Old Town Voyager v. Loon 111 v. Dirigo

I took my wife and son out to my club’s “Try a Kayak” day, and my son, who has not been enthusiastic about paddling the small cockpit boats I own, or the big basic Otters I keep in the garage for company, really enjoyed paddling the Old Town Loon 111. Looking online, its not clear to me whether it is still sold, but there is a boat of the same mold called the Voyager.

The difference seems to be that the cheaper Voyager has single layer polyethelene construction, while the Loons and the Dirigos have either the Variable Link or the Polylink 3. Those materials are allegedly lighter than the single link, but i noticed the weights of the Dirigo and Loon 120s are substantially more than the Voyager.

So I guess my question is this: are the Polylink and Variable Link constructions really worth the extra money when comparing plastic boats? My Old Otters–purchased from a livery going out of business–have held up to years of use and abuse, and don’t seem the worse for it.

I guess my second question would be “are there other reasons " should be checking out the Dirigos and Loons over the Voyager?” My wife liked the fact that the Dirigo had a cup holder (yeah, I know.) It would be nice to get them both out on the water more. Maybe the right boat will do the trick.

Polylink 3
I own a Polylink 3 boat. The old version of the Loon 100. I doesn’t sink when full of water.

Polylink is tough stuff, but heavy.

– Last Updated: Apr-30-07 1:23 AM EST –

The Loon's are great to paddle once you have them down to the water. They aren't fast, but track straight. The weight, however, is less a problem with the 111. Oil canning is not as much a problem in the Loons as in a regular poly boat.

The 111 is now sold as the Predator K-111:


To me, the biggest advantage of the Dirigo over similar size Loons is the flat deck on the stern of the kayak. I like it for carrying things, but, maybe that's a fisherman thing. The are, in many ways, equivalent kayaks, just with different bells and whistles on the Dirigo.

I saw a Voayager at Bass Pro Shop in Shreveport, but don't know if its carried at all the stroes. Its not in the catalog.

Alas, I make do with my Loon 138. Its about 5 years old, I've had it two and its been a very good craft. Its seen a lot of hard use from me. Last year, it was on the water more than 100 days, bumped into submerged logs, pulled over gravel bars, and not treated gently. There's no significant sign of wear and tear other than the scratches from oyster reefs from the previous owner.

is warmer when on cold water. I think it’s a bit tougher also. Next is no need for extra floatation. The Loon 111 is still being made. My friend just bought one at the Old Town spring sale. My wife has a Loon 120 and absolutely loves it. Me? Well I’m sticking with my old Predator 138 that is no longer being made.

The 111 is not listed on the website.
The K111 is the same, except outfitted for the “sportsman”. The Predator 138 was the old style Loon 138, again with the sportsman outfitting. As for being warmer in winter, only slightly. I have both poly and polylink kayaks and the difference in warmth is insignificant. My legs can’t tell the difference after 5 or 6 hours. Buy the poly version for price…it’ll hold up as well as most poly boats, get the polylink for more durability.

second the livery experience
There is a local livery here with a fleet of Old Towns in PE (not polylink). While they are scuffed they look particularly sturday, much more so than my PE necky.

Also a Johnson Outdoors product.
Not much cross pollination there.

Hey, the K111 has a place for
shotgun shells, necessary in this dangerous day and age, never know when some wilda** driver is going to crash into the water.

The plastic Voyager is going to hold
up until its time for him to get that skinny tourer or whitewater kayak, maybe build a strip or S&G boat. I’m not sure that its worth paying the extras for the K111 if the regular 111 is no longer available. Now, if you are talking about the Loon 120, that’s a different story.

As to the Dirigo, its a very competent boat.

Loon 111
I’ve had my Loon 111 for 6 years, and even though I just ordered a new kayak (the OT Cayuga 146), I will still keep the 111 for those times when you just want a shorter, VERY stable boat. I tell people that you can almost tap dance in the 111!

Just one word of advice…use float bags!!! Even though they do not actually sink, if filled with water, they fill up to the combing and are EXTREMELY heavy to empty out…NOT a one man job…and a bilge pump doesn’t work too well because of the angle of the combing.

I really think they are still being made…but to be sure, just check out the Old Town site at:


Still made, but marketed as a Predator
K series, not the Loon series. The Loon is marketed on the website in the 100, 120, and 138 versions. The 138 has a smaller cockpit than pre-2005 or so. Old Town or some dealers may still have the 111 in the Loon version in inventory. The Predator version comes only in camo. Nicely set up for fishing, though.

i have a Dirigo 140 and i love it. The Hull feels MUCH more heavy duty than my freinds carolina america. I paddle ozark streams with alot of shallows, small and large rocks and the only thing my boat is showing is the fine scratches on the bottm from said rocks. Who cares about a few light scratches anyway.

Its a very strurdy and stable design. Sturdy enough that myself 250lbs and my girlfriend 120lbs sat on the front of the hull all night around the campfire on our last overnight, and it barely even flexed at all.

The boat is VERY stable and I have no doubt that I could stand and fish, though I prefer to sit or kneel if necessary.

THe seat is very comfortable, and I have more than enough room in my boat to store enough gear/food/beer for a 2-3day trip.

The cup holder is a very useful feature, and the dry compartment in the dash works great for fishing licenses and what not.

I have more than enough room at 5-11, and the large open cockpit is nice to be able to stretch out and relax. I considered the cayuga, but didnt like the more confined cokpit. Only downside of the large cokpit is that I get a bit of spray dripping in, but after a 20 mile trip i will barely have a small puddle of standing water. Just drips on your legs a bit, nothing that would require any pumping or bailing. Could easiy be fixed by wearing a sprayskirt. The rear hatch is dry, and kept my sleeping bags dry even after I flipped the boat and filled the front completely with water.

The deck riggin is awesome, and I can fit 4-5 large sized dry bags on there and my fishing gear, while still being able to acess the rear hatch or stretch out in a reclined position and have my legs on the deck.

Its an awesome boat and I got it brand new for less than $650 from www.ozarkcanoe.com im very satisfied

Thats because???
after 4 to 5 hours my legs would be numb too. I just went out in an Old Town Otter that we bought for friends and family and it was cold on my legs. Of course there is still ice in our lake but that proves for a god test to me. Believe me I could tell the difference in warmth between that and my Predator 139. I thought they were still making the Loon 111 as a friend of mine just bought one but it may have been a '06. My Predator is the old Loon mold. The new Loons are the old Cayuga mold I think?

138 not 9
on my Predator and I think i was the castine not cayuga mold? used for the new loons? DUH!!! My brain is suffering from cabin fever!

The Casco 138
Has been renamed LOON 138. I own both and both are good boats. The Cayuga series (I have the 16’ model)is not as much a “Rec boat” as the loon, casco, predator but a touring model as it is quite narrower for more speed and covering distance. It’s not as comfortable shooting beaver dams and fishing and has bulkheads for added flotation when you have to re-enter off shore. As for the insulation of the Polylink, I sold my Perception after freezing on a lake that still held ice when my brother’s Casco was warm and toasty in comparison. Polylink is also much stiffer.

I notice no difference in the cold of my
legs in the Loon and that I get in my Necky poly kayak. Yes, time will cause one to get colder, maybe the Loon keeps me warmer a bit longer, but not so much that I notice. If out no longer than an hour or two, it certainly doesn’t matter much which one buys.