I can’t seem to find in the specs what’s the real difference in terms of storage capacity (volume) between the two.
I’m wondering if two 120 XE would be enough for 2-3 days kayak-camping trip
twice the capacity
Actually, according to the cubic inches on the spec pages at REI, the 140 XE has nearly TWICE the hatch volume of the 120 XE. The 140 has 7,933 cubic inches and the 120 only has 4,187 cubic inches. Remember that the 120 is not just shorter than the 140, it is less volume for smaller people, so the deck is almost 2.5" lower.
That said, if you have ultra light camping gear and pack very carefully, you could easily outfit two people for 3 days within the confines of two 120’s.
It’s not surprising
that the 140 has twice the storage as the 120. The 120 lacks a front bulkhead.
P-man, I think you are confusing it with the Elie SOUND 120, their rec boat model, which only has the one bulkhead. The 120 and 140 versions of the Elie STRAIT (which is what the OP asked about and which are light touring models) have both stern and bow bulkheads.
The REI site has specs that list the capacity of both compartments on both the Strait models separately. The 120 hatches are 3,661 and 1,526 cubic inches respectively. The 140 hatches are 5,187 and 2,746.
I was looking at the regular strait 120, not the XE. I have this boat from Dick’s (sold as the Pelican Storm 120) and the front hatch just opens to a “dry” bag. Quotes because it leaks. Even at Elie’s site it just lists a stern bulkhead for the 120. The 120XE has bow and stern bulkheads, but I’m not sure if the front hatch opens into the bulkhead; it may just have the same “dry” bag setup.
I think p-man is correct
First, REI specs can’t always be trusted and I think in this case REI got it wrong. REI says the Strait 120 has a day hatch behind the cockpit, while the photo shows no day hatch. It says it has bow and stern bulkheads, while the Elie website lists only a stern bulkhead and a “day hatch with storage bag,” which must be the hatch in the bow as p-man said, since there is no other hatch.
I suggest that you call the manufacturer to get the volume in liters.
Here are some examples of what you can do with various volumes (liters):
35-50 L: ultralight backpacking for several days. Requires specialized gear and something like freeze-dried food.
55-65 L: 3-4 days backpacking with medium-lightweight gear. Example: 2-person tent 5lbs, down sleeping bag 2 lbs, inflatable mattress around 2 lbs. In this case, the medium weight of the gear happens to correspond roughly to medium volume.
84 L (Strait 120): For a backpacker this is a luxurious amount of volume for several days. But kayakers expect more luxury than backpackers, so in fact 84L is very small for kayak camping. You can do it, but you have to be very organized (e.g., plan your food carefully).
129 L (Strait 140 XE): My 15.5’ kayaks has 129 liters. I use it for camping, but I find it slightly small. Still, it’s more than twice as large as my 55L backpack, so I shouldn’t complain. This is a workable volume for camping.
160L: Example: Delta 12.10. I found this kayak very easy to pack for several days.
200L: Exampel: Delta 14. Humongous for a 3- to 4-day trip.
Ease of packing depends in part on the shape of the bow and stern hatches, not only the total volume. A very low bow or stern is harder to pack; you can’t fit bulky objects in it. Same for long and narrow ends.
At this point we can’t answer your question because Elie doesn’t publish its volume specs. If you can obtain those we can advise you better.
No front bulkhead means MORE bow storage
not less. Was that what you meant?
You can get more in your station wagon when you drop the seats and make one big bulkhead.
has a front bulkhead, it might be better to get the regular 120 and add the rudder afterward, though I don’t think it really needs it.
On a related note, I’'ve often wondered why there isn’t a hatch in the bulkhead. I think it would be easier to load stuff into the cockpit and then through the bulkhead. It would also give the option of leaving the hatch open to load longer items that wouldn’t fit in the bulkhead itself and just take the risk of getting it wet.