Need Advice on Tandem Selection

I’m looking to purchase a tandem kayak that’s time will be split between transporting 2 adults/1 child or simply a single adult. I’ve looked at both the WS Pamlico 135T and the 160T due to their relatively high weight capacity ratings. I’m leaning toward the 160T, as I like the child jump seat option but how well would it handle with a lone paddler? All my previous experience has been with sit-on-tops so I’ve also looked at the Tarpon 130T. Any advice on the WS models mentioned above (or other brands/models that may be comparable) is appreciated. B in MS

We had a 145T
and it handled as well solo as it did with 2 paddlers. We bought it in 2001, pre phase3 seating. Our new boats are also WS, and the phase3 seating is the most comfortable I have tried.

Loon 160T

I have been paddling a Loon 160T, mostly solo for the last two years. I’ve had it out on the Hudson River and quite ponds and lakes. Its handles just fine solo, its not a sleek sea kayak, but so what? I did purchase a single kayak for myself, but am keeping the Loon 160T for my wife and daughter to use and as a future fishing kayak.

Good luck!

Luis Leon


– Last Updated: Jul-31-05 10:13 AM EST –

I have one and am very pleased with it when two people paddle and less pleased on a solo basis (not because of the boat but because IMO tandems are not efficient for solo paddling).

Never tried to carry a child in the middle but I think the yak may be too short for that. I sit in the back and my paddle comes fairly close to touching the front paddler. I would also hypothesize the paddle would drip all over the child.

Are you going to paddle primarily with three people? If so, have you eliminated a canoe?

WS 135T
Upon further study, it appears that the 135 cockpit is just too tight to try to squeeze in 3. Any thoughts on the the 160T (w/child jump seat)?

Loon 160T

I had my two nieces, 7 and 10 in the Loon 160T today, the seven year old sat on the floor in front of the rear seat. The kayak handled fine. But, most importantly the girls had a blast.

As for efficiency in solo paddling? As compared to what a single person, sleek sea kayak? The Loon 160T handles fine as a single. Not a sea kayak, but will handle just right if you know how to paddle her. Use it for what is was designed for and you will enjoy it. Good luck.

Luis Leon

A new review on the 135T
came out today and they did get a 6 year old in the middle comfortably- I don’t know how unless the back paddler takes a very short stroke without a sizeable reach for the catch.

check out the 145T
the 145T tracks great…has a lot of room…handles waves…is light enough to transport yourself.

Look at the Loon 160T reviews.
That’s what I did before buying mine.

I really love this boat, understanding its strengths and limitations. I’ve taken several trips with it, the longest being 65 miles and 95 miles, solo. In addition, my wife and I often paddle together, which she really enjoys. She likes to “help” paddle but does not want to be on her own. I’ve offered to buy her her own boat, but she’s quite content riding in front.

That said, the Loon 160T is really a two-seater. Guess your daughter (young) could sit in mom’s lap up front, but I’m not sure how pleasant this would be. I HIGHLY suggest you try it before you buy it.

Maybe you’d be better served with a canoe, or two kayaks. Regarding the latter, a Loon 138 and a Loon 138T [same boat, second seat] might fit the bill. Note that the front seat in the Loon 138T is not intended for an adult.

Good luck in whatever you choose.

Look for this post:

– Last Updated: Aug-01-05 4:37 PM EST –

"WS Tandem Kayak info" elsewhere in this forum, where there is some good info on the WS 145T. Unless you are very big and very strong, I think the 160T would be too big for solo use. I have the 145T and it solos well. Also check the "Product Reviews" section for any models you might be interested in.

I had a Loon 160T, but sold it this
spring because it was too heavy to carry and load on the car by myself. I liked the way it handled solo and it was ok tandem as well. We never tried it with three people. There’s not much space between the two paddlers. The stern paddler’s feet brace against the front seat. I suspect that at kid would fit best in front of the front paddler.

We bought a royalex Wenonah Solo Plus canoe and my wife likes it much better. We had our (then) 3 1/2 year old granddaughter in the middle seat and it worked just great on a local lake. She was able to play in the water with no concern for tipping the boat.

The Loon 160T is probably easier to handle as a solo than the Wenonah Solo Plus - at least it is for me at 5’6" and 150 lbs with no gear. The Solo Plus handles pretty well for me solo except in strong winds, which push me around more in it than in the 160T.

Good luck. Test paddle if you can.