Puffin Saranac. At 15.5 ft in length, the Saranac offers the versatility to carry two people on day trips or a solo paddler with a couple of weeks’ worth of camping gear. Whether with one or two paddlers, the Saranac’s dual (removable) skegs make it track as if it is on rails. Use it without a deck to go fishing or with a deck for more protection (deck(s) are optional, not included in purchase price). You can even chose between a solo deck and a double deck. It is no surprise that the Saranac’s versatility has made it the most popular Puffin ever.

  • Beam: 27″ / 68 cm
  • Depth: 10″ / 25 cm
  • Weight: 29 lbs / 3.2 kg
  • Length: 15.5 ft / 480 cm
  • Capacity: 400 lbs / 180 kg
  • Packed Bag Size: 28″ x 16″ x 12″

Extremely versatile Puffins – Puffin kayaks can adapt to your needs in ways that other kayaks do not. If you go fishing or are not as agile as you once were, you can leave your Puffin open like a sit-on-top. Add a deck when you want more protection. Drive your Puffin to the water packed in the trunk or assembled on top of your car. It is easy to assemble and at 20 pounds (29 pounds for the 2-person Saranac), the Puffin is light enough for almost anybody to handle. The excellent Puffin seats are easily configured for one or two persons – seat brackets are even pre-installed to put the bow seat extra far forward for a small child.

The Puffin Kayaks represent a new generation in folding boat design and draw on over 30 years of varied experience. Structurally, Puffins are a blend of aluminum frame and inflatable construction. Dual-cell inflatable tubes on each side between the skin and the frame provide skin tension and ample secure flotation in case of a capsize. An internal aluminum frame gives the hull efficient lines that could not be achieved with inflatable structure alone. Another advantage of the Puffin’s hybrid design is the weight. Similar size inflatable kayaks typically weigh 50% more.

Three basic elements interact to form the Puffin’s structure:

  • The skin is the outside cover that “keeps the water out”. It is made of woven synthetic fabric coated with polyurethane. A heavy duty fabric forms the boat bottom, and lighter fabric is used for the sides. Stress points are reinforced for years of trouble free use.
  • The frame is made of anodized structural aluminum tubing with a combination of high strength and corrosion resistance.
  • Between skin and frame in the sides are inflatable tubes that act as flotation and give tension to the skin. These relatively large diameter tubes also help stiffen the boat. To tolerate the working pressure, the tubes have a strong fabric outer surface laminated to durable polyurethane film to form two separate air holding cells on each side of the kayak.

Puffins share the excellent seats that were developed for Pakboats touring kayaks (XT and Quest). Each seat is suspended between cross bars in front and back. Over the front cross bar is an inflatable bladder that provides adjustable thigh support. Both seat and back band have a surface of 3-dimensional woven mesh that provides air circulation. The seats are very comfortable!

Puffins have extremely simple frames. There are only three longitudinal rods – two gunwales and a keel, and a number of cross ribs that connect the longitudinal rods. To make this work we had to develop a new way to give the boat longitudinal tension. This was done by placing a “hinge” in the keel. When the keel and stems are installed in the boat, the “hinge” is at an angle. As the cross members are installed, the keel gradually becomes straight and tensions the skin. Side to side tension is produced by inflating the air tubes.

Placing inflatable tubes along the sides in a kayak does more than provide light-weight structure. Puffins have much more built-in flotation than other kayaks. And placing the flotation along the sides makes Puffins incredibly stable after a capsize. Two separate air cells on each side of the hull provide security in case a cell is punctured. Note: Inflatable boats have even more flotation, but their paddling performance is poor, and a similar size inflatable weighs about 50% more than a Puffin.

Puffin decks are attached with a strip of Velcro around the hull just below the gunwales. Gunwales of the Puffins are tensioned to add stiffness to the hull. An aluminum cockpit rim provides support for a spray skirt. End caps are integrated with the skin to improve the seal of the optional decks to the hull.


The decks on the Puffins get covered by the permanent end caps, completely protecting the deck seals from water splashing over the ends. Both ends of the decks can be opened to provide unrestricted access for loading and unloading, and permanent deck rigging is installed to secure items that need to be carried on top of the deck. Simply remove the deck, load your gear into the boat, and reinstall the deck. If a piece of gear does not quite fit, let a little air our of the air tubes, stow the gear, and re-inflate the tubes. (Make sure no sharp objects touch the inflatable parts.)