P&H Skorpio vs. Wilderness Systems Tempest 17

I’m planning an extended flatwater river (that includes large reservoirs with high winds) trip when I retire, God willing, in a few years. I’m looking at rotomolded kayaks, in particular the P&H Skorpio and the Wilderness Systems Tempest 17. Can anyone comment on their suitability for expeditions? Thank you.

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I can’t compare the two kayaks, but I recently bought a Tempest 170 (see this thread: https://forums.paddling.com/t/my-damaged-tempest-170-project/111984 ). Something I discovered on the Tempest is that Wilderness Systems does not offer replacement hatch covers. They recommend trying Topkayak.com for replacements. However, the rear hatch appears to be a real oddball. The oval is about 19 inches long and hatch covers I’ve found online top out at 18 inches.

I explored this because the hatch cover that came with the kayak really has to be stretched to fit, and it doesn’t really snap on very securely. It will meet my needs OK, but you should test the fit of the rear hatch cover on any Tempest 170 you might buy to see if it’s secure enough for you. Also, if having a source of replacement hatch covers is important to you keep in mind that Wilderness Systems won’t help you.

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I can’t comment on the WS boat. My wife (LV) and I (MV) both have Scorpios. We haven’t used them on any expeditions but have had them on local lakes and on Lake Huron. We weren’t in large waves but have been in waves up to 1m. We’ve been out on some pretty windy days and felt that they behaved well. We got these boats because they seem to have a low-profile and wouldn’t get blown around a lot when not carrying loads. We both weigh just shy of 160 lbs. I would have got the lower-volume LV boat - but the MV was a looser fit for my semi-large feet.

Does the WS boat have a rudder or a skeg (or the option of either)? The Scorpio is std w/a skeg but some models have a skudder (combined skeg & rudder). Ours have skegs and once we got used to them are able to make the boats behave as we want in wind.

Thsnk you, Wolf. That hatch issue is a concern.
Best of luck with the fix on your boat.

Andrea Knepper took a Scorpio LV down the length of the US West Coast in 2019:

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A lot depends on you and your needs. I haven’t experienced the Scorpio but I do have a Tempest. I am a large paddler at 6’ 220 lbs. and the Tempest fits me well (although I did remove the side seat padding). Seat position was too far forward for my taste so I moved it back approximately 2.5 inches. It’s a large volume boat that can pack away an incredible amount of gear. It’s very stable and forgiving in both flat and choppy water. Rear deck could be lower and it rolls easy enough, but not my first choice. Excellent seating and adjustability of fit. It’s a Skeg boat and can easily be edged to the coaming (which is saying something considering how high the coaming is off the water). It’s a very good overall expedition kayak.

Thanks, Steve. That skudder looks like something I’d be good at breaking when absentmindedly landing without bringing it up!

That’s a pretty amazing adventure!

Sonder, I’m hoping to try one out at the Appomattox River Company’s (VA) trial day.

The ARC Big Demo has not happened, in 2 years. 2020 due to Covid lockdowns. 2021 was cancelled due to supply chain issues. If they have enough product to do the demo this year, call them a head of time. Tell them what you would like to demo. They have not carried a lot of touring kayaks, the past few years. They have focused more on the fishing, WW and rec boat markets. Touring kayaks seem to be slow movers. I have dealt with Appomattox for 20 years.

Will do, thanks for the heads-up.

I currently have a Scorpio LV. It’s a fun kayak. I find it very stable and also responsive. One thing to be aware of is that it has a “skudder” box that drops down into the rear hatch, whether or not you option it with the rudder. This takes up some space that would otherwise be for storage. You’ll want to look at one in person to see if it matters for your capacity requirements.

Will do, thanks, Pru.

I have four Scorpios and two Tempests in a college fleet. They are very different boats. Executive summary is; Scorpio every time.
Here’s why. The shallow V hull shape of the Scorpio makes it more stable in any sort of conditions. Slightly less primary stability than the Tempest, but the Tempest’s flat bottom makes it more wobbly in side waves.
The construction of the Scorpio is much stiffer, the hatches fit better and are more watertight, and the bulkheads stay watertight for longer. Yes, the newer models have the skudder, which looks suspect, but to be fair I haven’t actually broken one yet, although they give me yips. If it has the older, regular skeg then you may have to fettle with it to get it to deploy, I’ve resorted to shaving 1/4 off the end of the skeg to stop it binding in the box (mostly a problem on older LVs, not newer ones).
Hope this helps.

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Yes, indeed! Thank you, Andrewj66.

I owned a Wildy Tempest 165 for several years (2004-06). Fwiw, I also demoed the first Scorpio LV that was delivered to North America in 2008. I have now owned four Scorpio LVs since 2011. Every time P&H incorporated a new and improved feature into the Scorpio I purchased the newer model. Their last ‘upgrade’ was in 2019 when they finally figured out how to install a watertight ‘whiskey’ hatch in the fore deck. As someone said above I would chose the Scorpio every time.

I usually do day trips, but I have used the Scorpio on a week long solo journey back in 2017. It was certainly up to the task. The P&H Scorpio uses a superior tri-laminate poly material and hatch covers (Kajaksport) when compared to the Tempest. I personally found the Wildy proprietary hatches to be its achilles heel. They don’t seal very well and mine leaked profusely. The Tempest is also constructed from a single ply poly which is not nearly as stiff as the tri-lam used in the Scorpio.

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Many thanks, tvcrider!

P&H has a good reputation for quality. Confluence boats (such as Wildnerness Systems) do not. Many people have mentioned the problem with WS hatch covers.

On the 3 P&H boats I’ve had, all with Kajak Sport covers, I’ve never had a problem with leaks or poor fitting. I used these boats in big surf without any problems.

On the two Confluence boats I’ve owned (Dagger brand) the hatches leaked like crazy and I was afraid to use the boats in surf in case a hatch cover imploded. What a joke: a major kayak company can’t figure out how to fit hatches that are waterproof. For shame.

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Noted. Thanks, acadia.

I have Paddled both and I own the Scorpio
MV with a skeg. I’ve tried the Skudder and it’s pretty neat, but I’m fine with the skeg.
The P&H Corelite X is more rigid than the plastic of the Tsunami. I’m 170 and the MV is great for me. Holds more than a weeks worth of gear and I WAY over pack! I know folks that go 3-4 weeks in a Scorpio. I’m extremely happy with it!

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