The Swift Cruiser 14.8 is their best selling Pack Canoe. It does a great job of balancing stability and performance as well as generally doing a lot of things better than it has any right to! Selecting a boat is usually fraught with trade-offs but the Cruiser tries to minimize these and largely succeeds. Sat in the middle of the range (12.8, 14.8, 15.8 and 16.8), it offers average to larger sized paddlers the perfect combination of space, performance and maneuverability.
As soon as you sit in the Cruiser pack canoe seat the first thing that you notice is the superb comfort it offers. The cushioned seat pad and backrest with adjustable lumbar support make for simply the most comfortable canoe seat that you have ever sat in. Rather than just being an extravagant luxury though, this provides the really practical benefit of being able to paddle further and longer before you need a break.
The next thing that strikes you is the seemingly narrow paddling station with the deliberately tucked in and streamlined gunwales. This allows for greater freedom of movement for your paddle and less reach to get it in the water. In short, it helps you paddle more efficiently. It is reminiscent of a racing boat but yet somehow also accommodates a very user friendly hull beneath, which is both rounded and reassuringly flat for stability too!
Weighing as little as just 24 lbs, the Cruiser 14.8 is a breeze to transport or portage. Weight is dependent on construction material (Carbon Fusion (24 lbs), Kevlar Fusion (26 lbs) or Expedition Kevlar (30 lbs)) plus any additional options that you may select. An optional detachable yoke can make portage easier and more comfortable too. However, for short trips when you are traveling light it’s quite easy to lift it onto your shoulder and carry without a yoke too.
We are often asked about the difference between Kevlar Fusion, Carbon Fusion and Expedition Kevlar and which to go for. This isn’t a major consideration for the paddling experience of the boat and it basically comes down to cost, aesthetics and durability. Kevlar Fusion is standard and what most customers go for. Expedition Kevlar / Carbon offer a robust additional interior finish as protection for the inside the boat, if heavy use is intended. Carbon Fusion reduces weight a little and offers some further attractive finish options for an additional cost. Laminate professionals could write a book on the comparable “performance” of these different materials but, for practical, day to day use purposes, the durability of all these materials is comparable. Boats made from these materials are not delicate but they should be looked after and not dragged over rocks or run up onto beaches, as you might more readily do with a plastic or aluminum boat. This said, it would require a substantial impact to actually compromise the hull and this is not a common problem at all, even on our rental boats that endure heavy use. The bottom line is that the standard Kevlar is great. Carbon is a little lighter and some customers prefer how it looks. We would only recommend Expedition for extreme requirements and it is not a common option that our customers go for.
Not only do Swift boats perform well, they look beautiful too! The Cruiser comes in a variety of striking colored clear coat finishes and whether you choose Emerald, Sapphire, Ruby, Amber or one of the eye catching carbon finishes you are sure to turn heads when out on the water. You can also select from a number of contrasting two-tone finishes to provide an extra layer of color and protection for the bottom of the boat. (Pro tip: go for Champagne (white) to minimize the appearance of any scratches that you may pick up on your adventures).
The paddling experience once on the water also doesn’t disappoint. The Cruiser cuts stealthily through the water, feels responsive and holds its line well. In choppy conditions it holds up well and remains reassuringly stable too. Being primarily a flatwater, recreational boat, it is not intended for extreme conditions though where a touring or sea kayak would be better suited.
As with all canoes and kayaks, the boat will perform best when trimmed properly (loaded appropriately and evenly and well balanced in the water). Boats that are very light can be influenced by the wind more easily so taking care to trim properly will help a lot. Consider your own weight and the weight of any gear you want to travel with when selecting which model of Cruiser will work best for you. The optimal load range of the 14.8 is 140 - 280 lbs.
Also, see the video below to hear what Bill Swift himself has to say about the Cruiser 14.8…