Pongo 120

I am considering buying the Pongo 120 duralite. I’ve had some mixed opinions.

Some say it’s fast for a rec kayak and some say it’s slow. One guy told me the bow is low and dips as you try to pick up speed which then slows the boat. Looking for input from Pongo 120 owners.


The guy you talked to

– Last Updated: Mar-31-08 4:48 PM EST –

that said the bow dips doesn't know what he's talking about.

The Pungo 120 isn't a race boat but you can paddle it at a good clip if you are a strong paddler.

I don't own a Pungo 120 but I have paddled it quite a few miles yet I paddle a 12' kayak and I'd enter a race in a Pungo 120 in a NY minute. Twelve foot kayaks are usually in a different class than the longer and faster kayaks.

And they are in a different price category

Paddlin' on

I had one
I loved it. It isn’t a sea kayak to traverse the world in, but it is nice. It is also much roomier than, say, an OT Otter.

They are a very nice boat to get out on the water in. they are also great to learn in. They are fun, quick enough, forgiving enough for mistakes, all around useful and fun.


Pungo 120

I have a Pungo 120. Had it for about 5 years now. Never no problems with the bow dipping. And it tracks VERY well! The speed is not bad for a rec boat. Mine is not a duralite. You may want to do more checking on this. Duralite is a bit lighter, but not more durable. Less plastic. I am not sure if it worth the extra money.


I paddled a Pungo 120 for several
miles. Most of the time it was great , but when I really pushed it, it bogged down.I suspect that my weight(230) was a factor, and maybe it just isn’t designed to go over a certain speed.

Got Duralite!
I have a Pungo 120 Duralite and have been very pleased with the comfort and performance.

I fish alot out of mine and sometimes have to carry it up to 100yrds,shoulder it and go.

The consoles in the newer pungo’s are a very nice addition for fishing and added storage for when i do overnite trips.

The Pungo 120 is designed for lakes and slow moving rivers and as close to perfection as you’ll get out of a 12 footer.


Hard to keep the DANG thing still while trying to get into it,rolled it in 2ft of water,can’t imagine getting into one of those skinny speedsters.

mine is not duralite and very stable
I do not know about the Duralite but I have had both a Classic 12 foot and now a 14 foot. The unstable aspect was and sometimes is the paddler, myself.

Once you learn how to enter and exit in a way which works for you, entry shouldn’t be so hard but then I only enter from a beach or shallow bank and same for exits.

Yep! Pungo Duralite
is a very good craft if it fits your needs. Sure does fit mine. The only times I dumped it was when I tried to enter without getting my feet wet. I don’t worry about that anymore. I now straddle it with both feet in the water or, have the bottom on a shallow beach or shore so that my weight is pushing down on the stern (aft end,for those in Rio Linda). This kind of shoreline, or a launch ramp, is generally available at lakes where we wimpy paddlers frequent. I am now looking forward to my fourth season with my Pungo Duralite 120. (Had a Pungo 120 before, 49lbs.). This Duralite version is 39lbs.(wimpy,wimpy,wimpy!)

Not Fast, But Efficient

– Last Updated: Apr-01-08 7:41 PM EST –

There is a difference between being fast and being efficient. Your can only force the Pungo so fast, but it is very efficient at lower speeds beacuse of the shape of the hull.

Water resistance increases exponentially with speed, so the most efficient way to cover distance is at slower speeds.

My wife has one, and I have to paddle harder than she does to keep up with her, and I usually have a slightly longer boat.

I let Kathy pick out any boat she wanted, and she chose the Pungo because of the large cockpit and comfortable seat.

Just keep in mind it has limitations! Its not a sea going kayak. Use it in the conditions its designed for, and you will enjoy it.

1 Like

Pungo 120
How does the Pungo v-hull do in rocky rivers? I’m not thinking big rapids. It seems the v would tend to ride up and stick on everything? The rounder bottom kayaks just kind of slide off.

There’s 2’ of open water around the edges of our little lake. Won’t be long now!

cYa, Jim

Pungo 120
My wife and I both have Pungo 120’s in the standard material … we love them! In the rec boat category I think the Pungo is one of the best available. We’re casual paddlers and use the boats in the waters they were designed for, lakes and class I rivers. Plenty of room for day trips and fishing, and very comfortable seating. My wife got hers first while I had an Old Town Rush, then an Old Town Loon 111 … the Pungo tracked better and was faster than either OT boat.

Personally, I dont’ think I’d pay the extra for Duralite, but I’m a skinflint and we portage with dollies, so the few extra pounds is not a factor for us. In another 10 years, as my back gets creakier yet, that extra 10 lbs may mean quite a lot when loading it on top of the vehicle.

Satisfied former Pungo owners
We started paddling with Pungos and found them to be great entry level/rec boats. We would still be using them if we were doing only lake or flat river paddling. Very stable, roomy, comfy seats. We did 8-10 mi. paddles at reasonable speeds (3-3.5mpg), but it is not a boat you can push much faster. the other thing we liked about it is that they were good for introducing friends and family to the sport. The very roomy cockpit is great for a straddle and drop entry.

Paddled the Pongo 12
When looking for a different all around kayak I paddled the Pongo 12. I recommend you rent one or at least paddle one and then paddle a Current Designs Breeze. I ended up selecting a Current Designs Whistler and it’s a great yak.

Your weight and height
will be a big factor in determining whether the Pungo 120 will feel slow or fast, and where it sits in the water. Pungo’s are very good quality rec kayaks–better than many of their competitors. But to me, paddling a Pungo feels a bit like paddling a bathtub–wide with high sides. Find some place that sells a range of Wilderness Systems boats, paddle a Pungo, paddle a Tsunami, and maybe even a Pamlico. You are going to get a lot of different opinions on how well the Pungo paddles, from people of different sizes, shapes, and weights.