Pungo or Tempest? (Rec or Touring)

-- Last Updated: Jun-22-15 4:30 PM EST --

Ok, I know they are two different kayak types. Let me give a bit of back story to help explain.

My wife and I just got into the sport a few months ago. We did a ton of research and went with two Wilderness Pungo 120's as our first due to comfort, stability, and tracking. Since then we have fallen in love with the sport and are about to purchase two additional kayaks for our two oldest sons (ages 7 and 11).

Yesterday we took them to their first Kayak lesson which we also participated in. During the lesson I was in a touring kayak for the first time. Besides the tight fit, it seemed to track as well and be about the same speed as my pungo. The stability was less obviously, but since I am no longer new to the feel of a kayak, it wasn't an issue.

98% of the time we are going to be on lakes and mild rivers but I would like to advance my skills and learn to roll, etc. Now that we are looking at purchasing two additional kayaks I am torn between sticking with the Pungo and getting the boys two additional rec kayaks or getting a touring kayak like the Tempest and letting the boys have the Pungo's.

Alternatively, we keep the Pungo's for our everyday kayak needs, get the kids two more rec kayaks, and later just add some touring kayaks to our collection.


get the Tempest
I’m just repeating what I hear the little guy on your shoulder saying.

kind of big

– Last Updated: Jun-22-15 5:15 PM EST –

The Pungos are awfully wide for kids. At 29" and with that gaping cockpit they are going to slop around in them and be hitting the gunwales when they try to paddle. I mean, kids manage to have fun with just about any boat, but something so oversized could end up being frustrating if they are trying to keep up with others, especially for the 7 year old. A better fit for them would be a Perception Prodigy XS, 23" wide and 10' long with a kid-sized cockpit (maximum weight capacity 150 lbs). These are inexpensive, around $400, and should be easy to sell once the kids outgrow them and then invest what you get for them towards touring kayaks.


Not knowing you and your wife's body specs it would be hard to suggest touring kayaks if that is the route you choose to go. More information could help with that. If your wife (an even you) are rather petite people, there are narrower and longer touring kayaks, like the WS Tsunami 135 that would fit one or both children better and still be usable by an adult.

The Tempest, at 22" is likely going to feel quite different than whatever they gave you for the class. The boats for intro classes tend to be 24" to 26" light touring boats. Doesn't seem like all that much but it is. Personally, I love 21"-22" beam boats and have two, but just be aware that the hull design will give them a different feel than you may have yet experienced -- hope you can test paddle before you commit.

The little guy on my shoulder is saying tempest. :slight_smile:

To clarify, the Prodigy XS is what we were getting for the boys before the touring kayak bug bit me. In the end… I think we will still do that (go with the Prodigy XS) because I agree with you.

So I guess that narrows it down to… if we are 10% of the time doing Texas mild rivers… is it crazy to do that in an expensive touring kayak when you already had a Pungo? We rarely go to the ocean (even though we would love to go lots more). We are located in North Central Texas so Gulf of Mexico is about 4 hours away at best (not terrible).

As for our builds, I am 6’0" 200 Lbs… my wife is 5’8" 145 Lbs.

depends on you
Depends on what you like to feel like when paddling. I mostly paddle inland rivers and lakes but love the swiftness and lightness of my sea kayaks.

The only thing that felt different about the Tempest to me was tighter cockpit with more control and less stability. The tracking and the speed felt exactly the same as my Pungo 120. My wife thought the same thing.

Perhaps we will just stick with our (almost brand new) Pungo’s for now and after some more advanced lessons look into adding some used Touring kayaks to the collection for a change of things on the water.

The only benefit I can see to the tempest right now, in the water types we are mostly in, would just being able to practice skills for waters we rarely find ourselves in. If we do find ourselves on the very rare occasion in those waters, from what I have read, float bags in the Pungo’s might even t bridge that gap without having to move to a touring kayak right now.

Solution seems simple
But that’s why I have 11 kayaks.

If you are interested in
developing skills and learning to roll etc. you definitely want a touring/sea kayak, not a Pungo. I would suggest doing it sooner rather than later. Tempest is a good one.

day tourer?
Tempest is a full on touring kayak. Another option is a day touring kayak - which is kind of like a mid-level between a rec boat and a touring boat. Some, like the Necky Looksha 12 and 14, are a bit more on the rec side. Others, like a Dagger Alchemy, is a bit on the touring side. But most in this class are 12-15 feet long and 24-26" wide, with slightly larger cockpit openings than touring boats (but smaller than rec). These boats generally do let you do more advanced training. I use a Dagger Alchemy most often when I am paddling.

This said, I agree with the comments that the rec boats aren’t perfect for the kids. But kids also grow so fast it may be hard to justify buying something ore suitable for their size.

I also agree with what was said about how touring boats aren’t just right for the ocean/Gulf. They will go faster and farther than a rec boat even on the slow rivers of your neighborhood.

ha, I was just going to say
I think he needs more kids. More kids, more kayaks!

Tempest 170
I have a Tempest 170 and love it! Rolls well, edges well. Only thing is it does sit high in the water, so in wind, if you have your skeg up, it can blow around. With the skeg down, however, it tracks really well.

Thanks for the tips. Is $945 for a Tempest 170 in good condition a good deal? Found a used one locally. It has the old style seat it looks like (not the new one like in my Pungo).

This evening I purchased two Prodigy XS for the boys… they are excited and ready to get back in the water after their training! They used the XS in the class (it was the instructors).


– Last Updated: Jun-23-15 12:45 AM EST –

Tempest 170 in plastic is about $1600 new. I usually use 1/3rd to 2/3rd of the new price as the range for used kayak, with age and condition setting where in the range. If this was more than a few years old, I would say overpriced.

If it includes extras, like paddles, PFD, skirt, etc., that adds to the value maybe a quarter to half the original cost of these extras.

I got a great deal on my plastic one. It’s a 2008, only used 10 times without a scratch for $500, but I drove out of state to get it because it was such a bargain.

As mentioned above, factor in the costs of other equipment too and try to negotiate at least a bit.

Awesome deal on that 2008.

This one is supposedly a 2013. Anything specific I should look for when buying a used boat? The hull is scuffed pretty heavily but nothing deep. Color is pretty good, not much fading at all.

Be very aware
This is not to be critical of polyethylene kayaks, but even on a brand new poly boat, you should check it out thoroughly for being straight. Be absolutely sure that the keel line is straight from stem to stern. This isn’t always easy to do, because rocker is involved. Turn the boat upside down and prop it so the keel line is up. Sight down the keel from both ends and if it doesn’t look right–be very wary. On some designs that don’t have very much rocker, you might be able to stretch a string above the keel line to get a better idea, but usually your eye can detect if the keel is not straight.

Obviously, bulges and dents in the hull are problems too, but don’t forget to check the deck for slumping and examine the bulkheads to be sure they are positioned right and sealed in place.

Personally, I would never buy a boat that had a scuffed and scratched up hull.


no scuffs?
Buying a boat with no scuffs makes sense for me on composite boats, but not for plastic. Plastic boats scratch very easily, and the scratches don’t impact anything, so are acceptable.

Scratches/scuffs increase drag.

imperceptably in most cases
I doubt that was magooch’s reason, but unless you’re a racer (doesn’t sound like the OP is), the difference would be imperceptible.