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Passport 10.5 Review
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Author:  Roadrunner [ Mon May 27, 2019 11:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Passport 10.5 Review

Hobie's new Passport 10.5 is Hobie's new no-frills kayak at a no-frills price. The thermoformed boat comes complete with Mirage Drive, seat, rudder and paddle.


The hull has one 8" hatch, two bungeed cargo areas and tracks on the rails for additional rod holders or other accessories. There is also a sail mount which can be used for other purposes as well. The hull is designed to be stackable -- very convenient if transporting two! The hatch can accept a gear bucket (to secure small tackle, phone, etc.); a second hatch can be added to the aft cargo well. Two drink holders are too shallow to hold a drink upright when the boat rocks, but deep enough to keep it from sliding around if it stays upright.

The boat was built for maximum stability for its size. Notice the flattish bottom with squarish chines, prominent keelson and built-in skid strip on the skeg. The forward section is designed to push water down rather than out for less spray in choppy conditions.

The Twist N Stow rudder has an innovative new design. Steering is controlled from a single rod connected to the rudder control handle and is centered easily by a knurled knob; no more rudder slack due to temperature expansion/ contraction. The rudder is put up or down by hand and held there with an over-centered bungee. If it hits a submerged object, it springs up and back soon all by itself. Simple and effective.

The seat is light weight and simple, using a breathable mesh for good support and ventilation. The only adjustment is the seat back angle. I found the top bar hitting my back --- was able to eliminate this by tilting the back rest back. Otherwise, it was reasonably comfortable and dry.

The aluminum shaft paddle is basic but functional. Someone who intends to paddle this boat probably has their own paddle they prefer, but this is fine for occasional use and emergencies.

Speaking of propulsion, the Mirage Drive looks like a "V-2" version -- no roller bearings, but very durable and reliable. ST fins come standard and can be upgraded to Turbos if desired. The GT Drive and MD-180 should fit if you have one or want to upgrade.

I had a little problem with cart fitment with my older Hobie cart. It was a tight fit when the temperature was cold, but improved as the boat got warmer and the plastic expanded. The current carts may not have this problem -- mine is about 10 years old. If you plan on using an older cart, you can modify the scupper opening or tweak your cart if necessary.

On the water:

Initial stability is good, especially for a boat this small. Standing on a boat this size serves no useful purpose IMO except to demonstrate stability. Secondary stability is fair. In other words, the boat feels solid in the water.

A comfortable cruising speed with standard fins for me was about 3.8 MPH. I brought my GT Turbo fins along and could cruise at 4.3 MPH easily. Top speed was about 5 MPH on a brief sprint. I was surprised at the speed difference with Turbos. My Drive is somewhat customized so a V-2 Turbo upgrade would probably add about .3 MPH and a GT Turbo upgrade maybe .4 MPH (just an estimate).

The Passport 'pushes' a little water, which is to be expected with a short, wide boat like this. I stole a Hobie pic to show this since my own picture is not available at the moment.
Someone expressed concern about water over the bow. This is not the case on flat water, and about like all my other Hobie's with swell. I don't see this as any problem.

Handling is good once underway, but somewhat sluggish at low speeds. Part of the reason is, the stern sits relatively high sitting still, but establishes better contact with the water as the stern squats with speed. one underway, the rudder had good sensitivity. Tracking was good with rudder down. The boat was easy to paddle in a straight line.

Paddling a boat this wide is not as easy as with a narrower boat, but certainly not difficult. Since the boat was built for pedaling, it's obviously not a design priority. As a secondary propulsion method, with good rudder-down tracking, it works fine.

I brought my Hobie sail along to see how it worked on the Passport. There wasn't much wind at first, but finally a light breeze developed. The boat got up to 3.6 MPH a couple of times under these light conditions.


Stability was good for a kayak; weather helm was light -- nicely balanced helm, and the rudder did a good job controlling the boat and tacking. Keep in mind, heavier winds might provide different results, but I was impressed with the way it handled on this day! On my other Hobies I usually store the sail on one one of the paddle bungees. You can only do that with this boat if you stow the paddle in the cargo well. I just ran the boat with the sail mounted and furled until it was time to sail. On the Passport, I attached a block to the rear carry handle, ran the main sheet before launching, then attached it to the sail when I wanted to use it. There are other ways to do this, but in any event, it is easy to mount and dismount the sail on the water. I like Hobie's furler, but didn't have it attached to this boat.

Overall, the boat is an excellent value. While it doesn't come with a lot of upgrades, it's well designed and the hull and Drive are solid. One wouldn't expect it to compete with the Revo 11 for speed, handling or comfort, but it really does a great job for the price! 8)

Author:  Kramster [ Tue May 28, 2019 9:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Passport 10.5 Review

Great review ... my 2 are perfect for what I use them for... just relaxing and hanging with a bunch of other kayakers and taking anyone interested out to try these stable easy to use boats

Author:  Katchaser [ Tue May 28, 2019 10:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Passport 10.5 Review

So I plan on ordering a Passport for my wife and daughter from REI in the next few days, however a small Hobie dealer in another part of the state offered to sell me a 2018 rental Compass for $1,400. Given the price is about the same for both ($1,300 for the new Passport and $1,400 for the used Compass), which boat do you think is the better value?

Author:  Folsom Ralph [ Wed May 29, 2019 8:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Passport 10.5 Review

Excellent review. Took my Passport out last night for its maiden voyage. This is my first Hobie and since it's designed to be an entry model, I didn't expect much. I was pleasantly surprised with the overall stability and seat comfort. I also experienced roughly 4 mph using the drive system and around 3 mph paddling.

I originally thought about purchasing a Compass, unfortunately the lack of a true side handle made loading it on my vehicle extremely difficult. My choices then were the Passport or a Revolution. With the considerable price difference and no prior experience with Hobie, I opted to go the lower cost route. I ordered a bimini this morning and might also get the sail.

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