The Pelican Trailblazer 100 kayak is a very popular boat. No matter where you go, you will always see someone paddling one of them. It is an entry level recreation sit-in kayak that is manufactured by Pelican International Inc.; a Canadian company that has been in business for over 50 years and is a recipient of the prestigious Canada’s Best Managed Companies award. It is sold by both Dick’s Sporting Goods and through their subsidiary Field and Stream at a price point of $199.00.
The Casual Outdoorsman wanted to find out why this is such a popular boat. Was it just the price? Is there some secret that only Trailblazers owners know about? We didn’t know, so we took one out and put it through its paces.
At First Glance:
We have to admit, at first glance, this boat stands out from others in the recreational class of kayak because of the two tone color scheme Pelican uses. We were also surprised to learn that it is available in 10 different colors.
At 10 ft. long and 28 inches wide, it comes standard with adjustable foot pegs, bungee cords on the front deck and has a small non-watertight storage space on the rear deck. The built in dashboard has a small tray for storing little items and the seat has a small cup holder.
Instead of using polyethylene as most recreational kayak manufacturers do, the Trailblazer is constructed from RAM-X which is a material exclusive to Pelican. It is highly impact-resistant and normally regains its shape after violent impacts.
At only 38 lbs., this boat was very light for a 10 foot recreational kayak. It was very easy to load and unload from the top of a car. This is a plus because many others in this class weigh 45 lbs. and up which on the surface does not sound like much, but when loading solo, makes a huge difference.
The cockpit is large and spacious. At 51.25 inches long and 23.5 inches wide, it is an easy boat to enter and egress from.
It’s weight capacity is 275 lbs. which is average for this type of boat. Yes, there are others like the Perception Swifty 95, Old Town Vapor 10, and Ascend D10 which have capacities of 300 plus, but none of those are anywhere near the price point that the Pelican is.
On The Water:
The twin-arched hull provides excellent stability and a dry ride which will allow the new paddler to become very comfortable very quick. On calm, smooth water, the Trailblazer tracks reasonably well for a 10 ft. kayak without a skeg and though it is not a fast boat, it is easy to maneuver and performs as you would expect an entry level kayak to do. It does however have a tendency to turn when you stop paddling.
The seat is minimally padded and the adjustable backrest provides minimal support when compared to other higher priced kayaks. After being in the Trailblazer cockpit for an hour, we needed a break.
When we paddled it into windy conditions, we discovered the Trailblazer is highly susceptible to weather-cocking making it difficult to keep it on track.
In the choppy water that we ventured into, (1 foot wind blown waves) though we never felt as though the Trailblazer was going to tip over, it was very hard to keep it on track and the large open cockpit which earlier we loved for it’s ease of entry allowed a lot of splash into the boat.
- Great price point
- Very stable
- Well built
- Easy to enter and exit from
- Easy to paddle on calm water
- Lots of colors to choose from
- Light weight
- Seat is not very comfortable for long periods of time
- Weather cocking in windy conditions
- Does not perform well in choppy water
We loved the Trailblazer for what it was designed for, recreational paddling on calm flat water. It’s a great kayak to paddle around your favorite lake or pond, a slow smooth flowing creek or protected inland coastal waters. Though you can paddle it in choppy and windy conditions in our opinion it is not the best choice for that kind of venture.
It was designed for the person who wants to get out on the water, have fun and not sink a ton of money into that endeavor while still getting a well made boat. It is a great entry level kayak that won’t break your bank account to get into and you won’t feel like you wasted your money as long as you understand it’s uses and limitations.
Jaucque, Dave and Ty
Special thanks to Pelican Sport and Dick’s Sporting Goods