The new Escape from Formula Kayaks is a nicely outfitted recreational/touring hybrid from Mid-Canada Fiberglass, the long-established builders of Scott Canoes. The same company built a giant model flying saucer for the Northern Ontario hamlet of Moonbeam, so perhaps it’s no wonder they had the know-how to pull off a surprisingly sleek and quick 13.5-foot kayak.

Nobody will get claustrophobic in the Escape’s generous cockpit. With no hatch or bulkhead in the front half of the boat, there’s miles of room for long legs, enormous feet, snacks and cameras. You can easily stow a drybag in the bow for extra gear on overnight trips. Combine that with 85 litres in the watertight rear hatch and you’ve got space for as much stuff as you’d want to schlep above the high-tide line.

Slim paddlers can easily pad out the hips and moulded fibreglass thigh braces for a secure, high-performance fit. The fibreglass seat, however, is a tad reminiscent of the bolted-down furniture in fast-food restaurants and won’t agree with everyone. You’re likely to want extra padding even though the seat is already perched several centimetres above the floor. This seat’s better half is the soft Immersion Research backband with its ratcheted, ski boot-style buckle.

On the water, the broad, shallow-v hull makes a stable platform great for birdwatching, photography, and other serene pursuits. Putting a moderate tilt onto the boat’s multi-chine side gives it a second keel with a shorter waterline, enabling quick, neatly carved outside turns.

The sturdy, retractable rudder is easily deployed by a pull-cord just to the right of the cockpit without a clumsy backward reach. But since there’s no cleat on the deck to secure the pull-cord, the rudder tends to rise and stay out of the water when it bumps over seaweed or logs. We also found it hard to get the rudder to sit back into the narrow groove that’s moulded into the rear deck for this purpose. A cradle to hold the rudder on the deck would eliminate play in the foot pedals along with the need for the bulky weather stripping that’s been added to prevent it from scratching the fibreglass. The rudder is optional and the Escape tracks well without it in all but the strongest crosswinds. On edge, the boat turns at least as fast without the rudder as with, so paddle the boat before you fork out the extra 22 percent for this add-on.

With features like recessed deck fittings, molded gutters for draining around the cockpit, a metal security bar behind the cockpit for attaching a cable-lock, comfy suitcase-style grab handles, and bungy cords forward of the foot pedals to keep them from sliding off the rails, the Escape has all the bells and whistles of its higher-volume touring cousins in a size that’s more suitable for luxury-laden day trips and weekend excursions. You also get the light weight, smooth finish and clean lines of a fibreglass boat in a user-friendly design usually reserved for plastic.


  • Length: 13 ft 6 in
  • Width: 24.5 in
  • Mid-ship depth: 12 in
  • Weight: 36 lbs
  • Cockpit: 32.5 x 18 in
  • Carrying capacity: 240 lbs
  • Rear hatch volume: 85 L
  • MSRP: $1,799 CAD without rudder; $2,195 CAD with rudder

Screen_Shot_2015-06-29_at_9.39.17_AM.pngThis article first appeared in the Fall 2002 issue of Adventure Kayak magazine. For more boat reviews, subscribe to Adventure Kayak’s print and digital editions here.

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