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Bluefin Scout Inflatable Kayak – Test and Review

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Manufacturer and Model: Bluefin Scout
List Price: $349


Summary

Bluefin SUP has been making inflatable paddle boards for years. They have a reputation for making stiff boards with good value. The Scout and Ranger are their first attempts at inflatable kayaks. The Scout is an entry level solo kayak. The Ranger is a bit more premium and comes as a tandem.

The Scout comes as a complete package with an aluminum paddle, hand pump, and bag. Everything you need to hit the water except maybe a PFD.

The Scout retails for $350 and is available directly from Bluefin SUP. You can also find it on Amazon.

What we liked:

  • The seat has good back support and a comfortable inflatable bottom
  • The overall package is lightweight and easy to carry
  • The kayak is easy to turn and maneuver even for beginner paddlers

What we didn’t like:

  • The paddle uses SUP blades instead of kayak blades
  • It doesn’t feel as stiff as an inflatable kayak with drop stitch floor

Specifications

  • Size – 10′ 11″ x 35″ x 13″
  • Weight Capacity – 330 lbs
  • Board Weight – 25.3 lbs
  • Construction – PVC
  • Paddle – 3 Piece Aluminum
  • Pump – Double Action Hand Pump

Bluefin Scout Features

Let’s dig into the details of the Scout.

6 – Warranty

Bluefin gives a 5 year warranty on their inflatable SUPs and kayaks. Sea Eagle only gives you a 3 year warranty. Most things you will find on Amazon only give you a 1 year warranty, and good luck trying to actually claim it.

6 – Construction

The Scout uses PVC construction with a soft polyester outer layer. The kayak has 3 air chambers. 2 side chambers and a floor chamber. They all inflate to 1.5 psi. There is no drop-stitch floor so the kayak won’t feel super stiff.

The front of the kayak has a small zipper pocket. The bag has a mesh pocket. There are several handles on the sides, and one in the front and back. There is a drain plug at the back.

The kayak has 1 removable fin that uses a slide in mount. The bottom protective layer is not that tight, making the kayak look a bit sloppy.

10 – Accessories

The Scout comes with a bag, paddle, inflatable seat, hand pump, and a waterproof phone case. Everything is about what you would expect to find in a $350 kayak package. The paddle is the only exception.

Bag

A padded bag is included that has a zipper pocket on the front that is good for the fins and any accessories. It has some side pockets that will fit the paddle blades. It has some padded backpack straps on the back. It doesn’t have wheels.

The overall package only weighs 40 lbs so it’s not too heavy to carry around as a backpack.

Paddle

The paddle is 3 pieces with an aluminum shaft and nylon blades. They put drip cups on the blades. The shafts have a series of holes, so you can adjust the length and the feathering angle. The paddle feels sturdy. It does feel a bit on the heavy side.

One place where Bluefin took a shortcut on this is that they used SUP paddle blades instead of kayak paddle blades. Even an Intex Explorer, which costs less than half the Scout, has kayak shaped paddle blades. There really is no good excuse for why Bluefin did this.

Inflatable Seat

The included seat has a much higher seat back than the generic kayak seat that most low end inflatable kayak come with. The bottom is inflatable, giving you more cushion than 1/2 inch of foam. It also raises you a little higher off the floor for a more comfortable leg position. Seat comfort is one of the best things about the Scout.

Hand Pump

The pump is a basic double action hand pump that uses a plug to change modes. It includes the 2 end fittings you will need to inflate the kayak. One for the 3 main chambers and a smaller fitting for the seat bottom. It works. You only need to inflate the kayak to 1.5 psi which isn’t that hard.

That being said, I prefer electric pumps and never use hand pumps. I used the Bluefin E-Swift pump to inflate the kayak. I used the hand pump to inflate the seat because the fitting on the E-Swift doesn’t quite fit the seat fitting. It’s very easy to inflate the seat well above 1.5 psi with just a few pumps.

You can read our review of the Bluefin Swift-E pump to learn more about this electric pump.

9 – On the water

The Scout is fun and easy to paddle. You will feel some flex in the floor when going over waves and chop. The Scout is happiest on flat water such as lakes and bays. It is not an ocean kayak made for unprotected waters. It’s a lot of fun just taking a relaxing cruise around.

It is stable enough that any first time kayaker will feel comfortable on it. It’s 35 inches wide, giving it good stability. At just under 11 feet long and 35 inches wide, this is not going to be a speed demon. It is good for relaxed paddling and hanging out with friends on the water. It’s short enough to be good for exploring marinas, streams, and other places where a touring kayak is too big.

The tracking is good with the fin attached. The kayak still turns really easily. A beginner who tried our Scout had no trouble turning it and getting it to go where they wanted.

The paddle is the one notable weak spot for the Scout package. Beginner kayakers who tried our Scout didn’t notice how poor the SUP blade paddle felt. When me and another experienced kayaker tried it out, it was immediately noticeable how weird the paddle felt. The blade just doesn’t feel like you get that much pull for each paddle stroke.

The clamps joining the paddle sections are also right where you naturally want to put your hands. The grip markings on the paddle are too close to the center to paddle efficiently.

Recommendation – Buy or No Buy?

The Bluefin Scout is fun to paddle and easy to transport and store. It’s got some upgrades over cheaper kayaks, such as the seat, padded bag, and 5 year warranty. They should have put kayak blades on the paddle, which is the one obvious miss. Overall, it’s a good value for $350.

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Ryan Craig
Co-Founder & Chief Editor

I am a total gear nerd and love learning how things work and thinking about how they could be improved. Nothing excites me more than trying out new gear. I’d rather spend 3 hours taking my bike apart and learning how to change something than go to a bike shop. These days, I reside in Michigan by the Great Lakes and go skiing, biking, and boating as much as possible. Visit our About Us page and learn more.

ryan@lowbudgetadventurer.com

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