Solar Purchasing Questions

I read some (very good!) reviews about the Solar. It is recommended that I buy a seat so a not to be sitting on the bottom and getting wet. I wonder if a seat also makes it easier to get in and out of the kayak?

I always recommend that people try the kayak before modifying a seating position. Everyone is different, and the original configuration may fit you best. You can install an after market seat in most of our boats, and some folks have put in seats made by Crazy Creek.

The Solar actually has pretty good back support as is, and you can adjust the amount of firmness by adjusting the air pressure. (As a side note, the factory that makes these kayaks also makes the air bladders for Select Comfort mattresses.) You might also try just a boat cushion under you if you have a short torso height. This sometimes helps a paddler’s ergonomics.

I don’t find that the Solar is a particular wet boat to paddle. That said, most of our kayaks have open cockpits, like sit-on-top kayaks, and you can get some paddle drips blown off onto your legs and bottom. That’s not a big deal in warm water, but in colder conditions the way to stay dry and warm is to wear paddling dry pants. Take a look at the ones we sell from Kokatat. They are made of GoreTex PacLite material and are very breathable, completely waterproof, and pack to nothing.

It was also recommended that I buy a rudder. Tell me about that, please.

The Solar comes with a tracking fin (skeg). It’s a little like the fin on the back of a surfboard and helps the kayak stay on a straight course when paddled. We do not have a steerable rudder for the Solar, but it is really not needed because the kayak is easy to steer with the paddle.

I have a nice double ended wooden paddle that I used in my kayak and also my single canoe. Will that work?

Your existing wooden paddle may well work for you. I would try it first. We generally recommend a 230-cm length for the Solar.

I have a foot pump that is VERY basic and will pump up a double air mattress in about 15 minutes. Would that work or would it take forever to inflate? What else do you have?

Your foot pump might work. Most of these are generic. The foot pump we sell, the Bravo I, is also pretty basic, but it would only take about 6 minutes to inflate the Solar with the Bravo I.

Old Solar / New Solar

Has the material used on the Solar changed in the last few years? (I seem to remember reading this somewhere). I found a used Solar for sale, but wondered if it was made from older materials compared to a new model.

The newer Solars use two kinds of material, LitePack on the interior and seat, and Nitrylon on the outer hull. The older Solars were all Nitrylon.

The advantages of LitePack are weight savings — the LitePack Solar is less than 20 pounds, a smaller folded size, and a better feel on bare skin. The newer Solar also has better back support in its seat. The advantages of Nitrylon are faster drying of the wet material, ease of keeping clean, and better durability.

You can identify the LitePack Solars by their two-tone color scheme, red with a gray interior.