Sevylor Tahiti Classic Review

Best Uses: River, whitewater, flat water, kids, camping, traveling

Brand: Sevylor

Available At: Amazon.com – Sevylor Tahiti Classic

Number of Paddlers: 2

Stats: Length 10’ 7”, Width 31”, Weight 25 lbs., Load Capacity 400 lbs

Accessories Included: Drain hole with plug, Boston valves, 2 inflatable seats, bow and stern spray decks

Optional Accessories: Rudder

Kayak Material: PVC

Pros: Very affordable, good amount of room for two people plus a little gear, can hold a lot of weight, self-bailing, comfortable. sturdy

Cons: Basic, performance is lacking, quality is so-so

More Detailed Info

The Tahiti is actually one of the oldest Sevylor inflatable kayaks. It was originally designed in 1963 and has been popular ever since.

As it is self-bailing it can handle most types of water but nothing too extreme. It seats two fairly comfortably and comes with two inflatable seats that offer decent back support that can be moved or even removed.

For the very low price of this kayak you get a really fun little play boat. It offers a little storage room in the front and back and is fun to paddle but quite honestly this is about as cheap as an inflatable kayak will get.

The construction isn’t bad but don’t expect it to last forever. However, for the price it just doesn’t matter and if you are simply looking to get out and enjoy a few days on the water then the Tahiti will be fine.

I would compare this inflatable kayak more to an inflatable canoe. If you have kayaked before this will not be the kayak for you. It is basic in design and construction and the performance reflects that.

It would be great however for kids as a starter kayak and it is truly ideal for traveling. It weighs just under 25 pounds and is extremely easy to pack along for any ride. Also it inflates within only a few minutes.

Final Thoughts

Bottom line is that the Sevylor Tahiti is extremely affordable, can carry a fairly good load and will be fun to paddle. If you don’t expect too much else from it, you will likely be very happy, at least for awhile.

Where To Buy

The best deal for the Sevylor Tahiti Classic is consistently at Amazon.com

Comments

  1. Gary Meister says:

    The Sevylor Tahiti may be cheap but I have used different versions of it for about 20 years and it has always treated me well. I never babied it either. It’s tough!
    A comment on the review, though.Judging from the picture on the review, when you tested, it did indeed have Boston Valves. It has since changed, however – both the color and the valves. The valves are now “Sevylor Double-Lock Valves” and I haven’t yet decided whether I like them or not. They take some getting used to. The boat does currently come with a no-leak guarantee, though, so I guess they work well. I haven’t had any real problem.

    As “low-end” inflatable kayaks go, I don’t think you can beat this boat.

    • Thanks for the comment Gary. It is great to hear that you have had such a good experience with the Tahiti. I think others reading this review will be happy to hear that too. Thanks for sharing! Cheers.

      • Gary Meister says:

        An update on my previous comment, as to the Sevylor (Coleman) Double-Lock valves: I have decided that I really like these new valves. I think they’re easier to work with than the Boston valves.

        On another subject: I’m looking for a directional skeg for my Tahiti and they seem to be more expensive than they ought to be. (They can’t cost more than 10 cents to manufacture.) Does anybody (maybe someone who has upgraded to a more expensive inflatable) have a used one you’re willing to sell cheap?

        Keep on paddling !

        • Ralph in Alabama says:

          There is a fellow on youtube showing people how to make one. Just search “Sevylor kayak skeg” or something similar and it should come up.

  2. Ralph in Alabama says:

    Hello. I currently own three Sevylor K79 Tahiti inflatable kayaks, two older ones and a newer version with the “Double Lock Valves”. And I can tell you that, although I don’t like them as well as the Boston Valves on previous models, they do seem to work fine with no leaks. After owning the new version for a couple of years, I now have a much bigger problem with the ‘hi-viz yellow and barf blue’ (YUCK!!!) styling update than I do with the valve change.

    BTW… I would not buy a K79 to paddle with two adults anywhere, or to use strictly on flat water. They are too cramped for two adults IMO, and they track poorly and catch too much wind for a full time lake boat. They perform best as quick turning, relatively dry and stable (for a non-bailer), one person boats for river running on class III and below whitewater. For this purpose there might not be a better boat out there for less than three times the cost. K79’s handle great and are very forgiving to paddle in moving water. They also make fantastic and affordable “buddy boats”. I have taken many friends on their first whitewater adventure in a K79 when there is no way I could have afforded to do so in something more expensive. Several of these people went on to purchase various boats of their own and became true enthusiasts.

    They hold up well for this purpose too if you take care of them. Two of my K79’s are veterans of class II and III whitewater across the Southeast, including but not limited to, the Nantahala, the Mulberry Fork, the Hiawassee, the Locust Fork, the Cartecay, the Tellico (below Jarod’s Knee), Little River Canyon (Chairlift Run), and even the Ocoee (which I do admit chewed me up and spit me out several times!), plus dozens of lesser known creeks and streams. These boats are 17 and 15 years old respectively and are still quite ready for duty. One of them does not have a single patch to this day! The other has two; one on a pin hole in a seam from the factory, (I easily could have had this boat replaced under warranty had I chose to do so.), and another from a recent run-in with a huge thorn at a trashy and overgrown put-in on a local class I stream.

    I know everyone won’t get this kind of service from their K79 Tahiti, but I certainly have, through careful adherence to minimum maintenance requirements and meticulous avoidance of snags and sharp objects on the river as well as at put-ins, take-outs, and portages. Ok, and maybe even through a bit of plain ole luck. It might also help that I tend to be a high volume freak by nature and usually avoid low and scrapy water conditions. Also, it remains to be seen whether the new boat will hold up as well as it’s earlier brethren, but I am optimistic from what I have learned so far.

    If you would like to try a K79 Tahiti Kayak, my advice is this: 1) Buy it from a place you trust for easy warranty exchanges, just in case. 2) Test it thoroughly. The one I know of that failed catastrophically (a foot long rip at a seam) did it as it was being inflated at the put-in on it’s second outing and was obviously caused by a factory defect. Take yours straight home, pump it up tight in the living room floor, leave it there for several days, and lightly bounce around in it every chance you get. If it holds up to this you have a good one and can hit the river with confidence. And 3) Find a deal. At any given time some well known retailer is likely to be selling them at a tremendous discount, especially in the fall. I have never given anything near MSRP for any of mine. As a matter of fact, my latest one was bought on impulse simply because it was marked so low I knew I wasn’t likely to ever buy another one any cheaper. So far this has proven to be true too.

    Of course if you can afford it much better boats are certainly out there. Multi-millionaires should not waste their time reading this review. Run out and buy yourself the great handling, self-bailing and practically indestructible Riken Seminole, available for about $1,500. BTW… I once saved, struggled and strained and bought a big name IK that cost $1,200, and it handled like crap! It cost me way more than the price of a few K79’s to discover this and then sell it to someone who didn’t care at a major loss. Now, for MUCH less investment, this working class stiff chooses to have an entire fleet of capable boats. After all, my family is growing and most of them want their own boat these days.

    I hope all this helps somebody.

    • Great review… thank you! Question: My husband, who would be the main user for this kayak, is 6 feet tall and weighs just under 200 lbs. Would this carry him well enough, or will he be cramped in your opinion? I believe I just found an older model Tahiti that I am looking into purchasing asap. Thanks.

  3. Oh, and one more question: What if I got a skeg to go with this older model Tahiti. Would it handle better on flat water? Thanks again.

    • Hi Teri, The Tahiti feels flimsy to me although it says it can hold a lot of weight. In my opinion I think he might be a little cramped and the kayak could be a little sluggish but I think he’d be comfortable enough… fine for just easy recreational paddling. A skeg would definitely help with the tracking.

  4. Bob Cormack says:

    I bought a 3-person Tahiti back in the early ’70s — I don’t think that they make the three-person version anymore, which is too bad. The valves were definitely “pool-toy” class: They were just plastic plugs friction -fit into large holes! I’m pretty sure it wasn’t self-bailing. It couldn’t have weighed more than about 25 lb.
    For all it’s limitations, my wife and I used it hard for over 30 years, without needing a single repair. Some of our trips were;

    5 days on the Green (Mineral Bottom to the Confluence). This trip (40 years ago) required a 1000 ft climb on a dicey trail and a 5 mile hike across the desert to the nearest jeep road where we could be picked up after reaching the Confluence. The light weight was really nice here! (Today, you can ride a jet boat back to Moab with any kind of boat you want to bring.)

    A two day trip down the Rio Grand out of Colorado through 3rd class rapids. A friend took a video of us going through the biggest rapid — the overloaded boat (coolers on the bow and stern, dry bags stuffed in the middle) flexed so much it looked like it was “flowing” down the river, not “floating”.

    We weren’t exactly “Sophisticated” users — I didn’t even know there were other options (maybe there weren’t back then). It was our only boat and we did everything in it — lakes, rapids, scrapping over sand bars, bouncing off rocks. We finally had to get rid of it when, after decades of wear and UV, the valve plugs wouldn’t stay in anymore and kept popping out. It was easier to maneuver than a canoe (especially if the two paddlers coordinated), was MUCH more stable than a canoe, and never failed us (until the valves let go in the middle of a rapid!)

    I’m now looking for another inflatable. If Sevylor still made a 3-person, I would probably buy it because; 1) it’s cheap, and 2) the valves are MUCH better now. However, the tandem would be too small — the 3 person wasn’t overly large for us (I weigh 220 and my wife 150).

    What we need is a boat with lots of tie-downs for gear (the old Sevylor had ropes running along the sides, which the new ones don’t seem to have anymore), and sufficient capacity. The Sea Eagle 420 looks ideal, but costs 8 – 10 times the Sevylor, so I’m still dithering.

    • Thanks for the comment Bob, it’s interesting to hear your thoughts and experience with the Sevylor kayak. The Sea Eagle does cost quite a bit more but I have to say it’s a far better product in almost every way. However if lots of tie down ropes/cords are what you need, you can always buy some extra D-rings and glue them on (they cost very little) and add some bungee tied down cords wherever you need them on any kayak you choose.

  5. Was just looking up warranty info. (1 year, I believe) when I came across this review site.
    I purchased 2 Sevylor Tahiti hunt and Fish kayaks (K79HF), cause we preferred the green color. Bought these in 2003 and they are still in good shape, given good care and little use each season. We have used them mainly on river, both whitewater and flat water runs.
    My problem has been this: At the time and purchased online from Sevylor, these two boats came with the self baling drain plug at the rear of the boat (as it should be) and the skeg hook at the front end of the boat. This was very confusing to us, and we knew something had to be wrong. There were no good illustrations of this on/in the box or online at the time. Only recently have I confirmed via online video, that the drain hole and skeg hook should both be located at rear of the boat. No wonder we had trouble when it came to using a skeg with our kayaks. We were sold kayaks with a mistake in the design, and I assume we are stuck with them now. I wonder if anyone else ever got this problem. Be sure to check out everything when you first get your order. It can be pretty disappointing when you go to use them.

    • That would be so disappointing. I’ve heard complaints on the quality of construction for the Sevylor kayaks before but haven’t heard of an issue like that. Even though it has been awhile I would contact Sevylor anyway and send them some pictures. It’s an obvious mistake in the construction and I would hope they would do something to help solve the problem. Not sure if they will after all this time but it’s worth a try. Good luck!

      • Thank you for response. Yes, I did try that. What I’ve learned so far is that the design has changed some over the years. It seems that the drain hole is not really meant as a “self bailing” feature. It must be there just to make emptying out easier. So the drain hole should be plugged (closed) during paddling, in which case whitewater rapids will fill the boat when in deeper water, and one would have to pull over and empty out their boat afterward. …not so handy.
        Thanks