Sea Eagle Razorlite kayak opinion
The Razorlite is a full dropstitch inflatable kayak. It is much firmer, narrower, and sleeker than a traditional inflatable kayak, but still has loads of room for gear. It handles pretty much like a hardshell kayak, you can reach speeds of 6MPH with it. This is a quality, high-performance inflatable kayak for intermediate & advanced paddlers, which is reflected by its price.
The Razorlite comes in 2 lengths, the 393rl for solo paddlers, and the 473rl for 2 people.
The Sea Eagle’s Razorlite represents the latest evolution of inflatable kayaks. It is the first-ever full dropstitch kayak, meaning every air chamber is built with dropstitch technology.
After trying the shorter version of the kayak (393rl), I got to see why this matters. It performs way better than traditional inflatable kayaks, but I’ll talk about this in detail below.
My review of the SE Razorlite will walk you through everything you need to know about the kayak, so let’s get started.
Features of the Razorlite Kayak
Even if you don’t know much about inflatable kayaks, when you look at the Razorlite, you know there is something special about it.
The sleek design and the thin walls tell it all.
The SE Razorlite is the founding member of a new era of inflatable kayaks, where every air chamber is dropstitch. These chambers are much thinner and much more rigid than traditional air bladders, totally changing the kayak’s handling characteristics.
It is fast and tracks well, just like a hardshell kayak.
The Sea Eagle Razorlite is made of 3 high-pressure dropstitch air chambers:
- floor chamber
- 2x wall chambers
The floor chamber is permanently attached to the sidewalls, so you can’t take it out as in traditional kayaks with drop-stitched floors.
What is dropstitch technology?
It is a way of building an air chamber where the bottom and top layers of the chamber are stitched together by tens of thousands of space threads. These threads holding the chamber together make it possible to inflate it to 10+ PSI.
Each chamber of the Razorlite inflates to 10 PSI, making the kayak stiff and rigid. The thickness of a dropstitch wall is just 4″.
In contrast with the large, hollow air bladders found on traditional inflatable yaks that inflate to just 1-3 PSI and have a 10″+ diameter, the difference is enormous.
The result is a much sleeker, narrower kayak body style.
The hull (bottom) of the Razorlite is innovative as well:
- The bow and stern ends are molded into a sharp line to cut through waves.
- The hull is concave on both ends. The water and air forced under the concave front hull lift the kayak’s nose, reducing water resistance. The rear concave hull is responsible for the clean exit of the water.
Sea Eagle does not make compromises with the materials they use to build their kayaks: the Razorlite is made of 1100 reinforced Decitex PVC, with overlapping seams. The air valves are Halkey-Roberts.
As with all Sea Eagle boats, the quality of construction is excellent.
Perhaps my only real complaint is the spray skirts in the front and rear. They are not supported and don’t have water flow restriction folds, so water that gets on them is free to pour into the cockpit. They are not useless, as most of the water splashes over them, but their design could be better.
Performance and handling
The sleek, long body and the specially designed hull make the Sea Eagle Razorlite track better than traditional inflatable kayaks. In fact, I would say it tracks like a hardshell kayak. A bold statement, indeed.
The removable skeg helps tracking but inhibits maneuverability. The kayak tracks fine without the skeg as well, though, thanks to the rigid bow & stern and the hull’s concave shape. Depending on where you’re paddling, you may not need to install it. Or you could trim 2-3″ off the skeg and get the best of both worlds.
But being much narrower than a standard inflatable yak also means that the Razorlite is not as stable as you might expect. It is not tippy per se, but not as stable as a 300x with a high PSI floor. It takes a bit of getting used to.
The hull has a hard chine design, where the sides meet the bottom hull at a sharp angle (instead of a round bottom). This design makes it feel slightly tippy because it doesn’t take much force to roll towards one side (primary stability), but after you reach the first 10-15° of the roll, it doesn’t tip further without considerably more force (secondary stability).
You can reach speeds of 6 MPH hard paddling the SE Razorlite, which is comparable to hardshell kayaks.
It is effortless to paddle and glide along with this kayak. Interestingly it takes a little more effort to turn than a hardshell, though, but nothing serious.
The SE Razorlite is not rated for whitewater and does not have self-bailing scupper holes. It has 2 drain holes, but you should not open them on the water since water will come through them.
The Razorlite includes a tall back seat with a rear pouch, which provides excellent support and is very comfortable at first.
However, being a full dropstitch kayak means the hull is rock hard, and the seat bottom does not have enough cushioning to keep your bumm comfortable on longer trips (1+ hours).
If you know you’ll be paddling for hours, then you should put an extra cushion onto the seat. Or even get a different seat.
The integrated footrest is adjustable, so you will be able to make it fit regardless of your height.
I am 6′ tall, and it was comfortable for me.
The enormous capacity and open design of the Razorlite means that you can take as much gear with you as you like. Capacity will never be a problem:
- The 393rl can carry 227 kg (500 lbs)
- The 473rl has a capacity of 340 kg (750 lbs!!!)
It is safe to take your dog with you in the Sea Eagle Razorlite. The robust material will not puncture from dog claws.
Setup and breakdown of the Razorlite
I timed it; it took my friend and me precisely 5 minutes to roll out and inflate the Razorlite 393rl with a dual-action hand pump (NRS Superpump 2).
Pumping is smooth till you get to 7 PSI. Getting to 10 PSI from there is a little more work, but nothing major. You don’t need an electric pump for this kayak.
It is rock solid after reaching 10 PSI.
After inflation, you still need to fiddle around with putting in the:
- foot brace
- plastic inserts
These take an extra few minutes, but I would say you can be on the water in a maximum of 10 minutes.
Here is a video of how to set up a Razorlite.
Deflation after drying the inside took 2 minutes; it was swift.
The problem was drying the inside of the boat, where the side meets the floor. There is a little space in between these chambers where water can get stuck. Even when you’re careful, some water will enter the cockpit off of the paddle blades.
The drain plugs in front of the skeg help, though.
To prevent molding, you always want to make sure your kayak is completely dry before packing it away for a long time.
If you can’t dry it entirely at the beach due to time constraints, unroll the kayak at home and leave it to dry.
The Razorlite package from Sea Eagle comes with everything you need to get on the water:
- repair kit
- carry bag.
The straps on the carry bag are adjustable.
There is also a ring to hang your seat and pump.
SE Razorlite 393rl vs. 473rl specifications
The main difference between the 393rl and the 473rl is that the shorter one is a single paddler kayak, and the larger one is a two-person kayak, also known as a tandem kayak.
Their specifications differ accordingly.
|Capacity||227 kg||340 kg|
|Dimensions||71 x 391 cm (folded: 56 x 56 x 30.5 cm)||76 x 473 cm (folded: 94 x 59 x 26 cm)|
|Weight||16 kg||20 kg|
|Air chambers||3 dropstitched||3 dropstitched|
|Vinyl||1100D reinforced PVC, quadruple overlapped seams||1100D reinforced PVC, quadruple overlapped seams|
Many solo-paddlers choose to get a tandem kayak because of the extra room they provide. Additional storage space is crucial not only when you want to take someone paddling but also when you want to go on multi-day trips and have some gear to take along.
What Razorlite users say
You can probably see that I really like this kayak, but I wanted to see what other customers though of it as well.
Their opinion was overwhelmingly positive, with pretty much everyone commenting on how well the kayak tracks. They loved the fact that at 28lbs, it is so much more portable than a comparable hardshell kayak, even though it performs and handles the same.
The main negative point other customers noted was that it takes some effort to fully dry out the kayak. I talk about this as well in the breakdown section above.
Another point they made was that due to the kayak’s rigidity, their rear end was sore in the seat after an hour. I experienced this as well, but I don’t think this is a dealbreaker. It can be solved with a cushion or a molded closed-foam seat.
All in all, everybody who left a Razorlite review was happy with the kayak.
The Manufacturer – Sea Eagle
Sea Eagle has been in business since 1968. It is family owned and operated from Long Island, USA.
I have only heard good things about the company. People rave about their customer service, and about how helpful they are both via email and on the phone.
This is not a Chinese manufacturer, that’s for sure…
A 3-year warranty covers the Sea Eagle Razorlite 393rl & 473rl against defects. It covers manufacturing faults, not regular wear and tear.
Opinion of the SE Razorlite 393rl & 473rl
The Sea Eagle Razorlite is truly the next generation of inflatable kayaks. It brings most of what is good about a hardshell, but puts it into a portable package.
It glides effortlessly in the water and is easy to paddle. You can also use it as a canoe if you wish. Tracking is excellent, even without the detachable skeg. Probably as good as a hardshell kayak.
If you have limited storage at home but want a hardshell kayaking experience, the SE Razorlite is an excellent choice.
In all honesty, the Razorlite might be the best inflatable kayak I’ve ever used.
Sea Eagle Razorlite 393 & 473
An inflatable kayak that can finally replace hardshells
Best full dropstitch kayak in 2021
The Razorlite is a fully dropstitched kayak. The high pressure (10psi) body and clever hull design means it performs like a harshell kayak, but is still portable as an inflatable should be. This is definitely one of the best kayaks I’ve ever paddled, and a contender for the best inflatable kayak of 2021.
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