Outcast Commander review

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Flyborg, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. Caveats: I'm not a fin fisher, I use my boats to get from run to run and jump out when I get to them. Also the Kalama isn't by any means a technical river; every few years someone will sink a boat on it, but I'm an absolute novice rower yet have no issues managing it in larger catarafts and the smaller 'toons I've used in the past. My experience rowing is very limited to small single man pontoons and a few larger 15' and 16' cats.

    I recently ended a long quest to replace my aging 8' Waterskeeter pontoon boat. I'm one of those people who wrings his hands over purchases like this; I tend to scrutinize every detail and waver back and forth for ages on what to buy. In essence, I'm as long winded in my purchases as I am with my posts :)

    I'd looked for a long time at a Watermaster, and almost went for the purchase. The guys at Big Sky are awesome, super nice and they have a tried and true product that's been on the market for quite a while. I also looked at some of the NFO frameless options, but to be honest I had a hard time deciphering all the available boats, and the prices on those I liked were a bit out of my range. After pursuing the topic a bit with Freestone (who like Mumbles seems to have some weird boat fetish), I ended up going with the Commander. The rocker design made sense to me, and Outcast has a solid reputation. There weren't a lot of reviews on the product, but the deal maker for me was the rocker, and the amount of room behind the seat.

    After I got it, the first thing that struck me is that it's a lot bigger than it looks in the pictures. Of course they tell you that it's 10' long and 4' wide, but that didn't really register until I had the thing blown up in front of me. Despite the size, it's very light and easy to lift when standing from the rowers seat.

    The seat option is not amazing. I only have hard-back cat seats to compare it to, but personally, I like a captains chair with beer holders :) That being said, once I fiddled with it a bit, it was comfortable and I could lean my massive girth back in it without worrying about falling back. Essentially, the seat back is firm, you just have to get the strap lengths set correctly and attached to the right D rings on the boat.

    The floor is very stiff, and there is a decent amount of room behind the rowers back (enough that I can fit my daughter with our small fishing packs.) It's not enough for two adults, but an adult/kid or an adult and some half-racks of beer and gear will fit nicely.

    While the air bladders are only single chamber, the pvc shell is super stiff, giving it a hardened feel I'm not used to with my cat tubes. I don't know if that will make a difference in the long run with durability, but at the least, it feels pretty damn stiff.

    The built in Scotty rod holder is pretty swank, although I'll probably just get a cup-holder adapter for it and keep my beer there. If you're into trolling lakes, I guess it could be useful for it's intended purpose.

    At first I was a bit worried about what I call the "oar action centers", or the flexible oar platforms welded to the boat. It seems like an area that will dig against the PVC shell and wear over time. However, the platforms seem to flex at the same stiffness as the PVC as I rowed, so my angst was probably for naught.

    The oars themselves felt like they should be longer, but the boat doesn't need much rowing power to maneuver. I'm used to fighting bigger catarafts, so I essentially had to force myself to relax and take it easy. I could easily hold it in current without fins, and it turns with no effort and quickly. It maneuvered through rapids like a champ, even the shallower drags we face at this time of year. With the rocker the print on the water is minimal. My only surprise was that being so low in the water, when you hit chop, you can get fucking wet. Something I haven't dealt with in 'toons.

    I intentionally took it through some tights spots and ended up slamming the boat killer below Pritchards (there's a reason people don't go river right there.) The same rock had a hard kayak wrapped in half on it late last summer (it literally folded the thing around the rock, which was kind of nice, the rock had a big-ass big red flag on it for several weeks). The Commander just slid up a little onto it, then carried on as if nothing had happened. I'm not sure I'd do it again that way, but it managed (although I did get soaked.)

    So, my conclusion--I'm super happy with the purchase. It's definitely nicer than any single-man toon I've run before. I'd like to get out with one of my buddies that owns a Watermaster or NFO frameless and do a side-by-side comparison. For my Spring through Fall one-man floats, this is going to be a blast. For winter, I'll stick to my 15' ghetto-cat or something that keeps me dryer. IMG_7545.jpg
  2. Nice review and info. I am a short legged guy so is there leg length adjustments and do they feel like you can push on the foot pads and not give (flex).

  3. Great detailed review. I've got a NFO Outcast Assault for a side by side. You've got a nifty river in the neighborhood. I know Freestone liked that boat, now with your review I'm intrigued!
  4. Nice review I am going to order one soon and hope to test it before it goes with the customer.
  5. Mark the foot rests are adjustable and definitely hold snug when the raft is inflated. It also has a stripping skirt, but I leave those at home.
  6. Looks good in your pic, rigged up on the river. I walked into Waters West in Port Angeles Monday, and they have one set up just inside the door.

    Its a very interesting looking raft. I like how they kept it fairly simple.

    I joked to Dave that "Hey, I see you've got my next boat!"
    Not missing a beat, he immediately called my bluff and offered to sell it to me right then and there!
    He also has an inflated Watermaster hanging up on the back wall.

    Of course I need to do more research. I look forward to reading your upcoming reviews after you have run a few streams in it.

    If one was wearing one of those kayak angler drysuits, cold winter water might not be a problem.
  7. Tried to order two one for the shop and one for a customer and Outcast is sold out. Wont have any more until October. They said the have been really selling fast. Looks like it wont be until fall, that I will be able to try it out.
  8. A cute little bird told me that Covich has one in his arsenal. You should have him take you fishing :)
  9. Are the tubes really just 11" in diameter? Love the look of the boat but how far is your butt off the water when in the seat? Any idea how much water it draws? Looks like a great option here in SW Colorado on the small rivers that get low and rocky shortly after runoff. I have a 13' Sotar Cat with a frame for two but need something for low water solo use.
  10. Thought I'd resurrect this thread as I'm strongly considering a Commander & the price is right. This site is about the only one that has several reviews on the boat. Very nice, in depth review.

    What are your thoughts now that you've owned it for a while? (or if anyone else happens to read this and owns one).

  11. I have a Commander. I love it. Every boat is a compromise, but this one does it pretty well. It is light, it tracks well, and it's a scream in classIII. I like being able to scoot down the river stopping and standing to throw a few casts whenever I like. There's loads of room for gear behind the rower, and I like the adjustable foot rests. It's a pretty comfy ride. I don't like not being able to feather the oars, but that's an issue with all frameless boats without oarlocks. You get wet punching over rollers/standing waves but not to the point that I mind. This is my 2nd boat from Outcast, and the fit and finish/quality is great. Those guys are a pleasure to do business with. I'd happily let someone give it a whirl in exchange for high grade coccaine, or pre 1985 midget porn.

    (cut and paste from a similar thread.)
    Jim Wallace likes this.
  12. Here's a relevant video - this is the Chehalis River (BC, Canada version) Canyon. Looks like some heavy Class 2 to light class 3 water:

  13. Interesting choice of words here. Something to contemplate for the faint of heart. :D
  14. Nate Treat took a commander down Niagara Falls with just one oar
  15. That is the real definition of "only having one oar in the water"
    Bill Aubrey likes this.
  16. You should have stuck around .
    He also rowed back up the falls . I was a mightily impressed .
    He did have to use both oars though .
    Still ...
  17. Did you notice he was racing Chuck Norris up the falls?
  18. All this "Falls" talk with the Outcast Commander is pure bafflegab. You guys KNOW that the Outcast Commander doesn't carry the coveted Class 5 whitewater rating that only most Scadden boats have. Some may hold the lack of Class 5 rating (or any rating for that matter) as a disadvantage of the Outcast Commander.

  19. That's a nice video. I don't know that anything I'd be tackling is even that rough but it certainly looks like it handles that with ease...despite the "wet" ride.
  20. whats with the class 5 ratings........I understood that rapids are rated class 1 to 5 etc not really boats .... is there a specific standard to which these r built ....and a governing body...as in a certification ?
    Aftr all rafting operators even run bodyboards down class 5 rivers....as long as you r in the right lifevest

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