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 Post subject: Fujita Al-2-430
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 8:08 pm 
Hi,
Just wondering if anyone's had experience with the Fujita Aluminum frame, 2 person 430 model? I intend to do a lot of kayaking with my sister in various conditions (including the sea), and I thought that this might be more durable than a Puffin II. We need something light as we travel often (without a car) backpacking. With the Fujita AL-2-430 at only 33 lbs, I was thinking we could divide the weight between us. How seaworthy is this kayak? As the Puffin II isn't meant for very open water, I thought this would be a good alternative at only a slightly greater weight. Anything heavier would make it too difficult to hike at all, especially with all of the other necessary equipment. We are both small, 120 lbs and 5" 5', so I thought this Fujita might be a possibility (maybe for a 2-3 day trip). Also, although this model of Fujita is branded a "recreational" kayak, the web site notes that recent versions of it have been made with expedition grade material.
Thanks,
Candice


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 8:28 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm
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Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:49 pm
Posts: 384
Location: Ireland
Fujita seem to rate their kayaks based on size - all the small ones are called "recreational". Next up are the light touring and then touring - based, I suspect, on cargo capacity rather than seaworthiness.

I think a better translation might be "day boat" - ie not enough capacity for trips. Otherwise the smaller boats seem to be constructed just the same as the larger ones.

They're a Japanese company, so maybe their translator didn't know that "recreational" generally refers to kayaks that aren't suitable for open water.

BUT: this is all supposition. I've never seen a Fujita in the flesh, but their reputation is good.

Nohoval


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 Post subject: Re: Fujita Al-2-430
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 11:55 pm 
As long as you don't do much hiking, this may work. (I have no experience with hese boats, so use your own judgement). But I really doubt that you'll be able to do anything more than, say, a few miles across some easy terrain. 33 lbs could be a stripped weight (not including the bag and sprayskirt) - and rudder is definitely not included in the weight, and for sea trips you'll need a rudder. So, you'd better count on 40 lbs in total, - which is 20 lbs per person. This doesn't sound too much, but consider that this package is bulky, and this makes it less comfortable than designated hiking backpack. The frame pieces are 100 cm long (3.5 ft), and it will remain 100 cm even if you split it between you two. The skin is also a bulky roll of fabric (may be can be rolled shorter than frame pices, but still bulky). Most likely, it will allow you using buses, trains, etc without problems and even making short walks from the bus to camping of hotel or beach with his boat - but not longer hiking.

I also think, that Nohoval is right on the cargo capacity - with 2 people this boat won't carry enough food and other gear for trips longer than a few days.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:46 am 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:47 pm
Posts: 1709
Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)
I've seen those Fujitas in the showroom, and I have a Puffin 2. I don't think anyone on this forum has tried one of the aluminum-framed Fujitas. Fujita has been making folding kayaks for 60 years, and I imagine you know what perfectionists the Japanese normally are, so I would be slow to criticize it.

Where are you? That would determine support issues.

The P2 works quite well on the ocean. I prefer it without the deck-- yes, it can be wet, but it's extremely easy for recoveries. It's so stable, though, that recoveries aren't likely to be necessary.

Once you add paddles and PFDs, you're looking at more than 30 lbs for Puffin and, probably, more than 40 for the Fujita Alu. If you seriously want to carry a boat and walk any distance, the only good option I've seen is an Alpacka Dory. But two ADs with PFDs and paddles would only be 5-10 lbs less than the P2.

_________________
Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: '84 Hobie 16; early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:50 am 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:47 pm
Posts: 1709
Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)
Moved to "What Boat for me?"

_________________
Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: '84 Hobie 16; early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 9:45 am 
Hi,
Thanks for the information so far. It's been helpful. Chris, you used your Puffin II to circumnavigate South America, right? How was that? I didn't realize the Puffin II could potentially be used on stretches of ocean like that (of course being aware of conditions). My plan is to call Mike from Fujita and find out more about this AL-2-430 Alpina. I live near Toronto, Ontario, but I lived in Japan for three years and fell in love with Okinawa. My sister and I are avid snorkellers, and we would like to start kayaking out to reefs instead of taking organized boat tours. Also, renting is quite expensive there. This summer I'm heading to Belize and Honduras, and we'd like to kayak in Honduras' Bay Islands. Do you think the Puffin II can handle this? As eventually we'd like to do more sea kayaking in a tandem (keeping the weight as light as possible), then the AL-430 might be the way to go. How much gear can the Puffin II hold? Enough for a 3-4 day trip? We're interested in kayaking in Palau's Rock Islands also. Do you think the Puffin II could handle that?
Thanks again.


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 Post subject: fujita al-2-430
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:51 am 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle

Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 3:40 pm
Posts: 1027
Location: isles of scilly UK
Great to see another folding boat person in toronto. No doubt the fujita is a good boat although I,ve never seen one. I prefer seperate boats although I have two arius 11s, I use one and my son usually uses a skin on frame TYNE. We like the independance of seperate boats and the easier load packing space, that,s when he,s here, at the moment he,s in kandahar.Look in the outdoor show at the international centre and check out folbot, I,ve just bought a yukon and I like it , keep all your options open. Check the KERO web site you might get free tickets. It,s too far for me in manitouwadge.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:13 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:47 pm
Posts: 1709
Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)
I'm sad to say that I'm not the person who circumnavigated South America. I believe that was done in a Swift, and that person's skills appear to be far above my own.

Do you ever get down towards New Hampshire? Pakboats is located near Hanover, and they might be able to make an appointment to let you try out the boat. They also have an annual day (usually in June) when they put all their boats out by the local lake and folks come by and try them. Since LL Bean also stocks the boat, they also might have one available for test paddles (they're in Maine).

I took my P2 out on the ocean in Japan, and in the Somme's estuary in France. It pretty much danced over the waves, and handled two people very nicely.

_________________
Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: '84 Hobie 16; early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift.


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 Post subject: what boat for me
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:42 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle

Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 3:40 pm
Posts: 1027
Location: isles of scilly UK
now that pakboats have come up KERO also deals in these so if you can make the toronto show these should be there, also, give him a call or e-mail. You might like to read the review by RALPH DIAZ on the yukon although it,s a single seater.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:54 pm 
I bough a Puffin Sport a few months ago (2005 model came overstocked from catalogue) from the Pakboats newsletter. I'm looking forward to trying it out in spring. I think the Puffin II will be better when I travel with someone though. I wish I could make that Outdoor Show in Toronto, but I'm busy that weekend. Also, I think Feathercraft's Java looks good, but I think with two people and some gear, there might not be enough room. Also, can the Java be taken on 3-4 day sea expeditions? Thanks.
Candice


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 3:18 pm 
candice wrote:
Feathercraft's Java looks good, but I think with two people and some gear, there might not be enough room. Also, can the Java be taken on 3-4 day sea expeditions?

When I look at it on the photo, I can barely see any room for luggage at all - inflatable floor consumes a bit of internal volume. No to mention - with 2 people. Also, - may be this is just my consevative approach - but I think cargo that's not under deck, is destined to be lost sooner or later. Okay, there is some net shown - hopefully for cargo - but it will get wet anyway. You can't keep everything in drybags. Portability-wise, there is not much difference in weight and packed size from Alpina 430.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 1:49 am 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:47 pm
Posts: 1709
Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)
I tried the FC double SOT (Gemini?). A beautiful craft. I would get the Java over the Gemini. But I would not expect to do multi-day trips on the Java with two people aboard-- not enough storage space.

_________________
Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: '84 Hobie 16; early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 3:14 am 
FC Java, IMHO, has one feature in common with inflatable boats - limited cargo volume, despite impressive cargo payload. Not to say that Puffin2 or Alpina 430 are multiday boats (with 2 people), but in Java the available volume seems to be less than in the first two.

If there is any chance to try and compare Al 430 and P2, - you should do that, but without trying, based on the available info - I personally would go for Al 430, considering the intended use. Its cockpit is wide enough to get in and out on when snorkeling (provided another person is there, for stability), yet not totally open when you need to paddle through some chop. Also... I should've probalby stepped down there from my soap-box, as I have never seen any of these models alive - but I've got impression that Al 430 with Expedition hull is more abrasion-resistant than P2. Again, I didn't see these boats, - but normally Exp version in folders means added hull protection strips, which is a good thing. (Folbot, btw, is one of exceptions - their Exp package includes other useful things, but hull strips are always extra - about $40 or so). I vaguley recall now that there were photos on some Japanese website, where guys were using Fujitas (don't know what model) on almost white-water rivers, with rocky shores, so the hull durability must've been good.

Fujita North America, btw, has a "demo" program, where they ship it to you for a test-paddle in some short trip (not extended expedition). They will pay for shipping in the USA, but to Canada you'll pay shipping. If you decide on that, - don't let them ship by UPS. On the top of shipping cost this service will charge you a few hundred bucks of their proprietary "customs brokerage fees", even if the parcel is clearly labeled as "demo product, no cost to receiver" - simply based on the insured value. What "customs brokerage fees" could it be, when the parcel hasn't been even opened and there was no custom duty to pay (demo product, no cost to receiver) - I have no clue, but they do that. Just avoid them. USPS Air (US Postal Services) is good enough, and same speed as UPS.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 1:05 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:47 pm
Posts: 1709
Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)
Alm wrote:
FC Java, IMHO, has one feature in common with inflatable boats - limited cargo volume, despite impressive cargo payload. Not to say that Puffin2 or Alpina 430 are multiday boats (with 2 people), but in Java the available volume seems to be less than in the first two.
___________________________________________

Fujita North America, btw, has a "demo" program, where they ship it to you for a test-paddle in some short trip (not extended expedition). They will pay for shipping in the USA, but to Canada you'll pay shipping. If you decide on that, - don't let them ship by UPS. On the top of shipping cost this service will charge you a few hundred bucks of their proprietary "customs brokerage fees", even if the parcel is clearly labeled as "demo product, no cost to receiver" - simply based on the insured value. What "customs brokerage fees" could it be, when the parcel hasn't been even opened and there was no custom duty to pay (demo product, no cost to receiver) - I have no clue, but they do that. Just avoid them. USPS Air (US Postal Services) is good enough, and same speed as UPS.


A couple of excellent items from Alex, here. Drawing out what he said, I don't think the Puffin II would have any more storage space, with two people aboard, than the Java. In this configuration, the only carrying space is behind the rear paddler in the P2-- small even for a minimalist. Using the P2 alone one has lots of carrying space.

Have you considered two Puffin Sports? Why don't you try yours out and see how you like it?

I've heard tell of the issue Alex is discussing with UPS and their nightmare-ish customs brokerage fees. Same problem applies to all couriers, as I understand. The Postal Service seems to be the way to go.

_________________
Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: '84 Hobie 16; early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 2:10 pm 
With cargo volume in P2 compared to Al-430 - the latter should be a little bit roomier, but this is just my guess-work, based on the sponsons volume. In P2, similarly to inflatables, the sponsons are not constrained much by the frame, and are bulging inwards, consuming some usable volume. Also, Al-430 is slightly wider externally. The only sure way to tell whether Al-430 is really roomy enough for 2 people and some cargo, would be trying it alive, of course. Fujitana management's opininon would be interesting to hear too.

With those courriers brokerage fees - UPS seems to be the worst. I don't know how these fees are structured, but DHL didn't give me that much pain (though the word is, that they can do that too). But again, US Post "courrier-like" branch named Global Air Mail is same fast (if not faster) for cross-border shippping as UPS Ground, both taking about 5 business days.


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