Sea Eagle 380 Explorer vs 385 FastTrack

I have had so many questions from people who are trying to choose between the Sea Eagle 380x and the Sea Eagle 385 FastTrack. I can understand the confusion as these two inflatable kayaks have some very similar characteristics and are very comparable in size as well as in price.

I feel I can offer a little bit of expertise on these two models as I have experience with them both. Hopefully the below information will be helpful to those trying to make a decision.

Size and Cargo Room

If you have read the reviews you likely already know that these two inflatable kayaks are identical in length. They are both an ideal size to be paddled tandem but also a good size for paddling solo as well (both can be converted for solo use). However when both of these two models are inflated they actually look quite different.

The 380X has larger pontoon sides… about 15% larger than the FastTrack. This makes the 380x 1-inch wider than the FastTrack although the interior width is identical. The larger pontoons on the 380x not only make it look wider but it also gives a lower seat depth… meaning you sit lower in the kayak.

Both of these inflatable kayaks offer very similar cargo space. However I think the lower depth in the 380x is ideal if you plan on doing overnight trips where you will be bringing along a fair amount of gear as it allows you to pile your gear higher without it falling out of the kayak.  This also could be ideal for anglers.  

The Sea Eagle 380x has d-rings on the floor of the kayak that are used for the floor straps (to secure the floor). These d-rings could possibly be used to rope down gear within the kayak if you are bringing along a large amount of stuff.

The smaller pontoons on the Sea Eagle FastTrack however give it a much more streamlined look.  That combined with the super rigid floor and the large skeg allow for more speed and better tracking. I also found that with the smaller pontoon sides and the fact that I sit higher up in the kayak my paddles did not rub the sides as they sometimes do when I paddle the wider 380x.

Performance

I have been happily paddling my 380x for the last few years across lakes, in the ocean and down rivers. I have the directional stabilizer which greatly helps with the tracking and although it is not perfect, I have never had any major issues with it.

With two people paddling the 380x it can get going at a decent speed but I will admit it is by no means the fastest boat in the water.

However it is extremely stable and totally reliable as well as quite versatile as it can be paddled in just about any type of water from lakes to class IV whitewater.

The FastTrack on the other hand has a unique design that allows it to track beautifully and get far more speed as long as you use the skeg that comes with it. I was very impressed with the performance of the 385 FastTrack and found that paddling it took less effort and was really fun.  As long as I am paddling on lakes or shorelines the FastTrack is now the one I use.

One thing to note is that you are now able to get the super rigid drop stitch floor that is standard in the FastTrack for the 380x. This floor has been so popular that Sea Eagle has now made it available for the 380x as well.  The hard floor helps with tracking and is great for stand up paddling if you are ever inclined to try standing!

Weight

One of the major advantages to the FastTrack is the fact that it only weighs 35 lbs. That is twelve pounds lighter than the 380x which makes a big difference in portability. I find that I can lift the FastTrack with one arm (although far easier to use both arms of course) and it rolls up into a smaller package which is great because it takes up less space in the trunk of my car.

Which One is Right for You?

I really like both of these inflatable kayaks. Both models are rugged, are self-bailing and can hold similar amounts of cargo. I think which one you choose is really going to come down to which type of paddling you will be doing most.

If you will mostly be paddling in open water such as lakes and ocean and just the odd time in mild whitewater then I would recommend the 385 FastTrack. It is going to give you better tracking and more speed with far less weight which is going to make for a better experience.

If you are going to be paddling mostly in rivers and whitewater where you will be encountering rocks and downed trees and just the odd time on lakes or the ocean then I would recommend the 380x as it will paddle better in those conditions.

Hope this helps!

For more information on each model please see our reviews:

Comments

  1. Hello,

    Thank you for the review. I take from your review that the 380 is overal a better boat (with the rigid floor) than the 385 unless speed is the main factor for purchasing the boat. Am I reading it correctly?
    I am undecided between the two as well as my intended usage will be in lakes, rivers (shalow, very rocky bottoms and debris galore), not particularly interested in whitewater but that could change in the future and also ocean (bays, harbours).
    Another thing is that in choppy waters people will get wetter with the 385 than with the 380 correct?

    • I am personally more partial to the 385 FT however there is no doubt that the 380 is very versatile and does perform quite well with the rigid floor. You can’t really go wrong, they are both great kayaks and very tough. Yes I would say that in choppy water you will get more wet in the 385 than in the 380.

  2. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Hello Allison,
    Will be purchasing a seaeagle 3_ _ this month.
    As the days go near i am still confused.
    I am from ph and will not be using the IK in class 2-4 rivers. Instead will be on flatwater, oceanbays- surf- choppy -windy sea and ocean waters.

    I read some reviews that the 385 had air leaks.. i dont want that as i will be paying for freight (ph-us)
    but I never read reviews about the 380x leaks. But mostly on the tracking and water in it only.

    For me, considering that i am from ph and cost of intl shipping is $$$, i would like:
    1. A quality ik from seaeagle
    2. A versatile ik
    3. A kayak for fishinhg and spear fishing

    Hope you can guide me.

    • Hi Arnhol, I have personally never had an air leak with any of my Sea Eagle kayaks. The quality of the 380X and the 385FT is quite similar. I prefer paddling the 385FT on flat water as I find it tracks better and can go a little faster. However both are quite versatile and would work well for fishing. Leaks can happen with any IK but I don’t think the 385FT is more prone to them than the 380X. Both are well made and backed by Sea Eagles 3-year warranty… They are usually quite reliable. I have had my 385FT for several years now and it has never had any issues. Hope that helps.

  3. Hi Allison. Great site! Just subscribed to your YouTube channel.

    So, for windy, rough/choppy ocean and large lakes … FastTrack?

    • I missed your comment Tim, I am so sorry for such a late response! I have taken the FastTrack in windy rough ocean chop and had no issues. The larger pontoon sides of the Sea Eagle Explorer might keep you a little dryer however I find the FastTrack still easier to turn and maneuver in rough conditions (especially if paddling solo) and still quite stable.

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