No need to pack light for your multi-day river adventures with the Hala Daze. This board is a beast. Its big enough to carry all of your gear and stable enough to handle whitewater. It boasts five fins and a raised stomp pad that render it surprisingly nimble. While its massive size holds up a hefty load of gear or a gaggle of children, it's cumbersome to move over land and slow to inflate, making it less than ideal for casual days on the lake. If you love the idea of surfing white water or fly fishing mid-river, this design offers more versatility than a traditional packraft. Its exceptional stability and oversized shape make it our Top Pick for Expeditions.For a more agile board with first-rate stability, our Editor's Choice, the Hala Carbon Straight UP, will meet your needs for a variety of adventures.
Hala Daze Review
Cons: Heavy, bulky for casual use, difficult to carry alone once inflated
Our Analysis and Test Results
When fully inflated, the Daze is nearly 12 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 8 inches thick, making it significantly larger than the average board. Its huge profile renders it extremely stable in rough conditions and it's equipped for carrying everything from your overnight gear to fishing equipment and even a large cooler.
This model is more of a barge than a board. It's width, height, and five fins make it stable even when the wind gets cranking. It handles chop significantly better than any of the other competitors. It also did a great job in waves and mellow whitewater on our river day, earning it the top score in this metric.
Two people can easily paddle simultaneously while standing on this board, and the added human-power makes up for its lack of glide. It is also a great, albeit challenging, platform for acro-yoga. Throw the kids and the dog on board, strap a cooler to the front and set out for a picnic in the middle of the lake.
While its large size lends to stability in choppy conditions, it becomes serious work to paddle when the wind gets going. On flat, glassy water it performs decently well in this arena. When testing its abilities by counting paddle strokes between two fixed points, its smaller competitors only outpaced it by a stroke or two.
If you are looking for a board to carry you across long distances, the Red Paddle Co Explorer is another Top Pick due to its excellent performance in this metric. The Daze is best suited for the patient paddler or for journeys where the current can carry you along.
This board is surprisingly easy to turn. Its superb stability makes it easy to walk to your way to the back of the board, stagger your feet, and weight the rear 1.5-inch raised stomp pad. Without any additional weight strapped to the front, its progressive rockered design causes the nose to lift out of the water and the board can practically be turned on a dime by paddling either backward or forward.
If the wind picks up or the front is loaded down with equipment, the heft of this board makes it less maneuverable than some of its competitors.
Ease of Transport
The ability to deflate this board and pack it into a backpack makes it phenomenally easy to transport for a watercraft this size. Compared to other models, however, its size can be a considerable burden. It fits into a backpack, but it weighs 41 lbs, and the pack itself is over 4 feet tall. Fortunately, Hala added a rolling feature to the backpack, which makes moving the deflated board over hard surfaces pretty efficient.
Once it's inflated, moving this board over land is best achieved by two people. It has soft grips on each end that make it comfortable to carry with a friend. A third grip is located in the middle of the board for the standard underarm carry. However, the width of this board only makes carrying it in that style possible for those in the 6-foot height range. Even then it is difficult.
Ease of Inflation
This product is nearly twice the volume of the average board and accordingly takes about twice as long to inflate. It comes with a raft-style hand pump and a 12V car pump. Unfortunately, the car pump can only be used to fill the board between 1 and 2 PSI. while this does fill up the majority of the volume, using the hand pump to reach the desired 15 PSI takes an additional 25-30 minutes of steady manual pumping.
Hala makes a 12V High-Pressure Electric Pump that can quickly and safely inflate your board all the way to 15 psi. You can purchase it separately to significantly reduce the amount of time and effort required to transition from travel mode to go mode.
This product is for anyone looking for epic river adventures and/or the need to carry heavy loads. It boasts the ability to support 500 lbs and its massive size makes it stable in rough water. It is ideal for overnight trips on the river with lots of gear and whitewater to ride.
The Daze is also RAILBLAZA® StarPort friendly, which allows you to attach RAILBLAZA® products like a fishing a rod holder and a camera mount adapter. Its 12 rigging points come in handy for lashing gear, anchoring to shore, or hooking up with another craft. The many unique features of the Daze were designed with river expeditions in mind, and this product lives up to the manufacturer's claims.
While this model may be fun for the whole family to pile onto, other models, like our Editor's Choice the Hala Carbon Straight Up, will provide fun for the family without the added bulk.
This big rig is one of the most expensive boards on the market with a hefty price tag of $1,699. With its high-quality construction, specialized features, durable design, and exceptional performance, you get exactly what you pay for.
Hala also guarantees the performance and durability of their products with a 3-year warranty and provides a repair kit in case things get too rowdy on the river. If you're looking for a less expensive model, consider an all-around board like our previous Editor's Choice, the Isle Explorer or check out our Best Buy, the PEAK Inflatable.
We are big fans of the Hala Daze for its superb stability. We were also impressed by its maneuverability for a board this size. We enjoyed using this product to paddle through rough waters with a second person on board and to work on our acro-yoga skills when conditions were a bit more placid. If you are psyched for big river expeditions or are looking for a party barge for you and all your friends, we highly recommend our Top Pick for Expeditions.
— Leslie Yedor