Essence 17.0 vs Tempest 170

I was wondering how these boats stack up to each other?

I was also curious if any of the bigger guys had tried the Perception boat?

I really like the long cockpit offered on these models. I’m 6’2 and about 300 so I don’t really fit the 170 but was wondering if the extra inch of width of the Essence would be enough. I realise a Tempest 180 would be the right answer but I’d prefer plastic. Just casually looking right now as I have boat already.

Any opinions?

Essence cockpit much longer
I have an Essence 17 and have test paddled the Tempest 170. The Essence cockpit is much deeper (nearly 2 inches) which allows me to sit down in the boat and then bring my legs inside. I can’t do that with the Tempest. I’m 6’ 1" and about 212 lbs. I purchased the hip pad kit to tighten the fit in the boat for me.

The Essence is a great tracking boat that responds nicely to edging for course corrections but it cannot be called a nimble kayak. The skeg does a good job of trimming out the weathercocking when required. It’s a comfortable, stable, and easy to paddle boat well suited for camping or distance paddling. I use mine for day paddles on our local lakes and occasionally in bigger water on the Chesapeake Bay. It’s also a good boat to loan to less experienced friends to try out. Lots of hip and plenty of leg room for a larger person. The seat seems a bit more comfortable than the one in my Zephyr 160. One downside is the weight, they are fairly heavy boats.

The Essence seems to be an overlooked and somewhat unloved boat, which allowed me to get a great deal on mine at my local shop. My wife has an Essence 16.5 which she likes a lot also.

Thanks for the insight there. How do you find the plastic, stiff enough? Well made?

Very solid
I find the hull to be very solid, no issues at all. The only problem I have had is the tabs that hold the leg lifter strap to the seat pan (the strap that goes under the front of the seat) is very flimsy and will bend if you want to cinch up the seat to connect aggressively to the thigh braces. This is an issue with most of the Zone seating in Perception and Dagger boats. The flimsy retainer causes the strap to slip out of the retainer when it bends and you loose the support the strap provides. I cut off the molded tabs from the seat pan an attached stronger retainers from parts I purchased at my local paddle shop. It was an easy fix and the seat is very solid now. I can send pictures of my fix via email if you are interested.

Other than this the Essence is a very solid boat. Treat it decently and store it properly and you should get many years of service.

If you don’t want fiberglass
the Eddyline Nighthawk 17.5 is a good big guy boat. Nice large cockpit opening too.

Thank you
For the suggestion. I like the look of the specs on that boat and have been eyeballing it since I learned a little about cockpit length and me fitting easily. I’m not at all saying thermoformed is weak since I own a thermoformed boat and was very impressed with Mark Hall’s hammer test video. But (there’s always a but) I dropped one of our Tsunami SP’s of the top of the roof rack, off the top of another stacked SP on my wifes van. No damage, that really impressed me.

I’d sure like to try one of those Night Hawks one day though.

Thanks again
For more insight and your kind offer of the pictures but for now I’m good. I’d like to see and test a few different boats before I buy another and don’t want to trouble anyone until then.

Does Nighthawk 17.5 track like 16?
I find the Nighthawk 16 very tracky and much to hard to turn for my tastes. Is the Nighthawk 17.5 as tracky as the 16?

apples and oranges
They both have the name “Nighthawk” which suggests they’re both the same boat, but I found the 17.5 to perform completely different than a Nighthawk 16. The 16 rides high in the water and has a fairly pronounced V-hull, which makes it tippy. The 17 has a shallow V, and because it’s wider, when you edge it has more of a surface to edge on. Plus the sheer size differential makes them two different boats. In the end I decided it was too big for me, but it would make a nice boat if you wanted to bring the Coleman along.