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Submitted: 08-07-2006 by matt

This review is for the new 2006 Loon 120. This is my first kayak, "stepping up" from canoeing. I did a lot of research before I bought it and I feel I got the best boat for my needs. I needed a kayak that could carry me (200+ lbs) and 70 lbs of gear for a week long camping trip. Light enough to cartop and portage. Stable enough to take a kid for a ride or go fishing. And finally, it had to fit my meager budget.

The Loon 120 has exceeded my expectations: First off, it's made out of Polylink 3, a foam/plastic sandwich, which means it has built-in floatation, and doesn't require space-robbing foam block inserts. With its rather bulbous bow and rear space hatch, you can pack a ton of gear into this thing and still have room for your feet. The Dirigo, for instance has a flat bow and a cup holder which intrudes into the space, making it useless for cargo. The Loon 120 is rated for a 290 lbs capacity. I think thatís conservative. Iíve had it loaded pretty close to that and it handled it very well. The Pungo 120, which has similar hull dimensions, is rated for 400 lbs. At 52 lbs, the Loon 120 is much easier to handle than my 80 lbs Guide 160, but less weight is always nice. It this point though, losing 15 lbs would cost you an additional $1,000 - $1,500, so I can live with it.

Itís very stable; I think youíd have to really try to tip it. Coming from a canoe I had visions of spending a lot of time learning wet exits, but it hasnít happened yet. Iíve even taken a few jaunts in Lake Superior itís handled just fine. Itís also fast and effortless to paddle. This is, again, coming from a canoe guy. It might be a slug compared to a 17í ocean kayak, but thereís not a canoe that can touch me, ergo, keeping up with your canoeing buddies is no effort.

Finally, at a price of $599, itís not cheap, but it's not expensive either. There are a lot of choices in this price range, but I feel I picked the best design for my purposes.

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