If only my Mom knew the Sea Eagle 330 kayak existed when I was a kid. If she had, she would have saved lots of money by avoiding the need to buy a new inflatable kayak each year. You see, while growing up, I lived in the water and used an inflatable kayak almost daily. Unfortunately, the cheap Sevylor kayak I used constantly punctured and, almost like clockwork, started to rip along the seams towards summer’s end. Since seam rips are almost impossible to repair, the kayak ended up at the inflatable graveyard. The result was the purchase of a new kayak the following year.
|The Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak|
The Sea Eagle 330 inflatable kayak, happily, avoid this problem. Unlike other inexpensive inflatable kayaks, the Sea Eagle 330 is durable. And tough. This kayak provides many benefits (read about them in detail below). Or skip below to read the Recommendation & Conclusion.
However, for those who hate to read, let me quickly summarize what you need to know. If you have a limited budget, are searching for a 1-2 person boat that is suitable for both lake paddling and river paddling on waters rated Class III or less—and the boat won’t be used in below freezing temperatures or used for multi-night float trips—then the Sea Eagle 330 (and the larger Sea Eagle 370) is an excellent choice.
Benefits of the Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak
If you need an affordable boat to handle a wide variety of uses, the Sea Eagle 330 inflatable kayak is an excellent choice. Here's some reasons why:
Affordable - The kayak is remarkably affordable. Package prices usually cost less than $350, and that is before whatever sale Sea Eagle happens to be running. The package price also includes everything you need. There is nothing extra to buy.
Durability - The Sea Eagle 330 kayak is a "soft sided" inflatable boat. This means you can press your finger into a fully inflated boat by ¾ of an inch, on average. In short, the kayak isn’t inflated to the high air pressures found in guide quality inflatable rafts or in the higher-end inflatable kayaks offered by Sea Eagle (such as the 380x and the 420x) and other kayak manufacturers.
The lower air pressure, however, doesn't mean that the kayak is less durable. Instead, it means the kayak is prone to differing types of damage than a high pressure inflatable boat is. In general, high pressure inflatable boats are most prone to getting holes/punctures due to hard impacts with immovable objects, such as rocks and logs. By contrast, soft sided boats (like this kayak) are most prone to punctures when they are dragged across sharp surfaces, such as rocks along the river shoreline or across a cement parking lot. By lifting the boat and not dragging it across rocks or cement, you’ll prevent 90% of all potential punctures.
One limitation that buyers of the Sea Eagle 330 should know is the kayak can’t be used in sub-freezing temperatures. While an uninflated kayak will store just fine in sub-freezing weather, inflating the boat in cold weather risks damaging the kayaks fabric. This inability to use the kayak in cold weather is one big difference between the SE 330 and Sea Eagle’s upper end kayaks (such as the 380x and 420x), which are designed for use in all weather conditions.
Portability - Sea Eagle has many types of inflatable boats available, all of which are quite portable. None, however, compare to the Sea Eagle 330. Weighing less than 25 pounds, the kayak rolls into its own small carrying case and packs away in the tightest of spaces. While it still wouldn't be pleasant to pack this boat deep into the mountains, for all other purposes the kayak is incredibly easy to move and takes little space to store in your car.
Quick Inflation Time - Sea Eagle is a bit "generous", in my opinion, about the time needed to inflate their boats. I've found it takes about 10-15 minutes from the time you roll the kayak out to the time it is fully inflated when using the manual Bellows Pump. Cut that time in half if you use the automatic air pump, though.
All-Around Versatility – The Sea Eagle 330 kayak is incredibly versatile. It is a breeze to paddle around on flat water (lakes/ponds), while still works great for recreational river floating. Rated to handle Class III whitewater, the Sea Eagle 330 kayak can safely handle most rivers that recreational floaters use.
That said, while the Sea Eagle 330’s fabric can take the physical beating that Class III whitewater subjects the kayak to, this kayak isn’t self-bailing. Because of this, if you plan to run Class III whitewater, I strongly recommend buying the Sea Eagle 380x or 420x instead, since these two kayaks are self-bailing.
Solid Fishing Platform - I've fished in inflatable kayaks more often than any other boat. In general, inflatable kayaks are solid boats but not spectacular when used for a fishing platform. For spin fishing, these boats work just as well as most other types of boats do (although it is hard to beat a Bass Boat). For fly fishing, because you sit rather low inside the kayak, it can take time to adjust your cast due to your lower elevation above the water. Still, this adjustment is quickly made and most anglers will find this kayak far easier to cast from than a float tube.
Recommendation & Conclusion
Most likely, if you are reading this, you are probably wondering if you should get this kayak or the more expensive, and more versatile high pressure line of inflatable kayaks that Sea Eagle offers - the 380x and the 420x.
There is a significant cost difference between the Sea Eagle 330 and their higher end kayaks. This extra cost is due to the type of fabrics used on the high pressure line of kayaks.
So that said, here's my recommendations.
If you need a kayak for multi-day float trips, get the 380x or the 420x. Period. The extra durability and capacity these kayaks provide is well worth the extra cost. On a multi-day trip, the last problem you want is to have inflation problems. With the upper end of Sea Eagle Kayaks, you won't have this worry. With the 330, while you do have to work at it to destroy it, it can be done.
Likewise, you will also want to get the 380x or 420x if you plan on kayaking in weather that is below freezing or if you plan on floating rivers that have Class III or Class IV whitewater (due to the self-bailing properties of these kayaks).
Finally, you’ll want a higher end kayak if you need to pack lots and lots of gear inside the boat. The Sea Eagle 330 (and the larger 370) both have large capacities. However, for long trips (such as in the Boundary Waters) that requires lots of gear, the larger capacities of the 380x and 420x prevent overloading and accidental tipping of the kayak.
However, if your kayaking needs don't fall into those categories (Class III/IV whitewater, use in below freezing weather, and use the boat on multi-day float trips with lots of gear), the Sea Eagle 330 makes a great choice. It works just as well as the other kayaks on Class III rivers and when paddling on lakes, without the added cost.
In conclusion, the Sea Eagle 330 makes for a great "day use" kayak on lakes/ponds/and rivers that don't have pounding whitewater. If your needs match what the Sea Eagle 330 is designed for, then this kayak is an excellent boat to get.