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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 6:33 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:09 pm
Posts: 282
I checked the Pakboats site recently and noticed on their price list Quests are listed as 25% discounted closeouts. I emailed them for info, and received this response:

"The Quest has not been as successful as we hoped, and we are looking at replacing it with a new Puffin Swift. Of course, the Quest will be supported with parts etc, just like any other Pakboats product.

Best regards,
Alv Elvestad"

While it's good for consumers that a nice, new folder is available for such a good price, I'm sad that the Quest hasn't done that well. Who knows why, but I speculate it's the same reason Pakboats remains such an inconspicuous company in general: ineffective, limited marketing. Either way, here's the discounted price info:

http://www.pakboats.com/index.php?optio ... Itemid=152


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:48 am 
lord high faltbotmeister
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Location: inland Pennsylvania, USA
Bummer! I thought the Quest would be a hit - certainly a good price point for such a competent folder and I would have liked to try one out. Having owned both an XT-15 and an older Puffin, I like Pakboats. Sorry to see the models being phased out.

_________________
Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Previous:
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:51 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:09 pm
Posts: 282
KerryOnKayaks wrote:
Bummer! I thought the Quest would be a hit - certainly a good price point for such a competent folder and I would have liked to try one out. Having owned both an XT-15 and an older Puffin, I like Pakboats. Sorry to see the models being phased out.

As I wrote in another post, I think it's mainly a problem of poor marketing, esp the Pakboats web site. The Quests 135 & 155 are only slightly less expensive than similar-sized Folbots (Cooper and Kiawah), but Folbot's web site and marketing is vastly superior. While I think the Quests are a little better, if I just looked on the web site of either company without knowing much about any of the boats, the Folbots are much more well presented.

In this day and age an effective, appealing web site is crucial. I just don't understand why Pakboats hasn't improved theirs. The details and pictures are so limited that it only provides limited understanding of their products.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:38 am 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)
Remember that Pakboats is, essentially, a one-man operation. I very much doubt he even has automatic alerts set up to monitor the "Pakboats" section of this forum. (Disclosure: I've known Alv since I bought my first boat from him in 2004. I don't know him well at all, but I have a fairly good familiarity with the company.)

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Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: Early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift (prototype), as well as an '84 Hobie 16.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:30 pm 
lord high faltbotmeister
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It's a common problem with creative designer/proprietors. Their products are their "children" which means it is hard to have perspective on how potential customers might see them. They expect everyone to also magically understand what is so special about their offspring. This is why it is so important to involve others with experience in helping you market your inventions, whether by hiring them directly into your organization or contracting with a brand development agency.

My brother does that sort of thing (marketing, brand development, promotion and advertising) and I had him inspect the PB site. He had a boatload of immediate criticisms, most of which we on this forum have variously discussed before.

I sympathize with Alv, it is enormously difficult to be the proprietor, designer and distributor of such niche market products. All the more reason he should think about investing in some talented help in marketing them. I think the payback would far outweigh the initial expense.

Look at what Old Town did to market their new solo pack canoe style Next. It is a complete departure from their traditional "flannel shirt" marketing, complete with animated videos, handsome clean cut young models, bright colors (the boats come in lime, orange, teal and violet) and hipster banjo music. They are clearly targeting the enormous rec kayak market and have generated a lot of buzz. I would be interested to hear how successful it has been in sales so far since the boats started shipping last Fall.

_________________
Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Previous:
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:39 pm 
lord high faltbotmeister
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Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:46 am
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Location: inland Pennsylvania, USA
For instance, I can imagine a print ad in the monthly AARP magazine or a travel magazine showing a 60 or 70 year old paddler happily hoisting a 20 pound Pakboat overhead or checking a oacked one at an airline check in.

I get a lot of attention everywhere I take my folders. I have had to scrounge for something to write down info for those who are interested in learning more about folders so frequently that I think I will print up a list of links and keep them in my car to give people.

I think there is a huge untapped market for folders and lightweight skin boats, especially with an aging cohort of paddlers that wants to stay active and travel.

_________________
Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Previous:
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 1:10 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:09 pm
Posts: 282
KerryOnKayaks wrote:
It's a common problem with creative designer/proprietors. Their products are their "children" which means it is hard to have perspective on how potential customers might see them. They expect everyone to also magically understand what is so special about their offspring. This is why it is so important to involve others with experience in helping you market your inventions, whether by hiring them directly into your organization or contracting with a brand development agency.

Exactly. True polymaths are very rare. Most people aren't good at both design/engineering and marketing. Alv is obviously a skilled designer and engineer, but doesn't seem to have a handle on marketing and promotion. It seems like he entered the market without much of a plan to market is products; no matter how good they are, if you don't find an effective way to promote them they probably won't sell.

KerryOnKayaks wrote:
I think there is a huge untapped market for folders and lightweight skin boats, especially with an aging cohort of paddlers that wants to stay active and travel.

Not only older persons, but more and more people are living in urban areas and don't have a car. That's what attracted me to folders: I don't have nor to I want a car, so a folder or inflatable is really my only option.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 1:49 am 
lord high faltbotmeister
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Location: inland Pennsylvania, USA
Apathizer wrote:
Not only older persons, but more and more people are living in urban areas and don't have a car. That's what attracted me to folders: I don't have nor to I want a car, so a folder or inflatable is really my only option.


Yup, that too. I've often wondered how successful one of those QVC type TV presentations would be for a folder like the Puffin or Quest. With videos of people using them and a studio demo of setting one up, even those "4 easy payment" financing options.

One of my retirement fantasies is spending a summer taking my vintage motorhome around the country to paddling venues and regatta events, setting up a bunch of folders so people can check them out. A folding kayak evangelist.......

_________________
Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Previous:
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:39 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:22 am
Posts: 394
Location: Coastal New Jersey
Folding SOF kayaks have always been something of a niche market and probably not worth the expense of extensive advertising On the other hand, good website design which is doable on a limited budget and can reach a target audience is a no brainer. Folbot's is the best I've seen and Feathercraft has a good one, too, but Folbot's is updated from time to time which encourages you to return for a look now and then. A good website is really essential in this time of faltering kayak sales. I live nearby the Jersey Paddler which probably has the largest inventory of paddle craft on the east coast and, at least for now, it's fishing kayaks and SUPs that provide most of its income.

Our burgeoning aging demographic will likely be buying more hybrid bicycles but not many folding kayaks. My own experience with folders has been mostly with my Feathercraft Kurrent and while its 31 pounds makes for an easy shoulder carry, it's not a particularly easy boat to assemble for one who has been afflicted with mild arthritis in both thumb joints and also finds it difficult to assemble the boat on ground level. Whenever I need to assemble the boat away from home I look for an elevated work surface, usually a picnic table at a waterfront park. The downside to this is the audience the forty minute process sometimes attracts and the predictable questions that I get. The most common is "How much did that thing cost?" I answer this with a lie, saying that I bought it at a garage sale for fifty bucks that I bargained down from the sticker price of $100. Yesterday morning during assembly at the aforementioned Florida waterfront park, a senior lady shook her head and told me that I probably could have gotten it for $25 if I had bargained more skillfully. Crikey! I paid too much!

Transporting the disassembled folder is not a piece of cake. The Kurrent comes with what amounts to a duffle sack with backpack straps and trying to carry this lash up on one's back is far less than kind to this seventy three year old body. It's my opinion that a really good inflatable will hold a lot of potential for the senior paddler or urban dweller who are quite often one in the same. With its new Aironaut, Feathercraft has an inflatable that might be the nearest thing in performance to a SOF folder. But $2500 is quite a bit of money for a "duckie". Still, I'm tempted. :D


Last edited by Jake on Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:21 am 
lord high faltbotmeister
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Location: inland Pennsylvania, USA
I know what you mean about how tough FC assembly can be on problematic joints. I've avoided anything chronic so far at 64 (knock on wood) but struggled after wrist surgery a few years ago. I tend to leave my Wisper set up to avoid the hassle. I will say that my older Pakboat Puffin is comparatively easy and effortless, though a little finicky. Though it's performance is lower than my other 3 boats, I keep it for a loaner and as a craft that may be more realistic for me as I get older. The XT-15 (which now resides with my ex-boyfriend) was also less physical effort.

The next time I get out to the Vancouver area, which I hope will be this year, I will try to arrange a test paddle of the Aironaut at FC, as I did back in 2009 with the Wisper. If It is anywhere near comparable to the Wisper I might sell that boat to purchase the inflatable.

I admit I am tempted by some of PB's special offers on the Quests at the moment.

_________________
Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Previous:
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:01 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:22 am
Posts: 394
Location: Coastal New Jersey
Kerry, I hope that you do get the opportunity to test paddle the Aironaut. There's not been much in the way of objective reviews written about it except by Dan at FC and a few paragraphs in that somewhat vacuous new magazine, Adventure Kayaking. Really too bad that Pakboat wasn't able to make a go of it with their Quest kayaks. I really liked the looks of their XT-15 and felt that it would be a better boat than the Quest especially after Alv told me that the XT's construction was stronger than that of the Quest. I watched a video of the XT-15 being sailed on the Columbia River and it looked like pure fun but, in the end, I decided to go for the lighter weight Kurrent. Maybe you could negotiate with your ex-BF for the return of the XT. Or just steal it! :twisted:


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:16 am 
lord high faltbotmeister
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Location: inland Pennsylvania, USA
If I could stomach even speaking to the cheating bastard any more I could probably persuade him to sell the XT to me (the skinflint would never give it to me). I doubt he will ever use it again -- his pole barn is like the museum of ex-wive's and girlfriend's hobbies that he has mostly abandoned with their departure (motorcycles, telescopes, scuba gear, horse tack, and now, with my having left, camping gear, kayaks and canoes). He did leave the XT set up and hanging over the sofa for 3 years in his overheated cottage (running the woodburner all winter made the room really hot, especially up at the ceiling where the kayak was). So the last time I broke it down and then tried to use it I realized the bungee cord that is critical to locking the skin to the frame had lost much of its elasticity and would probably need to be replaced. This was likely due to being stretched out and heated for so long. Heat is murder on stretchy rubber.

Based on reports on both boats, the XT and the Quest, I suspect the Quests are faster and more agile models. The XT is a little large for me, though still an enjoyable boat. It paddles much like the Feathercraft Kahuna I had for years.

_________________
Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Previous:
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:30 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:09 pm
Posts: 282
KerryOnKayaks wrote:
I admit I am tempted by some of PB's special offers on the Quests at the moment.

Stay away from my Quest 155 Kerry! :lol: :wink: Though if you already have the XT-15, it getting the Quest 155 would probably be redundant. Maybe the 135?

In a couple weeks I think I'm going to order the Demo Quest 155. I'll get my next payroll deposit in a few days, and should then know if I can afford it. I don't really want a rudder (but do want foot pegs), would prefer yellow over red, but it looks like a good deal.

KerryOnKayaks wrote:
Based on reports on both boats, the XT and the Quest, I suspect the Quests are faster and more agile models. The XT is a little large for me, though still an enjoyable boat. It paddles much like the Feathercraft Kahuna I had for years.

That's consistent with what Alv has told me. While the Quests aren't as durable or quite rigid, they're about 6 pounds lighter and have more of a V-shaped hull. The hull is still plenty stiff based on what I've read.

The only thing that concerns me about the Quests is assembly. The few experiences I have read indicate they're not so easy to assemble as is claimed; probably more difficult than the XTs. Alv sent me a copy of the Quest assembly instructions, and while it seems fairly straight forward, there are quite a few steps. Since they have fewer parts than the XTs, two the Quests longerons fit into hull sleeves. In order to create a rigid frame, getting everything aligned within the frame and skin is supposedly a little tricky.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:47 am 
lord high faltbotmeister
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Quest assembly can't possibly be more exasperating than most Feathercrafts. I sold my '96 K-1 Expedition largely due to the utterly horrid assembly process. My first and present FC's are similar to each other and just barely tolerable. I have had some unpleasant battles with the boats on hot days. And the danged chine longerons have a nasty habit of popping out of their crossrib slots during use. The simple facts that PB's have the deck going on post frame assembly and they have bungie retainers on the frame clips are huge assets.

Another advantage of the XT's is that they are great frames for sail assemblies. And my assessment is that if you had a major incident of frame or skin damage in the field, it would be far easier to jury-rig a repair in an XT than most other SOF folders I have dealt with.

_________________
Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Previous:
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:36 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:22 am
Posts: 394
Location: Coastal New Jersey
I, too, have seen the assembly instructions for the Quest and there are, as I recall, at least 12 steps involved. My FC Kurrent is, in essence, very simple to assemble but the tolerances are tight and, as I mentioned, a bit of arthritis in my thumbs makes pushing the chine and gunnel longerons into the notches on the large bow and stern ribs frustratingly painful. The Kurrent as was the K-Light before it, is Feathercraft's most simple folder and I do find this minimal design a thing of considerable beauty. However, I still need to find an elevated surface where I can assemble it in a more or less standing posture and, even at that, the process usually takes me about forty minutes though if I practiced more often I could probably do it in less time. Many years ago Bart Hauthaway, the former Olympic kayaker turned kayak designer, said in a conversation that "small, light boats get used more often". He could have added that light weight, quickly assembled bagboats will get out of the bag and on the water a lot more often than those that take the best part of an hour to put together.


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