Pelican Rise 100X Recreational Kayak Review: All You Need to Know

Pelican Rise 100X is the most affordable of Pelican’s 10 ft boats. With its basic Ergobase seat, no thigh pads and only one non-waterproof storage hatch in the back, it is a no-frills package for those on a budget.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Very stable
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Limited storage
  • Does not come with a paddle
  • Basic seat
  • No thigh pads

Pelican International is well known for its beginner-level recreational kayaks. It seems like everywhere you go to paddle, you see a couple of Pelicans on the water.

In this review, we will look at Pelican’s most affordable 10 ft kayak, the Rise 100X.

Size and Weight

The Pelican Rise 100X is 10 ft (305 cm) long and 28 in. (71 cm) wide and has a deck height of 14 in. (36 cm). The kayak weighs 38 lb (17.4 kg). The Rise is a little heavier than Pelican’s other popular models such as the Argo 100X and the Trailblazer 100 NXT, which weigh in at 36 lb (16.3 kg) and 35.6 lb (16.2 kg), respectively. Not a big difference, but still something to bear in mind.

Capacity

The Rise has the same capacity as Pelican’s other 10 ft models, 275 lb (125 kg). Remember that this includes you, your clothes, your gear and your paddle, so if you’re a bigger person you might need a bigger boat, too.

Construction and Material

The Pelican Rise 100X is made by thermoforming. This is a process where a mold is pressed into a heated sheet of plastic.

A video from Pelican International showing how their kayaks are made
Another video from Pelican explaining the manufacturing processes behind its kayaks

Pelican uses multilayer polyethylene plastic called RAM-X. It is pretty durable and impact-resistant. It also regains shape easily in case of deformation.

Pelican also stresses that it uses a lot of recycled plastic for its boats and recycles over 90 percent of leftover plastic from its production. If you are an environmentally conscious person (which we all should be), this is important to know.

Cockpit

In terms of cockpit size, the Rise looks better than both the Argo and the Trailblazer. Its generous cockpit is 54.8 in. (139 cm) long and 25 in. (63.5 cm) wide. For comparison, the cockpit of the Argo 100X is 50 in. (127 cm) by 24.5 in. (62.2 cm). The Trailblazer 100NXT has the cockpit size of 42.5 in. (108 cm) x 20.5 in. (52 cm). While in most cases even the Trailblazer will be roomy enough given the limited capacity of the boats, a larger cockpit still means more comfort getting in and out of the boat.

Seat

The Rise 100X comes with Pelican’s Ergoform™ adjustable backrest and the basic Ergobase™ seat. Generally, it provides enough comfort during what the boat was designed for: short trips on small bodies of water. The Trailblazer also has the Ergobase™ seat, while the Argo features a little more advanced Ergoform™ seat with more cushioning and some ventilation.

Thigh Pads

The kayak has no thigh pads which add a lot of comfort while paddling. Unless you are really on the budget, we recommend spending a little to get a model that has them. Unfortunately, Pelican does not sell the thigh pads separately (which they should).

Footrests

Pelican Rise 100X has molded footrests with four different positions. These are useful if you have different people using the kayak because they need no adjustment. However, the positions are about 5 inches apart, and if your ideal length is in between, you’re out of luck. Adjustable footrests that are used on more advanced models let you set the footrests exactly where you want them. Again, this is no big deal on short trips that the boat is designed for.

Paddle Holder

The Rise does not have a dedicated paddle holder. This is not a problem in most cases but sometimes you want to put your paddle away and take a short break. Normally you would just put the paddle shaft across the cockpit but the problem is it can roll back and forth (sometimes even rolling off the boat). That can be annoying.

Some other models, such as the Argo or the Mustang, have two small indentations on the rim of the cockpit to solve this problem. A tiny but useful comfort feature.

Storage

Pelican Rise 100x does not offer a lot of storage. There’s a bungee on the front deck, a kind of table with a small open compartment in front of the paddler, and a hatch with another bungee in the back. The hatch is not waterproof, so there is no dry storage in the boat.

There is also a bottle holder between the paddler’s legs. It’s tilted, so it won’t hold an open container such as a coffee a cup or soda can. Water bottles are fine.

Handles

Pelican Rise 100X comes with two carrying handles, one in the front and one in the back. These are useful as you can just grab a handle and drag the boat to or from the water. However, because the kayak is so lightweight (38 lb or 17.4 kg), you can easily put your shoulder inside the cockpit and carry the boat around without scratching the hull.

Another important point: if you transport the kayak on top of your car, do not use the handles to strap the boat to the car. The handles are not designed to resist forces like that. Instead, Pelican recommends that you buy a couple of S-shaped steel hooks (sold at most hardware stores) and put those in the holes where the handles are attached. Also, don’t forget two lateral straps to secure the boat.

Stability

The Pelican Rise 100X has a multichine twin-arch hull (here’s a page on Pelican’s website explaining different hull types) which gives it a lot of stability on calm water. This hull shape is ideal for recreational kayaking as long as you stay away from white water or big waves, which you should in this kayak.

Pelican even shot a video to show how stable its kayaks are:

A short video demonstrating the stability of Pelican’s kayaks.

Maneuverability and Tracking

The Pelican Rise 100X is a short boat. It is very easy to turn and it will be especially useful on smaller rivers and creeks where a longer boat would be harder to handle.

On the flip side, shorter boats do not track as well. They are susceptible to winds and waves and are harder to keep on course. If you’re just paddling around on a small lake (which recreational kayaks like that are designed for in the first place), you’ll be just fine. On longer trips, you’ll want a kayak that tracks better, which means a longer kayak.

Speed

In general, the longer the boat, the faster it will be (there’s some advanced physics behind that which we will not delve into). 10 ft boats are not fast, and neither is Pelican Rise 100X. You will have enough speed to paddle small lakes and rivers and have a lot of fun on the water. But if you plan to go on longer trips, cover large distances or do kayak camping, you might want to look at longer boats (these are normally referred to as touring kayaks).

Durability

In general, polyethylene kayaks are very durable. Pelican uses a layered sheet polyethylene that it calls RAM-X and prides itself on the toughness and durability of its boats. They even shot a series of short videos to demonstrate how indestructible their kayaks are:

A short video called the Toughest Kayak where they drop several kayaks to see how they resist impact.
Another short video from Pelican where they drive an SUV over several kayaks. You won’t believe how tough these boats are.

In any case, it is good practice not to drag your kayak on hard surfaces such as concrete boat launches, stones, gravel etc. Even though the kayak is impact resistant, it is not extremely abrasion resistant, and you can literally rub a hole in it by dragging it around too much.

Due to the boat’s low weight, you should not have any problems carrying it to the water. If that is not an option, consider using a kayak cart. This will prolong your kayak’s life considerably.

Care

Polyethylene kayaks require very little care and maintenance. However, there are some basic rules to follow:

INSPECT THE HULL FOR DAMAGE. As strong as it may be, your kayak’s hull can be damaged by abrasion or sharp objects. Holes and cracks in a polyethylene hull can be tricky to fix and usually require heat and patches (see some instructions here and here).

The hull can also be deformed during off-season storage. In that case, some heat (such as from the sun) will usually be enough to return the hull to its shape.

CHECK THE RIGGING. Bungee cords and other hardware on your kayak can deteriorate from time and the sun. It is a good idea to inspect everything before the season and replace anything that’s damaged or worn.

KEEP IT DRY AND CLEAN. Your kayak does not have to shine, but it’s a good idea to rinse or spray it after each use, and then let it dry. This will not let the mold grow and will decrease abrasion from the sand. Also, if you paddle in the sea, rinse the boat off with fresh water to stop corrosion from the salt.

STORE AWAY FROM THE SUN. Direct sunlight is harmful to almost any plastic. Leaving your boat under the sun for a few days is OK, but in the off-season, try to find a place indoors or at least cover the kayak from the sun.

COVER THE COCKPIT. If you store the kayak outside, covering the cockpit will keep the rain, dust, and mice/spiders/whatever away. Make sure the cockpit is completely dry before you cover it.

TRANSPORT WITH CARE. A lot of the damage occurs when the kayak is being transported. Take extra care when putting it on and taking it off your vehicle.

Warranty

Pelican offers a limited lifetime warranty on its RAM-X™, RAM-X PREMIUM™ and POLY-XR™ boats (hull and deck) and a 1-year warranty on product component parts and accessories.

IMPORTANT: Pelican’s website says the warranty applies only if you register for it within 30 days following the date of purchase. Registration can be done either via their website (click here) or by completing and returning the registration card found in your owner’s manual.

You can find the complete terms and conditions of the warranty on Pelican’s website here.

Alex Buchnev

Alex loves kayaking, fishing, and all things outdoors. When he's not out there in the wild, he's probably typing away at his laptop or trying to be the world's best father for his two lovely daughters.

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