2020 Hobie Mirage Outback Review

If you are a regular reader, then you probably know a couple of things:

  • I love pedal kayaks
  • I love Hobie kayaks

With that in mind, it's probably a pretty safe bet to assume that I'm a big fan of the 2020 Hobie Mirage Outback. And you'd be right.

But, there are a ton of different options from Hobie. For example, I've already reviewed the Hobie Passport. What makes the Hobie Mirage any different? Is it better than these other Hobie kayaks, and if so, what is it better at than them?

But first, let's do a quick overview of Hobie and their kayaks.

Hobie & the 2020 Mirage Outback

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Hobie is a leader in fishing pedal kayaks, and the 2020 Hobie Mirage Outback is a state of the art product that has already made waves since its release. The kayak offers both an extra-wide standing deck and a full seat to provide more room and comfort. It is a solo kayak with a full load capacity of 425 pounds. The vessel is designed to offer the latest gadgets for every fisherman, sporting new Kick-Up fins which automatically retract, four-rod holders, multiple H-Track mounts, and several large-capacity compartments for storage of supplies.

As with all  Hobies, the kayak comes powered by a MirageDrive 180 with ARC Cranks and Turbo Fins, giving you greater steering capabilities as well as the ability to move fast and quietly.

Other specifications:

  • Length: 12 ft 9 in
  • Width: 34 in
  • Weight: 103 lb
  • Type: Sit on Top
  • Material: Polyethylene (READ: indestructible for most standard uses!)

What I like about the Mirage Outback

The features of the 2019 Mirage Outback put it far above the competition in virtually every category. I and other customers who have tested the kayak vouch for its ability to outpace other vessels in speed and design, partially due to its sleek bow, which is engineered to cut through the water more efficiently. I agree in that I think this is arguably the fastest Hobie pedal kayak.

The Outback also has a retractable shield on the transducer that allows you to protect it when necessary and also retract it for more comfortable transportation. The shield is helpful for a rough day on the lake or for natural conditions on a lake or inlet.

The kayak comes equipped with dual rudder control, which allows you to steer from either side quickly. Although fitted with a two-piece paddle that is stored on the hull, the kayak is powered by the MirageDrive 180, a pedal kayak drive that allows you to add speed with little effort. The reverse toggle switch allows you to turn the fins 180 degrees and put the vessel in reverse, while continuing to pedal regularly. The Outback also includes a sail mount for easy installation of a sail for windy days.

While it's certainly nice to have the backup paddle, and I get Hobie throwing on the sail since they also make the world-famous Hobie Cats, but I think this is a little overkill here. You'll use the paddle, maybe, if it's incredibly shallow. But if you're going to spend the money on the pedal kayak for fishing, I doubt you're going to throw a sail onto it as well! I know I certainly wouldn't!

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One of the most convenient aspects is the large deck, which provides plenty of space regardless of the type of fishing you are doing. The deck comes with EVA pads, which both cushion the standing areas and muffle sounds. While offering plenty of deck space for standing, the Mirage Outback did not sacrifice any storage space. There is a large vertical rectangular hatch that opens for tackle storage in addition to a large rear cargo area and large bow hatch. In addition, the four H-track mounts provide all of the additional mounting and storage space for any fisherman. The rear H-tracks contain a bungee tackle retainer. The front include an H-rail integrated track.

Weighing in at 103 lbs and over 12 feet, the kayak is large but not overly difficult to manage when hauling. It comes with mid-boat carrying handles that are bolted to both sides as well as a large rear handle. It also comes equipped with the Outback Loader, a bumper that clips to the rear handle for loading. These are both minimal touches to add to the kayak, but they make a world of difference in terms of usability. Points to Hobie here.

The seat provides maximum comfort. It is a standard Vantage CTW which has four-way adjustability and includes an additional 1.5 inches on the base for added support.

Speaking from a personal side, I've always been surprised that the seat comfort doesn't get more discussion. If you're buying a pedal kayak instead of a regular kayak, it means you are probably using the pedal kayak's speed and hands-free capabilities to do some serious fishing far from your dock.

In practice, that means to me that you are almost definitely going to be in the kayak for several hours at a time. My butt can hurt sitting on the bleachers at a  football game in just 15 minutes. Seat comfort matters, so if I'm going to be in the pedal kayak for that much time, I want it to be damn comfortable!

Finally, the Mirage Outback is designed with safety in mind. It comes with a Mirage Drive Fin recess to protect the blades when in shallow water or pulled onto land. It also comes standard with reflective bow decals that will assist when fishing in low light. I  appreciate both of these facts: the first, so I don't damage my kayak and the second, so no one hits me when I'm out in the water!

What I don't love as much

With all the new standard features included in the 2020 Mirage Outback, there isn’t much left wanting. A leader in the industry, it seems as though Hobie has thought of everything.

The sleek and low profile bow does cause the kayak to run close to the water, which offers less protection from overflow. When the water is choppier, it is much easier for water to breach the bow. However, the kayak does drain very quickly. While this does not impact how well the kayak operates, it can be an inconvenience. If your primary concern is a completely dry kayak, the Outback cannot provide that. If you want a pedal kayak that's great for the ocean, then another Hobie is the best fit.

To enhance portability the Vantage CTW seat folds down. While this is a helpful feature, if you are standing in windy weather the seat may fold down on its own. This is a minor inconvenience and can be adjusted with a DIY bungee solution. However, I've found that having to repeatedly flick up the seat to be a huge pain in the butt.

Who is this perfect for?

This is not the average recreational kayak that you pick up at your local department store. This beautiful craft was specifically designed for the sport of kayak fishing with all the features fully loaded and ready to go. From the two trays built to hold the gear to the power pole ready stern, the kayak is willing to hold all the tools necessary for your next fishing trip.

The Outback is the perfect solution for both saltwater and freshwater fishing. The standing deck provides plenty of room for casting, and the seat design will bring you comfort for fishing trips that last all day. Whether you are just getting started with pedal kayaks and kayak fishing or you are looking to upgrade your current pedal kayak, this is the solution for you.

My final verdict

A name known around the world for excellence in fishing, Hobie has delivered again in the re-designed 2020 Mirage Outback. The kayak stands out in all categories and is well worth the investment. For comfort, safety, and overall advanced features, look no further.

See you on the water!

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