OT Loon 140 vs OT Dirigo 140?

Anyone have enough knowledge to discuss differences and advantages one way or the other for these two yaks? The seem pretty different, but I don’t know what those differences mean.

I mostly paddle rivers with some riffles, and maybe class 1 (hope to find some class 2 eventually) but maneuverability is key, as I also float and fish mainly. The majority of my closest and most common place to paddle is very slow moving rivers with neglible current, so efficiency is welcomed.

Sat in both yesterday, comfortable in both, maybe the slightly tighter cockpit of the Dirigo felt a little nicer? Tough to say in a 30 second sit . . . .

BTW, I’m 6’3, 210, size 10 foot. I know most would suggest longer than a 14 footer, but I’m not willing to go that long for several reasons, mostly for maneuverability on a river often full of timber and strainers . . . .

The Loon 138 is a very good

– Last Updated: May-28-07 12:10 AM EST –

recreational kayak. It tracks true, has good primary stablility, and, so far, mine appears to have reasonable secondary stability. The two biggest negatives are that its not the easiest to turn and its heavier than I would like. It can be a beast to load on my racks 6.5 ft up. Mine is the pre-2005 style with the longer cockpit. For fishing, its been very good. Its also great on short river trips without any significant rapids. It has no bulkheads or hatches (an aftermarket or dealer installed item), so that's not great, though it does allow for stuffing more into the hull from behind the seat. I've had it out in some pretty good size waves on the lake and it handled well, no significant water in the boat. It also does very well going into the wind. Not fast, but it'll get you there and back, with the caveats that all rec boats have and which you are sure to hear.

I've only looked at the Dirgo. I'd assume tracking and turning are similar in the two kayaks. I like the flat back deck on the Dirigo, good for carrying things like a bait bucket, etc.

Both seems like good choices
for the kind of paddling you are describing. You might even try the shorter models of these two boats, though at 6’3" they might be a tight fit.

I sat in a 120 of each as well.
Plenty of room and very comfortable. Was thinking 14’ for efficiency if going out on some bigger lakes. I would definitely RATHER have the 12’ (for both storage and loading) if there was no significant efficiency difference. What would your opinion be on that?

What you loose is a bit of paddling
efficiency. Neither the 12, 13.8, or 140 will be good for big lakes with lots of wind and waves. They all can handle it, but the big cockpit and the difficulty of re-entry if you turtle does not make them good candidates for those conditions. If most of your paddling is done on streams and you need maneuverability, the 12 is the way to go.

You live in the midwest
and I bet you are looking at day paddling in good weather. The 120 will serve you well. When I paddle with my kayaking group, the 12 foot boats keep up with the 17 foot boats fine. If they were racing, it would be a different story. But at typical pace on a two to four hour paddle, the difference is not so great.

There are folks who will tell you longer is always better. But when you are looking at plastic, longer is a lot heavier. I have a 12.5 foot Walden Vista that has taken me from calm lakes and easy rivers to ocean coastline in mild conditions. I also have a stitch and glue 17 foot boat that is light and faster and a joy to paddle. But it is not as manueverable as the Walden and there are lots of shallow rocky rivers around here I’d never take it on. If you are only going to have one boat for a while, and you don’t live on the ocean or plan to do whitewater, a 12-14 foot plastic boat is the ideal all purpose boat.

I am in fact looking to buy a Loon 111 or 120 for some of my club paddling. We paddle a lot of slow moving rivers, and I envy the folks with the large cockpits who can easily put their knees up every once in awhile on a long river trip.

I think that’s good advice.

– Last Updated: May-29-07 12:08 AM EST –

I've actually been leaning more toward a 120 than a 140, but wanted to do an end around. It seems that as soon as some one says they're over 150lbs and 5'8", there's going to be someone yelling "get a longer boat!" So I figured I'd say I wanted a 14 footer for a river and the long-boaters would ignore the post while the more experienced river crowd would chime in with a bit more practicality. Of course, if NO ONE suggested the 12 footers, I was going to assume maybe my theory was wrong . . . .


Anyway, I think that's where I'll go. I sat in a Dirigo 140 a few months ago and it was way uncomfortable for me. It might have been because the cockpit had the kid seat installed (which would normally attract me to that over the 120) and I never took it out, but the 120 just felt much more comfortable to me. Despite my previous choice of the Perc. America 11 because of it's HUGE cockpit opening, I think I like the tighter fit. I want to find someone around here that will let me test paddle though. I think Dick's has a fairly liberal return policy in the first week or so. Specifically, I want to see how much more difficult getting in an out in water will be. If it is much more of a pain, I might go with the Loon instead, because I get in and out quite a bit to wade fish along the river.

Fletch & Wker, thanks for the advice.

BTW, both now have sealed bulkheads in the stern with the space hatch. Fletch, you said your older Loon didn't in the 138 version. Must have changed recently . . . .

Mixed feelings about the sealed
bulkheads. They help protect your gear, but you can get a helluva a lot of stuff in through the opening behind the seat without them. Damn compromises.

Sealed bulkhead is good
Buy a flotation balloon for the bow, and you’ll be happy you did the first time you dump and the boat fills with water. Anything that limits how much water that can go into a boat is good.