Current Designs Caribou
The Caribou is a Greenland style boat made by Current Designs. It is a fast, straight-tracking boat that is perfect for long trips. For these reasons I chose the Caribou for our 11 day, 300 mile trip on the St. Johns River.
The Caribou has plenty of storage and packs out nicely. The hatch design is one of the best on the market and will keep your gear dry. I have paddled this boat through pounding surf, wind-blown spray, and rolled it many times. Each time the only water in the hatch was water that dripped off of the hatch cover as I opened it.
The Caribou is a member of the Current Design’s Greenland family which has three members. The Caribou is the middle-weight of the three and fits paddlers of a variety of sizes.
The Caribou is outfitted like many other Current Designs’ fiberglass boats, but for those of you not familiar with CD, let me tell you.
The seat has a plastic base and is supported by closed-cell foam blocks beneath. Back support is provided by a Current Designs backband.
The perimeter deck lines are Neoflect cord (a retroreflective cord). The Caribou has recessed deck fittings and deck bungies fore and aft.
The boat has hard chines and a shallow V hull. The hull is symmetrical with a beam of 21.5″ (54.61 cm) and a length of 17′ 8″ (538.48 cm).
How Does It Paddle?
I have spent many hours in the Caribou and paddled it on a 300 mile expedition, and it has never once failed me. It excels in straight tracking and paddles very well fully loaded. Even fully loaded, it still edges well. It has a storage capacity of 57 gallons (216.6 L).
To give perspective on the capacity of the boat, I can put one of Seal Line’s 20L Tapered Dry Bags behind the skeg box and still have room for my Thermarest and pillow to go behind the skeg as well.
In light chop the boat is unaffected when loaded and only bobs slightly when empty. In rough conditions, the Caribou is really able to shine. Maintaining a speed in rough water is no problem for the Caribou. It punches through waves and surfs following seas very well.
The relatively low deck profile makes it only mildly susceptible to windage. It only weathercocks gently even with a 10 mph beam wind (when loaded), but the skeg is sure to handle that.
Like any sea kayak, the Caribou handles better with 50+lbs. of gear inside it’s hatches. I have noticed that it handles best with about 75-85lbs. of gear. I have paddled it with 125lbs. of gear and it is surprisingly quick, but it is certainly short of spry or playful. The maximum capacity is 375lbs. of gear and paddler.
***Photo Gallery Coming Soon***