Nearly all of the gear we rent and sell - including kayaks - at our retail store in Tempe and to our customers around the country has been tested on actual hiking or backpacking trips by the LowerGear owner and/or staff. For anything we haven't taken out ourselves, we consider user reviews and evaluations in outdoors magazines and relevant credible web sites before adding it to our offerings.
To help you make the best camping and backpacking gear choices for your next trip, feel free to give us a call for our recommendations. If you prefer to do your own research, read the product descriptions on each item, check out our selection of videos and informational pages, and read other user's reviews and descriptions of the backpacking and camping gear we carry.
Below are user reviews on some of the kayaks we offer for sale or rent. If we didn't find a review on the exact item we carry, we include one on a similar product that will give you a close feel on what to expect. We scavenged these reviews from other sites out on the big world web, so we don't really know the folks that did the write-ups. But, it never hurts to hear a second or third point of view. If it just gets confusing, you can always give us a call for clarification.
Hobie Pro Angler Kayak
A few months back I got a call from the Hobie rep, Marc, asking if I would check out a new Hobie kayak, and then fill out a survey afterwards. I'm always interested in playing with new stuff if it is kayak fishing related and Hobie has continually introduced new and interesting kayaks and products to the market. The company understands kayak fishing and they have a full time employee, Vince, whose job is to keep them up with what's happening in the kayak fishing world. I met Marc and also joining us were Craig and Matt, from KFS, down at a nearby lake.
I've spent hundreds of days fishing from a variety of Hobie mirages. First the Outback, then I added an Adventure to the fleet along with a sport. Somewhere along the way I included an Outfitter, had an Island for a while and plan on another and regularly use a Revolution. Pics had surfaced briefly on the Internet of the ProAngler (PA). My initial impressions were, "What's Hobie doing with this thing!" My experience with Hobie is they are a smart, very successful company and they didn't get that way by making many mistakes. When they do make one, they fix it quickly - a first class operation. So initial impressions aside I started checking out the features. It's the closest thing to a tournament bass boat in the form of a kayak I'd seen by a wide margin. A few years back at the Hobie Dealer meeting I was told that they were getting interest from the pro bass circuit. This is obviously one of the results. The PA is a bit less than 14' long with a 38" beam. It uses a mirage drive for propulsion and it can be paddled. This thing has lots of really cool features, way too many to list here, but they're listed on the Hobie site, Ones that stood out is you can store six rods all rigged and ready to go and they're completely out of the way in the gunnels - three on each side. The PA holds 13 Plano lure boxes. However all this is irrelevant if it needs a motor or a crane to launch it. It's the performance that counts.
I'm not going to replace my Revolution with one, and I don't know if one will ever make my fleet, but I really liked the PA. Marc told me one of the target markets was for the fisherman who had a bass boat or other boat and there were places they couldn't access. Spots like no motor zones or places a boat isn't going to get into. Another market are fishermen looking to downsize but still wanted a craft that allowed them to fish in a manner similar to what they'd been doing. The description on the website goes into more detail. At 88 pounds it isn't impossible to car top but there's going to be a lot of people who can't use this option. A big strong guy can and with its 600 pound capacity there's going to be a lot of big people who will get one. It's perfect for a trailer. We had it in the back of my Tundra and one person can launch at retrieve it this way too. The front and rear handles and the recessed rudder made moving it around much easier than you'd think.
On the water I was very pleasantly surprised. The PA performs similarly to an Outback. The big difference is it's bigger, with tons of storage and with that huge beam it's very easy to stand in. That's going to be important for tournament style fishermen. This means they can still pitch, sight fish bedding bass, etc. The day I tried it the wind was blowing at least 20 mph, so I didn't think it was going to be a fair test. All of us were surprise at how well it did. The kayak wasn't any harder to propel than an Outback. It turned well, and paddled fine too. It's carrying and storage capacity is sick and it was great to be able to stand easily. I only spent a little bit of time with the PA, but again Hobie is at the forefront in new territory. There is definitely a market for the kayak. It fills a niche previously ignored. I forget where I heard or read it but of the top 100 selling lures on the market at least 98 of them are for freshwater bass fishing. It's by far the largest fishing market there is and this is the first craft targeted at that market. Seems like a smart move and a win win to me. The kayak's not only for the tournament bass angler but it's going to be a large part of the appeal. The Pro in the name tells you Hobie's intensions. Inshore gulf coast and Atlantic inshore are naturals too as is general freshwater fishing. Also as I mentioned early, now there's a mirage drive kayak for really big people too. Check it out.
Hobie Revolution Kayak
There were several attributes that attracted me to the Revolution model, which ultimately influenced my final decision to take it instead of the Outback that I had previously planned on using. Those attributes can be summed up under the banner of versatility. Being a hybrid of sorts, the Revolution sits nicely in that gap that previously separated the Outback from the Adventure model. The Revolution is a longer and more slender kayak than the Outback, which not only makes it a faster hull design, it's also easier to paddle. It's not as long or slender as the Adventure, however, and nor is it as fast. But being some 80cm shorter than the Adventure, it also boasts a tighter turning circle and has the added advantage of being lighter than both the Adventure and Outback. That's not to say that it skimps on storage space either - it has plenty, especially under the bow hatch.
So it would be fair to say that the Revolution is a very good all-round fishing kayak, and is precisely the sort of multi-tasker that would be suitable for someone traveling along the diversified coastline of Australia. It is also that sort of 'best of both worlds' quality that would lend itself to any kayak fisherman that fishes in a variety of conditions. It would also be fair to say, however, that because it does sit somewhere in between the Outback and Adventure models, both of those kayaks are probably a little bit better suited for their intended specific usage scenarios. Despite having good storage for what it is, both the Outback and Adventure models do offer more storage room than the Revolution. They both have more options for mounting extras such as rod holders and GPS mounts as well. The Revolution isn't long enough to offer the ability to slice through choppy water quite like the Adventure and nor is it wide enough to offer the rock-solid stability of the Outback. So perhaps the term 'almost best of both worlds' is more appropriate.
Want to learn more about other types of backpacking and camping gear? We have broken out our gear reviews by major equipment category. In addition to the kayak reviews above, see our other gear review pages:
For more information, see our full line of kayaks for sale or rent.