The Casual Outdoorsman Reviews the Ascend FS 12 T Kayak

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The Ascend FS 12 T  sit on top kayak is manufactured by Tracker Marine Group, a company headquartered in Springfield, Missouri and is sold exclusively through Bass Pro Shops at a price point of $649.99.

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At First Glance:

Built from tough rotomolded polyethylene and available in three colors this boat was designed to take a beating.  Within reason, it could survive impacts with most things you will encounter. The FS 12 has tons of deck space and storage built over a twin tunnel hull. It looks like there is room to carry everything you need. Rod holder, paddle holder, dry storage, internal storage, this boat seems to have it all. Not to mention easy carry handles and built in bungees fore and aft, this boat seems to have all of the features you would want in a multi-purpose recreational kayak. Self bailing scuppers with scupper stoppers were a nice touch as well. Another thing that stands out on this craft is the lawn chair style  adjustable and removable seat and the built in accessory rails which enable you to customize the FS 12 to whatever you want it to be.

The FS 12 is 12 feet long and 31 inches wide at its widest point and boasts a weight rating of 350 lbs. Ascend says the approximate weight of the FS 12 is 77 lbs, the one we tested including the seat weighed in at 81 lbs.

It features a small weather tight dry storage area that is large enough to carry a wallet, keys, etc. and a larger internal storage compartment with an opening of 10 x 8 inches.

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On The Water:

This boat is heavy, so if you have to portage this boat over any distance, you better get a cart. This is not a boat that you can pick up and carry to the waters edge by yourself. If you have to car top this boat, it will probably require two people.

The seat is comfortable and allows your skin to breath while you paddle. I paddled the FS 12 for three hours and never felt uncomfortable.

It is not a fast boat due to its hull design and width and it takes a few strokes to get up to hull speed but in our opinion, it was not designed with speed in mind.  It was designed to carry a lot of gear and be extremely stable and it is here where the FS 12 shines.

Initial and secondary stability is excellent in this boat.  We were able to stand in it without problem (though we recommend attaching a rope to the bow to to use as a pull up to make standing easier). At no time did this boat feel tippy at all, even when we paddled it standing up. If you are a fisherman, you could easily stand up to sight fish without worry of flipping. The stability and large deck space also means if you were paddling with a furry companion or a small child, there is plenty of space for them.

The FS 12 tracks well for a boat without a skeg or rudder. Maneuvering the FS 12 was easy but had some limitations. It won’t turn as sharp as a shorter boat and you can’t put it on its edge to turn so don’t expect to carve any slaloms with it, but if that was what you are into, you wouldn’t be looking at this boat.

In windy conditions, the FS 12 performed well, with proper paddling form it stays on track with only a slight amount of weather cocking. On smooth water, the FS 12 glides and tracks as you would expect it to.

In choppy water, the FS 12 will take water over the bow but because it is self bailing, most of it will drain away. The seat is elevated off of the deck, so you will get a relatively dry ride, but, there were some areas of the boat that held water until we poured it out at the end of our paddle. What this means is if you are carrying gear that needs to stay dry (camping gear, etc.) you will need to store it in dry bags.

 

Pros:

  1. Very Stable
  2. Lots of storage on the deck and inside
  3. Comfortable seat
  4. Well built
  5. Most accessories you would add are already there.
  6. Customizable
  7. Large weight capacity (350 lbs.)

Cons:

  1. Heavy (77 plus lbs.)
  2. Decks hold some water
  3. Internal storage may not be dry storage.

 

Conclusion:

The FS 12 T is a good boat. The only reason we don’t call it great is because of the weight.  The weight will limit some people’s ability to car top it, and will require a cart to portage  over any distance. It is a recreational kayak that was designed in our opinion for the outdoorsman who spends his time in flat, smooth, or gently flowing water and wants enough space and capacity to bring anything with him. Or, for the recreational paddler who wants excellent stability and the ability to bring along a four legged friend. It is not designed for the ocean or for white water, but if you are looking for an extremely stable, well built boat with lots of features built in and can handle the weight of it, it is a good choice.

 

Find your headwaters,

Jaucque LeSavage

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