Advice please: Loon 138 vs. Pamlico 120?


I am purchasing my first kayak – it will be mainly for short trips on flat water lakes, the ICW, and slow-moving rivers. I want a stable and good-value boat. I’ve narrowed down my choices to a used Old Town Loon 138 and a new Wilderness Systems Pamlico 120, both about the same price.

Which would you pick and why?

Thanks very much for you help!


Already have the Loon 138
and am very happy with it. The plastic on is is very tough and sturdy. The adjustable seat is great. I moved it forward a bit to help with turning, worked great. Can also lean into turn somewhat. Tracks well. Wildy rec boats are known for tracking but don’t turn too well. The extra 20 inches on the Loon may even off the tracking. The seat in the Loon is more comfortable unless you get the Phase 3 seat from Wildy. There are probably very subtle differences which a demo of each may help with. I paid $350 for my 03 at the end of last season. I wouldn’t pay $500 for a used one. As everyone will say, Try them both.

I would seriously continue your selection process. You most probably want a longer yak very soon. Generally the longer the easier to paddle and better tracking. I’ll always take the longer for your type of touring. TEST PADDLE FIRST these boats are like shoes, one size does not fit all!

The boats I am looking at are around $350-$400. My budget isn’t much more than that. If you can suggest something longer within that budget, please do.


Loon 138
The Loon 138 is a solid boat. I also own a Wilderness Tarpon 160. The Tarpon hasn’t seen much water since I got the Loon. It’s a fun, stable boat. Turns easily enough, tracks great and has all the speed I need for most of my on water adventures. I think you will find the seat in the Loon far superior to the Pamlico’s seat. I considered the Wilderness Pungo 120 and 140, but went with the OT Loon 138 as it seemed I was getting a lot of boat for the bucks.

Still happy
with my Loon 138. It’s nearing the “end of season” as far as retailers go, so try to drive a bargin. All of the sporting goods stores are getting in their fall stuff right now.


I have …
Have an OT Loon 138 currently listed in the pnet classifieds.


Loon 138 . . . a good boat
Local guy rented boats and got very little action on the two Loon 138’s he had so I was able to buy both for about what one would cost (including paddles and skirts).

Our first kayaks and we’ve really enjoyed them. Local rivers, lakes and Gulf of Mexico.

Great 'yak to see if you’re going to like the sport.

I just ordered a QCC 500X so I guess you could say I’m hooked!