My least favorite memory of a Current Designs Solstice GT is an image of a lime green boat rested against my own, both rising and falling in a stomach-churning morning swell, its occupant spewing eggs Benedict across my lap. My fondest memory is of that same boat and paddler three days later, charging skilfully through a sea of whitecaps.
I’ve met perhaps more paddlers in Solstices than any other kayak. From the quiet passages of the Discovery Islands, to the inland shores of the Great Lakes and beyond to the rugged Maine Coast, the Solstice GT is ubiquitous wherever touring kayakers are found.
Current Designs Equinox GT Specs
Material: Kevlar | Fiberglass
Weight: 47 | 51 pounds
Price: $3,799 | $3,399
First launched in 1984, its classic blend of stability, speed, reasonable maneuverability and gear-swallowing storage has made it one of the best-selling boats of all time.
For the growing numbers of paddlers who venture out for only a week or less, however, those ample hatches are often largely empty. Enter the Equinox GT.
Noticing the trend to shorter trips—and shorter boats—Current Designs recognized an opportunity. “We knew we had a winning hull and a winning design,” says vice president Bill Kueper, “so we just scaled it down.”
At nearly two feet shorter, the 16-foot Equinox GT has the same roomy 24-inch beam (a lower volume, 22-inch-wide GTS version offers a sportier fit), shallow-V hull and soft chines for rock-solid initial stability and smooth edging.
In a family hailed for superb acceleration and glide, the Equinox’s shorter waterline actually makes for even greater efficiency at a comfortably sustained touring pace of three to four knots. Tracking with or without the rudder is excellent, adding to the effortless feel of open-water cruising.
Above the water, the sleek and practical deck layout will also look familiar to Solstice paddlers. Color-matched, flush-mount hatch covers, recessed deck fittings and reflective decklines round out Current Designs’ flawless composite layup. Our Kevlar Equinox felt lighter than its listed 47 pounds and its impeccable regatta blue finish attracted admiring glances from gas station attendants and fellow paddlers.
Larger boaters will find plenty of room in the keyhole cockpit for all-day comfort. Outfitting is classic West Coast influence, with a cushy padded seat, supportive backrest and high knee position. The rudder control lines are easy to reach and route below the back deck to prevent snags during rescues and transport.
Efficiently sized for today’s shorter trips, the Equinox GT rewards touring kayakers with the same user-friendly features that Solstice paddlers have been enjoying for three decades. In fact, the only real surprise is that it took Current Designs this long to build it.
The SEA-LECT Designs foot braces can be easily adjusted while seated, and use a pivoting pedal to control the rudder without compromising strong leg drive.
Although the Equinox GT is marketed for shorter trips, folks who’ve packed low-volume Brit or Greenland boats will find ample room in the voluminous bow and stern hatches for a week’s or more worth of supplies. Current Designs’ triple cam strap system takes a bit more time to secure, but our hatches were bone-dry.
Integrated thigh braces, plenty of hip room and a slightly scooped seat are designed to optimize fit for a wide range of paddlers, and keep bottoms happy after a full day in the saddle.
This article first appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of Adventure Kayak magazine. Subscribe to Paddling Magazine and get 25 years of digital magazine archives including our legacy titles: Rapid, Adventure Kayak and Canoeroots.