As part of our ongoing review series, we recently took a look at the Cayman II 2-person inflatable kayak from Maxxon.
We unpacked the box and laid out the pieces – inflatable kayak, carrying cover, bellows foot pump, valve adaptors, two seats, 2 kayak breakdown (2pc) paddles, removable tracking fin, repair kit, wrench and instructions. Available colors are red or blue.
Initial measurements showed the kayak weighs 30 lbs in the case (specifications say 34 lbs) while the accessories are an additional 14.5 lbs. Boxed up the dimensions for kayak and accessories are 31 x 19 x 12 inches, with a shipping weight of 46 lbs.
Inflatation and Setup:
Set up is simple – unpack, unfold, inflate.
The included instructions are quite adequate. First step is to insert the removable tracking fin as this is impossible to put on after the kayak is inflated. Make sure that it snaps into position. The skeg is used to enhance paddling/improve tracking in deeper water; don’t use it in shallow water or white water.
There are three inflation chambers – two side chambers which use a military-style valve, and the floor chamber which uses a Boston valve. The retaining ring on the Boston valve (used to keep the valve attached to the kayak and thus not becoming lost) was a little tough to get on.
The military-style plunger valves are simple to use – twist one way to inflate and the other to deflate. There are two included valve adaptors which can be used with the military style fittings – a Boston valve nozzle which friction fits, and a screw on. We pumped up the kayak until firm using the included bellows foot pump; while this is more portable, you may want to invest in a double action handpump, or a 12V pump to make setup faster. The manual says to inflat to 1.45 PSI , but you’ll need to pump up just to a “firm touch” as there are no pressure gauges included.
Floor and side zippers allow one to access the bladders. We noticed that the main chambers arrived a little askew, so first time you may want to pump up slowly. If the bladders start “crinkling” then realign/reposition the bladders until they feel right.
After that, it’s just attach the seats and you’re ready to go! There are three velcro strips on the kayak floor, corresponding to three seating positions – the fore and aft are used for tandem paddling and the center for solo. The seats fit onto the velcro and the straps easily clip to D-rings.
Cayman II Features and Specifications
According to the specs, the length is 132 inches but my measurements came in at 137 inches outer tip to tip, and 117 inches inner. The width is roughly 36 to 37 inches outer, and 16-17 inches wide in the seating area. The side tubes are approximately 10″ wide, up about 9 inches above the floor (wall height). The kayak is rated at 450 lbs maximum load persons and gear.
In the tandem position – with seats centered on the velcro and tightened fore/aft – there are approximately 42 inches between the seats, still leaving about 20 inches behind the rear seat. From the inner bow of the kayak, the velcro strips are located at (1) 38-55 inches, (2) 60-70 inches and (3) 75-85 inches from front – this should give you an idea of the spacing available.
The side and floor inner bladders are made of K-80 polykrylar; the outside upper fabric is an 840 denier nylon oxford with a polyurethane coating, while the bottom material is 2200 denier PVC super-tough supported fabric.
The seats are 2″ foam. A zipper allows them to ship/store flat, but once zipped turn into a fairly sturdy, higher-backed seat measuring 12.5 inches tall. Each seat has two-each front and back straps with quick clips attaching to D-rings – these cinch tight for support. A lidded pouch and two mesh cupholders on the back of each seat provide additional easy-access storage.
The included kayak paddles are 220cm, 4-pc breakdown with two feathering positions, a squared blade and no drip rings.
A large fabric carrying “cover” is included; this allows one to quickly pack up by simply deflating and folding the kayak onto the cover. The side flaps are folded and cinched and you’re ready to go. Later you can open the kayak up to dry.
Other features include four rubberized carrying handles; two adjustable bungee areas on the bow and stern for lashing on supplies; molded directional strakes; 14 D-rings; two military spring valves, 1 Boston valve, splash cover; paddle holders. A single drain port with plug (not to be confused with self-bailing) is located in the stern of the boat behind the floor cushion. This creates a “well” so that water splashing over the side can collect outside of the seating area.
Performance on the Water
First impressions – the kayak is lightweight and can easily be carried by one person using the side handle.
I took the kayak out two or three times, both solo and tandem. Taken out tandem, the Cayman II is very roomy; with two people (5’5″ and 6’2″) it was comfortable. While my husband’s knees were slightly bent, I still had extra room in front and could easily have moved my seat forward without any sacrifice. The kayak also handles better with more weight in the front. Tracking was good, the kayak felt durable and it was very stable.
As a solo kayak, it is very paddle-able by one person in both calm water and in swells, though not a speed demon. The higher sides didn’t allow much water to come in, and it tracked well. You do need to play around with the seating a bit, to find the “sweet spot” for your height/size – some additional weight in the front is also helpful. With only one paddler, there is lots of space for gear or a furry paddling companion; I would not hesitate to bring a dog as the floor has a fabric cover and the side chambers are rugged.
At an MSRP of $499, the Cayman II is a great value – particularly with all the accessories and 5 year warranty. It is maneuverable, stable, lightweight and durable. It has great versatility as a tandem or solo kayak – as the cockpit is totally open, it is very roomy – and would handle well on coastal waters, lakes, rivers or some whitewater (probably Class II).
The Cayman II is a great choice for recreational paddling, or those wanting extra room to take along fishing or camping gear. This is also an excellent option for a larger person paddling solo.
For more info see http://www.AirKayaks.com/maxxon_caymanII.html