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In a word the Hobie Mirage Revolution 13 is: Fast.
From the moment I engaged the Mirage Drive in the Revo 13 I knew I was sitting on a rocket. I had the Turbo Fins locked in and could blaze through the water with ease. The Revo has so many upsides it’s a wonder more people don’t fish out of them. As with any testing period, I located some areas for improvement as well.
The morning that taught me everything I needed to know about this kayak started at 5 AM. The moon was covered by clouds and the sun wouldn’t make its appearance for another hour and a half. I could feel the wind and know that the reported 15mph didn’t quite cover it. 25mph was more accurate though in the dark it was hard to tell. The forecast said the wind would be dying out over the next few hours and the hybrid bite was on so, PFD strapped on, lights ablaze I set off into the darkness on my half mile journey. As soon as the kayak gained buoyancy the wind caught it. I deployed the rudder, pointed the bow into the wind and used the paddle for about 10 strokes. I quickly dropped the Mirage Drive into place and went to work pedaling. Waves crashing over my bow and around the sides told me quite a bit. The rudder held me on course, the Turbos sliced me through the water and a short time later I had made my destination. I had to turn broadside to the waves for about 100 yards and I learned a little more. This weather, though not ideal, was simulating lots of situations that would normally take several weeks to experience. Sheltered and safe, I commenced fishing and for once the forecasts were correct. The wind died to a mere 10mph and the trip back was uneventfully quick. I was able to make two other trips in the boat but none proved as useful as this one.
The Revo 13 is F-A-S-T! I covered the same water I used for one of the Slayer 12 trips and did it in ½ the time. Over 13 feet of kayak helps keep you on course but add in the rudder which comes standard and this kayak will move. Add Turbo Fins and it flies! It will also turn more easily than boats of equal length. The hull weight of just over 69 pounds seems about right or even on the lighter than expected scale. Three hatches allow under hull access and provide a good place to store extra tackle, gear or clothes. Come to think of it I am pretty sure I left a box of Storm swimbaits in the Revo I tested. The boat drains quick. I really needed it on the nasty weather trips and it didn’t disappoint.
Room for Improvement
The Revo is a skinnier version of its shorter big brother the Outback. At only 28.5” wide it doesn’t handle broadside waves as dryly. I missed not having the side trays or wider side rails for mounting Gear Trac. I could only feasibly find a couple of locations to fit a 4” Trac and it would be a bit of a stretch at that. The hatches offer access but a major improvement would be to add the Pro Angler rectangular hatch, maybe slightly smaller where the center round hatch is. As it is now, you can only get longer gear like poles or paddles in through the front. That’s ok for lakes, not great for BTB trips. Because the kayak is narrower, if you are pedaling quickly and do a sharp turn with the rudder control, it gets pretty tipsy. I’m not sure how many times you would do that but it leaves a little to be desired with width stability. I wouldn’t stand in this Hobie. Only the PAs are made for standing but the Outback and Sport are standable models. The keel is less pronounced in the Revo than the Outback and Sport which I feel makes the difference.
So the end all question is would I buy one? Yes. I would.
Would I buy it over an Outback? Not for my uses.
The Revo is an excellent boat and should be very popular for car toppers everywhere. The weight of the hull feels lighter than 69 pounds and it flies when in water. It is a possible BTB kayak though the shorter model might be preferred by some to avoid telephone poling on re-entry. I wish it were two inches wider and had a rectangular center hatch. Past that, it’s dang near perfect for folks who don’t mind sitting in a more traditional style kayak seat.