Post 2010 CD Caribou

I have been recently looking for a kayak to add my other two boats. Saw an ad for a roto tempest, so went to test paddle it. Very comfortable seat, pretty good on flat water, wasnt as nimble or responsive as my Zephyr though, but not too bad. The guy also had a used 1 yr old FG Caribou for sale for 2400 in great shape, took it for a 40 minute paddle and loved it… seemed to fit me well, paddled great and was very responsive…more nimble than many of the other kayaks i have been testing over the last month and a half. Went again to test paddle it hoping there would be wind or waves this time, but no luck, calm again.

Anyone have any opinions on this kayak? What its like in rough water, in wind and waves. I find the Zephyr is great when the lake is rough and in big wave conditions. Can I expect the same if not better behaviour from the Caribou?

I dont want to wait too long in case it gets sold…i have only tried it in calm water and hate to jump in without trying it in rougher conditions

I have been paddling for two seasons, paddled a 14’ light touring one season and traded for a Zephyr 160 this past spring. I also just picked up a cheap Zephyr 155 a week ago. I love the 160 but find it a little “loose” at times. The 155 fits and responds much better. If you’re not looking to go really fast, the Zephyrs are great !

At $2,400 it won’t sell overnight…
Granted, this seems to be almost new, but it is the end of the season and I have seen brand new kayaks of similar specs for less than that…

These things last many years and used ones go for as little as under $1K occasionally, so I feel $2,400 is a bit too much for a used one. I’d say a bit under $2K is a more realistic price for one that is fairly new and in near perfect condition, although the “right” price is in the eye of the beholder…

I test-paddled one a while ago and thought it handled great in rough water. Responsive, surfs well, relatively fast, low windage. But I thought it was somehow too wide, too stable and with high rear deck… Plenty of reviews from folks that have had more time with it. I would probably prefer to paddle that over the Tempest for “fun” but the Tempest I think is more comfortable and is also a great rough water cruiser (but way less responsive than the Zephyr).

Honestly, b/w the Z and the Caribou, you have to decide what your use would be - the C is faster, the Z is more playful and more maneuverable, with lively primary stability where the C is flat and squarish in the center that gives it higher initial stability and the edges behave differently - matter of preference…

I have owned a Caribou S
for the past six years. It’s become a bit on the heavy side for my aging, dilapidated body but other wise it’s the best all-around kayak I’ve ever owned in 20 years of paddling. Other boats amy come and go but I will keep the 'Bou as long as I paddle and when I can’t do that anymore, I’ll have it stuffed and hung over the fireplace!

Thanks Guys.

I have read many great reveiws on the Caribou S, and very few on the newer.

I guess from using a Zephyr this past season, its hard to get into a different boat and expect it to respond as well. Thats why I liked the Caribou, it just “felt” light on the water and responded well. Mind you it was the 2nd only fiberglass kayak i have ever tried…that could make a difference too.

Was driving down the highway again tonight and saw a FG Tempest 165 at a dealer. It was a demo/used with a number of light scratches on bottom, no gouges though otherwise rest of boat was in great shape. They were asking $1600. Seemed like a nice snug fit. Will have to go back when open to test paddle. See how different it is from the 170. Could probably paddle it for a season and sell it for 1400

Keep in mind that

– Last Updated: Sep-14-12 1:44 PM EST –

The plastic Zephyr 155 is about as light as the Fiberglass Tempest 165, if I recall right. The two paddle a bit differently, with the T geared more for touring and the Z more for play. I have not paddled the composite 165 but the plastic one felt noticeably less maneuverable than the Z 155. It has a different stability profile and is easier to edge for course corrections. The 170 plastic felt even less willing to "play" and has considerably more volume above the water. The Z and T165 are among the easiest to roll and get back into or do rescues with very low rear decks. The forward and side of cockpit and the braces on the 165 is low so make sure you are comfortable for more than an hour.

EDIT: the Caribou I paddled was most likely a pre-2010 and less likely a 2010 model; sorry, can't confirm which, nor how the changes actually impact it...


Still havent tested, unfortunately dealer is a couple of hours away…as are most.

Im keeping Zephyrs, but looking for something else. When I started last year i wanted a looser cockpit, but this year looking for a snugger fit…eadier to handle in windy rough conditions…but like ya say, gottas be comfy for an hour or so…the FG tempest fits pretty good with a little bit of room to move legs a bit, but the test will tell. Wanting to use this boat for mostly solo small lake paddling and big lake “destination” paddles…love going out when windy, wavy and rough, so gotta be able to handle that

5’10" and 190 lbs

older vs newer Caribou
Did they change the Caribou design again in 2010, or only once back in the mid-2000s when Wenonah bought them out and moved production to Minnesota?

This is secondhand information, but last year I ran into a fellow Caribou owner at the park, and he was down on the newer 17’-3" long design, but his main complaint seemed to be that it wasn’t as fast (the old design is a few inches longer).

i read
I read that in 2010, they changed/updated the Caribou, Solstice GT and Solstice GTS. I’m not sure if the Caribou was changed in the early 2000s also

probably best to ask CD
If they only changed it once, then the guy at the park was talking about the current version. I’m sure if you called or emailed Current Designs, they’d be able to tell you about the history.


– Last Updated: Sep-25-12 9:39 PM EST –

Keep your eye out for an Impex Currituck, another "greenland" style like the Caribou, but I think a better "fit and finish" and a great rough water boat