The Hampton line of pontoon boats has an advantage over other brands. It hails from storied builder PlayCraft, of which owner Jim Dorris and his sons continue to perfect the performance side of pontooning. While a Hampton might not achieve the same eye-watering speeds of its PlayCraft sister ships, we could feel the pedigree from behind the tilt-and-lock wheel of the Hampton 2285 SE tri-toon.
The tri-toon hull design took full advantage of the 200 hp Honda outboard on our test boat. The Hampton 2285 SE vaulted out of the hole and achieved a pleasing turn of speed. Our test boat also proved nimble, carving turns in V-hull-like fashion, banking nicely during lateral acceleration.
We could also see the heritage in features like the patented staircase boarding system built into the aft end of the starboard tube. Combined with a three-step fold-down boarding ladder, it is the easiest reboarding system in the pontoon market. The aft swim platform on our test boat included a beefy stainless-steel ski-tow arch over the Honda outboard for enjoying watersports such as water skiing and tubing.
Attractive woven-vinyl flooring provides traction when wet. It’s easy to clean and adds a stylish touch that complements the 2285 SE’s plush two-tone upholstery and classy lines. In the aft interior, we found an inviting 7-foot-long lounge on the port side and a 4-foot-long lounge to starboard. A gate leads to the swim platform that spans the transom. Movable drink holders slide into the crease between the backrest and seat on the loungers to ensure you always have a beverage handy.
At the helm is a captain’s chair with fold-down armrests. When you’re not underway, you can swivel the chair to join the festivities or recline it to take a relaxing catnap. In the bow, a pair of facing loungers (4 feet long on the port side and 5 feet long on the starboard-side) invite crew members to kick back and soak up the sun, or enjoy a snack using the pedestal table that secures into a flush base in the forward deck. You’ll find storage under all of the lounges.
The sleek fiberglass console on our test boat sported hydraulic steering, an in-dash compass, and a full complement of gauges. A Simrad GO5 chart plotter/fish finder helps guide the way and warn of shallow water. A four-speaker, Bluetooth-enabled Infinity stereo helps keep everyone entertained.
A special touch aboard our test boat was an RGB LED controller that lets you adjust the courtesy lights in a rainbow of colors to suit your mood. The system will even automatically rotate the colors.
* Four loungers and a reclining captain’s chair provide plenty of opportunities to kick back and relax.
* Our test boat’s tri-toon offered V-hull-like handling and pleasing turn of speed with a 200 hp Honda outboard.
* Abundant stowage resides under all of the lounge seats and the helm console.
Price: $64,900 (as tested)
How We Tested
Engine: Honda BF200
Drive/Prop: Outboard/Mercury Vengeance 14″ x 19″ 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.86:1
Fuel Load: 15 gal.
Crew Weight: 450 lb.
Hampton by PlayCraft – Richland, Missouri; 572-765-3265; hamptonpontoons.com