Sevylor Madison Review
Cons: Poor pump, cramped cockpit, inelegant handling
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|Pros||Everything included, durable design, simple||Handles well, high durability, fast, stable, fabric is water resistant||Complete package, doesn't soak up water, spacious, can paddle solo also||Everything included, affordable, durable, easy backpack carry, everything becomes part of the kayak||Extremely portable, maneuverable, stable, easy set up|
|Cons||Poor pump, cramped cockpit, inelegant handling||Heavy, floor difficult to inflate, hard to drain||Small paddle blades, unimpressive attachments, materials less durable||Poor paddle, rides high, blunt bow, fabric retains water, difficult to drain||Low durability, poor tracking, weight doesn’t include pump or paddle|
|Bottom Line||A short tandem sold as a complete kit to get you out for a leisurely paddle||With excellent handling, a long lifespan, and great comfort, this kayak will go the distance||Everything you need to get out on the water with a friend or by yourself for a great price||For a decent kayak at a fraction of the cost of the competition, we love this backpack yak from Sevylor||Getting on the water miles from any roads has never been easier than with this extremely portable kayak|
|Rating Categories||Sevylor Madison||Advanced Elements A...||Intex Excursion Pro K2||Sevylor Quikpak K5||Advanced Elements P...|
|Ease of Set Up (20%)|
|Specs||Sevylor Madison||Advanced Elements A...||Intex Excursion Pro K2||Sevylor Quikpak K5||Advanced Elements P...|
|Measured Weight (boat and storage bag only)||38.2 lb||33.25 lb||34.6 lb||23.4 lb||5.25 lb|
|Capacity||Tandem; 440 lbs||Single; 300 lbs||Tandem; 400 lbs||Single; 250 lbs||Single; 250 lbs|
|Kayak Size (length x width)||10' 8" x 3'||10' 3" x 2' 9"||12' 6" x 2' 8"||10' x 2'8"||7' 6" x 2' 11"|
|Packed Size (length x width x height)||29" x 19" x 13"||33" x 16" x 15"||26" x 19" x 19"||22" x 17" x 9"||14" x 12" x 7"|
|Included Accessories||Paddles, pump, pressure gauge, and repair kit||Repair kit||Paddles, pump, repair kit, GoPro/phone mount, fishing rod holders, and pressure gauge||Pump and paddle||Repair kit|
|Material/Construction||Heavy duty tarpaulin||Aluminum ribs in bow & stern, PVC-coated polyester||3-ply PVC vinyl laminate with polyester core||Heavy duty polyetster bottom, 24-gauge laminated PVC||Polyurethane-coated ripstop polyester|
|Features||Paddle keepers, adjustable backrest, carry handles||Adjustable backrest, bungees, pressure relief valve in floor, skeg||Adjustable backrest, drainage hole, foot braces, carry handles, fishing rod holders, phone/GoPro mount, skeg, tracking fin, converts to solo boat||Backpack carrying system turns into seat , storage area, bow and stern bungees, accessory D-rings, spray skirt, skeg||Rubber-molded handle, mesh carry bag doubles as onboard storage, accessory D-rings|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Sevylor Madison is an inflatable, convertible tandem kayak with a 440-pound capacity. It weighs 38.2 pounds and is made of heavy-duty tarpaulin on the bottom with a fabric top. It comes with a foot pump, two paddles, and a repair kit and features paddle keepers, adjustable backrests, and carry handles.
The Madison is just 10'8" long, making it one of the shortest tandem boats we tested. Combined with its flat bottom and tendency to ride high out of the water, this boat turns very well but tracks below average. The flat bottom is also a bit floppy, slowing you down while you paddle rather than slicing through the water or cruising on top of it. As a short watercraft, the Madison requires more thought put into seat placement and weight balance, but the velcro-bottomed seats are difficult to rearrange once you're on the water. Small figures on the floor of the boat indicate where to place the seats for tandem or solo paddling, but they don't take into account the potentially imbalanced weights of passengers. A lack of finesse and handling ability make this boat best for calm days on flat waters.
The Madison has inflatable seat cushions covered by fabric. Finding the perfect level of inflation for your personal comfort takes some practice. As a tandem boat, this short kayak has limited legroom and feels a bit cramped. It's nice and wide, though — at 3 feet, it's one of the widest boats we tested. This helps it be stable and easy to get in and out of, but also means paddling is more challenging because you have to reach around the tall, thickly inflated edges. On the flip side, the included paddles are comfortable and easy to use — and we appreciate that they come standard with the boat.
Ease of Set Up
The Madison comes with a foot pump, which we found so difficult to get attached to the valves that we gave up using it and used another instead. The foot pump is made to be threaded onto the Boston valves, which are simple to use but clunky. However, to do so, you have to twist the entire hose, resulting in kinks that prevent airflow. The valves involve a two-cap system for separate inflation and deflation, but the two caps with their two leashes readily get tangled with each other. When completely open, they leave gaping holes in the hull of the boat that can get sand kicked into them. Lacking a drainage hole, the Madison must be flipped over to empty. What makes this kayak far worse than most others to put away is that everything on top and inside of the boat is made of fabric that soaks up water and holds it for a very long time. This prevents you from simply wiping down your kayak after use and means the whole boat stays wet for hours. We highly recommend that you unfold and air out this boat once you get it back to your house to prevent it from molding.
Weighing 38.2 pounds, the Madison is just on the high side of average weight among tandems we tested. Its storage bag is large and easy to use, with straps both inside and outside that allow you to cinch down the contents. Long handles let you loop it over your shoulder for easier carrying. Once set up, side carry handles on the boat double as paddle holders to make it easier to cart this boat from the car to the beach.
The PVC tarpaulin bottom of the Madison is thick and sturdy. The fabric top and interior are also decently thick. The worries we have about the durability of the Madison are more with its accessories and inability to dry quickly. We've already mentioned the foot pump that's nearly impossible to use and slow to inflate. Similarly, with so much fabric staying wet after your day at the lake, this boat is more likely to grow mold as it sits in the bag in your closet. The boat itself, though, proved hearty and well-built during our several months of testing.
Considering the Madison includes paddles and a pump, its price point isn't horrible. But we're less stoked on its versatility of use, as a short tandem that's wide and clunky and has subpar handling. There are other convertible tandems we like more that cost less.
The Sevylor Madison is an okay convertible tandem, best suited for smaller paddlers having very casual adventures. It takes a long time to dry all the fabric but comes as part of a kit with everything you need to get out on the water faster (minus the life jackets).
— Maggie Brandenburg
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