The Hobie Outback has undergone a complete re-design for 2019 bringing together a new hull shape with the latest advancements in kayak fishing features and technology. I just had to get my hands on one! Check out this blog post for a detailed look at the latest mind-blowing design that Hobie Kayaks has to offer....
One small step for Hobie, one giant leap for fishing kayak design....
Hobie are very good at listening to their customers. The guys at Hobie monitor online forums, facebook groups and listen to customer feedback so that they can tweak and advance designs to meet customer demand and expectation. All the niggles and wants from Outback owners have been answered with the new design. The result is a fishing kayak that stands out a mile from others around it. A fishing kayak where everything is just how you'd want it, with features that make a real difference when fishing. With Hobie you know you are getting a top quality build and construction too. A proper quality top-end premium fishing kayak.
That was it. I just had to have one!
Hobie Mirage Drive Kayaks
Mirage Drive kayaks have proven incredibly popular with kayak anglers as they offer a huge number of advantages over a traditional paddled kayak. Propelling the kayak your feet leaves your hands free to fish with. The ability to move your craft whilst holding a rod offers a number of ways to have the edge on the water. Troll a lure whilst holding the rod, hold ground in the tide, bait up or rig up whilst on the move, operate your fish finder or chart plotter whilst on the move, move whilst playing a fish, force drift baits, cut through wind with more efficiency and much, much more. Just some of the reasons why myself and many other kayak anglers are fishing from Hobie Kayaks. The latest Hobie Mirage Outback would only further the advantages that the Mirage Drive Kayak range can offer.
The all-new Hobie Mirage Outback 2019
A Hobie Mirage Outback 2019 in the Camo colour!
Mirage Outback Specification
- Length: 12' 9" \ 3.89 m
- Width: 34" \ 0.86 m
- Max. Capacity: 425 lbs \ 192.78 kg
- Fitted Hull Weight: 85 lbs \ 39.86 kg (includes all permanently fitted features/fittings)
- Fully Rigged Hull Weight: 103 lbs \ 46.72 kg (includes seat, drive and paddle)
- Hull Construction: Rotomoulded High-Density Polyethylene
Mirage Outback Hull Design and Construction
Whilst the previous Outback design also offered excellent stability this is about where the similarities end. This is a completely new hull design. The bow has been re-designed to minimise hull slap and improve efficiency through the water for a faster hull. The stern has been squared off to offer increased stability.
The new Outback does have less bow flare than the previous version. This will likely make for a wetter ride in choppy waters, but this is the compromise for having a bow which cuts through the water more efficiently. The sides of the kayak look far less slab-like than the previous Outback. The sides are gently curved up to the top of the Hobie logo where the sides then taper into the top deck. This certainly gives it a more streamlined look, and perhaps will lead to less windage effect on the hull when it's breezy.
The whole under-hull is silky smooth so i expect it to glide well through the water. Whilst the Outback is primarily designed for stability and comfort, the hull actually looks like it will push through the water much better than it's predecessor. I have a feeling it will be surprisingly fast for its size, and perhaps not too different from a Revolution 13 on calm waters.
The hull is constructed from high-density polyethylene which offers excellent structural rigidity, durability and resistance to warping and scratching. The build quality is just superb.
Mirage Outback 2019 Features
- Mirage Drive 180 V2 with Arc Cranks and ST Turbo Fins
- Vantage CTW Seating System
- Guardian Retractable Transducer Shield
- Two-Piece Paddle with On-Hull Storage
- Kick-Up Rudder with Dual Steering
- Sail Mount
- H-Track Deluxe with H-Rail
- EVA Floor Standing Pads
- Vertical Rectangular Hatch with Hatch Bucket
- 4 Molded-in Rod Holders
- Large Rear Cargo Well
- Large Rear Handle
- Utility Trays
- Hookless Pockets
- Power-Pole Ready
- Cart Keeper
- Reflective Bow Decals
The MD180 V2 comes fitted with ST Turbo Fins as standard. Turbo fins offer a longer than standard fin for greater surface area against the water. This creates more resistance and more thrust, resulting in a greater top speed but more importantly it allows for cruising speed to be maintained at a lower cadence (less pedalling!). These fins are an additional upgrade on most other Hobie Kayaks and it is good to see Hobie include these as standard with this model.
The drive utilises 'Glide Technology'. This is where roller pin bearings are used on pivoting parts, such as the drums, sprockets and idler pulley, creating a very smooth pedalling action.
A stainless steel mast runs down the leading edge of the fins and is connected to the boom and sprockets above. As the drive is put into action the sprockets move the masts from side to side thus moving the fins. The masts are designed to bend if accidentally struck and can be accessed for removal/repair if needed. This is achieved by undoing the split ring and clevis pin holding the fin to the boom and sprocket above. The fin will then slide off the mast, where the mast can be unscrewed from the boom housing.
The fin tension can also be adjusted by loosening or tightening a bolt at the base of the masts.
Loosening the bolt extends the length of the mast and puts more tension down the leading edge of the fin. This has the result of making it harder for the fin to flex as it moves against the water, and this manifests as more resistance on the legs whilst pedalling. You get more acceleration and a higher possible top speed but it can be harder work on the legs and body! Great if you want to zip around and get a work out!
Tightening the bolt shortens the length of the mast and puts less tension down the leading edge of the fin. This has the result of making it easier for the fin to flex as it moves against the water, and this manifests as less resistance on the legs whilst pedalling. You get less acceleration and a lower possible top speed but it is much easier on the legs and body! This is great for covering longer distances without tiring.
You may notice that the sprockets are exposed beneath the hull. The Outback under-hull has been shaped to better protect the sprockets within the keel line of the kayak.
There are 4 bolts at the very stern of the kayak. Beneath these are 4 moulded-in 1/4in-20TPI threaded inserts. These are for attachment of the PowerPole Micro Anchor accessory. I have no need for one so these bolts will stay in position for me.
The rear of the keel line features a replaceable keel strip which is a nice addition.
A smaller plate within the shield can be removed and switched out for a side-scan housing which comes with the kayak.
My only criticism in the feature department is the lack of moulded-in threaded inserts for anchor trolley fittings. It would have been nice to see two inserts with the same fixture separation as the Hobie Chrome Pad Eyes or Cheek Block Pulleys located either side of the bow and stern for easy anchor trolley fitting.
The hull shape screams stability whilst not completely lacking in forwards performance. The smooth under hull and relatively sharp bow should see the hull glide and cut through the surface well. It's not going to be quite in the same league as my Revolution 16 but i bet it won't be too dissimilar to a Revolution 13 on flat water. The Revolutions will pip the Outback in rough water though. How efficient the Outback hull is will take a few sessions in various conditions before a full assessment can be made. I look forward to finding out and have a feeling it will prove to be a very versatile kayak.
The hull is a touch heavier than i'm used too and this may make a straight lift up onto my roof rack a struggle. The load assister will be a big help here and is a nice little feature to include.
I currently use a Hobie Revolution 16 and this has suited me well for the inshore and offshore fishing i do around the coast on the UK. The Outback is a step away from my usual long and narrow fishing kayak preference - so why have i got one? Well the Outback offers many advantages that the Revolution 16 does not. It has a super stable hull design, it has stacks of deck space, it has a plethora of really useful features to make fishing comfortable. With is advantages in features and comfort, the Outback does not compare to the fast hull of the Revolution 16. They are two different beasts.
I will be using the Revolution 16 for long distance 10 mile+ trips inshore and offshore, and for when the tidal conditions or wind conditions require a fast and super efficient hull design to cut through the conditions. This kayak excels on the open sea environment.
I will use the Outback in more benign conditions inshore, fishing along the coast on calm-to-moderate days and for fishing within inlets and estuaries. It will be for the days when i'm pottering around a few miles here and there and not travelling big distances. Perfect for a spot of trolling along the inshore reefs, or a spot of anchoring in a sheltered bay or within an estuary creek. It is for those days when i'm not battling the elements and would like a touch of comfort as i bask in the sun and wait for a bite. It is more of an all-rounder that will have it's use on both inland and coastal waters.
Two kayaks suited to two applications to cover just about all the kayak fishing i will ever be doing. I look forward to seeing where the Outback will take me and what fish may grace its deck! Rigging and first session posts to follow....
The Outback is available in 5 standard colours - Ivory Dune, Papaya Orange, Hibiscus Red, Seagrass Green and Slate Blue. There is also a Camo Edition as shown in this post. The 2019 Mirage Outback in the standard colours retails at £3250.00 in the UK, with the Camo Edition retailing at a slightly higher £3400.00. The Camo Edition only differs by being Camo in colour and having Camo pedal pads and deck standing pads.
This is a lot of money for many but this is about as good as it gets for a versatile fishing kayak for all-round use on inland and coastal waters. The Mirage Drive 180 V2 with ARC cranks and ST Turbo Fins retails alone for about £1000 but it is a phenomenal piece of kit offering performance not matched by any other pedal drive system. The kayak also includes a premium seating system, paddle, rudder system, centre hatch with bucket, fish finder installation system and hardware, H-Rails, H-Track and much, much more. You can see where the cost of this kayak has come from. As standard it is a fully kitted out fishing machine! The Outback has many features which would be an optional extra on any other kayak. Everything is quality too. The plastic used in the hull, the stainless components, the fittings and fixtures... all high-quality materials and components used.
Sure, it's a fair initial outlay but you are buying a fishing kayak that you know has been born from years and years of industry-leading product development and refinement based on research and user feedback. The result is a fishing kayak that is near-perfect from the minute you take a seat and pedal away. The Hobie Mirage Drive range is well established and much loved by kayak anglers across the globe, whether it be by those fishing shallow flats, creeks and ponds to those exploring vast lakes, river systems or inshore and offshore environments. The Hobie dealer network is extensive across the US, Europe and beyond meaning that product support is easily accessible, as are spare parts should you need to replace anything. The new Hobie Outback marks a massive step forwards in fishing kayak design and i can't wait to take it on my kayak fishing adventures.