Tempest 165 vs. 170 for 180lb?

-- Last Updated: Sep-27-10 4:02 PM EST --

I've decided to reorganize my fleet a bit and am looking at getting (again) a plastic Tempest. Had the 170 a while back and liked it a lot (except for the weight and the extra inch or so rear deck height).

I remember some here of similar weight had mentioned that they prefer the Tempest 165 over the 170 for use with no additional load.

Can someone of around 180lb paddler dry weight (before gear) share their impressions of the two?

I have paddled both but the 165 only for a short time and in flat water, rolled a few times, but at the time did not get a chance to play enough in it to get a good feel for it. Both in terms of comfort and in terms of performance for me.

I like the lower rear deck on the 165. But the thigh braces are lower too, the foredeck is lower (less foot room but enough for me barefoot). The hip pads are also a little too close and too low for me in the 165 (shaving off some of the insers may help with the width).

Use would be for day trips, often in wind and waves.

So, would the 165 lose its playfulness with 180-210lb in it (with winter wet gear I "gain" about 20-30lb)? I paddled the P&H Cetus/Cetus MV/Cetus LV and the LV definitely loses maneverability on edge compared to the MV or the full sized Cetus due to my weight. Does the same happen with the T 165 compared to the 170 when loaded with 180-200 lb?

Also, in terms of stability (I'm rather tall at 6'4") how are the two different when the wind and waves pick-up? I felt really comfortable with the 170 - I could be comfortable in a slightly less stable kayak but only if I gain something else that is worth that loss of stability and not to a point where it would become a liability for me over a long paddle in bad conditions -;)


I cannot comment…
on the 165 although I did test it on for size prior to purchasing my 170. I’m 6’ and 180lbs. The 165 was too small in the front of the cockpit as I could never find a comfortable position for my feet. For that reason, I ruled out the 165 although I did want a shorter boat with a lower rear deck.

I ended up with the 170 as I fit very well in it. It responds well to inputs whether upright or on edge and you can pack a ‘boat load’ of stuff. However, I think someone slightly heavier would be ideal of this boat as I think it sits a little high in my opinion. As some reviewers have stated, they think the boat may be faster and more efficient when loaded. Not sure on this as I’ve never had my boat loaded as I have only done day paddling.

For me, the 170 was the best fit and works well for my type of paddling - coastal with some rock gardening daily paddling. I have not ruled out overnight/multi day trips and would really like to see how it responds when it’s loaded.

We Can Talk

– Last Updated: Sep-27-10 4:35 PM EST –

I've owned both boats and I'm hanging around 170 pounds lately. The 165 does much better in the wind, especially a rear quartering wind. Much less of a 'bobber' feel. The trick to making the 165 feel perfect is moving the seat back a couple of inches. My buddy at 6'4" or thereabouts paddles a 165 with his seat moved back.

Measure the distance between bolt holes; cut that much off the rear of the seat base; reinstall the seat at the rear deck holes at the front seat holes. Makes a huge difference. It hasn't screwed up the trim of the boat for my buddy or me.

Due to the absence of the 'bobber' feel and the better handling in the wind I feel more stable in the 165 than the 170. I find the 165 significantly more manuverable... less boat catching wind and water.

roto 165
No trimming of the seat base necessary when moving the seat rearward, in the rotomold Tempest 165.

Mine’s 'Glass

– Last Updated: Sep-27-10 4:47 PM EST –

In my opinion, the only thing the 170 does better than the 165 (for people in our weight range) is carry more stuff.

You might be on the heavy side …
… at 180 plus 20 - 30 in gear. With your height you might be carrying a fair amount up high as well.

I had a 170 when I was at 200 pounds. Moved to a 165 when my weight dropped to around 155. I’m 5’9" so a lot lower. The 170 felt right when I was 200 pounds, but I was bobbing around a little high at 155. The 165 felt right.

I recall at the time Flatpick said at 160 pounds or so I was a 'tweener on the boats. If you’re pushing 200 pounds with gear, you may be more in the 170 range.

I tried the Cetus MV and LV. I think the LV was the right size, but with my shorter legs, my feet were crammed under the deck hatch. The MV felt a little too much volume.

Have you considered the Atlantic? Nice boats. A little shorter than the 165, but more volume overall, so your weight might be a goo d fit. Handles like an Avocet, but right sized for a larger person or more gear.

180 lbs in the T165

– Last Updated: Sep-27-10 4:53 PM EST –

I weighed my gear on the last camping trip I took in the T165. It came to about 70 lbs, which meant that total load was right around your 180 lbs.

To me, the boat felt more sluggish at that weight (no surprise). It did not feel overloaded, just not as much fun. However, since 70 lbs of that load was dead weight rather than live paddler, your results may differ.

You should re-demo the T165 with your typical day gear and decide for yourself.

You can simply remove the hip pads, as I did in my "child's" WW boat.

I’m 6’ and 185 pounds. I’ve paddled both a T165 and T170 unloaded. I greatly preferred the 165. It is livelier and more responsive. In ways the contrast reminded me of a Romany and an Explorer. Though the 165 is not quite as lively as a Romany, the 170 felt nearly as stodgy as an Explorer :wink:

For day use I’d pick a 165.

Sorta like the difference between a minivan and a sports car.

I’ll have to re-paddle both I guess…
A couple in my club has the 165/170 pair and with luck I’ll get a chance on Thursday.

As for other models, these are the most tempting ones I’m considering due to a combination of local availability, comfort, handling, and price. The P&H Scorpio is tempting too and I’ll demo it but is a bit pricier…

i have both too
im rather small 70kg 174 . the 165 is a much smaller kayak. anything the 170 does “better”? well it has a sick secondary stability. Huge boxy area that can be used. But im on the light side for it as a rough water playboat. Then I really like the 165.it has a great balance between “bite” in the water and it manouvers very well in waves. How about a Zephyr155? its got a bigger cockpit, a bit higher than the avocet.

very manouvrable, and easy to roll…great kayak…i have that as well…hehe

my thoughts
I’m 6’, 180 pounds, for reference.

I’ve paddled both boats for a couple days (composite versions). I really like the feel of the 165, but the fit is snug for me. I’m comfortable in it, but just barely (and I tend to like tight boats).

The 170, to me, is a bum. It doesn’t feel lively enough. It gets blown around too much, and the back deck is too high. (In reply to the comparison with an Explorer, I like the Explorer way more than the 170. It’s more maneuverable. Isn’t affected by wind, and rolls better.)

I’d say, if you fit in the 165, and that’s the feel you want, then get it. But if you don’t fit, I’d look at other boats. The 170 is not just a 165 for bigger people. It’s a different boat, IMO, and if you’re looking for something that feels like the 165, but fits a bigger paddler, I don’t think the 170 is that something.

The thing is
I don’t know how a 165 feels on the water, really. I know how the 170 felt 2 years ago and I generally liked it. But since then I’ve paddled some miles and may be now it will feel different… Who knows…

When I recently paddled the 170 back to back with the three Cetus-es and a bunch of other boats on calm water with strongish winds, I felt I had a clear preference for the Cetus MV. But that’s unreachably high on the price ladder right now. Plus I want to have a plastic boat to do some moving water with rocks and generally would rather ignore nicks and bumps -:wink:

different boats …
… I would agree with that: from what I recall, the 165 has more rocker and may have been designed with the idea of it being a bit of a play boat in mind rather than just being a smaller size 170.

I recall the 165 took a few outings to get used to the feel vs. the 170.

Scorpio … plastic Cetus …
I didn’t try one, and the the specs are a little different. I liked the MV, and it seems like a lot of guides and instructors use them.

Based on owning both 165 and 170’s, and a demo in the MV, I’d say the Cetus does not feel like a T, at least the way the Aquanaut I demo’d did. The way I understand it, the T was designed with the Explorer in mind, as was the Aquanaut, where as the Cetus is not, and is a swede form.

As mentioned above, the 165 is not just a smaller 170. It has more rocker, and is less boxy in the middle (my recollection here), so it will take less force to edge it, and it will respond more quickly when edged. To me, it was not the same feel, and took a little adjusting too. It was not like simply getting in a smaller boat that had the same feel as the larger version.

As someone said, the 170 is more of a minivan … the 165, perhaps not a sports car, but more of a cross over small SUV based on the same platform.

What both sizes do I think have in common is that they share the same good primary and secondary, are confidence inspiring boats, and can handle rough conditions. The 165 is just more lively. Mine taught me a lot, and was a fun boat.

Try before you buy.

i’ve been up to 188 lbs with 25 lbs of gear in the 165 and actually liked it with that weight in it.

Got to try it …
… to know if you like it. Different strokes for different folks.

sorry but…
the amount of rocker in all 3 tempests is equal and relevant to it’s length. we tried to make all three boats the same feel, with the paddlers size and load the difference. The catalogs said for a while, that the 165 had a touch more rocker, this was NOT true and I tried to get them to retract this statement.

As far as feel goes, it’s entirely up to the paddler and his/her comfort range. I like the 165 for day trips, in fact did Lake Jocassee SC yesterday in 15 knots of side wind and it was a JOY to paddle. If I was going for an overnighter, I’d prolly choose a 170, which IMO is NOT a BUM. The decks higher and it’s wider, built for a bigger paddler. Edging the 165 is going to be easier, as it is narrower and built for a smaller paddler. get it? You could say the 165 is tippier, as well. 1/2 full vs 1/2 empty.

moving the seat is an option to get the boat fine tuned to your body. EZ process, instructions on you tube. The composite version takes some seat trimming. I’d experiment before final mounting.


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Thanks, Steve
The 170 plastic fits me like a glove. The 165 that is a little lower in the front, so that will probably be a big part of the decision. With luck and if the tornado watch for my area turns out nothing serious, I’ll test paddle the 165 tonight to figure it out for myself -:wink:

I’ll sure let you all know my thoughts. Unfortunately, I may not be able to immediately compare to the 170 today. But if the 165 does not feel right for my size on and off the water, that will eliminate it from my list. Keep in mind my size 15 flappers and 36" inseam do create some clearance issues even barefoot -;(

Moving the seat/footrails in the plastic version is easy and I’ve done it on an '09. The '10 models seem to fit me off the shelf, but I’m not sure about the trim so I might still need to move the seat back a bit to compensate for my long legs shifting some weight probably forward of optimal (to be determined after some paddling).

Steve, do you have any comment on the new skeg system?

I remember that …
… the catalog stating the “more rocker” thing on the 165, and your correction of that.

Visually, looking at the two boats, it kinda looks like, from certain angles, the 165 has more rocker. But looks can be deceiving, unless you really know what you’re looking for or at. It probably feels like it has more rocker to certain paddlers, depending on the paddler’s weight, what they’re used to, etc.

It certainly felt a little “twitchier” the first few paddles than the 170, when I made the switch, but was the weight to volume of the boat. It edged and turned easier, which many, myself included, may miss-interpret as being a result of more rocker, but again was more I would think to the fit of the boat to the paddler. The 165 fit me better.

It’s all about fit of the boat to the paddler … why you really need to try before you buy.