Tandem Advice: Manitou II / Dirigio XT+


Old Town Dirigio XT Plus vs. Necky Manitou II

I’m trying to decide on a tandem and would appreciate input from anyone who has tried one or both of these boats. How’s the tracking? How’s the solo paddling? (I’m planning to get the rudder with whichever one I choose, by the way).

The specs on each one are very similar so I would think they handle about the same. I mostly would be using it on inland lakes/waterways with possible excursions into the Great Lakes. The Necky is narrower by 1.5 inches and the cockpits are a little smaller, which is more appealing to me although I could be convinced otherwise.


I have a OT Loon 160t
That’s a tandem. I would suggest that you take a hard look at your need for a tandem. Two singles may be a better option. Keep in mind the term “Divorce boat”. While we enjoy going out in the tandem, it is much less stressful to be in single boats.

I’ve already ruled out the idea of two singles, hence the reason I’m seeking advice on either of the tandems I listed.

i have a dirigo
I have it with the rudder. It is great for slow rivers and limited open water. The great lakes probably not so much. I think necky makes a step up from the manitou but still a rec boat that may be a better option. I have a ton of hours in the dirigo with my dad and I’m not really sure where the idea that tandems break up people. If any thing the tandem forces you to paddle but let’s you take breaks while still moving. I have never solo paddled that boat but imagine it would be tough. It is pretty heavy. If great lakes is on the list be safe and get a little better boat that can handle the open water. Good luck.

Ryan L.

Manitou II
As your are considering a rudder with this type of Tandem - go with the Manitou II - consider your foot placement - the Necky has a better design.

Problem w/both for Great Lakes
Both of these boats have a huge cockpit in back that could easily swamp if you got caught in a sudden weather change, an issue anywhere but more so on the Great Lakes because you are talking about bodies of water with many miles of fetch.

Are you looking at these two thinking that you’ll regularly need space for three, as in two adults and a child or a dog? That is a combination that belongs in the places for a recreational boat, one intended for flat, quiet, quite controllable waters. And these are basically rec tandems.

For the Great Lakes you need to be thinking differently.

What about the Looksha T?

Looksha T
I don’t know the boat in person, but it appears that they started with the Anurak tandem and widened it for a little more comforting stability. But even with that the issues for a small paddling partner getting a blade well into the water are likely less with this boat than the other two you were considering. I don’t know if you are planning to paddle with a smaller person, but that is frequently the case.

As to its suitability for bigger water - the Looksha T is heads and tail above the other two in terms of features. I am seeing perimeter rigging front and back, a cockpit size that can be skirted effectively to keep water out and a healthy rudder (which you’ll want). This is a boat in which you could effectively perform self-rescues with a partner in some amount of chop, something which the big recreational size cockpits make very difficult or nearly impossible.

The only thing that I would mention about any plastic tandem is their weight. Every couple I know of who has had one ended up going to solo boats because car topping the things was killing their backs. So if you do go this route, you may want to take a look at the various add-ons for racks that make it easier to slide boats up and down, or consider a trailer if that is a possibility. And take a look at bar spread for whatever you will be carrying this on. Any tandem will need a healthy bar spread if you plan on traveling distances at highway speeds, unless you want to pull over every 30 miles to recheck and tighten.