NRS OUTLAW 1 Review

Kayak Overview

Another inflatable kayak specifically made for whitewater. It’s stable, comfortable, and performs with excellence and most importantly of all, it’s affordable. The Outlaw is cheap considering it’s made for rougher waters, it’s a great alternative for people looking to get into whitewater rafting on a budget.

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The stability of the Outlaw makes it a great choice for beginners as well as professionals looking to get a whitewater kayak. The wide base provides a stable platform and the side tubes with their 10.5 inches makes it really hard for whitewater rivers to tip you over.

The floor is made out of a 4 inches thick drop stitch material, this means you can inflate the floor a much higher air pressure, making it almost feel rock solid. It’s also much thinner than your average kayak floor, which lowers the center of gravity, while increasing the stability even further. The drop stitch floor is removable for easy cleaning.

To make whitewater kayaking easier and more comfortable with the Outlaw, it’s recommended by NRS themselves to buy a set of thigh straps. The straps make it easier to control the kayak and will give you more leverage when paddling. Without the thigh straps, going down class 4 rivers can be quite difficult, so if you’re planning on going down some serious rapids, it’s highly recommended to buy thigh straps and foot braces.

The 18 inch rocker on the stern and bow helps the Outlaw go over and through waves, but don’t expect to have any fun paddling this in the ocean, we’re talking about waves that occur in rough whitewater rapids.The rocker helps tremendously, making it easy to maneuver swiftly through difficult terrain.

It comes with a thwart seat, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s comparable to an inflatable square. The seat can be placed anywhere on the kayak, making it easy for you to find that perfect spot.

The Outlaw is available in both solo and tandem versions, you’ll have to pay about $100 more to get the tandem version. They both come with a 3-year warranty.

Features

  • 4 inch thick drop stitch floor
  • 18 inch rocker at the bow and stern
  • Optional flip strap on the seat

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 118 inches in length (10 ft) , 37.5 inches (3 ft)
  • Capacity: 210 pounds
  • Weight: 26 pounds
  • Material: 1,000 Denier Drop Stitch Material

Our Review

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This is the second whitewater inflatable kayak we’ve gotten to try. As we did with the first one, we brought along our expert friend John to help us try it out fully. We do want to brag a little and say that we did actually manage to complete go down a class 4 river without falling over last time!

The cheap price tag is NOT justified (in a good way)

The Outlaw is actually quite cheap compared with other inflatable whitewater kayaks like the Lynx, and other more expensive but similar quality kayaks. But does this low cost mean there’s a lack of quality or performance? To be honest, we weren’t exactly expecting the best inflatable when we tried it out, after all it was several hundred dollars cheaper. But we can now safely say we had a blast with it, there’s not too many things to complain about really.

It’s very stable, even for beginners like us

Right from the bat we noticed that the Outlaw is very stable in the water. The drop stitch floor combined with the large inflatable side tubes make it really easy to sit safely in the kayak. Even with larger waves we never felt like we’re about to fall over. It’s hard to describe but it’s almost as you ride on top of the water most of the time, instead of in it. It feels like you’re gliding forward with little effort, something our friend John really enjoyed. Combine the large rocker with the flotation, you have a kayak that will ride over the waves instead of going right through them.

Drop stitch floor is a nice addition

The floor is a separate piece, which means it can be removed from the actual kayak. A feature we really appreciate since it makes for easier cleaning. No more spending hours trying to get into the small crevices between the tubes and floor, thank god! The floor is also pretty thin, which puts you at a lower riding position, giving you more stability. Because it’s drop stitched it can be inflated up to 10 PSI without running the risk.

Not versatile, stick to rivers!

As you might expect from a whitewater kayak, it’s best suited for rivers. The Outlaw is not versatile at all, the bottom part is totally flat which makes for some pretty poor tracking. Without any skegs or bow and stern molds you’ll have an extremely hard time trying to go straight, and that’s on a calm day on a flat water lake… We don’t even want to imagine how hard it must be on a windy day.

The thwart seat offers poor back support

One thing we didn’t enjoy very much on the kayak was the thwart seat, it almost doesn’t provide any back support at all. We shouldn’t be very surprised though, as it’s basically a small inflatable box. John, the whitewater kayaker, told us however that the majority of seats for whitewater inflatables offer little to no back support. We were told that these seats are designed to be this way, they are much more functional and help with easy maneuvering. If you desperately need a seat with better back support it’s easy to replace the thwart seat with a higher seat.

“Might” be too light for bigger water

At the end of the day we asked what John thought of it. He loved it too, seems he was most surprised by the price rather than the actual performance. The only thing that bothered him was the size and weight. According to him, the size and weight makes it easy for bigger water to knock a beginner over. Funnily enough we didn’t feel the same, and that’s coming from two beginners. Maybe it’s all the years of experience John has or the fact that we’ve only tried one other whitewater inflatable.

Pros

  • VERY affordable for a whitewater kayak
  • Lightweight and highly portable
  • Easy to maneuver and control in water

Cons

  • Seats leave more to be desired
  • Tracks poorly (but who needs tracking in a whitewater river?)

Conclusion

If you’ve been contemplating about getting into whitewater kayaking but have been deterred by the high prices, give the Outlaw a chance. The price is very competitive but features and specs are pretty much the same as kayaks in that price range. It’s lightweight and highly portable, making it ideal in situations where your local whitewater river needs a little hike.

If you want an affordable,  durable, lightweight and maneuverable whitewater yak, you’ve found it. Seriously, you can’t find a better kayak suited for whitewater at this price.

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