NRS Outlaw II Whitewater Inflatable Kayak review by TBP

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    Lee Arbach TBP

    As some of you may be aware, NRS decided mid-way through 2012 that the Bandit series kayaks were becoming too expensive to produce, being made with pricey urethane material. They were discontinued and as of February we are out of both the tandem and solo Bandits. They have been replaced with this new pvc tandem Outlaw II, and a shorter solo model.
    Specs for NRS Outlaw II Inflatable Kayak

    Some specs are about the same as the Bandit tandem, like the tube diameter (10.5″) and the length (12’2″). However, two important details have changed along with the material. One is that the width has increased from about three feet wide on the Bandit, to a more portly 39″. More stable, but the trend to make wider, more user friendly boats doesn’t really help with hull speed. We have not paddled one just yet, so time will tell. A more important difference between this model and the discontinued Bandit tandem is that the new Outlaw drop stitch floor, while being stiffer, is only 4″ thick. This combined with the none too large side tubes means the weight capacity has decreased compared to the Bandit II. Every single time a 4″ floor is used on a tandem in the 12′ to 13′ size range, we have found that two large paddlers tend to incur a swampy ride. For more modest size people, the lower center of gravity will help, but we would suggest keeping the total payload to around 340 pounds, preferably with neither occupant being over 180. If we find out it will hold more when we have the chance to paddle one, we’ll let you know.

    A third difference in spec’s is that the Outlaw tandem weighs around 34 to 35 pounds, whereas the Bandit II was about 28.5. 34 pounds is still very light compared to most whitewater tandems though. The warranty is three years, and the color choice is between blue and dark orange. NRS says the tube fabric is 39 ounce per yard, which seems crazy high for an inflatable kayak, so we think this may be an error. The backrests remain the same rigid inflatable design of the 2011 & 2012 Bandits. They give you firm support in whitewater, though they are not ideal for upper back comfort. Our experience with the Bandits was that the inflatable backrests were good on day trips, but for multi-day excursions we wanted to use something like one of our Backsavers or a Crazy Creek-style chair in front of the inflatable thwart.

    Not to keep being nit-picky, but it is also important to note that there seems little chance the Outlaw solo or tandem will bail nearly as fast as the Bandits did, because the bail holes are mostly pinched off by the edge of the drop-stitch floor. Again, time will tell. We recently used a new i.k. we’re working on with Rocky Mountain, and it too had bail holes that were pinched off when viewed from the bottom. Yet it seemed to empty just fine.
    NRS Outlaw II Inflatable Kayak Chambers

    The Outlaw tandem has the standard three chambers plus the two thwarts, and uses Leafield’s easily changeable C-7 valve. There are four small D-rings (one pair each near the bow and the stern), a lift handle at each end, and the base fabric is 1000 denier. The backrests are removable and/or repositionable via straps running though pairs of bail holes. This must be done with the floor deflated. The rocker at both ends is about the same as the Bandit series had, around 16″.
    NRS Outlaw II Inflatable Kayak Price is GOOD NEWS

    Last, the good news is that the price is one of the lowest you can find on a tandem river kayak – only $745. Although the final price on the Bandit II had been lowered as a close-out item, it listed at almost $1,200 at the beginning of 2012. And for 2013, it no doubt would have increased another hundred bucks or so were it still in the NRS line up. If you get a chance to paddle one of these before we do let us know what you think, and let us know too how much weight you had in the boat.

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