NRS Outlaw I Inflatable Kayak

NRS Outlaw I Inflatable Kayak
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Manufacturer: NRS
Shipping Weight: 35.00 lbs


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With NRS purchasing the Star brand line, which includes some kayaks, they decided to discontinue the Outlaw series. We were really not selling that many Outlaws due to the fairly low weight capacity (the inflatable floors were too thin and/or the side tubes were too small), so it doesn't seem a huge loss even though the construction quality was quite good. Unless there is some compelling reason you had to have a high pressure floor - which the Outlaw featured - your best bet is to look at the Tomcat solo model. All the original details follow just on the outside chance NRS changes their mind-

As some of you may be aware, NRS decided mid-way through 2012 that the Bandit series kayaks were becoming too expensive to produce, being made with pricey urethane material, so they were discontinued. They have been replaced with this new pvc Outlaw I, and a longer tandem Outlaw II that runs $100 more.

Specs for NRS Outlaw I Inflatable Kayak

Some specs are about the same as the old Bandit, like the tube diameter (10.5") and the length (9'10"). However, two important details have changed along with the material. One is that the width has increased by several inches from about 35.5" on the Bandit, to 39" on the Outlaw. This is wider than the NRS specs say, but it is what the solo model measures. Two other specs also vary from what NRS gives; see below.

Time will tell how this new boat compares to the solo Bandit, but perhaps a more important difference between the Outlaw & Bandit is the floor design. The Outlaw has a separate 4" thick drop stitch mattress sitting on a "sub-floor" instead of an integral I-beam floor. This means the bottom of the Outlaw is considerably flatter than the old Bandit or the current NRS MaverIK model, but the inflatable chamber is also thinner so the weight capacity is a bit lower than those two. The thinner drop-stitch floor also puts your gravity center lower than it was in the Bandit, and quite a bit lower than in NRS's MaverIK, so that's a good thing.

The Outlaw, regardless of it's low cost, should out-perform the MaverIK. The undersides of these two models could not be more different: pancake flat on the Outlaw, and deeply grooved on the MaverIK. And cross currents like to mess with the bottom of a MaverIK, long one of our least favorite solo inflatables. So cheap or not, we are looking forward to paddling an Outlaw and strongly suspect it will pivot & surf better than NRS's much more expensive hypalon product - and hang up on rocks far less.

The Outlaw solo is claimed to weigh 26 pounds but it's actually about 28.5 (our scale and two UPS scales put it at 29, 28, and 28-1/2 pounds). The pvc material is supposed to be 39 ounces per yard, which would mean it is as thick as the pvc on the bottom of one of AIRE's rafts. It's not, though it is plenty beefy for an IK. The actual ounce weight seems more like 25 to 26/yard. Also, a weight of 13 kilograms is printed on the outer cardboard box these come in, but that too is way off. There is a second inner box, and the cardboard alone totals over 7 pounds. The boxed weight is about 35 pounds, not 28.6 pounds which is what 13 kg. works out to.

NRS Outlaw I Inflatable Kayak Warranty

The warranty is three years, and the color choice is between blue and a nice orange - see up top. The backrests remain the same rigid inflatable design of the 2011 & 2012 Bandits. They give you firm support in whitewater, though they are not ideal for upper back comfort. Our experience with the Bandits was that the inflatable backrests were good on day trips, but for multi-day excursions we wanted to use something like one of our Backsavers or a Crazy Creek-style chair in front of the inflatable thwart.

NRS Outlaw I Inflatable Kayak Chambers

The Outlaw has the standard three chambers plus the thwart backrest, and uses Leafield's easily changeable C-7 valve. There are six small D-rings (four are used to hold the floor down via straps, but could also double as gear tie-down points), a strong lift handle at each end, and the base fabric is 1000 denier. The thick beefy end cones can deal with the worst of impacts. The backrest is removable and/or repositionable via straps running though pairs of bail holes. This must be done with the floor deflated. The rocker at both ends is about the same as the Bandit series had, around 16", and it's as much as you would ever want.

As mentioned above, the floor mat is partially held down by two straps. The front one might be a tempting place to hook your heels to if you are sitting far enough forward, but this could constitute an entrapment hazard. The reason we say "could" rather that "will" is that there is a simple ladder lock on the strap that you should be able to snag with your pinky finger and easily release. If not, there's always the river knife. But probably better to not do this at all. If you want to use thighstraps, you will either have to install four more D-rings, or run some rope or hoopi loops through bail hole pairs for attachments. The seat also connects this way, though it's straps are too loose from the factory so please tighten them befoe hitting the water.

We had worried a bit that this boat might have it's bail holes too pinched off by the drop-stitch floor mat. They are not pinched off at all, however, water inside the boat does have to take a rather long path to get to them (around the front and rear corners of the mat), so it's doubtful this will bail as fast as the MaverIK. Again, time will tell. The sub-floor is a bit loose under the drop-stitch mat, but your weight will push the mat down enough to keep most water from loitering underneath. Should you come out of the boat in a big hole though, we suspect water will not only get under the mat, but you may also find the floor trying to work it's way out even with the two straps.

Although you can inflate the floor mat to a very high pressure of about 8 p.s.i., good firmness is attained even at 2 to 3 p.s.i., so for the longevity of the mat and the comfort of your tushy - note that you are sitting directly on the drop-stitch mat - unless you are doing very demanding rivers it may be preferable to inflate it to more reasonable pressures.

For a solo whitewater IK the NRS Outlaw I has an astonishing amount of gear space, especially if you remove the seat. With the addition of some extra tie-downs, average height people will be able to run multi-day trips with ease. Just keep the total weight of yourself and your camp gear to around 230 - 240 pounds.

Good News - NRS Outlaw I Inflatable Kayak Pricing

Last, the good news is that the price is one of the lowest you can find on a one person river kayak - only $675 - far lower than the old Bandits. If you get a chance to paddle one of the Outlaws before we do let us know what you think, and let us know too how much weight you had in the boat.

*The price includes ground UPS to the lower 48, but our shopping cart will still try to charge for UPS. We will deduct it before capturing your credit card funds.

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Product Reviews

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Reviewed by TBPAdmin
06/14/2014 - 11:08:57 AM
NRS Outlaw IK, first release 2013 review by Mia
(TBP Admin posted for Mia Rice-Stone)

NRS Outlaw IK, first release 2013 review by Mia

After 30 years of hardshell kayaking, injuries forced me to find another means to stay on the rivers. I had tried several IK’s over the years, and had an idea of what I wanted. When the Outlaw came on the market, I thought it would be a good match. I didn’t like the AirForce, it felt too “corky” with a higher center of gravity than I wanted, but I loved the performance of an old Vista IK, with shaped tubes, a hard foam floor that had to be inserted under the thwart, footpegs and thighbraces.

The Outlaw seemed to have the qualities I wanted, portable, with a firm floor which provided the ability to quickly turn the boat, surf, catch smaller eddies, etc. I was looking for something that would keep me in Class 3, and maybe back to Class 4 water.

I have taken it down the South Fork American runs and found the extra stability a big plus, several holes that might have flipped me in my old boat were just a small brace in my IK. I thought I had found a great replacement, but it was hard on my back to paddle, and I had to work to stay forward. It was also very heavy and awkward to carry from the take out. I sewed a back pack that I could put my rolled up boat in, but that too was rather awkward, being so large, but an improvement.

I added a Bandit thwart for my foot brace, (I also have a soft cooler for long trips that I can use). My after-market thigh straps from the Boat People work great, and are attached to the small D ring for the seat back thwart and to the foot brace thwart strap. I didn’t need to attach the D rings for my thigh straps that I had purchased for securing the thigh braces, due to the extra thwart. I like the additional flotation the forward thwart provides in holes. The small space between that thwart and the nose cone is just right for strapping a small dry bag in. Either there, or behind my seat thwart. Both areas keep the gear tight to the boat so if I flip, I don’t have loose gear getting in the way of rolling my boat back over. Another bonus of the forward thwart and dry bag is that it is a great place for my 21# dog to hang out on easier rivers.

However, with my bad spine, my body position still caused a back strain, and I ended up missing the end of last fall’s boating season.

I just took my Outlaw out again for an easy overnight spring trip on the Sacramento River. All of my gear was on a raft, so I only had a mini dry bag, throw rope and my water bottle on board. Having never paddled flat water in the Outlaw, I was surprised how my friend in her 2012 NRS Bandit had a faster floating speed on the water (we are very close in weight), and she was sitting on her floor high and dry. I was sitting in over 3” of water, marinating my crotch in questionable river water. This hadn’t been a problem before, due to the dry pants I wear in whitewater, so I never noticed it. I sure did on this trip, and had to sit on my life vest to keep dry. I also noticed how the floor wasn’t as flat as advertised; it had a bow with the low point under me. Not so when I got in the Bandit. I can appreciate how my lower center of gravity helps in big water, but I felt that the extra work to paddle this boat vs the Bandit, and what felt like at least 12# extra carrying weight, not being able to easily sit with decent core posture, and sitting in water all the time was a big 4 strikes against my boat. I felt deflated.

I decided to call NRS to see if they had any ‘fixes’ for my sagging floor problem. I was thinking of using an old boxed wine Mylar bag inflated like a pillow to sit on. Much to my surprise and delight, they immediately offered to exchange a new boat for my old boat. I was told that the first production of the new Outlaws had my floor problem, and it was corrected. I am excited to try my new Outlaw and see if the higher floor does what I hope: keep me dry on calm water, increase hull speed due to flatter floor, easier to maneuver, and most of all, get me out of that hole so I can sit properly and not strain my back.

I will post my results when I get my new boat. I didn’t think to call The Boat People with my complaints, but if things had gone differently at NRS, they would have been my next call. I am confident that they would have helped me out, since they are representing NRS, along with a wide variety of brands. I have done business with them off and on for the last 28 years and have always been impressed with their vast knowledge of all types of inflatables, and their customer service has always been prompt and friendly. I love my thigh braces I got from them, and their suggestion of getting the Bandit thwart for a lower cost alternative to the foot braces (and softer) was a winner.

See you on the river,

Mia Rice-Stone