Dirigo 120 vs. 140


Need to add a photography/fishing boat to my fleet and the Old Town line is available locally and economically.

Primary use will be on a medium size slow river (North Platte), for casual paddling taking pictures and occasionally some fishing.

I’ve sat in both but won’t be able to test paddle them. Personal fit is not an issue in either version as they have a ton of room! Comfort factor seemed very similar in both boats.

The 120 is 1/2" wider than its longer sibling. I’m guessing the actual speed differential between the two boats is rather marginal under normal conditions since these are recreational hull designs. I would think the manoeuvrability differential between the two sizes would be much more noticeable between the 12 footer and the longer 14 foot kayak.

In terms of wind, wouldn’t the shorter boat be less affected with its reduced profile?

Being more oriented towards long skinny boats, I originally planned on just buying the 14’ Dirigo but I’m now thinking the 12’ version may not really give up much to the longer design while allowing substantially greater manoeuvrability.

All thoughts or experiences regarding these two boats would be appreciated.

Thank you.

We have one of each.
For MY weight and size the 140 is much faster with me in it (230#ish). Both are rock stable. The longer one is nominally slower steering but unless you paddled them back to back…

They scratch like a Chicago Democrat votes (early and often) but are tanks in and (unfortunatly) out of the water. Make damn sure that the seat will support your weight in it’s highest adjusted position. It’s held in place by little plastic wings and as soon as they “slip” out of the brackets ONCE they are useless FOR EVER. The edge becomes rounder or something and won’t hold in the slots any more.

Now, this turned out to be a Big Thing for me. I was initially excited about the HUGE cockpit in my 140. It was canoe-like. A Kayak is not a canoe. It is difficult to maneuver yourself around the cockpit if you have stuff thrown in there canoe style. It looks like a big opening but it’s too narrow and shallow and with your legs sticking out in front of you there’s not a lot of extra space. Here’s the rub: the cockpit is too long. You have to rreeeaaacchh forward to get to any thing in the cup holder, dry hatch or mounting-plate area. You have to hold that reach over whatever beer belly you may or may not have OR scooch forward (into the puddle on the floor in front f the partially dislodged seat) to manipulate any thing in the forward dash area and the foredeck lashing area is effectively out of reach. None of this applies to the 120. The hole is just as useless, if not more so, than the hole on the 140 but the space AROUND the hole is much more accessable. the not-so-dry hatch in the aft deck IS accessable from the cockpit. It is a somewhat tricky and uncomfortable maneuver and I found the degree of trickyness and discomfort increased geometrically to the value of non-waterproof valuables in the not-so-canoe-like cockpit area. I was afraid to attempt to access the hold with my father’s antique fishing gear aboard. YMMV.

Either is a great and very stable boat. Best of luck and happy paddling.

Thank you for your
forthright response! I’ve read of the seat issues in other reviews and had hoped OT might have addressed the problem in current production. My paddling weight is about 180# so I’ll have to hope the seat rig can handle a tall skinny dude!

I’ll be using the boat primarily for photography but I do like drowning an occasional worm. The 140 was attractive since I could take my dog once in a while but that may be best left to my canoes.

I’m going to haul my photo gear up to the store tonight and spend some time in each boat. The long cockpit of the 140 doesn’t sound all that user friendly so I better check that aspect out carefully. What I am hoping to achieve is a photo boat that would be less affected by the wind than my canoes. Might just be time to build a decked canoe!

Thanks again.

I’ll agree to the cockpit…
… being not-user friendly in a 140. I bought a 140 for my daughter and I to paddle in. I’ve found that, paddling alone - I can’t reach the front of the cockpit without getting out of my seat. Nor can I secure a sprayskirt without 3rd party assistance.

140 Seat
We have had the same problem with the seat. Bought the 140 for a friend with MS and two artificial hips. The large cockpit made it cooler and easier to get in and out of. Unfortunately with the seat broken she has no stability and has been unable to use it for over a year. Anyone have an idea for a replacement seat. The shops around here suggest I buy a new boat!

I am paddling the Dirigo 120 on a
two week rental program. This is a kayak that greatly exceeded my expectations for a 12 footer. I thought due to my size (6-2/210) that it would be slow…not so. It moves very well (a little noisy pushing water at the bow), but responds beautifully on a fast river. It’s very stable, the seat is really comfortable and no issues/problems with it (it’s new), and just a user friendly kayak. I sat in the 140 thinking I would go that route…the huge, long cockpit with center support is a poor design and just too big. You get waves coming over the bow and this thing would fill like a bucket. I see no reason to go with the 140 as the 120 has good speed, very stable, comfortable, and easy to carry. I’m also going to test paddle a Manitou and possible a Zoar and will post my thoughts. Good luck.

I have a 120
And have been very pleased with it . I am 5’10" and 195lbs. It is a good boat for what you are wanting it for . Solidly built and not to difficult to handle out of the water. It tracks well loaded with junk and unloaded.I enjoy paddling it on lakes and rivers , I am not one to get in any hurry , so the boat works well for me. The seat issue can be resolved with Tie Wraps . I shoved the seat back into the brackets in the position I needed and then applied the tie wraps around the mounting brackets and around the seat brackets ,that has been four months ago and I have had no problem since.

I have a friend who has the 140 and he has been happy with it also , he is about the same size as I am .I don’t recall him complaining about the oversized cockpit , he is a fisherman and I believe he enjoys having the extra cockpit area for his tackle box and gear.