The Sea Eagle 473rl RazorLite kayak is a high-speed, high-performance tandem inflatable kayak that should definitely be on your radar.
Constructed using industry-defining manufacturing techniques, and incorporating the outstanding features and improvements that characterize all of Sea Eagle’s inflatable kayaks, the 473rl takes tandem kayaking to a whole new level.
It’s important to remember from the start that the 473rl is definitely not a kayak for beginners. As with Sea Eagle’s smaller 393rl RazorLite, the 473rl’s design results in a high-performance kayak with handling characteristics unlike any other inflatable out there, and you can rest assured that this is one inflatable kayak that will demand a little bit more from you.
Sea Eagle 473rl RazorLite Rating
Sea Eagle 473rl RazorLite Review – Kayak Overview
Probably the first thing you’ll notice about the 473rl is just how thin the walls are. Most inflatable kayaks have wide tubes for stability and support, but Sea Eagle chose to follow a different route when they designed the RazorLite series. Utilizing the same technology they pioneered on the floors of their hugely popular Explorer and FastTrack ranges, Sea Eagle has created the world’s first inflatable kayak that features 100% drop stitch (DS) construction for the hull. This results in a faster, sleeker inflatable kayak with better handling characteristics and a whole new look.
A lot of people aren’t familiar with how drop stitch chambers are constructed, and because this is really what makes the 473rl such a revolution in the industry, it’s worth a quick look.
In simple terms, the drop stitch chambers consist of two layers of fabric joined firmly together by many thousands of high-tensile threads that prevent the walls from inflating beyond a certain distance. Once the chambers have expanded to their maximum volume, they are physically prevented from going any further, and the pressure within them begins to build up.
This leads to yet another defining feature of the RazorLite range: these are extremely high-pressure inflatable kayaks. In comparison with the rest of the Sea Eagle inflatable kayak lineup which inflate from between 1.1 to 3.2 psi, the 473rl inflates to an amazing 10 psi – unheard of in this kind of boat.
This high pressure means that the walls of the 473rl are extremely rigid, which in turn allows Sea Eagle to utilize a unique and effective straight hull design – another industry first. The maximization of a straight hull at the waterline means that the hull is as streamlined as possible, reducing unwanted drag and improving the speed and performance of the kayak.
Sea Eagle has also used their unique double concave hull design, made possible by a molded bow and stern. Not only does the molded bow cut through waves a bit like a torpedo while water flows around the stern with hardly a ripple, but the shape actually forces air into the symmetrically concave hull, creating high-pressure pockets of air that force the 473rl higher and higher out of the water, reducing drag even further.
The 473rl RazorLite’s hull is made of 1100 Decitex reinforced material, Sea Eagle’s material of choice when engineering hulls for their high-performance inflatable kayaks. It’s super durable against abrasions and piercings, as well as being sun resistant and saltwater compatible. The seams on the hull of the 473rl are overlapped, and because of the nature of the DS chambers, the 473rl is one of Sea Eagle’s best performing inflatable kayaks to date.
The three chambers of the hull (walls and floor) are each fitted with Sea Eagle’s popular recessed one-way valves. The valves aren’t small, so you’ll soon be inflating the 473rl well within a quarter hour.
The 473rl only has two open/close drain valves to stay dry inside, but that’s all it needs. The bow and stern spray skirts are generous on the 473rl, and they each contain an ergonomically designed carry handle. Hardcore inflatable kayaking purists sometimes argue that the handles are the most important part of the boat, because what good is an inflatable kayak if it can’t be picked up and carried?
The 473rl has a top speed of more than 3 knots and performance undreamed of in an inflatable kayak just a few years ago. Also, the hull of the 473rl tips the scales at only 38 lbs.
There are 14 stainless steel D-rings on the 473 RazorLite’s hull — more than enough to fasten two chairs and two footrests. The footrests are another nice touch from Sea Eagle. Although not everyone uses them, they really can firm you up when you’re paddling hard, and they’re adjustable for height.
There’s also a removable skeg that you may or may not need, and because it’s only 7″ long, you can go paddle in even the shallowest waters. Also, the skeg does more than just keep the prow true: the reflex technology that Sea Eagle employs actually contributes to the 473rl’s forward propulsion.
Unusual for Sea Eagle, the 473rl is not one of the most versatile inflatable kayaks in the world. It’s really designed for speed and high performance, so don’t expect to hoist a sail or strap an outboard on this particular model.
With an inflated exterior length of 15’5″ (interior 14’8″) and a beam of 29″ (25″ at the waterline), the 473rl is sleekly available in only two packages: The Pro and the Pro Carbon.
Sea Eagle supplies both packages with two Tall Back Seats, the skeg, the footrest, a repair kit, a hand piston pump, and their usual convenient carrybag. The difference in the kits lies in the paddles: with the Sea Eagle 473rl RazorLite Pro Package you’ll get two AB40s (8′, 4-part, 2.92 lbs.), while the Sea Eagle 473rl RazorLite Pro Carbon configuration gives you the AB50s (8′, 2-part, 2.41 lbs.).
Nearly everyone we hear about who’s paddled the 473rl has loved it. More than a few kayakers have expressed doubt about the 473rl’s stability their first time on the water, but they’ve all discovered that it’s really not a factor after adjusting to the kayak. Everyone agrees — the 473rl is really exciting to paddle.
With a capacity of almost 750 lbs., the Sea Eagle 473rl will easily carry two adults and a fair amount of gear. Not that you’ll need the storage, as the 473rl isn’t really intended to be a cruising kayak. It’s crafted for professionals who want to train hard, race, or just push themselves a little more than the average inflatable will allow.
And when the day is over and it’s time to pack the 473rl away, the kayak folds up small enough (30″x19″x9″) to slide into the convenient bag and fit in the trunk of your car – what else would you expect from Sea Eagle?
So, depending on what you’re looking for in an inflatable kayak, the Sea Eagle 473rl RazorLite could be the perfect choice. If you are looking for industry-shattering design, top-shelf build quality, and the most innovative high-performance features on the market today, then the 473rl inflatable kayak would make a great buy.