Explorer vs. Tempest Pro 165

-- Last Updated: Aug-20-08 10:04 AM EST --

Edited- Tempest 170 or 165 vs. the Explorer

I'm getting very close to making a decision on purchasing one of these boats to either supplement or replace an OI. After teest paddling a number of boats including the Force 4, Aquanaut, Currituck, etc. the Explorer and Tempest 165 Composite are my two favorites. For an all-rounder boat capable of several day camping trips, I assume these boats are really not truly comparable. Length is different, rocker and required skeg use are different, etc.

Reputation and use across the world by instructors, adventure trippers, etc. is obviously different as well. Hard to compare a boat to the Explorer.

I want to decide within a few days, based on available boats, and can come up with these thoughts from paddling the two.

The Tempest hatch covers are the new KS.
The Tempest required more skeg use for me.
The Explorer has more storage.
Both have low backs for my only roll known, lay-back.
The Explorer has a world-wide reputation for control in adverse conditions, not sure about the Tempest.
The Explorer seemed faster to me on flat water.
Explorer could be held on edge for a longer period of time.

Any help welcome!

It is so subjective
At this point in the rodeo it looks as if only you can actually make this decision. My preference is for the Tempest but I woudl compare the t165 to the Explorere LV and the 170 to the explorer.



– Last Updated: Aug-20-08 10:01 AM EST –

At 5-7 and 160 pounds, I could not fit at all in the Explorer LV and a Tempest 170 RM seemed huge to me. I did not get a chance to see a Tempest 170 in composite. At my size, i wonder if it is too big or no different than an Explorer?

why skeg use?

– Last Updated: Aug-20-08 10:21 AM EST –

I've paddled a 170 for years and when I first got it put the skeg down a lot---now I never put it down more than halfway and then only if I'm going down wind in winds greater than 10 knots---if fact use of the skeg, particular when going upwind, is counter productive. BTW the Explorer and T-170 are about the same size. If you do go for an explorer, be sure to inspect it carefully before you buy--they have the reputation of being tough, well designed boats but their manufacturing process and quality control at the NDK factory is not very good.

Rough construction but tough as hell.

Mine was so rough I hurt my hand is loose glass inside the hatch, that and when it was new it had a leak that the manufacturer did nothing about.

I guide, instruct and paddle a fair bit.

The Explorer in spite of weight is an excellent choice for me. By the time I have a 15 lbs safety kit in their and what other junk I am carrying in intrinsically unsafe water (temperature) the boat lends itself well to turning quickly, planting casualty boats on the foredeck and the rough and tumble of my life. It has smashed two wing mirrors, an antenna and a tail light from my vehicles. The Land rover and one VW is gone but the boat is still there.

The Explorer is a honker but she remains and old and valued friend on the water.

She is a forgiving mistress too: Imagine telling your wife or a girlfriend she could loose 10 LBS.

I paddle in Newfoundland Canada and my Explorer is about 8 years old.It has some patches.

I also own a Capella, It is in a hard way. A Sealution, she is old and banged about, an Orion and a Makkovic. They are used by my son and wife. They are well treated.

There are a couple of boats in the Explorer class: Few as rough; but none with the history.

165 vs Explorer
A friend just got a Tempest 165 pro AND an Explorer. The Tempest is closer to a Romany than an Explorer as it’s volume is much lower, esp. the rear hatch.

Comment on size
Hi. Just wanted to mention a couple of things.

All Explorers, standard, LV and HV are exactly the same hull hence take the same amount of weight to sink them to a certain point. The “LV” version just has an extra small cockpit and much lowered decks, which means that someone my size can physically get good contact to manage the boat. There are various opinions about whether this still means it is too much boat for me - in hull volume I am sure it is. But it is also a remarkably user-friendly boat that’ll behave well if not in a spritely fashion for just about anyone. It is a much more forgiving roller than my properly sized Vela, and does other things like balance braces much more easily as well.

In sum, the Explorer LV and the regular Explorer are exactly the same boat in terms of your use, the only diff is that you can get thru the cockpit opening for the regular one. And you weight the Explorer more appropriately than I do.

As said above, the Explorer hull is probably more comparable to the Tempest 170 and the 165 is truly a lower volume boat than the Explorer LV. The 165 has a cockpit that is narrow, but longer than the Explorer and slightly higher decked. That means larger people can make it to the seat than in the Explorer LV.

All that, as to one or the other there isn’t a bad choice between the two for a do-everything boat that will behave kindly on the water. The only boat that I know of anyone saying is better behaved in big stuff is the Aquanaut, because it stays steadier, but it also takes more lean and is harder to turn than the Explorer. I don’t know but I’d bet the Aquanaut is also stiffer than the Tempest 165 or 170.

I have a Tempest 165 and an Explorer LV

– Last Updated: Aug-20-08 8:58 PM EST –

Got the LV for more cargo capacity inside and its terrific downsized keyhole cockpit (I LOVE that little keyhole).

The 165 (mine is roto) is quicker-maneuvering, but I've had it for 3 years now vs. less than 2 months for the LV. Speeds are similar with me paddling them, possibly a tad faster in the LV as long as I don't slack off. (But if I slack off it's slower.) The 165 is easier to accelerate. No surprise given the length difference.

In short, they're both great boats.

One difference that may or may not matter to you is that the Tempests come with much better stock outfitting. It's adjustable and nicely padded. OTOH, the mini keyhole of the LV fits me better than anything else so it didn't need any hip pads or aggressive thigh hooks. This is something only you can determine because fit varies so much from person to person.

Outer Island.

What do these two boats do that the Outer Island doesn’t?

Turn :wink:
The Outer Island is a great boat, but it is a tracker. The OI takes a good amount of edge to turn and can be problematic for less than fully confident paddlers when trying to come around in strong winds.

It does have that reputation

– Last Updated: Aug-20-08 1:10 PM EST –

The Outer Island does have that reputation.

People might be able to offer better advice about the Explorer versus Tempest if the original poster indicated what -his- problem with the OI was.

(Maybe, we have another bowler on our hands looking for that "perfect" boat!)

That has been around

– Last Updated: Aug-20-08 12:59 PM EST –

Martin has posted before about his issues with the OI, but it was a while ago and he doesn't have quite the detail approach of Matt. (I don't think anyone does) Overall, the OI's reluctance to turn easily in wind and conditions is out of keeping with his needs in some of his paddling. I believe the current plan is to keep the OI, but add something to the fleet that'll handle that part of his paddling a little better.

I can verify the turning part. I was unable to turn an OI in 18-20 mph stuff because I had gone out without a skirt, and the deck is so low that I was going to swamp the boat if I took it over to the edge it needed.


– Last Updated: Aug-20-08 1:18 PM EST –

"Martin has posted before about his issues with the OI, but it was a while ago."

It isn't really reasonable to expect that people will remember that or go looking for it. Adding that information to the post makes the post more useful for more people. Many people read these posts. A little more effort in posting might make reading the post useful to people.

"I can verify the turning part. I was unable to turn an OI in 18-20 mph stuff because I had gone out without a skirt, and the deck is so low that I was going to swamp the boat if I took it over to the edge it needed."

I'd have trouble doing that in almost any boat without a skirt!


If lack of turning is his problem (still a guess), maybe he should look at an even shorter boat, like the Romany.

Turning and more

– Last Updated: Aug-20-08 1:41 PM EST –

I've been in the unfortunate and not realizable category of just owning one boat and expecting it to do everything. I enjoy three types of fresh water paddles - 10-17 mile day trips on long lakes with straight line paddling, small lake with twisty creek paddling, and one or 2 two night camping trips a year on larger lakes. Obviously different boats called for versus just the OI.

On Lake George two weeks ago with heavy boat chop and traffic, I once again had an unpleasant experience of rounding an island for some cover but not turning nearly as much as wanted. I edged, ruddered, etc. to make a large circular turn.

In summary, better turning and a bit more volume were my boat goals in either adding to or replacing the OI. Until this morning, I thought that boat might be an Explorer. With deals rapidly changing today, I have a great deal to obtain a Tempest Pro 165 this week, including a good trade on the OI.

I don;t know if the Tempest 165 is a better boat than the OI-it surely turns better but will be harder to keep going straight, has only a bit more storage if that, rolls almost as easily, and is made by a company that might not compare to Impex quality-wise. It may not be as good for me personally as the Explorer. In truth, it si frustrating to try to manage owning one do it all boat while many enjoy multiple boats for multiple uses. But I feel the Tempest 165 might be a better all around boat than the OI, when conditions get rough on the water. I might be wrong.

As far as the completeness and thoroughness of my original post question . . did my best - not sure about others - but I've a day job to do here!

I don’t think
you will be disappointed with the tempest 165 in rough conditions. It works well for many.

and if you want just as good a tracker as an OI…deploy the skeg!



I use a short Romany for all that!

– Last Updated: Aug-20-08 4:59 PM EST –

That extra detail goes a long way to indicate what sorts of things you are looking for!

The Tempests certainly have a good reputation. It won't be a "wrong" choice at all. It's possible that you might prefer some other boat but only you would be able to determine that.

You certainly should not have any problem camping in a Romany if you are careful about what you carry.

(I agree with Flatpick and I don't work for the company!)


There's no reason the Tempest 165 couldn't be the only boat you need.

vs. Explorer
Always considered the T170 more of a head to head with the NDK. Had the same choice years ago and chose a T170. I chose wisely . . . have never looked back. The T170 really does well in rough water particularly if you don’t deploy the skeg. By not locking in the stern, it is a very fun boat in both roller and surf.

IMO it will hold an edge equal to the Explorer no problem . . .actually think it will turn more with less edge. T165 is even quicker but not as much load hauling.

The water was still flat

– Last Updated: Aug-20-08 3:28 PM EST –

Nearer shore so no fetch so no waves, and a looong cockpit on me. In my own boats I would have had a little more wiggle room before flooding things as long as I didn't go for a real tight turn.

Or maybe a Romany HV?
In the p.net classifieds:

(NY) Romany HV Poseidon Red top. Normal scratches on hull from pulling up on Hudson River beaches. Serial # DKJP5143E902. Spare hatch covers. $1700 – Submitted by: ebo

T170 seems very like an Explorer
I paddled a friend’s Tempest 170 for a few hours on Lake George. We had some good chop, winds, boat wakes, etc… The Tempest handled it all with aplomb.

It reminded me very much of how an Explorer feels in similar conditions.

I’ve only been in a T165 in a pool, but it was great fun to roll, brace, etc… I keep hoping one of the paddlers in our group who has one would be interested in trying my Romany or Nordkapp LV sometime so I can get in a T165 on real water and play :wink: