Jackson Journey vs. Prijon Calabria ???

I am a novice paddler looking for my first boat - I have been looking for a while and reading all I can find to read. I have found two boat that I like a 3 year old Prijon Calabria (14’6")that is in very good condition and a 2012 Jackson Journey (14’) very lightly used. They both fit well and both are from what I believe to be well respected manufactures.

I like the fact that the Journey has the front an back hatches and a nice day hatch for keys etc. I also like the rigging on the Journey. Super nice seat. I did hear that they may oil can a little on the bottom (not sure if that is a big deal). It seems to me - that the Journey may have a bit of rocker and a little more flare at the bow than the Calabria - I wonder if this would make it a little more transitional? Jackson is kind of a WW oriented company so perhaps that makes some sense?

The Prijon Calabria is super nice - you can just feel the overall quality in that boat. It only has a rear hatch but it is a day use kayak only - I would probably put a bag in the nose for safety.

I have a small local lake near by for practice and fitness paddling. And there are several larger rivers near by that are pretty flat - maybe a few short class 1 or minimal class 2. Then long distances of flat slow moving water on these rivers. Then there are some larger creeks to - once again nothing above minimal class 2 if that. I think a longer boat will give me a much nicer tracking more efficient boat. If I get more into rougher stuff I can pick up a used creeker.

Anyway, I would really like some input on these two manufactures or the two boats in particular. Is one significantly better made than the other - or more durable long term? Would one be a better choice for the kind of cross over role between the lake and the slow rivers/creeks? I would greatly appreciate any input you might have. They are both super nice boats and both only lightly used.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts/opinions.

I owned a Prijon Calabria very briefly and don’t remember much about it, except that the cockpit at the front seemed cavernous. Personally I would say that a flotation bag in a 14’ kayak is a big strike against the Calabria. Even without a front bulkhead it manages to weigh in at a heavy 54 lbs.

I don’t know anything about Jackson kayaks, but some things stand out in the specs: the excessive weight (57 lbs is really heavy by today’s standards); the very large cockpit (might be okay if you’re a large person); the 16" depth (that’s very deep); and the width of 24.5" (24" is more desirable in a 14’ kayak, in my opinion). In other words, this is not a svelte kayak.

I am about 6’1" 220lbs with a 34" inseam so I am good size. The Journey fit me great.

Another thought
I’ve owned several boats in the 14-15’ range and the best was the Dagger Alchemy. Extra rocker for play and versatility with a skeg to help keep you straight on the windy days. Wilderness Tsunami 140 is also worth a test paddle.

I’ve paddled the Journey a few times and it handles very well. I’m a fan of Jackson outfitting, especially that it can be easily repaired in the field.

I haven’t owned a Prijon in a while. Don’t know about now but they always seemed a step behind in outfitting and design.

The time to think about resale is the day you buy the boat. Jackson, Wilderness Systems and Dagger are top brands and in demand.

Good Info Wavespinner
Thanks for the good info. I really did like that Journey. Fit me really good too! Pretty comfy.

I think that is a boat that would be okay for me to start out with but would also be a boat that would allow for me to grow as a paddler.

I tried the Alchemy - it was a little tight for me.


Alchemy L, right?
It does come in 2 sizes.

prijon …

– Last Updated: Mar-31-13 7:44 AM EST –

..... i owned a Calabria for a short time ....the thing about Prijons is they are reputed to have super tough hulls, since i intended to use the boat on creeks and other rocky areas, the hull toughness was the selling point. I used a front deck bag for all the little things i carried. the boat seemed no better or worse than any other boat I tried or ever owned. Note On Prijons: If u need replacement parts ..Good Luck ! I waited for around 2 months or so for a seat back cover replacement. All parts have to come from Germany.

Yeah - sad to say it was the L ;(

At 50 I am not as flexible as I once was

and am a decent sized guy about 25 over what I should be. Really nice boat though.

That is good info.
I really like the quality on the Prijons.

Seem to be rock solid.

Jackson Journey
I don’t think people should really comment on boats they don’t own or haven’t paddled.

I own one. The Journey 14 is a great boat. Solidly built, handles well, comfortable. But get the rudder to improve the tracking. It weathercocks quite a bit.


– Last Updated: Apr-29-13 5:14 PM EST –

>> I don't think people should really comment on boats they don't own or haven't paddled.

Analysis of specs is legitimate, as long as one allows that specs may not tell the entire story. It provides more perspective for consideration, which the OP can accept or reject.

Denying this kind of input would be like denying the experience of owners, due to their potential for fan-boy-ism.

The Journey
is a great boat. I love mine and will probably buy another. I’ve not paddled the Calabria, so I can’t be helpful there. But, if you’re looking for consumer confidence on the Journey, count me in there.