Sea Eagle RazorLite vs. Sea Eagle FastTrack

Sea Eagle FastTrack vs Sea Eagle RazorLite

You may have noticed that Sea Eagle has come out with a new inflatable kayak this year called the 393 RazorLite.

This new kayak model is sleek, well made and totally unique to any other inflatable kayak on the market.

The popular Sea Eagle FastTrack has been my personal choice for paddling for a number of years.

I now have both the FastTrack and the RazorLite and really love them both.

However they have some obvious differences and because I have been receiving numerous questions regarding the comparison of these two IK’s I decided to write an article detailing those differences.

I’ve included a number of pictures as I think you can get the best idea of how these kayaks differ by looking at them side by side.

FastTrack and RazorLite Differences

At the time of this writing I have had the new RazorLite for a little over a month and I have been out paddling in it several times.

I won’t get into the pros and cons as you can read all about it in our 393 RazorLite review.

However I will say that when I first took it out I was quite surprised at how the design differed from all the other IK’s I had previously tried.

Narrow Sidewalls

The 393RL is the only all drop stitch kayak and the sidewalls are much narrower than I’ve seen before. You can see from the photos the difference in the size of the side walls.

Razorlite side walls compared to the FastTrack side walls

Air Pressure
The RL is able to hold far more air pressure and consequently the walls and floor feel rock hard.

I think that the FastTrack also feels super rigid but the RazorLite can hold about twice the air pressure. The more rigid the kayak, the better it will perform.

Design

The RL also has rigid bow and stern molds and a very straight hull design. These features create an inflatable kayak that is able to paddle at much higher speeds and track very straight.

The straight hull means that the entire length of the kayak is in the water.  This is one of the reasons the performance is more comparable to a hard-shell kayak.

The FastTrack has more of an upturned bow and stern and although for a tandem kayak it paddles quite fast and very smoothly, I found that there was less drag paddling the RazorLite making it move faster with less effort.

comparing the design of the 393RL and the 365FT

Stability

No question the RazorLite is not as stable as the FastTrack.

The leaner design makes the 393RL feel more ‘tippy’, more like a sleek hard shell kayak.

The FT is ultra stable. The wider pontoon-like sides make it stable enough to stand and I think it is far more ideal for fishing, kids, or anyone who needs a kayak that paddles well but still offers good stability.

comparing stability of the 393 Razorlite and 365 FastTrack kayaks

Maneuverability

I found the RL super easy to turn and maneuver even though it is almost 13 feet long.

It is very responsive and I think easier to turn quickly. I also notice it takes less effort to get moving at a good speed.

Setup Time

Having the two kayaks out on the same day allowed me to really notice all the differences as I set them both up and took them both out paddling.

The 393RL set up in half the time. It has the fastest setup time of any IK I have inflated, which is impressive considering the length.

Although it takes more air pressure, there is less to this kayak so it inflates very fast.

Normally I’m a stickler for using my electric pump these days as it is just so much easier and quicker to use.

However with the RL, I had no problem using the hand pump. It has a very quick setup time.

The setup time of the FT isn’t long but it definitely takes more effort and you will be pumping slightly longer and probably breaking a bit of a sweat.

inflating the 365 FastTrack kayak

Comfort

I find them both to be super comfortable especially with the tall back seats.

You might find the stability of the FT to feel a little more secure but overall the comfort level of both is good.

Versatility

I think the FT is more versatile. It is able to paddle well in most types of water (although it is best suited for flat water) and the stability makes it ideal for a lot of different activities and a variety of people.

The RL paddles best on flat water or on water with a little chop. The sleeker design is going to suit those who want to paddle efficiently for exercise, racing or touring.

Dogs or Kids

The FT will be far more stable for dogs and children. I had my dog with me in my RL and it was great but he is quite little.

A larger dog will certainly affect the stability of the RL. Overall with kids or more dogs I would prefer to be in the FastTrack.

For smaller dogs or dogs that are good at sitting still in one spot, the RazorLite will be fine.

paddling the FastTrack with a large dog

My friend Lisa paddling the FastTrack with her dog Ellie

 

Overall Look

The day I had both kayaks out was quite interesting. There was a man who was taking out his inflatable pontoon boat to go fishing.

He was interested in the kayaks as he mentioned his pontoon boat is super heavy and takes forever to inflate.

He could tell the FastTrack was inflatable but he was surprised to learn the RazorLite was inflatable as well.

I think this says a lot about the overall look. The RL performs more like a hard-shell kayak and from a distance it is much harder to tell that it is actually an inflatable.

More Pics

comparing sea eagle kayaks

width comparison of RL and FT inflatable kayaks

bow comparison of 393RL and 365FT

393RL and 365FT bow

Final Thoughts

The truth is I love both these kayaks. They are both strong, durable and perform well… but they are quite different in look and feel.

I felt that the RazorLite can outperform the FastTrack.  However the FT still offers some pretty great advantages that make it ideal for so many people.

When I head out solo, I will definitely be paddling the 393RL. However when I want to paddle tandem or want more stability for any reason, I will be more than happy to take out my 365FT.

My boyfriend tried out the RazorLite and then went paddling in the FastTrack after to take pictures out on the water.  In his words while in the FastTrack … “this thing is a tank!”.

I had to laugh as the truth is the FastTrack is actually one of the more streamlined IK’s on the market and paddles quite efficiently.  However after spending some time paddling the RazorLite I think any other inflatable kayak is going to feel more like a tank… and I think that really sums up the difference in the RL both on and off the water.

Hope the pictures help with those who want to see a side-by-side comparison!

Comments

  1. Timothy Berkey says:

    Nice comparison, Allison. It was not nearly as obvious, until you put the two side by side. One of them simply looks like a tank, as described! I think it’s pretty cool that a guy who is already used to inflatables was fooled into thinking the RL was a hard-shell.

    I’m wondering if SeaEagle will be running any “Spring Specials” on the RL?

  2. Finally.
    Now I know the RL just came out but I have been waiting somewhat impatiently for a review. As a bonus to the review you did of the RL you added this nice comparison article which was perfect as I am buying a fast rack for myself and the RL for my wife. Thanks for all the info and the pictures. I can’t get over hoe different and sleeker the RL looks. I can’t wait to get them and get out on the water. Cheers

    • Thanks for the nice comment Dave, I’m glad the pics were helpful. I was a little shocked by the side by side comparison myself. Happy paddling to you!

  3. BlueStar says:

    First off thank you very much for this comparison review. When I first saw the RL I knew I wanted one but I was kind of bummed out because I bought a FB like 2 years ago, It seemed kind of silly to buy the “latest version” so soon, but this has helped to realize that’s not what the RL is. The RL is a completely different deal and probably more of what I wanted convenience but still decent performance. I like how these pictures comparing the RL to the FB. You could almost fit the RL inside the FB! lol Yeah performance isn’t everything but it is kind of a bummer that you could spend half the money and buy a hardshell with equal or better performance. But then again a hardshell won’t fit in a backpack in the trunk of a car. lol I’m also really pleased to hear they changed the seat and gave it some padding, I’m sure that will be a lot more comfortable. So I’m going to go and order a RL and see how it compares. I’m pretty sure I won’t be disappointed. I was considering trading in my FB but I think I will keep it since there might be times I’d rather use it. Besides I’d doubt get a decent amount especially taking into account shipping etc. In the end it probably wouldn’t be worth it. Anyway thank you very much for these reviews they have helped me a lot.
    BlueStar

    • Hi BlueStar, thanks for your comment. I have to admit it’s kind of nice to have both the RazorLite and the FastTrack. They are quite different but both nice kayaks. The RazorLite is awesome however and so unique, I hope you enjoy!

      • BlueStar says:

        i just got my today and so far it looks pretty cool! It’s still kind of chilly here so it might be a while before I get to try it out. I really liked how rigid the RL feels and the seat is definitely a improvement. I also generally liked how Sea Eagle designed and constructed their pump, simple but effective and the Skeg fit on perfectly. On my FT I had to sand it down to make it fit but this time it slide on and off perfectly. My only two negatives so far is that I had a terrible time trying to get it back into the bag. Even after watching Sea Eagles video I still can’t get the hang of it, hopefully after a few more times I’ll figure it out. The second is that when you release the valve it makes a heck of a noise! That 10 psi is a double edged sword. lol Anyway I think I’m going to really like the RL a lot if I ever figure out how to fold it back into its bag. lol I think I’m probably going to make my own review / Comparison video once I have a chance to try it out.

  4. Allison,

    I am considering a few options and would like your advice. Have you tried the Airis inflatables (single or tandem)? They inflate to 6.5 psi. I saw one at a beach and it seemed more rigid than other inflatables. I was going to order a tandem Airis until I heard that there will be a 15′ RL tandem by May, 2015. The Airis seemed suitable, but I am inclined to hold off for the longer & more rigid RL at 10 psi (does it = better performance?) Thanks

    • Hi Tom, Yes I have tried both the single and the tandem Airis. I like the tandem Airis a lot but it is a totally different feel to the RazorLite. With the Airis you sit up a little higher so it feels more like a sit-on-top kayak as opposed to sitting lower down at the water line. I would agree that the Airis is more rigid than many other inflatable kayaks. However the new RazorLite can hold more air pressure making it slightly more rigid and yes I would definitely say the RL performs better. The RL tracks straighter and is able to go faster. It feels like it glides smoother to me (less drag)… although it is not quite as stable as the Airis Tandem. Performance wise I much prefer the RL.

  5. Thank you so much for the comparison review, It really shows the difference!
    The one thing I really liked about FT kayak is that you can use it solo or tandem. The are the same length, so I was wondering – is there any way to use RazorLight as a tandem kayak (sometimes) if I want to take my boyfriend with?
    And one more thing, RazorLight is built a little like a canoe, I was wondering how easy it would be to get of the boat in the water (to swim or snorkel) and get back in? And is there a way to drain water if I “flip” it?
    I live in Miami now and would love to get RL to explore the keys – it is probably will be a little dangerous with waives and choppy water.. I know the FT is probably suits better for ocean, but the speed makes a huge difference.
    Thank you!

    • Hi Lidia, The RazorLite is only rated for one person but there is apparently a tandem version that will be available soon. I haven’t tried getting back into it from the water but I’m guessing it would be a little harder than entering the FT from the water as the FT is so much more stable… not impossible, just a little harder. It does have a couple drain valves so you can drain water out if needed. A bilge pump is handy to keep with you as well. It makes it easy to get water out of the kayak if it should flip, I usually carry one with me. I’ve had my RazorLite out in some heavy ocean chop. I actually found it easier to maneuver through the wind and big waves just because it handles so well. The only issue I had was some water spraying over the deck because the waves were so big… but it was minimal, nothing that concerned me. Hope that helps. The FT is awesome as well so you can’t go wrong!

  6. thank you all for the intresting & honest ,helpful reviews .I am a new owner of the 300 x and after the 6th lake trip went out for 7 hours of paddleing. I was surpised it wasnt as tiring as I thought for being new at this sport. I did notice the front of boat made a wierd drag sound in front as I paddled..Mad me think it maybe was slowing the boat down . I kept up with 2 younger teens on their hard shell .short/light kayaks. surprised again . I did wish I had someone that could do the lovely comparason between my 300x and the fast track & theRazor lite ….I need a cushy seat due to steel in back from surgerys& only can single kayak due to carrying weight. I wish someone else that is handicapped with carrying weigh can let me know what is the lightest & most comfortable seat & also fast to track in the water. My 300X still swerves side to side ..but much better than the first one I owned that was only a kids version . I am intrested mostly in lake touring . with friends and maybe a small doggie if we can ..all input is appreciated . one last thing is I need more d rings to try out the quick sail..But due to ordering the white deluxe ” style seat ….noticed it has a few in front on the side I can try ,,,,,hope it works . the paddles are very nice and light …thank you ,hope to hear more soon , andi

    • Hi Andi, Glad to hear you are enjoying the 300X. It’s a great kayak but it is not going to track as well or go as fast as the FastTrack or the RazorLite. I would say the RazorLite tracks the best and definitely goes the fastest, then the FastTrack, then the 300X. The 300X however is very versatile but I think the other two are better suited for lake touring. You’re right it would be great to do a comparison between all three… one day I will do that. I’m not a huge fan of the white inflatable seat that I believe you are using. I find Sea Eagle’s padded high-back seat to be more comfortable personally. However with your back issues, I’m not sure I’m the right person to recommend a seat for you. I don’t find the high-back seat to be any lighter to carry than the inflatable seat, but I do find it more comfortable. If you need more D-rings you can always buy extra from Sea Eagle, they don’t cost much and you just glue them on, works well.

  7. Crickett says:

    Thank you for your review. I am a new owner of a FastTrack. It was great until I headed out to go whale watching. The term “john boat” applies. (Aluminium boat with a square bow used on lakes for fishing). All I heard was the slapping of waves under the bow as the boat butted the chop like a billy goat. I was a half mile behind the hardshells. Coming back I fought a confused current (tide going in; rip current going out). It took 30 minutes get out of that spot. The boat had a nasty fight with the current and barely won. I still like how comfortable it is on my dicey spine (I can sit cross legged and get off my tail bone and SI joint). Stable as hell. A high speed boat went charging past us close and I was the only one not badly affected by the huge wake. I like that I can take friends with me who don’t have the privilege (yet) of owning a kayak.

    Now, here’s the thing. I want a faster boat for whale watching. Getting out there and back without wearing myself out, and maybe keeping up with the slower paddlers. I have a sneaking suspicion that I am going to end up with two boats. (Just means I can take two friends). Do you know anything about the RazorLite’s stablity in adverse conditions? Do you know of anyone who has taken it into the sea? Just as stable as a hardshell? (I typed that hardhell, and they are hell on my spine.) Good idea to own both? Sort of like owning a sports car and an SUV?

    • I love your comparison… a sport car and a SUV. That is so appropriate :)
      I own both and I have to say I like having the option to use either or in different conditions. I definitely do find the RazorLite to be a much faster kayak. It is far more streamlined and it cuts through the water better. I have taken it ocean kayaking several times now and overall it has gone well. I do not find it as stable as the FT for sure so with big wake it is important to take the waves head on. I have never come close to tipping and even though it feels more ‘tippy’, I think it would still take a lot for it to actually go over. However it is an adjustment after paddling the FT for so long. It feels more like a streamlined hardshell kayak to me and when paddling in wind and wake, you do need to be more focused and conscious of what you are doing.

      I have found the 393rl to be much easier to paddle in heavy wind and chop than the longer 473rl. The tandem 473rl gets hard to turn in adverse conditions. I belong to a kayaking club and paddle the 393rl all the time and it keeps up to the hardshell kayaks with no problem at all. I think it would do well for whale watching, as long as you are aware that it is not as stable as the FT and it may take a bit of getting used to.

  8. I come from a background of traditional hard shell sea kayaks and am considering the RazorLite. I am curious about what it might take to do a solo re-entry. Have you tried re-entering the boat by yourself? Due to higher sides, a paddle float re-entry seems like it might be tough. Perhaps re-entering from the stern cowboy style might work?

    • Hi Amber, It’s a good question, I have been asked that a couple times this past week. The truth is I am not sure how easy it is to re-enter the RL from the water, I haven’t tried yet. I am waiting for the water to warm up a bit here then I will definitely test it out so I can answer this question better. I think the paddle float re-entry is probably going to work best. The sides are a little higher but I think it would still be doable. By next month I should be able to try it out so hopefully I’ll be able to provide more insight.

    • Timothy Berkey says:

      Amber, I am completely a novice at this kayaking thing. When we bought ours last year, one of the first things I did was to put it into my swimming pool, so I could practice this. The first thing I found was I had to really (REALLY) work to even get it to capsize! It was insanely stable. Once I did flip it, I made sure it was upside down, just so it wouldn’t be too easy at the beginning. As I said, being a complete rookie, I know little about different techniques of re-entry, other than what I have read/seen online. I had zero problems getting back in. I really had no difficulty, but it was a year ago, so I can’t even tell you which way I did it. I am confident that an experienced paddler such as yourself will find this to be a piece of cake.

      The very best part about Sea Eagle is, if you find you don’t like the boat, you get 180 days to return it. Hard to lose, with that. Good luck with your decision!

  9. Barry Siwak says:

    Great website Allison. I am in the research stage of finding a solo IK primarily for day use. Since I live in your neighbor province of Alberta, I will mostly use the kayak for lakes and rivers. I saw in one of your comments that the FT would be better for photography vs the Razorlite and was wondering if you could elaborate why? The obvious reason would be stability but is the Razorlite that shaky? I am an amateur photographer and would be using the kayak to transport my photo equipment to distant shores to take pictures on land but for taking snapshots from the kayak itself I would have thought the Razorlite would adequate.

    • Hey Barry, Yes it is really just the added stability of the FT that helps for photography. The RL feels very different to me than most other inflatable kayaks I have tried. It is leaner and less stable but performs way better. That being said I would not say it is shaky. You get used to it fast and even in high winds and choppy water I have had no trouble with it. I think you would be just fine transporting photography equipment in the RL and I personally think it is a much more fun kayak to paddle. Hope that helps!

  10. Hi Allison! Thank you for this article. I have been reading reviews on several inflatable kayaks. Your article covers two of my favorite inflatable kayaks. The main purpose will be for fishing the Gulf Coast in SW Florida. Three questions:

    1. Is the RazorLite stable enough for fishing standing up for long periods of time? And stable enough to paddle it like a regular paddleboard?

    2. At the end of the day, how do you let both kayaks dry, before unfolding and storing them away?

    3. I have read a few complaints about drying time (at the end of the day), in particular about the RazorLite. Is it difficult to completely dry the area between the bottom and the sides of the RazorLite?

    Thank you, and kind regards!

    • Hi Javier, I have paddled the Razorlite standing like a stand-up paddle board before and it is stable enough but I wouldn’t personally want to do it for a long period of time. The floor is very rigid so easy enough to stand on but the inside space for your feet is fairly narrow so you can’t take that wide of a stance. I haven’t actually tried fishing while standing in it. I would say it’s doable but might be a little shaky. The FastTrack of course is a lot more stable with the wider sides.

      I don’t have any issues with drying these kayaks. Just make sure you have some old towels with you and dry under the floor and especially along the edges underneath the floor. It’s just a matter of towel drying it well. If you will have it out often, it doesn’t have to be perfect but make sure it gets well dried before storing it away for a length of time. If I am in a rush to leave after use I will sometimes give it a very quick dry then roll it out on my deck at home and let it air dry for a bit before putting it away.

  11. Hi, Allison – great article! I have recently bought RL 395 in addition to my old Explorer 380. My initial plan was to use this kayak for longer journeys in the bay – leaving the Explorer for fishing etc. Then I thought, why not fish off it. What I noticed during test ride was that even with bigger boats passing by and causing waves, it was relatively easy to keep the water out of RL, and the only time I had gotten the water inside the hull was when it sat partially on the shore line, partially in water. I then went on another fishing run with the Explorer, and as it was on Sunday, there were A LOT more boats and ships out – so I’ve seen much higher waves. That is making me worried about using RL there.

    My plan is to try tipping it and re-entry on Friday, then we shall see… Has anyone successfully fished in a bay on RL?

    • Hi Vlad, I have had my RL out in some pretty heavy waves and I didn’t have any issues although for sure the stability is not quite the same as the Explorer. Let us know how it goes with your re-entry test. I haven’t tried it yet myself with the RL but have had others tell me it is very doable. Hopefully someone else can comment on the fishing..