked fine in "canoe mode", but with the trolling motor, I found that I kept bumping into the rods whenever I turned the motor handle more than about 60 degrees. So, with the motor on, I balanced the rods on the side of the baot, and kinda wrapped the rope around them to keep them on.

    5. No beer can holders!


    All in all, those are some minor issues, compared to getting into this type of boat at this low of price point. I'm still 100% satisfied so far. (except the oar configuration). I've ordered a pair of Sitbacker canoe seats to make the seats a bit more comfy and provide some back support. There are quite a few examples of mods floating around the interwebs... some 2x4 rails on the sides clamped to seats for mounting some downriggers... some PVC "pipe frame" contraptions for making rod holders... etc. Even someone earlier in this thread had an exterior frame setup.

    I'll be experimenting with some mods to try to overcome some of those issues, and if I find something that works, I'll post back here. If anyone else has modified their Kaboat, I'd love to hear some ideas.
    kaboat driving.jpg20160606_221351.jpg

  3. #83

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    Make a frame and get the seats higher, seats are to lo for me and cramps my knees. Plus with a frame and higher seats you can brace against the sides with your legs, much more comfortable for me. With any inflatable tubes take up a lot of boat room, its a compromise boat but I like them.

  4. #84

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    Can someone please convince me that I need this boat? :-)
    It seems to fit most of what I'm looking to do. I have two boys, 10 and 6, that I'd like fish more water with. Right now, we fish the usual spots around Fairbanks, that are easy to walk and wade. But I'd really like to get to the Tangle Lakes and Gulkana area. Also over to Delta Clearwater.
    Can I reasonably float, with a rowing frame, rivers like the Chena or Gulkana?
    With a small motor, 5hp, could I motor up river on the Delta Clearwater?
    I'm looking at the standard 14' or 16' models.

  5. #85
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    The answer to all of your questions is: yes... but.

    >> Can I reasonably float, with a rowing frame, rivers like the Chena or Gulkana?
    yes... but not with all 3 of you in the regular 14 footer - and probably not the Gulkana in either the 14 or 16ft. The regular 14ft kaboat (the one I just bought) will probably not hold all 3 of you AND all of your gear comfortably for a longer float, like the Gulkana. However, if you were just out for a day of relaxing on the Chena, then either boat would be a great fit.

    If you're going to want a rowing frame as well as enough gear for all 3 of you, I would highly recommend upgrading to the 15' "Alaska" version of this boat, sold in Anchorage by Brian Richardson at Alaska Raft Connection. It's a bit more spendier ($1300 range, if I recall correctly), but worth the upgrade if hitting the rivers with 3 of you and gear is something you plan on doing.

    >>With a small motor, 5hp, could I motor up river on the Delta Clearwater?
    yes... but again, with all 3 of you and gear, it's going to be crowded. The 16ft might be a decent option for this trip.





    >> Can someone please convince me that I need this boat?

    I'm not going to try to convince you, but I'm very happy with my new 14ft Kaboat. It fits what I wanted in a boat (all of those things are listed above). You MUST think of this boat as a "heavy duty canoe". If what you want to do can be done in a canoe (with a motor), then it can be done in this boat. It is basically just a canoe - but VERY stable! so far, my daughter and I have been out on several local lakes and we've floated the Portage Creek run.

    It is **NOT** the right solution for everyone, but it sounds like it could very well be the right solution for you... for about 80-90% of what you mentioned... and at a good price point. You could easily do all of those things you listed in a $3000 or $4000 boat. But I assume you're looking at this option for the sub-$1000 range that it's at. In that case, you can easily hit the local lakes beyond just the wading spots... you can easily float the Chena with all of the other raft/canoes (and even join in with the motorboaters if you want)... you can easily (with a motor) get to the Tangle Lakes system... etc. You could probably even do the tamer sections of the Gulkana, but again with the amount of gear you're probably going to want for a trip of that length, you probably want the 15' Alaska upgraded version. An experienced rafter could probably even do the "more fun" sections of the Gulkana - whether you're an experienced rafter or not, I don't know. But I (personally) would not attempt it with my 2 young kids without another adult along for the ride.


    Hope this helps. If you're ever down in Los Anchorage, you can PM me and I'd be more than willing to let you take mine out for a test ride.

  6. #86

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrowland View Post
    The answer to all of your questions is: yes... but.

    >> Can I reasonably float, with a rowing frame, rivers like the Chena or Gulkana?
    yes... but not with all 3 of you in the regular 14 footer - and probably not the Gulkana in either the 14 or 16ft. The regular 14ft kaboat (the one I just bought) will probably not hold all 3 of you AND all of your gear comfortably for a longer float, like the Gulkana. However, if you were just out for a day of relaxing on the Chena, then either boat would be a great fit.

    If you're going to want a rowing frame as well as enough gear for all 3 of you, I would highly recommend upgrading to the 15' "Alaska" version of this boat, sold in Anchorage by Brian Richardson at Alaska Raft Connection. It's a bit more spendier ($1300 range, if I recall correctly), but worth the upgrade if hitting the rivers with 3 of you and gear is something you plan on doing.

    >>With a small motor, 5hp, could I motor up river on the Delta Clearwater?
    yes... but again, with all 3 of you and gear, it's going to be crowded. The 16ft might be a decent option for this trip.





    >> Can someone please convince me that I need this boat?

    I'm not going to try to convince you, but I'm very happy with my new 14ft Kaboat. It fits what I wanted in a boat (all of those things are listed above). You MUST think of this boat as a "heavy duty canoe". If what you want to do can be done in a canoe (with a motor), then it can be done in this boat. It is basically just a canoe - but VERY stable! so far, my daughter and I have been out on several local lakes and we've floated the Portage Creek run.

    It is **NOT** the right solution for everyone, but it sounds like it could very well be the right solution for you... for about 80-90% of what you mentioned... and at a good price point. You could easily do all of those things you listed in a $3000 or $4000 boat. But I assume you're looking at this option for the sub-$1000 range that it's at. In that case, you can easily hit the local lakes beyond just the wading spots... you can easily float the Chena with all of the other raft/canoes (and even join in with the motorboaters if you want)... you can easily (with a motor) get to the Tangle Lakes system... etc. You could probably even do the tamer sections of the Gulkana, but again with the amount of gear you're probably going to want for a trip of that length, you probably want the 15' Alaska upgraded version. An experienced rafter could probably even do the "more fun" sections of the Gulkana - whether you're an experienced rafter or not, I don't know. But I (personally) would not attempt it with my 2 young kids without another adult along for the ride.


    Hope this helps. If you're ever down in Los Anchorage, you can PM me and I'd be more than willing to let you take mine out for a test ride.
    Thanks for the reply and the offer to test your rig! I don't plan on doing any long, gear heavy trips. Everything would be day trips on the easier sections for rivers like the Gulkana. I'm very familiar with the Chena. I had a 12ft Alaska series for a few years. Loved the boat, but wanted move versatility. I've been boatless for about 4 years and with the boys taking more of an interest in fishing, I'd like to vary their experience a little more.
    The reasoning for the standard Kaboat was to keep my back intact, as I'll be lugging most of the weight, but the lower price is also a plus. Although the Alaska versions are a few pounds heavier, I like the added material. I am leaning toward the 15' Alaskan, but the 16ft standard is very attractive as well.
    Hopefully, the Kaboat owners on the forum will post a few more pics or videos so I may vicariously share their experience. The purchase, if made, will be next year. I'm a planner. I like to gather as much info as possible before making the commitment.
    Thanks again.
    Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~Henry David Thoreau

  7. #87
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    Then I think this is a good boat for you. Looking toward the future, the 16' might be just a bit better for 3 people fishing from the boat. The 14' will probably work fine for now, while the kids are still young. If your 10yo is like mine, you probably spend half your time working with his rod (tangles, changing lures [mine has a hard time with the swivel snaps still], etc.). Because of that, you probably don't want him 16 feet away with the 6yo between you, trying to get over to where he's at to help him with his rod. These boats are VERY narrow (18"), and once you start tossing in the rods and a cooler, floor space gets used up quickly.

    Me and my 9yo daughter have done 4 or 5 fishing trips in the past month since I got mine. I got the 14-footer because it was the smallest one that comes with 3 seats. Every now and then (when we used to borrow or rent canoes), the wife wants to go along for a relaxing evening paddle around the lake, but she's not interested in sitting out there fishing with us. I figured that 3rd seat for those rare occasions would be handy. However, once all 3 of us were in there together, I had a hard time trying to imagine all 3 of us with a rod in our hands. It's kinda cramped. For just the two of us fishing, it's great.

    Speaking of weight... the 14' is right at the edge of what I'm able to handle on my own. When it's all collapsed and folded up into its carry bag, it's about 70 pounds. It's got 2 heavy duty straps, and I'm able to pick it up with two hands and carry it in front of me for short distances (20 feet from the garage to the truck). It's definitely not something that I could carry hundreds of yards down a trail. When it's inflated, I can pick it up and put it in and out of the back of the pickup by myself... and again, carry it 20 feet or so to the water. But probably not any further. And don't forget the 2 or 3 trips back and forth for all the gear, and another 50lb battery if you're going with a trolling motor. lol

    It's very easy for 2 people to carry from the front and back, even full of gear, but my daughter is not at the point of being a help for that yet. So, I can manage with the 14'... not sure if the 16' would be manageable to carry by myself.

    In the mean time, I have a $15 collapsible dolly that I got at home depot 10 or 15 years ago. This thing fits the transom perfectly, and I just attach it to the front d-rings with two bungee cords. I've been able to wheel the boat (fully inflated with all of the gear in it, including battery and mounted motor) quite a distance. (mostly flat dirt and gravel - not sure how it would do over a trail through the woods. probably not well.) See the pic.

    20160625_191013.jpg

  8. #88
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    get the larger K boat it will pay off on the long run, kids move a lot , small one's even more , SID

  9. #89
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    I'm a new 15 foot kaboat owner and I'm wondering what other people are using for launching/portaging wheels. I have a kayak dolly that seems to work OK but I'm wondering if there is something better. Has anyone put launch wheels on the transom?

    Thanks,
    Nat

  10. #90
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    now you guys got me interested in these things

  11. #91
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    I really like mine so far. I'm running an older Evinrude 9.9 hp 2 stroke. It's a little too heavy for me to move by myself but I can move it pretty easily with my dolly. I'm just not sure how well the dolly would work on un-level ground.

    Nat

  12. #92
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    can you change the wheels to bigger size , you don't need bearings ,
    raceway would work, am air filled to ounce a little , my 2 cts SID

  13. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by nblewi0 View Post
    I'm a new 15 foot kaboat owner and I'm wondering what other people are using for launching/portaging wheels. I have a kayak dolly that seems to work OK but I'm wondering if there is something better. Has anyone put launch wheels on the transom?

    Thanks,
    Nat
    Link below shows a decent set this fellow installed & modified to work with the narrow transom on the SK396 model -

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgMxtIHzHHA


    I built a transom jack for my 15' XL (it is a 20'' shaft motor which doubles as a kicker for my jetboat), so it wont take much to add launch wheel mounts to the existing aluminum. That will be a winter project. Not sure if the pictures will work -





  14. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by brombones View Post
    Link below shows a decent set this fellow installed & modified to work with the narrow transom on the SK396 model -

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgMxtIHzHHA


    I built a transom jack for my 15' XL (it is a 20'' shaft motor which doubles as a kicker for my jetboat), so it wont take much to add launch wheel mounts to the existing aluminum. That will be a winter project. Not sure if the pictures will work -




    Thanks for the link! I like your setup as well. Do you have any problems with water coming in through the bolt holes?

    Nat

  15. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by nblewi0 View Post
    I'm a new 15 foot kaboat owner and I'm wondering what other people are using for launching/portaging wheels. I have a kayak dolly that seems to work OK but I'm wondering if there is something better. Has anyone put launch wheels on the transom?

    Thanks,
    Nat
    i was using a trailer for mine, but when I sold the lund, I let the trailer go with. I use a 7.5 merc 2 stroke. I'm transporting on the top of the vehicle and taking it off. Two people to carry it to water.

  16. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by nblewi0 View Post
    Thanks for the link! I like your setup as well. Do you have any problems with water coming in through the bolt holes?

    Nat
    Nope, on final assembly all bolt holes and washers at each end are sealed with RTV.

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