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Every year about this time, when most other winter sports are winding down, I like to take to an Ozark stream for some cold weather floating, especially when there is a good snow on.
This year I had the opportunity to try something a little different. I had been contacted by Pelican International, our Canadian friends, to try out one of their newest products, the Pelican Freedom 100X kayak.
I received the Pelican Freedom 100X back in the fall. Missouri weather was quite erratic at the time with everything from flooding to extremely hot weather, and of course, life’s usual everyday interruptions. I knew most of the streams would become quiet and the masses of canoeing enthusiasts would hang it up in cooler weather, leaving the streams in their peaceful state once again.
I was excited to get the 100X on the water. I contacted my oldest son, who is an avid kayak enthusiast, to come along with me. Winter floating can be hazardous and I wanted his experience and expertise to get me out of trouble if there was any. I also let him maneuver the kayak for an additional opinion of the product.
Of course we prepared lots of gear in case there was a mishap and actually included overnight gear if that became necessary! There is plenty of storage space in the Freedom 100X, even though it is just 10 feet in length. It has a superb drywell with a lock down lid and plenty of storage up under the front deck and a comfortable adjustable seat. The topside also has bungee hardware for that extra load. I actually strapped a Goal Zero solar panel on the top side to charge our camera batteries and iPhones. We had plenty of dehydrated food and water and extra dry clothing.
- Adjustable oversize foot pegs
- Adjustable padded backrest
- Bow and stern carrying handles
- Elastic bungee cords in bow
- Hull optimized for stability
- Knee pads
- Molded seat
- Padded seat cushion
- Stern hinged quick lock hatch
- Watertight stern bulkhead
- Length 10′ – 305 cm
- Beam 30” – 76 cm
- Depth 14.25” – 36 cm
- Cockpit width 24” – 61 cm
- Cockpit length 47” – 119 cm
- Weight 43 lb – 19.5 kg
- Max. capacity 300 lb – 136 kg
- Hull material RAM-X
Pelican International had also sent me a Lavika carbon kayak paddle which was a dream to use. It featured an extendable shaft with a lock down collar to hold the chosen length firmly in place. With the river low, the channel had narrowed to quick runs and sharp turns. There were many log and root jams along the way and the Pelican Freedom 100X handled with ease, although I did put some pretty strong pressure on the Lavika paddle. I could turn the Pelican on a dime and it was very stable with all of our gear plus my own 205 pounds. Our trip would be eight miles in length but the ease of handling made it seem much shorter on the long eddies of the river.Pelican Freedom 100X Kayak,
The overall quality of the Pelican Freedom 100X was strong and stable. The seat was adjustable and padded although not quite as comfortable as I would have liked. I did add my own back support and seat cushion as my back is not what it used to be, especially going any distance. An occasional stretch always helps. I liked the adjustable foot pegs as I am a full 6 feet tall with long legs. Overall I was quite comfortable. It always helps to sit erect as possible. The dry well compartment was great with lock down latches and our bedding did stay nice and dry along with dehydrated food packs. The hand handles front and back are adequate. Pulling the Pelican upon the bank was easy. I kept thinking that this model would be great for a smaller person or woman, even though I was getting along fine and comfortable.
I feel like the Freedom 100X would perform under more adverse conditions beyond what the advertising indicates. The product should last for many years with the RAM-X hull material. I would feel confident in using the kayak on any reasonable class stream up to #3 classification. Anything beyond that would be up to the skill level of the user.
The price point is very competitive in the marketplace with comparable “sit-in” kayaks I have seen. The value is there for a good product. I would certainly buy another unit.
I would recommend the Pelican Freedom 100X to anyone. Its overall performance and comfort speaks well of the design and value. There are no problems that I would need to point out. I would recommend it to anyone.