There is only one thing better than spending a day fishing on the bank of your favorite lake or river, and that is fishing on that lake or river. With a kayak you can get that extra step closer to nature and be at one with the waters you are fishing.
The sense of adventure that you experience while navigating the twists and turns of a snaking river, or the peace and tranquility that you feel when out in the middle of a quiet lake, are second to none.
What is more, kayaking affords you the freedom to explore more of the waters than is possible on foot, and allows you to see more amazing scenery on one expedition than you could hope to see on a hundred shore based excursions.
However, fishing from a kayak comes with its complications and that is why it is so important to have the best kayak possible, which lets you get the most out of your experience.
The Sun Dolphin Journey 10 ss is especially designed for fishing purposes and the team have added lots of innovative features which maximize storage space and aid mobility.
Read on for a full review of this exciting vessel, covering all its benefits and flaws.
- Brand: Sun Dolphin
- Model: Journey 10 ss
- Length: 10 ft
- Width: 30 inches
- Weight 44 lbs
- Capacity: 250 lbs / single person
- Material: polyethylene
- Style: sit-on-top
- Intended use: fishing / recreational
- P.A.C. (portable accessory carrier) removable
- 3 cockpit storage compartments
- 3 rod holders
- 2 bottle / drinks holders
- Padded seat cushion
- Adjustable footrest
- Protective thigh pads
- Shock cord deck rigging
Performance on the water
The first thing to assess when evaluating any kayak is its performance on the water, as this is its primary function.
Luckily, the Journey 10 ss by Sun Dolphin moves beautifully on the water, and is this largely due to its Fortiflex high-density polyethylene shell. This purpose made plastic floats high on the water, allowing you to feel in control and buoyant.
It is also suitably rigid, and keeps its shape no matter how heavy the load, meaning you can bring tackle boxes, cool boxes, bait buckets and more onboard without worrying about this vessel buckling.
The hull of this kayak is actually relatively flat compared to other similar models, and as a result the boat maintains great balance in the water, allowing you to put your all into paddling without finding that you are rocking and wobbling as you do so.
As this is a moderately sized kayak at 10 feet long and 30 inches wide, its size means it is less stable than other larger vessels, and you certainly cannot stand up on this model.
However, the smaller dimensions mean that you feel connected to both ends of the kayak at all times, and have greater spatial awareness and control as you navigate it through the waters.
Speaking of navigation, the Journey 10 ss maneuvers really well and can turn on a dime due to its lightweight design.
This is perfect if you are fishing near shorelines and banks that have rocks, overhanging vegetation or other potential obstacles as you are able to duck and weave with excellent agility.
Thanks to its lightweight design, this kayak also moves with speed, tracking through the water effortlessly. As a result, the Journey 10 ss is a brilliant choice for beginners who will appreciate its maneuverability, stability and compact dimensions.
The high-density polyethylene outer shell has been treated with a UV resistant coating to protect it from the sun’s rays. This not only prevents thinning and weakening, but it also means that the Sun Dolphin Journey 10 ss keeps its color and lustre even after long exposures to sunlight.
The multi-layered make-up of the polyethylene means that this kayak is resilient and can stand up to moderate bumps and scratches without denting or scuffing.
This is particularly handy if you are fishing near boulders or in locations with rocky bottoms, as the kayak will not be negatively impacted as you drag it in and out of the water.
Once again, the Journey 10 ss is an ideal choice for beginners due to its durability because bumps and knocks are part of most first time experiences.
Comfort is key in any fishing kayak as you can expect to be out on the water for many hours, and in some cases for an entire day.
That is why it is so great that this is a sit-on-top style boat as opposed to a sit-inside kayak where your legs are contained beneath the front section.
The sit-on-top style allows you far more movement and flexibility as you ride and means that you can shift your weight and move your legs much more freely.
The Journey 10 ss has adjustable footrests which can easily be drawn towards or pushed away from you depending on how you want to sit.
The footrests allow you to gain purchase on your feet and take the strain off your lower back, which is key on long trips. They also mean that friends and family can ride in the kayak no matter what their height as the footrest can be adjusted to suit anyone.
It also has two thigh rests which are great if you prefer to sit with your knees bent and apart in a frog-like position as it prevents your legs from rubbing or chaffing on the sides of the kayak.
The Journey 10 ss also has a padded seat back which keeps your spine happy and comfortable and stops you from cramping up. The only downside is that the seat back is not adjustable so you have to maintain the same angle throughout your expedition.
There is also not cushioning on the seat itself which can lead to a numb bum. However, the openness of this kayak is such that you can easily twist and turn in your seat and reach behind you to access bags and belongings in the rear hold whenever you need to.
Its open design also makes for easy dismount at shore, and easy re-entry should you fall out of the kayak while on the water.
Another key consideration for anglers is storage space as fishing is such a kit heavy pursuit. Luckily, the designers of the Journey 10 ss have found multiple ways of maximizing storage, the most obvious being the portable accessory compartment (PAC) that sits in the rear tank well.
This compartment can be lifted out and removed from the well, then attached to the back of the kayak and dragged along behind, freeing up more space in the well itself. It makes a great place to store your catches as the water helps to keep them cool as they float along.
This kayak also boasts two flush mount rod holders and one swivel fishing rod holder positioned between your legs. This makes it easy for you to store and switch between rods as you so wish and maximizes your chances of landing a catch!
The cockpit or seating zone of this kayak comes fitted with two handy side pockets and a central dry compartment in the well of the boat.
The side pockets are really handy for storing smaller items like keys and clamps, whereas the central compartment is big enough to house smartphones or other personal belongings.
The Journey 10 ss also has two bottle holders, each within easy reach from a sitting position, and this means you can stay hydrated while out on the water.
At 44 lbs, the Sun Dolphin Journey ss is pretty lightweight and that means that you can easily transport it from car to shore and back again with minimal effort. It has two retractable carry handles that are well secured to the vessel and allow you to get a solid grip on it for lifting.
Some users have mentioned that they wish this kayak had handles near the cockpit which would help with portability, but most find that the positioning of the carry handles towards the bow means they can lift this vessel vertically as well as horizontally.
One issue that has been raised with regard to the Sun Dolphin Journey 10 ss is its drainage. Although it has multiple plug holes which allow any water onboard to escape, this kayak does tend to take on quite a bit of water due to its open design.
The seating area gets the most wet and as a result the compartment in the hull is not dry and secure. Any items placed in there should be sealed in dry bags first to avoid water damage.
The Sun Dolphin Journey 10 ss offers fantastic quality for a very reasonable price.
Although it is not stable enough to support standing up and it has some drainage issues, this kayak is a fantastic choice for beginners who are sticking to calm waters.
It tracks well, holds lots of gear and is lightweight and portable too.