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Hurricane Excursion 128 Review

Posted by on August 28, 2012

The Deets:

Material: Thermoformed ABS Plastic (Trylon)

Class: Hybrid Day Touring (Light Touring)

Length: 12’ 8”

Width: 25.5”

Weight: 47 lbs

Cockpit Size: 38 x 21 inches

Capacity: 275 lbs

Hull Type: Moderate U-Shaped

Hatches/Bulkheads: Bow and Stern

Rudder/Skeg: No Option

MSRP: $1199

The Review:

Hurricane Aqua Sport made an excellent addition to their lineup of hybrid-day touring (light touring) kayaks this Spring with the addition of the Excursion 128. This model was brought on to replace the Expedition 128 and I’m happy to report that the drastic design changes resulted in a far superior craft!

The Hurricane Excursion 128 is 12ft, 8in long and has a beam of 25.5in which places it firmly in the light-touring class. Like all Hurricane kayaks it’s constructed of thermal-formed ABS plastic called Tryon. In general, thermal-formed plastic is as durable, more UV/ heat resistant, lighter, and stiffer than the traditional polyethylene used in roto-molded kayaks. With that said, the gauge (thickness) of the Trylon used across the Hurricane lineup tends to be less than that used by other thermal-formed manufacturers such as Eddyline. This translates into a lighter but more flexible and, therefore, slightly less efficient craft. Surprisingly, The Excursion 128 weighs in at 47lbs which is not super light for a thermal-formed kayak in this class but still manageable to shoulder and car-top.

I’ve found the Excursion 128 to be worlds ahead of the old Expedition 128 in respect to both tracking and efficiency. Despite only having ~12ft of waterline, the Excursion 128 tracks as if it’s on rails. This is in stark contrast to the Expedition 128 which had more than some difficulty going straight! The Excursion 128 hull also displays a more moderate U-shaped design with reduced beam and volume when compared to the Expedition 128. These positive changes become evident in just how much easier and efficient it is to paddle! The trade-off is a slight reduction in primary stability but this was hardly evident after 10 minutes of paddling and adds to the improved speed. Overall, the hull dynamics of the Excursion 128 are fairly comparable to the Current Design Vision 120SP and the Epic GPX. However, the $1199 MSRP may make the Excursion 128 an attractive alternative to these composite models for folks who need to mind their wallet!

Unfortunately, many of the flaws in the Excursion 128 can be found in the outfitting. I’m a big fan of the generous (but not overly so) cockpit size which allows you to retain that feeling of “wearing the kayak” without feeling jammed into it. However, the seat and thigh-braces need some work. I found that the seat used in the Excursion 128 is less comfortable (more rigid) than earlier Hurricane seats and sub-par when compared to others on the market. The seat-back raises a good 4-5 inches above the cockpit rim and it really gets in the way when attempting re-entry. The thigh-braces are simple, sticky-backed, foam pads which match the “hybrid feel” of the cockpit but could be replaced by more contoured and performance-oriented pads to take this boat to the next level. My final note on the outfitting highlights the exceptionally small (day-hatch-sized) forward hatch opening which impedes proper access to that space for gear storage. A standard-sized front hatch should be considered on future iterations of this craft.

Most of my paddling in the Excursion 128 has been on flat water in light conditions. It’s clear that the Excursion 128 excels in this sort of environment and would be well-suited for beginner and intermediate paddlers looking to explore lakes, rivers and estuaries. Based on its exceptional tracking and good stability, I’m confident that this craft would also perform well in light, near-coastal conditions. The minimal rocker makes me feel like it could become a wet and bumpy ride if conditions got too big (2-3ft seas, maybe). The addition of a nylon spray deck could help compensate for this at bit. Overall, the Excursion 128 is very nice to paddle and offers a great alternative to the Current Design Vision 120SP for budget-minded paddlers!

-Kayak Dave

Pros: Affordable price point, excellent tracking and efficiency, good cockpit size, Made in USA

Cons: Sub-par cockpit outfitting (especially the seat), small front hatch opening impedes access

Demo Notes: I have test paddled the Excursion 128 exclusively in calm, flat water conditions.

Kayak Dave Rating:

6 Responses to Hurricane Excursion 128 Review

  1. Alan

    Hi Dave. Just wondering what you thought of its maneuverability. I used to have an Expedition 128 that I really liked, but had to return it due to warranty issues, and decided to replace it with a Santee 126 (I also have a Tampico 140L, so I figured a straight rec boat would be a better replacement). Also, have you paddled a Santee 135? Again, I’m interested in how they compare from a maneuverability standpoint. Thanks!

    • arrudad

      Hi Alan:

      I’m a big fan of the Excursion 128 as a recreational/ transitional touring kayak. If I’m not mistaken the Excursion 128 replaced the Expedition 128 in the Hurricane lineup this past year. However, they’re two completely different kayaks with the Excursion 128 being faster, less primary stability, and more maneuverability than the old Expedition 128. In fact, the Excursion 128 has great maneuverability relative to all of the other models you’ve listed above. This has a lot to do with its excellent secondary stability, narrower beam, and the snugger cockpit which helps to make you “one with the kayak” for easier edging. The Santee 135 is a straight tracker but slower and with more primary stability than the Excursion 128. I find the Santee 135 to be less maneuverable due to its tracking and the fact that the cockpit is much larger and more “recreational” thus inhibiting edging technique. As always, the best thing to do is to locate these kayaks in your area and see if you can set up an on-the-water demo to juxtapose them. This will give you the best sense for how these kayaks compare and react to your personal paddling technique.

      Happy Paddling!

      -Kayak Dave

      • Alan

        I thought that the Santee 135 would have a smaller cockpit than the Excursion, being 23.5 inches wide, 2 less than the Excursion (which you’re right, by the way; it replaced the Expedition 128). The website says that the Santee is based on the Tampico, so I was (now it appears, wrongly) expecting it to be a smaller Tampico (I really like my Tampico, by the way), without a lot of primary stability (I just finally got comfortable with it this summer so now I’m really enjoying it). You weren’t perhaps talking about the 126, were you? That’s why I got rid of it- too wide, which I can’t deal with anymore. I definitely plan on testing them when the time comes, but it’s fun to think about in the meantime. Thanks for your response.


      • arrudad

        Hi Alan:

        Yes, you are correct. The Santee 135 is based on the Tampico and is 2 inches narrower than the Excursion 126. I was mistaken and my above comments refer to my experience with the Santee 126; a much wider, more recreational kayak. I’ve paddled all of the Tampicos (big fan of the 140s in particular) but I’ve yet to paddle the Santee 135 so I’m not prepared to comment on how they compare. My intuition leads me to believe that the Excursion 128 would still be more maneuverable considering length and the hull shape but it would certainly be interesting to try the Excursion 128, Santee 135, and Tampico 140 all back to back to see how they compare!

        -Kayak Dave

  2. Alan

    A good friend of mine has the 140S. I can get in it, but can’t move at all. The 140L fits me perfectly. I’ll probably be getting rid of it down the road, for the Expedition 128 or Santee 135, because I also want to get a more stable Tracer when it comes out. I originally had a Tracer but it scared the hell out of me sometimes. People say they get used to its perceived twitchiness, but I never could. I’ve spoken with Hurricane and they told me that they’re going to come out with a smaller and larger Tracer that is more stable and a bit wider(“dumbed down” is how Jon put it). Last I heard it probably won’t be until late next year, or early 2014 (I’ll know more when I see them again at our kayak show next March). But with a Tracer and Expedition or Santee, I don’t think I’ll have any use for the Tampico. If I were to have room for 3 boats, I might keep it anyway, because I like it so much. Had no trouble keeping up with a longer boat in a confused bay last summer.

    Anyway, thanks again for your input.


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