kayak advice

I’m a kayaking novice and am just learning to paddle using a friend’s boat (Dirigo 120). However, I would like to buy my own boat and although the Dirigo 120 is a very nice kayak is little bit over my budget. So, I’ve been looking at the following alternatives:

Old Town Dirigo 106

Old Town Loon 111

Perception Sundance 12 or Prodigy 12

I really like the Old Town Loon 111 and the perception Sundance 12. I’m looking for recommendations specially between these two kayaks.

Any insight will be appreciated!


Don’t have any recommendations but
which ever you choose, it will be the right choice.

The boat isn’t as important as the red color.

Paddlin’ on


Consider used
There isn’t a critical argument for going new in the level of kayak you are talking about, and you can get more boat if you go used. Another option is to wait a few weeks for outfitters putting their rental and demo fleets up for sale at a discount.

Dave, of all the kayaks you
list, the Dirigo 120 is tops. I paddled this kayak for two weeks on a rental and loved it for rivers and lakes. I’m 6-2/210 and it handled my size very well…fine recreation kayak. I see Bass Pro carries it at $599. and if out West, Sport Chalet has their annual kayak sale coming up (the carry the 120)with 20-30% off. Good luck, but the other 10’ kayaks will not track as well as the Dirigo.

Loon 111
They just have the best seats.

Green is the proper color for a paddle craft. :wink:

Yellow and purple attract loads of biting insects of many varieties.

We’re new to kayaking too and just bought a Dirigo 106 tonight. Couldn’t wait for the lake this weekend so we tried it out in the pool. So far we love it! We got it at Dunhams at 20% off.

Save up for at least a 12 footer.
you can thank me later.

I think string’s right

String and Celia are right
Buy at least a 12 footer (14 is even better) and buy it used. If you can hold out a wee bit more, we are reaching that time of year when many outfitters will start selling off part of their rental fleet. With the exception of some purely cosmetic issues, you can get a damn good boat for the price of your new 11 footer. Forget about us, you’ll thank yourself later. Enjoy whatever you choose.

I would not buy a boat under 12’ the Dirigo is a nice boat and would not be a bad choice…

Pink is reserved for you.

Sundance 12.0
I just bought a Sundance 12.0 and took it on it’s maiden voyages this past weekend. For a rec boat I must say it handled awesome. It tracked wonderfully. I had it on College Creek, Powhatan Creek and the James River in Williamsburg, VA. The creeks were very easy paddling, but the James River was quite choppy w/ big wind gusts.

First, I found it listed for about $600 on several websites. But if you can find it @ Dick’s, they have it marked down to $400. From what I’ve been told, it’s a discontinued model so it may be hard to find - my store had one left.

While the Loon does have a much better seat, you must ask yourself how much gear you plan to stow. For one, the Sundance has a dry bulkhead where I believe the Loon does not. Also, the Sundance has a max weight capacity of 400 lbs (one of the reasons I bought it) and a large cockpit. The Loon’s weight capacity I believe was 275 lbs. So if you plan on camping, etc. the Sundance gives you a little more flexibility for stowing gear. The seat is the biggest drawback to the Sundance, but suprisingly I had no difficulty w/ mine (and I’m 6’4" 225lbs). I bought an assessory deck (kind of like a partial spray skirt) for mine b/c it cuts down the paddle drip and provided a beverage holder (something else the Sundance lacked).

It’s only been one weekend, but for a rec boat on a budget it’s been great thus far. If you have any questions about it, let me know.

“do it all” rec boat options
String and Celia are correct. Minimum 12 footer. Have you looked at the Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 or the Native Marvel 12? Open feeling with some storage and all around capability.


The Pungo is a nice high end rec choice that paddles easy and tracks like a good touring boat. Fills a niche that not a lot of manufacturers were attending to. A local boat rep said Native is calling their Marvel 12 “the pungo killer”, which says something. My wife is going to demo both in september. Native has an excellent web site, Wilderness Systems does not. Might want to demo these boats before buying any of the ones you mentioned.

WS Pungo 120 has some mighty big shoes

– Last Updated: Aug-11-08 8:15 PM EST –

for Native "Marvel" to fill and I can't imagine that a possibility. Maybe an equal which I even have doubts about but not a Pungo Killer. The only chance Marvel has is to duplicate the Pungo in "Red" only.

All joking aside even though I don't own a Pungo 120, I put it on a pedestal alone without competition.

Widerness Systems put their money into the quality of their kayaks and have a great reputation. I've never paddled a website but I'm willing to give the Marvel a fair chance.

Paddlin' on

check out used boats too
you may find a better used boat for the same money that you would spend on new one that isn’t so good.

Don’t think the Loon 111 is made anymore
though the mold is used for one of Old Town’s fishing models. I think the 111 is one of the best simple rec designs ever produced. It tracks well, and is well constructed.

The Loon 120 is also a nice boat. Dirigos are fine as fishing platforms, and for slow paddling relatively short distances. But they are kind of barge-like.

If you plan to cover miles, look for used 12-14 foot boats. The Necky Manitou, and the WS Tsunami line are decent boats.

not a killer yet
I should have finished that sentence “…says something about the Pungo.”, which belongs on that pedestal. Native has at the very least picked a good target to shoot for/at.

To get a good deal on one of those boats
1) Go to Gander Mountain and pick out the boat you want.

2) Apply for Gander Mountain credit card and get 20% off everything you buy that day, including boat, PFD, paddle, etc.

3) Pay off the Gander Mt credit card immediately, because it has some insane interest rate. Cut it up into little pieces and cancel the account.

That should bring the Dirigo 120 down to the Dirigo 106 price.

Maybe …maybe not

– Last Updated: Aug-11-08 10:34 PM EST –

Marketing is tough, marketing against something with a long standing reputation of quality is more difficult. Words may not do it but price in today's market is definitely an eye opener and will help.

Negative comments towards a leader can have negative results. Let's play...Show & Tell on this one but my money is on the Pungo.

Paddlin' on