Recreational Kayak Review: Pelican Bandit NXT 100

Paddling Buyer’s Guide

Do you find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer bulk of typical recreational kayaks? The Pelican Bandit NXT 100 kayak is a lightweight sit-on-top that fits smaller paddlers especially well. Its size makes it easy to handle on the water and simple to transport on your car—while at the same time providing the stable, easy paddling characteristics of a beginner rec boat.

Pelican Bandit NXT 100 kayak reviews highlight the stability and durability of this bargain-priced kayak. It’s a great choice for casual paddlers of all sizes looking for a mellow ride on sheltered waters.

On the water with Pelican’s Bandit 100 NXT

Pelican Bandit 100 NXT Specs
Length: 10’0” / 3.0 m
Width: 30” / 76 cm
Weight: 40 lbs / 18 kg
Capacity: 300 lbs / 136 kg
MSRP: $310 USD

Performance

Take a closer look at the Pelican Bandit NXT 100 kayak and you’ll discover a recreational boat that’s designed to be stable and comfortable on the water. The compact, 10-foot hull features a “twin-arched multi-chine”—essentially a shallow-V hull for tracking with parallel lobes on either side for stability—which contributes to a secure, stable feeling. This makes it a great choice for beginner paddlers and those with poor balance.

In fact, Pelican Bandit NXT 100 kayak reviews describe a boat that’s easy to enter and exit and perfect for floating around your favorite lake. The 10-foot length means the Bandit NXT 100 won’t win any races, but it’s easy to maneuver around obstacles and store. Paddle strokes are comfortable thanks to the boat’s modest 30-inch width, which doesn’t impede shaft movement. Despite its generally small dimensions, the Bandit NXT 100 has a decent maximum capacity of 300 pounds.

Market and demographics

The short length and light weight of the Pelican Bandit NXT 100 makes it perfect for smaller paddlers. Shorter users appreciate the relatively narrow width of this kayak, which makes it easier to reach the water. Similarly, the compact length contributes to ease of handling and more control and comfort in winds. A smaller, lighter boat like the Bandit NXT 100 is also easier to cartop and carry to and from the water.

With a maximum capacity of 300 pounds the Pelican Bandit NXT 100 will accommodate larger people, but those well over six feet tall may want more space on board and prefer a larger kayak. The boat comes in one size only; the Bandit NXT 100 in a size large is not available.

The manufacturer describes the Pelican Bandit NXT 100 kayak as being ideal for tranquil waters, such as at the cottage. You can use it in small surf, but it’s hazardous to paddle open-decked sit-on-top kayaks of this style on exposed, cold water. The Bandit NXT 100 is also a good option for kayak fishing, especially for anglers looking for a cheap, easily modified kayak that works well for sit-down casting in sheltered water.

Know The Local Hazards
  • Check navigation charts before you launch.
  • Check with those who have local knowledge of man-made and natural hazards, e.g. low-head dams; sweepers, strainers and undercuts; tides and currents; and rocks and shoals.

Comfort

The modest comfort level offered by the Pelican Bandit NXT is what we’d expect for a kayak like this at the lower end of the price range. Users describe the adjustable Ergoform seat back as offering reasonable support and good cushioning in the lumbar area.

Like other discount-priced sit-on-top kayaks, the Pelican Bandit NXT kayak features molded footrests, which accommodate paddlers up to six-foot-four, but lack the finer adjustability of foot pegs found in pricier kayaks. It would be nice to see more footrest options for shorter paddlers; the Bandit NXT may be less suitable for shorter youth under 12 years of age.

About the Pelican Bandit 100 NXT

Design

Design features and details

Pelican employed a hybrid hull design to strike a balance of stability, speed, maneuverability and tracking in the Pelican Bandit NXT kayak. The hull shape is unique, with a “flared”, V-shaped bow that cuts through the water and blocks waves for a drier ride in choppy waters. The hull becomes somewhat flatter as it transitions to the bottom, or keel line, of the kayak, retaining just enough V-shape to allow the Bandit NXT 100 to steer straight with minimal effort from the paddler.

Meanwhile, arched “cheeks” on either side of the boat’s bottom feature step-like chines (hull edges) to provide outstanding stability. Pelican Bandit NXT kayak reviews indicate that this comfortable sit-on-top kayak is by no means tippy! The great stability and open deck make it especially easy for launching and landing.

Material and construction

The Pelican Bandit NXT kayak is constructed of RAM-X rotomolded polyethylene, a supremely durable plastic that’s been used in the construction of heavy-duty, no-maintenance canoes and kayaks for decades. Pelican’s hull design makes this resilient plastic stiff and efficient in the water yet also keeps the overall weight to a very reasonable 40 pounds.

Paddle Sober And Smart
  • Never mix alcohol and paddling. Coast Guard and state BUI (boating under the influence) laws apply to all vessels. This includes canoes, kayaks, SUPs and rafts.

Pelican Bandit 100 NXT outfitting and accessories

The standard Pelican Bandit NXT 100 kayak seat is pleasantly comfortable, with a folding Ergoform backrest that maintains your posture while paddling and provides excellent lower back support. The seat pan is padded for added comfort, unlike some other sit-on-top kayaks. Otherwise, outfitting on the Bandit NXT 100 is minimal.

The Pelican Bandit NXT 100 features a large cargo well to the rear with a mesh cover to secure day gear, as well as a smaller storage area in the bow. Carry handles are available at the bow and stern. Scupper holes in the seating deck cavity let spray that accumulates from choppy water drain away to keep you dry while paddling. Replacement Pelican Bandit NXT 100 scupper plugs are available from the manufacturer.

Opportunity for modifications

You can make a Pelican Bandit NXT 100 kayak seat upgrade to add comfort to the standard hull. Several options are available depending on your budget and aptitude for DIY modifications. The Pelican Ergocast seat comes in two available versions, depending on whether you want the option of a removable seat to use elsewhere.

These stadium-style seats are easy to enter and provide more support than the standard arrangement—but you’re best to try it first before installing to make sure the high back doesn’t get in the way of your elbows and works for your preferred paddling postures.

How it compares

Can’t find a Pelican Bandit NXT 100 kayak? You’ll find many comparable sit-on-top kayaks in the Pelican lineup. The Pelican Sentinel, Pelican Catch and Pelican Challenger models offer similar specs, with features that will appeal to recreational kayakers and kayak anglers alike. The Pelican Kayak Ultimate 100 NXT (available in the U.S. at Dunham’s Sports) has similar dimensions and an upgraded stern storage pod.

  • Pelican Bandit NXT 100 vs Trailblazer

    The Pelican Trailblazer 100 NXT kayak is a partially decked, sit-in kayak with similar dimensions and specifications to the Pelican Bandit NXT 100. The Trailblazer is a good choice if you’re agile enough to climb inside the cockpit, and if you want some shelter from the sun and more protection from wind and spray. However, the sit-on-top Bandit NXT 100 is more comfortable in hot weather and drains water more easily.

    Both the Pelican Bandit NXT 100 and Trailblazer 100 NXT kayaks measure 10 feet in length. The Trailblazer is slightly narrower at 29 inches wide; it has a 275-pound maximum capacity and weighs in at 36 pounds, compared to the 40-pound Bandit NXT 100. The Pelican Trailblazer 100 NXT kayak retails for $280 at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Where to buy the Bandit 100 NXT

The Pelican Bandit NXT 100 kayak is available exclusively at Dick’s Sporting Goods in the U.S., so don’t bother searching Pelican Bandit NXT 100 kayak Academy Sports, Pelican Bandit NXT 100 kayak Walmart, or Pelican Bandit NXT 100 kayak Amazon. Similar Pelican Sport 10-foot recreational kayak models are available at other box stores and online in Canada and the U.S.

Pelican Bandit 100 NXT pros and cons

Pros

  • Excellent choice for beginner recreational kayakers
  • Stable, easy-paddling kayak that works well in calm water conditions
  • Fits a wide variety of paddlers, with a maximum capacity of 300 pounds
  • Standard Ergoform seat is comfortable and offers great support

Cons

  • Molded-in footrests have fewer settings for positional adjustments to accommodate paddlers with shorter or longer legs
  • Look at the Pelican Trailblazer 100 NXT if you prefer a partially decked kayak

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Wear A Life Jacket
  • Everyone, even strong swimmers, needs to wear a life jacket at all times when on the water. It is extremely difficult to put a life jacket on once you fall into the water. Even a light wind can blow any paddlecraft away from you, faster than you can swim.
  • Buy (and wear) a comfortable Type 3 or S life jacket specifically designed for paddlesports.

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