Pungo 120 vs Pungo 140

I am trying to decide if I should buy the Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 or Pungo 140. I am a 5’ 2", 125 lb female. I will be paddling mostly in the slow moving Caloosahatchee River in Southern Florida. Any advice as to which Kayak would be better suited to my needs would be greatly appreciated.


both big
Both have huge cockpits, and will probably feel big to you. If those are your only choices, go with the 120 unless you’re planning on hauling a ton of gear. I’d encourage you to also try some narrower boats that aren’t as deep – at your size, something designed for a smaller paddler might be easier to handle.

Rented a 120
while on vacation in Florida. Primary and seconday stability were very good. It even handled (easily) large waves made by large power boats. It was faster than I expected. The Phase 3 seats are great. It turned well and tracked straight. At 5’9" ad 150 lbs., I had a lot of room.

Never tried the 140 so I can’t compare.

Good luck.

Both are good boats
I’m a bit large to understand how you would feel in either boat (~6’3" / 230#).

My brother-in-law (5’4") borrowed my brother’s Pungo original model (equivalent to the current 120). He liked it very well, but when it was time to buy, he went with the Pungo 100 and likes it even better.

So, unless the 100 doesn’t satisfy your need for speed or carrying capacity, it’s something to consider for you. Of the two, and only considering size as a factor, I would recommend that the 120 is more appropriate.

  • Big D

Is the river
shallow in spots? If so ya might want to consider a flatter bottomed boat. The deep v design tends drag bottom and to make turning more difficult. Figure the longer the boat the less manuverable too. All in all I think a diffrent design is better suited to river paddling.

Pungo 120
Here’s a picture of my neice in my Pungo 120. It was very first time in any form of a kayak or canoe and she thought it was totally cool. She never felt unstable or unsafe.

We went all around our lake, up the shallow feeder stream, where the bottom can be less than 2" and with her (and your) light weight, it was an easy trip.

I hope this helps.


Thanks for all of the input thus far.

The river is deep where I live so I won’t have any problems with shallow water.

I have paddled the Pungo 100, 120, and 140. I tried the 100 and 120 back to back and liked the 120 more - I found that it tracked a lot better then the 100 and was quite a bit faster. I have paddled a 140 in the past and liked it also. I didn’t feel that the boats were too wide for me and I had no problems paddling. With the Phase 3 seat and the adjustable foot rests I felt very much in control of the boat.

Most of the reviews that I have read have advised prospective buyers to go with the longer boat (the 140 vs the 120) but a lot of the people inquiring were large individuals and I wasn’t sure if the same advice held true for us short folks.

Angstrom or Northman - do you have any suggestions for other boats that I should try before buying.


I’m neither of those guys but…
… you may want to try a Perception Sundance 12. Similiar to the Pungo’s. I love mine.

Go The 120!!!
For your petite size the 120 would probably be a better fit. Both models are comparable on the water. This may sound crazy but (dry land) lugging around a 12 foot long yak as opposed to a 14 footer makes a big difference, despite the little difference in weight.

Unless you have a strict budget, you should check the 120 in the new duralite material. It is the same design as the regular 120 but only weighs around 38 pounds.

Either way you are choosing a great yak!!!


I use the pungo 120
as my rec boat, and dog paddling boat:) I am 5/5" and about 135#, so I wouldn’t worry about the pungo 120 being too big for you. I also think there are some advantages to having a boat under 14 feet in your fleet.

I normally paddle a 16 ft avocet when touring and in the ocean. If I could only have one boat, I might get the 140, especially if the carrying capacity is considerably bigger (for short overnights).

Another boat worth considering
in the same category as the Pungo and Acadia is the Old Town Loon. They also have large cockpits and comfortable seating. I have a 138 which I really like. It holds a ton of gear and I think Old Town makes one of the toughest plastic boats around.

At your size, the 120 would be a better choice, unless you wanted to haul a ton of stuff. Why buy more boat than you need?

Nifty question!
Now you’ve given us suckers something to analyze. I looked closely at the Pungos when I was searching for my first kayak in 2003. At that time, I would have told you this:

The Pungo 140 is almost exactly two feet longer than the 120. Size-wise (performance aside), this means you must have 14 feet of storage space available and a vehicle capable of transporting something this long. When you and/or your friends pick up the kayak, you must be capable of moving something 14 feet long comfortably. For two average adults, this is not usually a problem. For many adults (you know who you are), this is definitely a problem.

Obviously, the 120 will be easier on the storage and transportation category, but only if these dimensions cause a problem in the first place.

Weight: The 140 is advertised at 53 pounds vs the 120’s 49 pounds. Four pounds is four pounds; I really don’t think this makes as much difference as the length, since most of the time the boat is either in storage, on your vehicle, or in the water. If you have to portage a lot, the weight will be less of a factor than the amount of gear in your kayak. As noted above, you can also get a more expensive version for 38 pounds, which knocks the weight question into a cocked hat.

Width: Lots of debate, accurate and inaccurate, on speed vs. width comparisons. For what it is worth, the 140 is advertised as 28 inches wide, which is one inch narrower than the 120’s published 29 inches. Theoretically, narrow and long is faster than wide and short, but this also depends on the conditions and the skill of the user.

Cockpit: Wilderness Systems says their cockpit dimensions are identical.

Features: The 140 has two hatches, while the 120 has only one stern hatch. More hatches = more storage space, which matters if you need to store and access stuff. If you don’t store/access stuff, more hatches usually mean “more stuff to go wrong, get damaged, or get lost.” On the other hand, you could glue that second hatch down and pretend you have only one.

Capacity: Wilderness Systems says the 140 has 50 pounds more capacity (450) than the 120. Again, this only matters if you are transporting that much gear.

Cost: The 140 will probably cost more because it is bigger and features the extra hatch. You may be able to find one used that is cheaper than a new 120, but they are pretty popular with their users from what I read on p.net.

Intangibles: I can’t claim first-hand knowledge of these two kayaks. However, I read 95% of the boat reviews on 11-15 foot kayaks last year (yes, it took a darned long time), and the common thread seemed to be, “I wish I got something longer and narrower in the first place.” It’s pretty rare to read something that says, “I wish I got something shorter and wider.” If I had to guess out loud, I would get the 140. You won’t notice the 4 pounds and extra foot out in front of you (since the other foot is behind you). If you have to turn a LOT, the 120 might be better, but I still find myself wanting to go faster, faster, rather than turn much, and my kayak is only 12’9".

Then again, if you have made a self-test and like the 120 better, you can tell us all to go test our eskimo roll in quick-setting epoxy. Your opinion is the one that counts most!

Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you.

I had no idea that I would get so much helpful advice when I posted my question.

I live on a canal with direct access to the river so I will not be transporting the kayak very often. Most of my paddling will be done right from my back yard.

Right now I am leaning towards the 120 but I do think that I will try both of the kayaks back to back before I buy one.

Once again, thanks!

Comparing the two boats

– Last Updated: Jan-27-05 7:33 PM EST –

Lots of good information here so far, and I've enjoyed this discussion. I'm no kayaker, but since you are now planning to compare both boats before deciding, I'll chime in with some basic comments.

I am guessing that the ability to make sharper turns is not highly necessary for your intended use, so perhaps you don't *need* the shorter boat for that reason. The longer boat will track straighter. That doesn't mean the longer boat is better, so it's a good thing your are going to do a side-by-side comparison.

Besides turning/tracking, the most obvious difference you are likely to experience when comparing two boats that are very similar in design but different in length is this: The longer boat will be faster, but it will take more effort to make it go, especially if you push it at speeds faster than the shorter boat can go. The shorter boat will be slower, but within its best cruising speed, it will require less paddling effort. With the longer boat, you will be able to cover more distance in a given amount of time, but you will work harder to do it. With the shorter boat, you can cover the same distance with less effort, but it will take longer. You can only decide which boat is better when you decide what factors are most important to you.

BTW, the speed difference will not be huge. At top speed, the longer boat is likely to be no more than one-half mph faster than the short boat. That actually makes a pretty big difference on a long trip, but otherwise it may be no big deal.

This speed/effort difference is usually pretty obvious, but I'm telling you about it because that way you can be prepared to focus on this and notice it more clearly during your test-paddle time. If you can use a GPS to monitor speed during your test paddle, that might help a lot too. Comparing speed of two different boats that require different amounts of paddling effort is very difficult without actual measurement. Have fun!

Pungo 120
I bought a Pungo 120 in July of this year-my first yak- and I have paddled it happily right through early in January when the snow really flew! I started thinking I was going to buy a 9’ or 10’ kayak but quickly was convinced that these would paddle like a bathtub. As a novice, I have taken this yak on a maiden voyage in Lake George and now routinely paddle in a bay here on Long Island. I have faced some strong winds and routinely paddle against the tide and find that this yak can really move and even under poor conditions will hold a reasonable line. Being the restless sort, I am sure that I will grow out of this yak and desire one with a rudder and prettier form, but for now, I have no complaints at all. Two caveats: 1)I am pretty fit,5’7" and 135lbs, but getting this on my SUV by myself is a workout, so a 140 at your size it is likely to be a challenge;2)if you are considering a skirt, the non-zippered one is impossible to get on that huge cockpit without assistance.

I as a female 5’6" @ 128 have a 120 for my lake which tracks and handles very well.

This boat is very stable for these conditions and I find it very easy to move around. I also have a perception avatar 16’ for the ocean, again a very different boat for different use. Have also loaded this boat myself on and off my Jeep Liberty. Love the perception also. freddi

test drive
all ya can. Old Town,Perception,wilderness. Lots of others. I really like some of the new Old Town designs. Racy looking , funtional boats. I like my Perception sundance but its not for everyone.

Another WS boat to try
is the Pamlico - also available in the 100, 120, 140, 145T, 160T models unless they’ve changed their lineup.

The Pamlico does not have the multi-chine hull but is otherwise very similar to the Pungo.

Contrary to what is posted above, the Pungo is well suited to mild rivers. I’ve paddled it in that situation and did not find it lacking. That said, the Pamlico FOR RIVERS is a bit better without the multi-chine hull. The multi-chine does some wierd things on eddy turns (sorry, I don’t know the right terminology, suffice to say it “grabs”). The Pamlico is smooth on the bottom but still has the sharp angle of attack and a large molded in skep to help with tracking.

The Acadia is nice as well.

  • Big D

I have a 10’ mallard which is the older Pungo and I love the boat. It carries a lot of cargo and is so think that it cantake any punishment I give it.

BUT, it takes a lot of draft, is heavy and too small for camping so i looked into the Pungo 12 & 14 and found boththe be excellent boats.

My only concern is that I was looking at them as a camping kayak and not a rec-boat. For purely day-trips I found the 14 too big and akward for casual paddling but the 12 too small for camping (I overpack) and wish that they would make a 13’ boat as a perfect compromise.

Both myself (6’ @ 170#) and my daughter (5’11" # 180#) love the Mallard 10’ and would love the Pungo 100 as a rec-boat but both feelthat anything longer than 12’ isn’t suitable for a day trip.

Length may equal speed but short and wide is stable and ideal of a few hours on the water where speed and gear aren’t required.