You may scoff that any light touring kayak isn’t worth the salt in the ocean if its purchase price doesn’t require a hefty line of credit. We invite you to test-drive the Elie Strait 140 XE and see if you change your mind.
Elie Strait 140 XE Specs
Weight: 53 lbs
Capacity: 300 lbs
MSRP: $1,100 USD
The Strait 140 XE really performs
The largest size in a new line of thermoform polyethylene day touring kayaks from Quebec-based Elie Kayaks, the Strait 140’s construction, proportions and price point place it on the recreational end of the paddling spectrum. But it’s the most salient features of any kayak—on-water performance and paddleability—that make the Strait 140 a solid contender in the growing light touring segment.
Fun for novices and intermediates alike
New paddlers will appreciate the excellent primary stability generated by the Strait’s wide beam and shallow-V hull, while reassuring secondary stability invites advancing beginners and intermediates to explore the surprisingly lively and responsive performance on edge.
The moderately rockered, Swede form hull offers a good compromise of speed and maneuverability—respectable cruising speed for its length with adequate, if not race-winning, acceleration and turn-on-a-dime responsiveness. The hull is constructed of lightweight, hardwearing three-layer Poly-XR that Elie claims is 30 percent more rigid than standard polyethylene.
The Strait 140 tracks well in sheltered waters. Weathercocking and drifting are noticeable in a strong crosswind because of the higher windage of the Strait’s profile, although dropping the rudder helps keep it on track in these conditions. A removable plastic keel extension enhances tracking and adds durability to a high-wear part of the hull.
A refined ride for larger paddlers
The spacious cockpit accommodates larger paddlers, while the padded thigh braces, ergonomic seat and adjustable backrest ensure a comfortable, positive fit for solid control in rough water. The sliding track-style foot pegs adjust easily but offer less support when the rudder is deployed than gas pedal-style pegs.
The most distinctive element of the Strait’s outfitting are the clever Quick Lock bow and stern hatches, a blessing for cold or tired fingers. A simple turn of the latches opens the durable ABS hatch on its hinge, so you’ll never have to fiddle with bungees or struggle with stubborn rubber or neoprene hatches again. The downside is the lack of watertight gaskets, resulting in water infiltration when paddling in rough conditions or rolling. With 50 liters in the bow and 90 liters in the stern, storage capacity is exceptional for a 14-footer.
The Strait XE also comes equipped with a day hatch, in the form of a dry bag hung from the rim of the hatch, not a separate compartment. The day hatch’s screw-style cover is difficult to unscrew and must be positioned exactly on the rim thread to close, making on-water access a tricky operation. It would have been nice to see a Quick Lock hatch used for the day access as well, where it would be most handy.
Go on tour with the Elie Strait 140 XE
With surprising agility and storage capacity, the Strait 140 delivers touring performance at a recreational price. It best suits mid- to large-sized paddlers looking for an affordable, full-featured kayak for performance day paddling or weekend tours in sheltered waters.
Elie Strait 140 XE video review: