Sea Eagle 385 FastTrack Review

Sea Eagle 385 FastTrack kayak

Best Uses: Lakes, ocean bays, mild whitewater (up to class II)

Brand: Sea Eagle

Number of Paddlers: 1 or 2

Stats: Length 12’ 5”, Width 36”, Weight 31 lbs., Load Capacity 635 lbs

Accessories Included:Large removable skeg, 2 high capacity self-bailing drain valves, front & rear spray skirts, 6 D-rings, bow and stern grab lines, nylon carry bag, repair kit, choice of seats, 2 paddles, air foot pump

Kayak Material: 1000 Denier Reinforced with wide overlap seams (hull material is completely resistant to sun and saltwater)

Pros: Faster than the other Sea Eagle inflatable kayaks, can hold a lot of weight, enough room to fit two people comfortably or to be paddled solo, lightweight, 2 closeable self-bailing valves, versatile, decent amount of storage space (below spray skirts as well as rope lacing for storage above), very rigid drop stitch floor, really good tracking (as long as you use tracking fin), glides through water, quick set-up time

Cons: Need to use the skeg for the good tracking

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More In-Depth Info

The Sea Eagle 385 FastTrack is Sea Eagle’s faster, sleeker yet still quite stable inflatable kayak.

I was really happy when Sea Eagle came out with this kayak as I felt it was a great combination between good performance and stability.

It has a really nice design that makes it ideal for gliding nicely on lakes, pushing through wind, taking on waves and really just being very flexible.

The unique thing about the 385FT is that it has a patented, state of the art, external, rigid inflatable NeedleKnife™ Keel.  This hard keel allows for a faster and smoother ride and from my experience it definitely works well.

The size of the Sea Eagle FastTrack is very comparable to the Sea Eagle 380X. It is identical in length, about an inch smaller in width, and can hold a similar amount of cargo.

The big plus however is that it weighs seven pounds less which makes it much easier for transporting and carrying to the water and of course it is faster.

Why is the FastTrack Faster?

You can tell by looking at the pictures that the FastTrack is shaped a little differently than the Sea Eagle Explorer kayaks.

This new shape allows it to not only glide through the water with little yaw movement but also to move quite fast. Sea Eagle states that the FastTrack is able to pick up better speeds for three reasons:

  • There is a drop stitch outside keel at the bow which provides buoyancy and helps to stop the natural yaw of an inflatable kayak.
  • There is a removable rear skeg that helps to keep the kayak heading straight.
  • It comes with a separate very rigid drop stitch floor which increases the overall rigidity of the kayak and creates side chines under the pontoons which enhances the overall paddling performance. In fact the floor is so rigid that this kayak could even be paddled as a stand-up paddle board.

My Experiences With The FastTrack

I already own the Sea Eagle 380X and have been very happy with it. However it seemed to me that the FastTrack had most of the positives of the 380X with the added bonuses of being lighter and faster.

That was really appealing and I decided that it would fit my lifestyle perfectly. I now own the FastTrack as well and below you will find my observations.

Smaller Pontoons

The FastTrack has the same interior width as the 380X but the pontoons are about an inch slimmer.

This small difference makes for a much sleeker looking model. I noticed two things with the smaller pontoons:

  1. My paddles rarely rubbed against the sides while paddling (as they sometimes do with my other kayak).
  2. It felt like I was sitting up higher in the kayak

Both of these things were really positive and made for good center of gravitiy as well as a really enjoyable experience.

Very Rigid Floor

The inflatable floor in the FastTrack has a seperate air chamber for inflating and can be inflated to a very high air pressure which makes it super solid.

The floor is actually so rigid that you can stand up in the kayak with no problems and paddle as a stand-up paddle board if you wish… very cool. It is not as easy to paddle that way but it is nice to be able to do it if you choose.

Tip: The rigid floor greatly helps with the performance of this kayak. When you are inflating the floor make sure to get it as solid as you can as this will help with the strength of the fin for the best tracking.

Initially with this kayak my bum would get sore after paddling for a couple hours.  However Sea Eagle now offers upgraded high back seats that have more cushioning and I find these really help with my comfort level.

If you have any issues with this (a sore bum is often an issue after several hours of kayaking no matter what kind of kayak you are in) try adding a gel pad or even just a towel under your bum on top of your seat.  That alone can make a huge difference.

Tracking Fin

In whitewater you would not use the fin but when kayaking in open water such as on lakes or the ocean the FastTrack needs to have the fin attached in order to get the good tracking.

With the fin attached this inflatable kayak tracks really well and glides beautifully through the water.

One thing to remember… When you deflate your kayak take the fin off.  Do not leave it attached as this can cause it to get knocked loose or bent.

Performance… Wow!

I am hugely impressed with the performance of the 385 FastTrack. The more inflatable kayaks I paddle and review, the more I am impressed with the FastTrack.

For an inflatable kayak it can definitely get some good speed. I find that I can paddle farther with less effort which is exactly what you want. The FastTrack is also excellent at tackling heavy winds.

Package Options

There are several package options to choose from with the FastTrack.

  • Solo Package – Costs a little less, has all the same dimensions as the tandem version but only comes with one seat and one paddle.
  • Tandem Package – With the tandem 385 FT you are able to adjust the seats to paddle solo if you desire but comes with two seats and two paddles. The tandem model has two choices… the deluxe package or the pro package (which is what I have). The difference is that the pro package comes with high-back seats and better paddles as well as two stern bags and a waterproof bag.
  • Fishing Package – For those who love to fish there is now a fishing package with an elevated swivel chair that is ideal for anglers.
  • Pro Carbon Package – This package comes with the high back seats as well as two high-end carbon-fiber paddles.
  • QuikSail Package – Comes with a 14 sq. foot self standing sail that allows you to turn your kayak into a sailing vessel in less than one minute.

Video

Below is my video of the Sea Eagle 385 FastTrack. In this video I am shown paddling the FastTrack solo but of course it can be paddled tandem as well.

More Pictures

Final Thoughts

Price wise the FastTrack costs about $100 more than the 380X which really isn’t too bad all things considered. It is best suited for flat water but can handle up to class II rapids (there are two closeable self-bailing drain valves).

The size is very convenient and is ideal for tandem paddling as well as solo paddling (seats can be moved and adjusted), for dogs or for traveling. You get a lot for your money with this inflatable kayak and I can really understand why it has become popular so fast.

After all is said and done I will likely still use my 380X for rivers as it is more suitable for the rapids but I will definitely use the 385 FastTrack for all open water such as lakes and ocean bays. The speed and tracking far outshines that of the 380X.

The FastTrack now also comes in a longer version which is ideal for families or for those paddling with a lot of gear. Please see the 465 FastTrack Review for more information.

As of 2015 Sea Eagle also has a new sleek kayak called the Razorlite.  The Razorlite is faster yet less stable than the FastTrack. Click here to view our detailed comparison of these two kayaks.

Where To Buy

The Sea Eagle kayaks are one of the few that you are able to purchase directly from the manufacturer. This is beneficial for three reasons:

  1. Their prices tend to be excellent and they often have great sales.
  2. You can benefit from their 3-year warranty on all of their products.
  3. You can take advantage of their 180-day risk free trial, which means that if you are not satisfied with your purchase you can return it for a full refund within 180 day period (as long as the kayak is in good condition).

Click Here For The Best Deal On The 385 FastTrack Inflatable Kayak From The Official Sea Eagle Website.

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Comments

  1. Steve Throner says:

    I have heard conflcting reports on the Quicksail for kayaks. I have a 385FT and am wondering if the 130 dollar sailing rig is worth the money or effort. Yes, I know it won’t point upwind so tacking is out of the question. BUT, if you have run the Quicksail in a 385FT, I would love to know what you think.

    • Hey Steve, I haven’t tried the Quicksail yet. I was actually about to order one as I have been wanting to do a proper review on it. I know it’s not as good as a more expensive sailing rig but from those who have told me they’ve tried it, I’ve only heard good things and the consensus seems to be that it’s worth the money. Hopefully I’ll have a full review done on it soon. Sorry I couldn’t help you more.

  2. Tina Purvis says:

    Hi Allison,
    Another cry for advice please.
    I hope to buy the Sea Eagle 385 Fast track and wanted to ask if it’s light enough to take on my mountain bike! I realise I would have to buy a pack back separately.

    I have considered the Airis Tandem, but I prefer the style of the FT.

    Thanks – Tina

    • Hey Tina, It’d be tough carrying the FT on your back while riding a bike. I know people who do transport this kayak by bike but they do it by pulling a little cargo trailer. I don’t think I could do it.

  3. M.G. Waters says:

    Hello Allison:
    You have a great website,
    I’d like to ask if you will or have done any reviews of the Aquaglide line of inflatable kayaks ?
    My current inflatable is an Airis Velocity…….earlier version of the Sport model..
    I’ve had it six years and its been great, fairly fast, and durable.
    Thanks for your time, and love your reviews and insight………

    • Hi M.G., The Velocity was a great kayak. I know Airis has improved their kayaks since that model, but I always did love that Velocity.
      I have tried one of the Aquaglide kayaks a while back but it was just a quick test paddle and I didn’t feel I had it long enough to do a proper review. I believe it was the 2-person Chelan that I tried. I remember thinking the kayak was strong and well made. I wasn’t overly impressed with the performance, it seemed basic but stable and easy enough to paddle. I also remember sitting up quite high on the seats, which were comfortable but just a different feeling. However keep in mind this was a couple years ago that I tried it. I think Aquaglide has a good name. I have spent a lot of time on one of their inflatable SUP boards and I loved it. I don’t question their quality, I’m just not totally sure how they compare performance wise. Sorry I couldn’t help you more. Hopefully I will get a chance to do a proper review of their kayaks this year.

  4. I’m torn between this kayak, the sea eagle fast track 385 or the advanced element expedition or convertible. if you could only take one kayak which one would you take. I’m looking for durability, speed, and one that tracks reasonable well for a inflatable. Airkayak.com has the advanced element with a drop stitch floor or can use the backbone.I’ve done so much research my head hurts I need somebody to help me decide

    • Hi Garret, Well I’m personally a much bigger fan of the FastTrack.. or if you really want more speed then the Sea Eagle RazorLite. The AE Expedition and the Convertible both paddle well. They track nicely and I rarely hear complaints about the speed. Although they look nice, I have two complaints with those two kayaks… they are both quite heavy and they both take longer to setup. I don’t feel they are quite as durable as the Sea Eagle kayaks but overall there is nothing drastically wrong with them and those who have them seem to like them. I find the FastTrack much faster to set up, easier to carry and ultimately more portable. It tracks well and gets good speed but not nearly as good as the RazorLite. The SE kayaks also have a 3-year warranty whereas the AE kayaks only have a 1-year warranty. Hope that helps! You can’t go too wrong either way, I think they all paddle quite well.

  5. John Isgrigg says:

    Hi Allison, after reading your reviews, my wife and I are going to get a 385FT. We are 72 and 71 years of age and have some shoulder and back issues. I am 5′ 9″, 220 lbs, and she is 5′ 2″. Do you recommend the standard deluxe kayak inflatable seats, the tall back seats (with or without a cushion) or the deluxe fishing seats? Our trips would be on flat to slightly wavy water (Lake Erie) and last 45 to 90 minutes. Thank you. John and Diane

    • The 385FT is a great choice. I like the tall back seats. I find they provide more back support than the deluxe seats. The new tall back seats that Sea Eagle now offers have quite a bit more cushioning than the older version. They are quite comfortable and you can adjust the back support, I think you would do okay with them. The fishing seats are comfortable but you sit up higher and they twist.. they wouldn’t personally be my preference for kayaking.

  6. Steve Cooke says:

    Hi, great informative site, and thanks for the useful insights into the Sea Eagle 385ft. I am currently looking at the purchase of a tandem inflatable and have been looking at the Sea Eagle 385ft or Innova Solar II/Sunny and was wondering if you could help me decide. I am not near dealers of either so cant get to look prior to purchase.
    I will be using the kayak mostly for shortish coastal trips including the odd bit of fishing and snorkelling, and occasional river trips on < grade II. I currently have an Innova Twist I, but sometimes take my son out for v short trips and it is now getting a little small and tippy feeling with him in it now he is 6 and will soon want to join in the paddling.
    Important to me is packsize as it will be joining us on family holidays in a small VW campervan, and needs to go under the small back-seat/bed with all the other family gear (an advantage of the Twist). The marketing stats show the Innova packing down slightly smaller and neatly into a 70l dry bag. Is the packsize quoted for the Sea Eagle accurate (25" x 18" x 8")? I assume this packsize is the boat only and the seats would be additional?
    Drying is also important as I don’t want a dripping boat bag in the back of the camper. I think the Innova would wipe down and dry quicker, as the Sea Eagle has a separate floor which would need to be taken out to dry adequately?
    Other than that I think I prefer the Sea Eagle – as the drop stitched floor makes it look better. I suspect the Sea Eagle will also have better stability for snorkling/climbing back in, and for fishing (for which a hard flat floor would also help). It also has a bit of self-bailing capability.
    Any words of wisdom welcome to help me decide! I also notice you mention the Airis Tandem….
    Thanks, Steve.

    • Hi Steve, The drop stitch floor in the FastTrack does help with performance and I think overall the FT is a little more stable and ideal for fishing and snorkelling as well as more versatile in different types of water. The Sunny paddles well but I do prefer the FT. However the Sunny does pack down to a smaller size, it is known for being extremely portable. The Sea Eagle pack size is accurate but I’m not sure if they included the seats in their dimensions. The inflatable Sea Eagle seats don’t take up much room at all when deflated and stored in the bag. However the tall back seats are more substantial and will take a little more room – I often store my seats separately and not in the bag.

      As far as drying them off I find the 385FT just as easy to dry if not easier. They are both good kayaks. I feel the 385FT will suit your needs a little better for most things except possibly packable size, depending on how big your storage space is under seat/bed.

      The Airis Tandem has a totally different feel to it. You sit up higher, it’s not as fast as the other two but it is really easy to paddle. The Airis kayak doesn’t have as much room for storing gear but it is ultra portable and does roll up into a fairly small package. It could work for you too if you don’t mind the sit-on-top feel.

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