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Watercraft Accessories Review


Shield yourself from harsh environments with the portable, easy to use, Pro-Techt Mantis
 

Date: 8/09/04
Tackle type: Sun/Rain Top
Manufacturer: Pro-Techt
Reviewer: JIP






Total Score: 8.33

Introduction: Anglers spend many hours in the sun and rain throughout the year, and protecting yourself against the harsh conditions of the UV radiation and pouring rain not only keeps you fishing longer but keeps you healthy as well. A novel new boat accessory has been developed by Pro-Techt which provides solid coverage while we are on the water. The Mantis is portable, quick to deploy and retract, and provides superior cover from the elements.

 

Pro-Techt Mantis Original Pro+ Specifications

Material Aluminum frame, Sunbrella® acrylic fabric
Weight 7 lbs
Size 40" X 6" X 5" (Retracted)
Height 42-55"
Size(Fabric) 55" Wide X 34" deep (Deployed)
Colors 12 available + customization
Mounting Methods 11 available
Features UV-mildew and rot resistant fabric, universal/multiple mounts, quick deploy locking hinge, tilt adjustments, integrated elastic fabric latch
MSRP $179.99 ($119.99-$179.99 depends on model)

   
About Pro-Techt: Founded in 2002 by serious outdoorsmen, Pro-Techt is lead by CEO Chuck Bishirjian, mastermind of the innovative product called Mantis. Being an avid angler himself, he would head out on the water and fish in all types of conditions, and after many wet rainy days outdoors, he often wished there was a compact, portable, and quick to deploy system that would shield away both the sun and rain. This lead to many hours of design, prototyping, and planning that resulted in a final product that was first introduced just weeks ago at ICAST 2004 where it gained much attention from the huge crowd.

 

Introducing the new Pro-Techt Mantis, an innovative canopy product

 

Impressions: The Mantis Original Pro+ model arrived in a slim box and weighed very little which gave me an impression that this innovative product will be easy to store and extremely portable. Taking the unit out of the box, it was indeed lightweight, and according to specifications, it weighs 7 pounds total for the Original Pro+ model. Fully collapsed the Mantis neatly folded the Sunbrella® fabric which was securely held by two integrated elastic straps. The spine of the Mantis is made of anodized aluminum and then powder-coated silver for added protection against corrosion. The fabric on our Original Pro+ model came in Captain's Navy color, but that's only one of 12 you can select from; plus the ability to get custom colors for an additional fee.

 

Sunbrella®: Sunbrella®, a Glen Raven, Inc. product, is made to withstand the harsh conditions of the outdoors and are used in many types of products such as awnings, patio furniture, outdoor umbrellas, marine applications, and much more. This fabric is fade-proof, stain-resistant, and built to last.

 

Heading back into the harbor after our 8th day field testing the Mantis.  It provided great UV coverage even when foggy

  
Field Tests: The Pro-Techt Mantis is an extremely versatile and portable product that can be attached to almost any structure such as boat rails, carts, railings, piers, and much more. Even though it should fit the captain's seat nicely on our Nitro, we chose to mount the Mantis on the Boston Whaler 170 Montauk for our field trials where we would encounter more harsh offshore conditions that put this suntop through some more resolute testing.

 

Mounting: Mounting the Mantis comes easy especially when you have the choice of 11 different apparatuses that can accommodate countless types of securing points. Purchased separately from the Mantis unit, you can pick from the following: rail, rod holder, clamp-on, deck/floor, side wall, back plate, hitch, and swivel, butt, slider, and bench seat mounts.  No matter what type of mount you chose to apply, they are all easy to install and extremely secure.

 

This is the base adjustment with a huge knob for easy gripping. Also notice the solid rail mount that uses high quality materials

  

Installation & DeploymentAfter securing the mount, and in our case, the rail mount for our center console test boat, installing the Mantis takes only a few seconds.  Placing the portable and lightweight Pro-Techt on the mount is as easy as flipping open the latch mechanism, lower the Mantis base onto the mount's vertical post, and locking the latch.  After locking the latch in place, if it does not provide enough pressure to prevent movement, there will be a slight play, simply tighten the locking nut on the other side of the latch in small increments.  Be sure not to over-tighten or else you'll run into problems such as shorting the life of the latching mechanism, breaking a rivet, or not being able to fasten the latch in the locked state.

 

Installed and fully secured, it's time to put the Mantis to use. It was a no-brainer to figure out how to use this simple yet effective design.  Simply loosen the tilt adjustment near the canvas end and pivot the upper spine which holds the canvas until you have the two spines perpendicular to each other as illustrated on the box or user manual.  Then undo the elastic cords that prevent the Sunbrella® top from flying everywhere, and pull the canvas out. By pushing on the quick deploying locking hinges, you have now deployed the Mantis canopy and secured it in place. Finally it's time to make small adjustments to your desired coverage and height of the unit by playing with the tilt controls knobs.  Without even reading the instructions I was able to put the unit together and deploy it in 1 minute or less, that's how quick and easy it is to use this innovative product. And if you prefer to do it while you're sitting down, each and every component is just an arms reach away.

 

The locking hinge is located under the canvas and is easy access

 

Protection: Sun and rain canopy type of products are widely available on the marketplace today and they come in forms of Bimini, T-tops, and umbrellas. While these provide good coverage, they are notorious for impeding your fishing experience. That's why Pro-Techt invented the Mantis. A unit that'll give you adequate protection and stays out of the way when you're fishing. While fishing on the 170 Montauk with the Mantis mounted on the center console, we were able to make full use of its protectiveness by having the ability to control the height, vertical, and tilt of the top. Having flexible controls is crucial to keep the Mantis in the proper location to cover you from the sun or rain. Even though you have vertical tilt control at the base of the unit, we wish in future models that there will be a vertical control located near the angle tilt knob, or slightly below it. That way you have even more control of the way the top canvas is angled to protect you from harmful UV rays.

 

We tested its ability to block the UV rays, but how about rain?  Even though we didn't have rainy days here, we hosed the Mantis down pretty good. The water quickly beads off the Sunbrella® as it lands. An excellent product to keep your upper half dry on those rainy days on the water.

 

The locking hinges securely hold the canopy open.  The battens give it superior support when deployed

 

Ability to Fish: No one is putting a canopy on my boat unless it will not be an obstacle when I'm fishing, especially casting and while fighting a fish. Suntops that have many supporting beams create such problem and umbrellas just get in the way due to its round design. The Mantis has a huge advantage and a winner in this category by far. Because of its design, for example, if you're fishing from the front of your bass boat, the Pro-Techt mounted on your chair, the Mantis spines are directly behind you allowing you to freely do a sidearm cast on either side. The slight pointed design also plays a role in fishing when you're setting the hook. If it was an umbrella, you might smack your rod against it as you set the hook, even when not setting the hook vertically.  But most of the time to maximize a hookset, you would want to do it in the opposite direction the fish is running. The Mantis provides a clear path for this type of solid hook setting and at the same time providing maximum protection against either the sun or rain.

 

When fishing, especially if I know the fish is considerable, I don't like to have anything that might get in the way. The Mantis never caused any problems for us when fighting fish on the ocean. As I set the hook and grabbed the rod, Zander quickly collapsed the canopy and pivots it out of the way, giving me much room to play the fish or even when running around the entire boat, the Pro-Techt never got in the way like a Bimini top would have.

 

The underside of the Mantis, an aerodynamic shape allows you to deploy it even on windy days

 

Aerodynamic Design: Yet another problem with the umbrellas and other tops that tends to catch air on windy days. The Mantis was designed with the wind in mind and as you can tell from its shape, the wind flows around the top rather then building against it. After testing the Mantis on mild to heavy wind days, we were quite happy with the results even though on the windier days the Mantis did move some at the base of the unit. The canopy didn't have any problems with the wind catching on and flipping the canvas nor damaging it in any way. When the Mantis is deployed you do have the luxury of leaving it up when running your boat or on windy days, but Pro-Techt recommends that the canopy is in the overhead position and the wind speed is 15mph or below. Operating the Mantis at greater than 15mph wind speed when opened might cause damage to the product and will void the warranty. When running 15mph or less, we found it was easy and quick enough to simply collapse the canvas which caused minimal wind resistant on the unit preventing any damage and won't decrease gas mileage on the already thirsty outboard.

 
Durability:
 The construction of the Mantis is admirable. The main spine is solid, the components are hefty, the
Sunbrella® is excellent, and each point is well supported. Under the Sunbrella® canvas it sports supporting arms with a locking hinge to keep the top from closing, even on windier days. There are also battens that provide additional rigidity of the canvas when deployed. A well planned design, construction, and choice of materials is what gives the Pro-Techt Mantis its durability. The proven Sunbrella® canvas is sure to last for years and the materials are all corrosion resistant and shows no signs of damage from the harsh seawater.

 

The Original Pro+ model has the ability to adjust the height of the unit.  This is the main spine, which is made of anodized aluminum and is very sound

  

Applications: The Mantis can be used in many applications especially when it's extremely portable, lightweight, and the ability to mount this unit almost anywhere. The 11 different types of mounts allow anglers to use it on all types of boats. For example, you can mount the Pro-Techt on any type of rails like on our test boat and the 3 different mount fixtures that'll easily match the pedestal seats seen on bass boats.  Aside from large fishing boats, it can also be mounted on smaller boats such as aluminums and pontoons where the frame is rigid enough to hold up the Mantis. Also, any boat with a rod holder will have the ability to choose the rod holder mount, but be sure it's a metal rod holder and sound.

 

Aside from employing this canopy on watercrafts, the Pro-Techt can be used on fishing piers, docks, and other outdoor places as well. In addition, this product goes beyond anglers and anyone can use this product such as on carts, wheelchairs, beach chairs, patios, and much more.

 

Storage: Storage comes easy with the Mantis. The Pro-Techt is lightweight, easy to fold up, and can be retracted to a size of only 40" X 6" X 5" which will fit in many storage compartments on the boat including your rod lockers. If in the boat is not where you want to store the Mantis, then it is light enough to carry off the boat and stash it in your trunk or garage with the rest of your fishing tackle. Before storing we recommend that you clean the unit first with a good rinsing and then let it bake in direct sunlight until all components are completely dry to prevent any possibilities of rot, mildew, or corrosion.

 

The Pro-Techt unit is lightweight and extremely portable. It collapses small enough to store in many places (like the back of our team truck)

 

Warranty: Pro-Techt took their time to design a product that is sound and utilizes quality components instead of trying to meet a deadline to market the product. Because of the different models and materials available to the consumer, the warranty will vary. For our Mantis Original Pro+ test model, the aluminum spines have a Lifetime warranty.  One year warranties are given to all plastic parts, screws, rivets, other metal components, and mounts. The Original Pro+ uses the Sunbrella® canvas where it's warranted for 5 years while the Polyester fabric is only warranted for one year. The limited warranty is good for the original buyer and for defects in materials and craftsmanship, and not from abuse or misuse.

 

Return Policy: Pro-Techt wants its customers to be completely satisfied with their purchase. If you're not satisfied with the Mantis in any way, you have the option to return the product in their original undamaged condition with original packaging and proof of purchase within 30 days from the date of purchase. If you purchased the unit directly from Pro-Techt's website, there will not be a re-stocking fee, but they do ask that you ship the Mantis back to them pre-paid.

  
Ratings:

Pro-Techt Mantis Original Pro+ Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Well made solid construction and the choice of components are of quality 8
Performance This unique product beats umbrellas and other canopies in performance while you are fishing.  It stays out of the way, easy and quick to deploy and retract, and adjustments to put the shade where and when you want it 9
Price Bimini tops are well above $300 and umbrellas are just not up to par when you compare it to the Mantis, which is a decent price for a well performing product that will last 8
Features Aside from its construction and design, the Mantis has features that make everything come together such as the locking hinge that holds the canvas open, adjustment controls to allow shade positioning, and much more 8
Design (Ergonomics) The overall design is great.  Easy to use standing or sitting, lightweight and easily carried by anyone, ability to adjust angle and height, and extremely aerodynamic in design 8.5
Application A canopy for those sunny days to protect yourself against the heat and harmful UV rays, and the top is also great at keeping yourself off the pouring rain while fishing.  This unit can be used in fresh or saltwater fishing applications, all types of boats, big or small, and the best of all is that when not used for fishing, you can use it for other outdoor activities such as BBQ and lounging around on the beach chair 8.5

Total Score

8.33


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Innovative Design L Base can use a more secure grip to prevent zero movement
J Portable L Needs one more vertical pivoting adjustment control
J Freedom to fish freely  
J Easy to use  
J Multiple Mounts  
J Aerodynamic  


Conclusion: Ever wish you had some shade on those hot summer days on the water or sometimes want to hide from the rain when you head out to fish in those questionable conditions? Well, now you can with the Pro-Techt Mantis. This innovative canopy is lightweight and easy to transport from vehicle to vehicle. Its aerodynamic design works great in the wind and is quick to set up, deploy, and fine tune to your unique protective needs. The greatest thing about the Mantis is that it will not get in your way of fishing like most other products will, and the canvas can be collapsed and retracted in seconds after the fish is hooked. The Pro-Techt can be mounted to almost anything with its 11 different types of mounts, and can be used in freshwater and saltwater watercraft of different sizes. The overall design is durable and in our model, the Original Pro+, the
Sunbrella® canvas material is truly first-rate! A definite must have if you spend hours and hours on the water and constantly brave the elements in the pursuit of that once in a lifetime fish.



 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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