Which kayak (narrowed down to two)?

Hi all, I’m a beginning paddler with some experience here and then from rentals. I am looking to buy a tandem kayak for use with my wife, son, spaniel (but not all at once!). I also to be able to use it solo. I am 6’3" and 240lbs, so space and capacity is an issue.

That being said, I’ve narrowed my choices (based on reviews and budget) to an Old Town Loon 160T and an Old Town Loon 138T.

Loon 138T:

LENGTH - 13’ 8"

WIDTH - 29.5"

DEPTH - 15.5"

WEIGHT - 61 lbs.

COCKPIT - 16" x 84"

CAPACITY - 380 lbs.

MATERIAL - PolyLink3

Loon 160T:

LENGTH - 16’ 0"

WIDTH - 30.5"

DEPTH - 15.5"

WEIGHT - 74 lbs.

COCKPIT - 18" x 93"

CAPACITY - 500 lbs.

MATERIAL - PolyLink3

Given the boat specs, my size, and my needs; which one would be the better choice? The 138T is more compact and lighter (good for solo), but I fear that even though a tandem, it’ll be too small with company. Are my fears ungrounded?

Some advice from experienced paddlers would be extremely welcome!


If those are your two choices, go
with the bigger boat. I think the biggest issue for when you solo is going to be the sheer weight of the boat. Hopefully, you can drag it.

I own a 160T
and it is a heavy boat, I also have a 168 solo, it also is on the heavy side. I’m only 5’9" and I can carry and load both on to the top of my Quest(mini van). The 168 I can lift on, the 160 I put the bow on the rear most rack, then lift and push it on. You are bigger than I am so you should have no problem.

Both are very stable boats, But if I was you, I’d go for the 160T, it paddles ok solo, just don’t expect to turn on a dime, or set any speed records. My 11 yo daughter and her friend had no trouble paddling it tandem. Then, when I was paddling it solo, one climbed on the bow, one on the stern deck, then both stood up, did I say it was stable. But, if it does go over, self rescue will be difficult, prepare to swim. It will have enough room for your wife and son(until they want to get thier own boats), plus a small cooler and fishing stuff. It would be a good choice for summer days on the lake. Don’t forget that although it is very stable, everybody should wear thier PFD’s at all times, stuff happens.

Thoughts and thanks

– Last Updated: Nov-22-05 11:14 AM EST –

Thanks for the input all. The more I think about it, the less that the 2'4" and 13lb. difference in size seems to matter. The Loon 160T is bigger than the 138T, but not *that* much bigger.

I'd like to do some fishing from this yak, but all in all it's more for day tripping with the family. The soloing will be relaxed paddling on slow, small rivers. More of a peacefull escape from the world than a jump into white-knuckle adventure.

So unless someone has some advice to the contrary, I'll go with the Loon 160T.

Thanks again for you help!

Please excuse this but why a kayak. I have 3 kayaks and love to paddle them solo but a used wide ,kevlar canoe might weigh 40 or 50 # and could be paddled with double paddle. adk has a lot of good info. The general rule is people paddle their lightest boat because transport is such a hassle. I had a dagger animas that weighed about 40# and shoved into trunk and back seat of taurus. It was 10ft 6in