Thinking about a Tempest 170

Hey guys, new member here.

So I’m thinking of buying a Tempest 170 this spring, but I don’t have a lot of kayaking experience. My previous kayaking experience is mostly in an Advanced Elements inflatable/frame hybrid (the Convertible with backbone).

My question to you experts: with my limited experience, would I be able to handle a Tempest? I’m interested in a kayak that would have great tracking and cover long distances efficiently, and I figure I should get a yak I can grow into. Any thoughts?

No expert here,
but my limited experience with the T170 I feel it’s a great boat. Fine glide, nice turning when edged, comfortable seating.

If you’re not familiar with touring kayaks, it will probably take some seat time to get comfortable in it. It may feel ‘tippy’ at first, but that’s a good thing. It will be one you can grow with, if it’s a good fit for you.

My $.02,


have a "fitting"
I agree with your logic. In hind sight I would have saved thousands of dollars by getting the boats I have now from the beginning.

I would urge you to go to a kayak shop where you can be “fitted” for correct sizing. Going from a rec boat to a touring boat will be a foreign feeling that may take some adjustment. Formal classes will also shorten the learning curve and prevent bad habits that are tough to break. (again, from personal experience).

Enjoy your new boat.

Sounds good to me!
Only what does “East Tennessee” mean? Are you talking rivers or lakes? A Tempest is better suited for open water.

the tempest 170 is a great alround britstyle seakayak. I have one myself.

Its not a difficult kayak to master, and the cockpit is made so its very adjustable. Its a great learningkayak since it resopnde so well to different edging. It has a moderate v form with great primary and awesome secondary/edging stability. The T170 is agreat choice.

A Tempest is a great boat. I don’t see
your size and they are a bit like buying shoes. You need to try therm on.

get butt time
I’d read the article in the Spring 2012 issue of California Kayaker Magazine on getting butt time. Can be read online for free at

Basically, what the others said about making sure it fits is important. I would also take the basic day long sea kayaking class (which covers things like rescues, strokes, fitting in a kayak, other gear, etc.) before buying, as that would tell you a lot and help you decide if the T170 is the right bot for you.

Height? Weight?
I think of the 170 as being for around 200 pounders and upward.

Sizing - consider the 165
The Tempests are great boats. The 170 is pretty large, and many people find the 165 a better fit. I’d suggest trying both.

I had a 170 for a while, and found it was the better fit for me (6’3", 185#). The 165 is too short in the pegs for my long legs.

Have fun - Alan

Just to benchmark
I’m 180 lbs, 5’ 9" … and I found the T-170 a little big and unwieldy. The T-165 is a much better fit for me. Seems more fun to paddle too.

And for my size
5’11" 190 lb. size 11.5 shoe long legs, the 165 was too cramped, but the 170 fit very well. Both have the same size cockpit opening and the same outfitting, so that’s not the difference.

I haven’t settled on my first sea kayak yet, going from a rec boat, realizing from trying them that I needed more seat time in larger boats and need to get comfortable with true edging. Just my two cents on that issue. But try out any and every boat before buying for sure!!!

I found the T 170 to feel more stable than other WS boats (Zephyr for example), tracks straight, but doesn’t turn that easily. Hence, learning edging, where the report is that this boat does turn readily.

We have very similar sizing…
… I’m also 5’ 11", same shoe size, and roughly the same weight. I’ll definitely head down to try it on for size, but I’m glad you found the 170 to be a good fit. I’d heard similar things about the 165 being too cramped for taller people. Thanks!

Your intentions are to paddle the great lakes of our fair homeland, I would also add to your list something less sea kayak. If you really like paddling and think you would get into it, a club version of an epic 18x, or stellars 18 would be a great option. These boats are aimed at a little more straight ahead distance paddling. East Tennessee is a bit of a wasteland for paddlecraft. You can demo at riversports, I just wish they would add more choices in the long boat category.

If you can get the tempest used or demoed for a good price, then it wouldn’t be a bad way at all to get going. Good luck, no matter what you do it will be great. Message me if you want to paddle when you get going.

Ryan L.

Lots of options

– Last Updated: Jan-30-13 12:14 PM EST –

Including but not limited to the Tempest.

Just to add to your list I would add a P&H Scorpio or Venture Kayaks Capella 166. I'm sure there will be other suggestions.

See you on the water,
The River Connection, Inc.
Hyde Park, NY

For your size
You have a lot of extra carrying capacity in the 170. It’s handling is not to my taste.

Not too bad here
I live in Chattanooga on the Tennessee River, and we have some reservoirs and lakes that give us some flat water. Not the best in the world, but it’s nice enough to please me.

That’s pretty country
I taught at Sewanee for a year. Made it into Chattanooga a lot. Isn’t that Eric Johnson/WW country? How about something shorter than a full on sea kayak? How about a Tsunami 120, 130 or 140 instead?

Move the Seat Back
You can move the seat back in the 165. Makes getting in and out much easier. Helps accommodate long legs, too. I have taller, heavier friends who paddle my 165 and prefer it over the 170.

plenty of water
There are hundreds of miles of navigable flatwater in East Tennessee. The problem is boat selection.

Check out the chattajack sup/boat race. Great first year last October, I think this race will do very well.

Ryan L.

Kayak fit options
I don’t paddle Tempest 170 but from what I know about the 170 I think you might find it too large. Moving the seat aft a couple inches might be a consideration to help you select the smaller sized Tempest if you’re on the fence about which to choose.

I’m 6’-3", 210lbs, size 12-13 feet and modified a roto-molded Zephyr 160 to fit me by moving the seat 2".

Good luck.