A couple years ago, the brains at Impex Canada and U.S.—with significant input stateside from Danny Mongo—melded to design a fast, efficient long-distance touring kayak for advanced paddlers. The result is the Force 5, with large gear capacity for expeditions (181 litres), narrow beam for speed, and minimal rocker.

The Force 5’s shallow-V hull with an “aggressive medium” chine provides moderate initial stability. It’s easy to put on edge and, with firm secondary stability, easy to hold there. Overall, the stability profile going into a tilt and all the way over to immersion is impressively predictable.

Impex figured that the Force 5’s high-end paddlers would want a straight-tracking boat and have the skills to edge aggressively to crank out a turn. The outcome: the Force 5 will turn on edge but takes some effort to coax around. The payoff: no noticeable weathercocking in a moderate crosswind, minimal energy spent holding a course, and a drop-down skeg that stays stowed away for worst-case scenarios. A buoyant bow provides a dry ride in surf and waves.

Impex Force Category 5 Specs
Length: 18 ft
Width: 20.75 in
Depth: 13 in
Weight: 58 lb (fibreglass)
Cockpit: 16 x 32 in
Bowhatch: 58 L
Sternhatch: 85 L
Dayhatch: 38.5 L
Total Volume: 341L
MSRP: $2,775 USD (fibreglass)

The Force series has many of the design elements of classic British expedition boats—including rubber hatches from Valley Canoe Products, a reinforced keel and curved fibreglass bulkheads—from a Canadian manufacturer at a great price.

You can handle it

Finicky kayak handlers know to carry loaded boats by the hull, saving the grab loops for on-water rescues. Stylish, notched handles moulded into the bow and stern give tired hands a break and make it easy to follow the rules.

The eye of the hurricane

The Force 5 is a high-volume version of the Impex Force 4, which comes from the same mould but has a cut-down hull. The resulting roomy cockpit accommodates large paddlers.

The comfy fibreglass seat has a padded, ratchet-adjustable backband and a seat pad (not shown) from Immersion research.

Look familiar?

Impex is gunning for the small but dedicated market of advanced kayakers who are loyal to boats like the NDK Explorer. The steep sides and moderate chine echo the Explorer’s lines, offering similar performance and volume with slightly stiffer tracking.

This article originally appeared in Adventure Kayak‘s Early Summer 2006 issue. Subscribe to Paddling Magazine’s print and digital editions here, or browse the archives here.

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