I was incredibly excited to test out my new recreational sit-on kayak and see how it performed. Last year, I had a few mishaps with my sit-in kayak, causing me to struggle with dragging it to shore and emptying out the water (which wasn’t always easy, by the way). I was really hoping that the Pelican Coast 100XR would make that process much simpler.
Finding the Perfect Fit
Allow me to begin by mentioning that I am 6’3″ tall and weigh 270lbs. Consequently, it’s quite a challenge for me to find a kayak that suits my frame and keeps me buoyant. This is precisely why I initially opted for a sit-in fishing kayak.
The Pelican Coast 100XR recreational kayak has several positive aspects. Not only is it relatively affordable (priced at $420 but I managed to snag it for $350), but it is also lightweight, weighing just 46lbs. Additionally, with its weight capacity of 325lbs, it comfortably keeps my larger frame afloat. The seat is sturdy, reasonably comfortable, and can even be removed if you need a place to sit onshore.
The Downsides for the Taller Folks
Now, for the less favorable aspects, especially for tall individuals like myself. It immediately became clear to me, as soon as I embarked on the river, that the center of gravity on a sit-on kayak is higher than that of a sit-in kayak, making it more prone to capsize. This requires increased concentration and a different set of skills compared to what I had already acquired with my sit-in kayak.
To maintain stability, I had to recline on the “Ergocast SB Seating System™” (although I still used a seat cushion and back pad). I had to avoid any movement in my trunk and rely solely on my arms and shoulders. Otherwise, the kayak would become unstable. Perhaps next time, I’ll try without the cushion to lower my center of gravity.
Another realization I had about this type of seat is that it prevents me from ducking under fallen trees, known as “limbo-logs,” as the seat-back doesn’t allow for reclining.
The fixed, molded plastic footrests were incredibly uncomfortable for me. Whenever I moved my feet even slightly, the other footrest pegs would dig into my ankles and calves. Given my height, the furthest peg was my only option. I much prefer footrests that can be adjusted back and forth for optimal comfort.
Noteworthy Design Features
The “large rear tank well” is suitable for storing a cooler. However, due to the bilge holes in this kayak that connect directly to the water, there is a permanent puddle at the back (especially when someone of my size uses it). Consequently, you cannot store anything that might get wet. Fortunately, Pelican offers a “storage pod” specifically designed to address this issue.
Normally, I would put my orange dry bag in the forward “Quick-Lock” hatch. However, I found no liner inside (is it missing or does it not come with one? It’s not mentioned on Pelican’s website). Furthermore, reaching it without the risk of capsizing was practically impossible while on the water.
Moreover, it dawned on me that using this hatch would defeat the purpose of keeping the inside of the kayak dry, as it might leak when tipped over. If you examine the sticker on the hatch closely, it states that it is not entirely waterproof, although it does have an o-ring seal.
All things considered, the Pelican Coast 100XR is a decent kayak for its price. However, it’s not the best choice for someone of my stature. Personally, I believe I would be happier with a wider fishing kayak that offers greater stability. Naturally, such a kayak would come with a higher price tag.
The Pelican Coast 100XR is an ideal option for smaller and more agile individuals who may prefer sunbathing on the river without covering their legs. Even early in the season, I managed to get a sunburn on my thighs and calves.
Thank you for taking the time to read my review!