Loved a Tempest 165...other alternatives?

I did an adventure race this past weekend and kayaks were provided to us. I only have a bit of experience in recreational kayaks, but there was one kayak that stood out from the fleet and I chose it on a whim: a wilderness systems tempest 165. I loved it! I’m now on the hunt for one locally and without breaking the bank. I’ve been trying to do a lot of reading and research and decided i would ask for some advice here. Are there any other similar models i should be looking at? I’m 6’3", 170lbs. The Tempest 165 was a tight fit, but I did 8.5 miles up and down a river and felt very comfortable. From what I’ve read, the larger 170 would probably feel a little stoic at my weight. Any comparable models from other brands? Thanks!

Welcome Jason.
Can you fill in a few blanks for us all? #1 where are you. “Locally” means nothing if there is no local mentioned.
#2 breaking the bank means different things to different people. Putting a top dollar budget on it helps in the conversation. As far as others that are in the same Ligue, actually there are several. But “breaking the bank” may be an issue If buying new. There is P&H, Eddyline, Valley, Lincoln, Rebel, NDK, Stirling, Sea Bird and a few others.
The Tempest gets very good reviews too, but speaking for myself only, I have yet to get into one and try it. At 6’ 3" I probably would recommend you look at the Tempest 170 in addition to the 165. The 165 is likely maxed out with a paddler of your size.

Thanks for the reply. I’m in midcoast Maine and I’m looking at buying a used kayak, hopefully in the $500-$800 range. While the cockpit was snug for entry on the T165, it fit really well once I was in, even with sneakers still on (adventure racing meant i was in and out of the kayak to trek across some islands). There seem to be a lot more of the 170s on the used market, but from what I’ve read they feel like a different craft due to the larger volume. They supposedly ride higher and are much less nimble/playful.

a sea kayak cockpit may seem tight if y6iu have come from rec kayaks.

Look at Solstice GTS or GT by Current Designs. Try them for fit. Should be able to find some in your price range.

I saw a Valley rotomolded Skerry recently in FL for $399 and was tempted to buy it but have two sea kayaks I am satisfied with. It is possible to find good boats for outstanding prices. But it can take a considerable time to do so. It is more likely to run about $1,000 for used for boats in the category you are interested in. Don’t let that discourage you. You might have to drive a few hours when you do find one in your price range. Check craigslist, Facebook marketplace, and the classified ads here. Look each day so you can be first to snag a deal. Ask for advice here when you find something that interest you and check the reviews here. Be a bit leery of the reviews, because first time owners often give glowing reviews of the boats they bought with little experience for comparison and evaluation. Good luck.

You may come across Lincoln kayaks which are built in Maine and from what I have heard are good kayaks.

There is also the line of Perception Carolinas and the Necky Looksha that you could be looking at.

The Carolina line has made anything longer than a 14.5 for a while but they used to.

From your description, you have found the right boat. If you can stay comfortable for that many miles, that’s a good thing. The last thing you want is a loose cockpit.

If you liked the Tempest 165 IMO some of the boats mentioned above would not do it for you. Having myself spent time in the Tempest and some of these others mentioned, owned one. The Tempest 165 is one I recommended to others after I used it in rolling demos.

I doubt you would like the 170. You have to be a weed, albeit a tall one. It’d feel big on you and it is not nearly as responsive. Your instincts are correct.

If I weren’t leaving midcoast in a couple of days I would try to get you into the boat I have with me, just to see how you like a lower deck. I have Jim’s standard Romany with me. Not fast but very British.

But if you want to get into more proper sea kayaks for you - Maine Island Kayaks on Peaks Island across from Portland, Lincoln Kayak further south maybe not their own boats but they also have used, and P&H kayaks if used ones can be located thru Sea Cliff Kayakers based out of Popham if anyone is home. Looks like the principals are in Greenland at the moment.


Asking $1500 but it appears to be for both boats….?

Edited since I see the link didn’t work. The picture shows the title you can search for:

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Or this one: asking $1000 but you could go with $800 cash :smile:. Plus it’s fiberglass!

Personally I think if you loved the Tempest and found it comfortable there’s no reason not to start off with one. You can always sell and buy something else later.


Old Town Cayuga 160 might be worth a look. Neighbor who is also 6’3" but heavier, maybe 200 lbs, had one and it seemed to fit well. Not a sea kayak or a racing kayak, but plenty capable for the sort of adventure/touring you mentioned. Here’s one in Portsmouth for $650.

Avocet might also suit you… even though I just said you should stick with the Tempest! :joy:

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Thanks for the advice! Sounds like i just need to keep my eyes peeled for a Tempest 165 near me. Maybe i can get out to Peaks to test out some other kayaks as well.

OPer lives in midcoast Maine. Proper sea kayak in order, not going to keep them away from the tempting offshore islands.

That Tempest 165 Pro that Doggy_Paddler found down by Boston might really be worth a drive. I’m also in midcoast Maine and watch what’s for sale every day. I don’t recall seeing another Tempest 165 (Pro or not) in the past 2-3 years. I believe the Pro models were all a Kevlar layup. My 170 Pro weighs 50.5 lbs, so the 165 should be a bit lighter.

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Not sure about that - I just tried out a 170 Pro (a 2009), and it was fiberglass, and 60.4 lbs by my scale. I think the Pro versions were made in both fg and Kevlar.

The Tempest Pro models were laid up in fibreglass or kevlar.

Thanks guys/gals. I stand corrected.

You should consider similar models like the P&H Delphin 155 or Valley Gemini SP. At 6’3" and 170lbs, explore models offering a snug fit for optimal performance.