WS Tempest & Other options?

I’m considering the Wilderness Systems Tempest 170 (poly) to be my next boat. Anything else in this price range ($1600) i should be looking at?


The Tempest is a fine boat, but there are other options. How big are you, and what kind of paddling do you plan to do?

I think most of the major sea kayak manufacturers have a boat in the same general “class” as the Tempest. Off the top of my head, I can think of Valley (Aquanaut), P&H (Cetus), and Necky (Chatham 17). There’s also the Explorer, a very popular boat in the 17’ range by NDK, although I don’t think they make a poly version.

That being said, the Tempest is a great all-around sea kayak, and unless you have some unique needs, either in terms of use or sizing, I don’t think you would regret getting a Tempest.

About 511 and 160lb

I paddle large rivers & lakes, back bays and protected coastle areas.

If you do mostly day paddling with an empty boat, I’d also consider the Tempest 165.

Other boats might include the WS Zephyr 155, the Valley Aquanaut LV RM and Avocet RM, and the P&H Scorpio LV.

+1 on Valley Aquanaut RM
I would also look at the Valley Etain, a new model that looks good.

Seems like the tempest 165 would be the better fit. Id rather have a better fir the more storage

You Can Move the Seat Back
in the Tempest 165 to make it fit feel / fit better.

Think about the Zephyr 15.5.
If you do some reading about the difference between the Zephyr and the Tempest you will see the difference between the boats. I have a Zephyr for day boating and weekends. I love it.

Are you sure of that?
Zephyr line boats are shorter and wider than the Tempest line. So I would imagine it’ll be slower and takes more effort than the Tempest on long trips.

More over, the Zephyr 15.5 is for small frame paddlers. The OP at 511 and 160, I’m not sure that qualifies as “small”.

At 5’9", 160 lbs, I almost always prefer the “small paddler” boats. I’d take the T165 over the 170, and Z155 over the Z165. My favorite Tsunami is the 135.

I hate slopping around in a cockpit that’s too big, or wrestling an oversized boat in wind and waves.

I bet the Zephyr
would fit the OP perfectly. As far as speed goes, yes it is not quite as fast as the Tempest, but it goes along quite well. The paddling effort required is not an issue. If by long trips you mean longer than a weekend I probably would not choose the Zephyr. But for long day trips and weekends it is a great boat.

The 15.5 is not a small person boat
I am 6’4" at 185-190lb and the cockpit fit is quite big. Only thing small is the foot room - I could not wear booties with my size 15 feet, but barefoot it was comfy. I had moved the foot rails 2" forward, but the cockpit is wide and tall enough for average folks and even bigger than average - only issue is very tall folks or large feet…

The OP would definitely fit. The Tempest 165 will be a great fit for day trips. The Tempest 170 will be a big fit with more room. Either of the Ts would be a better tripping option than the Z, IMO.

Everyone is different and wants different things but like others above, I like the 165 better than the 170. When I teach I can grab either boat off the rack and I never pick the 170. I am 5’ 9" 200 and I find the 170 to be pretty large. Kinda depends on what you are going to do with it. If you were camping out of it for several days the 170 would be more comfy. But if you are doing day trips (relatively) unloaded you will probably enjoy the performance of the 165 more. You are tall enough (depending on your inseam) that you may need to do some adjusting to the seat and or/foot brace system to fit you legs in but those fixes are easy and worth it. Good luck and have fun.

I guess the question is
what does the Zephyr do better than the Tempest?

It is mor "fun"
more maneuverable, shorter, lighter, easier to roll.