Folbot Greenlander ll Folding Kayak.
The Greenlander ll is designed for two paddlers, but I bought mine because it can carry a large load. My trips aren’t just a day or two, if I’m going, I’m going long. In their literature it says there’s room for two paddlers plus enough room for a third small passenger. Not in my boat, it’s always packed with barely enough room for my feet.
I’d never been in a kayak before snaking my way into the boat at the dock below McNary dam on the Columbia on my first paddling adventure. The spray skirt had bulges where my gear pushed up from the inside. I’d taken the front seat out and put the rudder (steering) foot pedals in the back, and paddled from there, in order to balance out the load.
My oldest son had called me a few weeks before my planned four month-4000 mile hike, bike and kayak trip and tried to talk me into taking a kayaking course, before I “ended bottom side up and spitting water somewhere along the way.” I figured I’d never done anything before I did it the first time, and the Folbot was so stable and forgiving, I was glad I didn’t.
My wife waved me good-bye from the dock and headed back to New Mexico, dropping our grandson off in San Diego on the way. After riding my bike across Idaho, Oregon and part of Washington, from the starting point at Henry’s Lake ID near the Idaho, Montana border, my kayak adventure was just beginning. The wind had been in my face from the beginning, and that didn’t change.
The first night, and many after that, was spent on an island in the company of a few migrating birds, in the middle of the Columbia River. The wind had been giving me small tastes of what was ahead in the Columbia River Gorge. The next day and for weeks after that my main companion was my Greenlander ll and the occasional person I’d meet while ashore who wanted to know if I was crazy. There were times, when I wondered about that myself.
My sailboarding friends in Hawaii came to the Columbia River for vacations in the “Nuclear force winds” of the gorge. One day it took sixteen hours to make eight miles of headway into winds I estimated at 50 mph+. The boat has high cockpit coamings and water ran off the sloped decks quickly. I stayed as dry as could be expected when the air was filled with spray and the waves, rolling up river, were burying the bow of the boat. When the wind is up in the gorge, spray and lots of solid water fly completely over the extended tops of big ocean going tugs pushing their grain barges. The entire trip is in my book “Yol Bolsun--May There Be A Road” which is available through Amazon.com. Some of my friends who have read the book tell me I ragged too much on the wind. All I can say is, they weren’t there.
Once I got to Portland the paddling got much easier, until I got in the ocean. My original objective was to paddle to San Diego where I’d meet my wife and exchange the kayak for my bike, but that didn’t work out and is another story.
The Folbot served me very well in the howling winds, while submarining through waves on the Columbia River Gorge, and offshore along the Oregon and Northern California coasts. And, I couldn’t ask for a better paddle on the slack water reservoirs of the Snake River on my trips since.
The only complaints I have are: in rough weather the attaching points for the perimeter lines on deck are sewn-on right where my fingers cross the deck on the backstroke. When pulling hard, head down, heart rate and breath cadence up, and the boat rolls over and raises up on the side the hand is coming back on, the attachment catches on my ring finger and breaks or rips the finger nail, one time I thought I’d broken my finger. The velcro spray skirt attachment left a lot to be desired and was second only to the finger grabbing problem in complaints. I fixed that problem while in Portland with aluminum strips and stainless steel bolts which now sandwich the skirt between them and the cowling. The velcro is convenient and most people never put their kayak through weeks of the maximum abuse mine has seen. The rudder steering cables should be soldered on the ends to facilitate threading them through the steering pin holes. I soldered the cable ends when I got back before my next trip and it made a big difference. A different attaching system would easily eliminate that problem. I believe Folbot should offer an accessory that could be used to seal off the paddler’s hole in the spray skirt. That would keep water on the deck from coming in if there’s a single paddler. I used a piece of plastic sheet and duct tape, but that leaves something to be desired where esthetics are concerned.
I’ve had my Folbot for eight years. It’s seen lots of water pass under the bow, some in extreme conditions, and has always swallowed up all the gear I’ve needed. I love it and can’t wait until my next adventure.