Pakboats Kayaks

There are two types of Pakboats folding kayaks … the Puffins and the Quest. Their designs fit the varying needs of a variety of paddlers. For example, the shorter Puffins are excellent for fishing. The longer Quest kayaks are built for touring. The Puffin Saranac can be paddled as a tandem kayak. And, that’s not all. Read more below or call us to help you find the folding kayak that best fits your needs.
Pakboats folding kayakExtremely versatile Puffins – Puffin kayaks can adapt to your needs in ways that other kayaks do not. If you go fishing or are not as agile as you once were, you can leave your Puffin open like a sit-on-top. Add a deck when you want more protection. Drive your Puffin to the water packed in the trunk or assembled on top of your car. It is easy to assemble and at 20 pounds (29 pounds for the 2-person Saranac), the Puffin is light enough for almost anybody to handle. The excellent Puffin seats are easily configured for one or two persons – seat brackets are even pre-installed to put the bow seat extra far forward for a small child.

Click here to read more about the Puffin Design
The Puffin Kayaks represent a new generation in folding boat design and draw on over 30 years of varied experience. Structurally, Puffins are a blend of aluminum frame and inflatable construction. Dual-cell inflatable tubes on each side between the skin and the frame provide skin tension and ample secure flotation in case of a capsize. An internal aluminum frame gives the hull efficient lines that could not be achieved with inflatable structure alone. Another advantage of the Puffin’s hybrid design is the weight. Similar size inflatable kayaks typically weigh 50% more.

Three basic elements interact to form the Puffin’s structure:

  • The skin is the outside cover that “keeps the water out”. It is made of woven synthetic fabric coated with polyurethane. A heavy duty fabric forms the boat bottom, and lighter fabric is used for the sides. Stress points are reinforced for years of trouble free use.
  • The frame is made of anodized structural aluminum tubing with a combination of high strength and corrosion resistance.
  • Between skin and frame in the sides are inflatable tubes that act as flotation and give tension to the skin. These relatively large diameter tubes also help stiffen the boat. To tolerate the working pressure, the tubes have a strong fabric outer surface laminated to durable polyurethane film to form two separate air holding cells on each side of the kayak.

Puffins share the excellent seats that were developed for Pakboats touring kayaks (XT and Quest). Each seat is suspended between cross bars in front and back. Over the front cross bar is an inflatable bladder that provides adjustable thigh support. Both seat and back band have a surface of 3-dimensional woven mesh that provides air circulation. The seats are very comfortable!

Puffins have extremely simple frames. There are only three longitudinal rods – two gunwales and a keel, and a number of cross ribs that connect the longitudinal rods. To make this work we had to develop a new way to give the boat longitudinal tension. This was done by placing a “hinge” in the keel. When the keel and stems are installed in the boat, the “hinge” is at an angle. As the cross members are installed, the keel gradually becomes straight and tensions the skin. Side to side tension is produced by inflating the air tubes.

Placing inflatable tubes along the sides in a kayak does more than provide light-weight structure. Puffins have much more built-in flotation than other kayaks. And placing the flotation along the sides makes Puffins incredibly stable after a capsize. Two separate air cells on each side of the hull provide security in case a cell is punctured. Note: Inflatable boats have even more flotation, but their paddling performance is poor, and a similar size inflatable weighs about 50% more than a Puffin.

Puffin decks are attached with a strip of Velcro around the hull just below the gunwales. Gunwales of the Puffins are tensioned to add stiffness to the hull. An aluminum cockpit rim provides support for a spray skirt. End caps are integrated with the skin to improve the seal of the optional decks to the hull.


The decks on the Puffins get covered by the permanent end caps, completely protecting the deck seals from water splashing over the ends. Both ends of the decks can be opened to provide unrestricted access for loading and unloading, and permanent deck rigging is installed to secure items that need to be carried on top of the deck. Simply remove the deck, load your gear into the boat, and reinstall the deck. If a piece of gear does not quite fit, let a little air our of the air tubes, stow the gear, and re-inflate the tubes. (Make sure no sharp objects touch the inflatable parts.)

Puffin Saco  (approved by the North American Fishing Club)nafc-seal-of-approvalThe Saco has a convenient open hull that will not get in the way of your fishing and an optional deck with a cockpit large enough to make it easy to get in and out. The 12 ft length and efficient shape makes the Puffin Saco easy to paddle, yet its packed size is incredibly compact and its weight is only 20 pounds. The Saco has a very functional self supporting deck with a large cockpit that makes it easy to get in and out of the boat.

Quest 150 Touring Kayak. – The Quest 150 is a skin-on-frame touring kayak. All hull materials are coated or laminated with polyurethane for a combination of durability and extremely light weight (less than half the weight of a plastic kayak). Inflatable kayaks of similar size weigh 50% more than the Quest, and the Quest’s performance and sleek lines cannot be achieved with an inflatable structure. Its polyurethane coated materials contain no toxic chemicals, and the design combines great looks with comfort and efficient cruising performance.
Customer comment about his Quest 150 …
After paddling the Quest for a year, I’m even more impressed with its design than when I first tried it out. Although light in weight, it feels sturdy, solid. The Quest always tracks well, yet it’s nimble and responds easily in turns. It’s quite a stable boat – no matter that waves come from the front, the side, the back, it stays steady. The seat is great; I’ve been paddling for 34 years, and the Quest seat is the most comfortable I’ve used. But here’s the feature that surprised me: this is a very fast boat. I’ve been paddling not just ahead but way ahead of friends in hardshells. I thought maybe they were cutting me some slack, giving me a break. Then I started timing myself on a measured course. I was able to paddle 4.5 mph against a strong tide. On a day when the tide was negligible, I paddled 5.2 mph, and I think I may be able to get the Quest up to 5.5. I bought the Quest as a back-up, but it’s now my number 1 boat.
Bronson W.
UPDATE: In April of 2019, Bronson wrote us with this comment … ” I’ve already had the Quest on the water several times (this year). As I paddle this boat into its third season, I remain quite impressed by its performance. I went to the Pakboats website and reread what I wrote about it. I totally stand behind what’s stated there.”
Bronson W.
Click here to read more about the Quest Design
The Quest represents another advance in Pakboats’ hybrid folding/inflatable construction: Enhanced frame technology produces a stiff and light hull structure that makes assembly a breeze in combination with multiple flotation cells that tension the skin and provide buoyancy. To combine hull stiffness and simplicity in a very lightweight design, Pakboats developed a method to tension both keel and gunwales without adding weight and cost. 2nd generation Quests get added stiffness in the mid-section where it is most needed, without adding weight in the ends. The deck is installed after the hull is completely assembled, and the deck seal is secured by end caps and “wrapovers” that are welded to the boat skin, sealing out splashing waves. The “wrapovers” also support deck rigging.

Excellent Seats. – Comfort starts with the seat, and the Quest seat is “best in class”. The fabric sling is supported front to back, completely eliminating pressure points, and an inflatable thigh support adjusts to fit any paddler. Back band and seat surface are covered with three dimensional mesh for maximum air circulation. The seat drops into brackets on the cross ribs, so installing the seat during assembly takes almost no time.

Easy Loading. – The Quest deck can be opened at both ends for exceptionally easy access and loading of gear up to its 275 pound (125 kg) capacity. The simplicity and light weight let the Quest fit into a single compact storage bag for travel, and it can easily go with you as airline baggage.

Model  Beam  Depth  Weight Length  Capacity  Packed Bag Size
 Puffin Saco (Solo)  26 in/66 cm  10 in/25 cm  20 lbs/9.1 kg  12.5 ft/385 cm  285 lbs/130 kg  28 in x 16 in x 12 in
 Puffin Saranac (Solo or Double)  27 in/68 cm  10 in/25 cm  29 lbs/13.2 kg  15.5 ft/480 cm  400 lbs/180 kg  28 in x 16 in x 12 in
 Quest 150 (Solo)  24 in/61 cm  13 in/33 cm  31 lbs/14.1 kg  14 ft 11 in/455 cm  285 lbs/130 kg  28 in x 16 in x 12 in
 Quest 150 as SOT (Sit-on-top) (Solo)  24 in/61 cm  10.5 in/27 cm  26 lbs/11.8 kg  14 ft 11 in/455 cm  285 lbs/130 kg  28 in x 16 in x 12 in

For more details about the Pakboats Folding Kayaks, click on the toggles below …

Puffin Saco - $1335.00

Pakboats Puffin Saco
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Puffin Saco. With its 12.5 ft length, the Saco offers good paddling performance. It tracks well and easily keeps pace with other kayaks of similar size. Very light 20 pound weight makes it much more responsive than similar plastic kayaks, weighing more than twice as much. Use it without a deck to go fishing or with a deck for more protection (deck is optional, not included in purchase price). The Saco can carry camping gear for a few days and it is a delightful kayak if you just want to go exploring for the day.

Puffin Saranac - $1655.00

Pakboats Puffin Saranac
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Puffin Saranac. At 15.5 ft in length, the Saranac offers the versatility to carry two people on day trips or a solo paddler with a couple of weeks’ worth of camping gear. Whether with one or two paddlers, the Saranac’s dual (removable) skegs make it track as if it is on rails. Use it without a deck to go fishing or with a deck for more protection (deck(s) are optional, not included in purchase price). You can even chose between a solo deck and a double deck. It is no surprise that the Saranac’s versatility has made it the most popular Puffin ever.

Quest 150 - $1795.00

Pakboats Quest 150 - Blue and Yellow Decks
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Quest 150 is a compact touring kayak. It is long enough for effortless cruising, and roomy enough to hold your over-night camping gear, yet it is small enough to fit moderate size paddlers. The 150 is in its element when your travels cover many miles and hours of paddling. At the end of a long day you will send some grateful thoughts to the Quest’s outstanding seat. Please note: The Quest 150 includes a deck, but the deck is not always needed because of it’s unique SOT (Sit-on-top) function. Unlike other touring kayaks, the Quest 150 can be paddled without a deck, like a sit-on-top. Simply leave the deck off in calm conditions. The 150 has a lot of flotation built in to keep you safe. Even better, the flotation is placed in the sides where it helps keep the kayak stable, even when it is swamped. Very few kayaks have this safety feature. Typical flotation centered in the ends does not contribute to stability. Available with Blue or Yellow deck.