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I like this kayak a lot, will definitely be buying a more maneuverable kayak in the future, but for different conditions. This will be my go to for lakes, ponds and calm bay paddling.
There are obviously compromises made in a 12' rec kayak, but I really think that Wilderness Systems has produced a very good design here - as also evidenced by the Pungo's popularity and longevity.
Anyway, to our surprise (as I'm 6'0" and she is 5'0") we both came home with two identical Pungo 120s. They are quite easy to lift on top of our SUV, track well in the water, maneuver well and are responsive and relatively quick for a smallish boat.
So far we've only been out in them a few times, but we are looking forward to a new hobby that we can hopefully do well into our 70's.
There is plenty of room for all my extras and then some. I usually don't use the console but it has come in handy. Lakes and rivers are all I've traveled and enjoy my time on the water. Maybe I need an anchor so I can relax and get in some read time?
Submitted by: Carol Packer - Rating: 10 of 10
|This review courtesy of www.outdoorplay.com|
Submitted by: Virgil Ray - Rating: 8 of 10
|This review courtesy of www.outdoorplay.com|
Now with everything set, I was able to make some decent speed, and found the boat very easy to paddle straight into the wind and small waves. Turning the corner and heading into the main lake, there were 3 foot whitecaps. The boat handled them easily and stayed where I wanted it to go, but I did get a lot of water over the hatch even with the Kayak Console attached. I turned around after about a 100 feet or so, I wanted to test the performance going with the wind and waves, as other boats have been a nightmare in that sort of situation. The Pungo 120 stayed very true to course and did not want to weathercock. I commented to my girlfriend that the wind was strong enough to use the paddles as a sail if I held it up. LOL
Paddling back into the bay, I got a wave and surfed it for about 40-50 feet! We spent the next hour paddling 100-200 feet into the big waves and then turning to ride them back into the bay. At no time were we concerned that the boat was in any danger of tipping, but I did take on about 20 lbs of water. No big deal on a warm day, but a spray skirt might help extend the season in Canada. Also this boat is not designed to turn, it took 5 or six strokes for me to turn the boat 180 degrees, using the wave swell helped some.
I give it a 9 because so much water comes in, but as a fair weather Kayaker....who cares
Great boats for beginners, as almost everyone agrees, with one MAJOR exception. My 120 is the fishing version, which has some great added features. However, the rearmost paddle stowage bracket is attached in the worst possible place. Our first time out, I beat my right forearm black and blue from hitting this thing repeatedly on any kind of pull stroke. It's attached exactly where your arm comes alongside the boat on a normal stroke, and the bracket is made out of a hard rubber material. I have since moved it forward and all is well, but I would have expected Wilderness Systems to have better researched the ergonomics of this before attaching it to their kayak.
Now that it's fixed, I love the kayak and my wife (who's 5'2") is very happy with her 100. We've had a ball going out on lakes and watching wildlife close up. Note to manufacturers: Please pay attention to your optional equipment offerings. Try them out before selling them.
First the good: It tracks extremely well. I find it very easy to maneuver, no matter what I'm trying to do. It's fast. It feels very stable, even in some rough ocean water. Last week I borrowed a Pungo 100 so my wife could join me. Eventually we swapped kayaks, and I was somewhat disappointed in the 100 compared to the 120. My wife favored the 120 also, and it was her first time out. So if we buy another one for her, it will most likely be another 120.
Here's a few things that have annoyed me so far with this kayak: the cover for the dry well is a real pain to put back on. The seatback is woefully shy of enough padding, so I end up laying a towel over the seatback. On the days I forget a towel, I'm reminded how flimsy this "Phase 3" seating system can be. Like another reviewer wrote, there are so many aftermarket seat enhancement products out there that it must be a common complaint among kayakers. Because of the large (size 7) opening, it's pretty much impossible to reach anything you have stowed under the tie-downs without leaving your seat and doing a little contortionist acts as well. Minor annoyances that can be overcome for sure, but enough to keep this below a perfect 10 or even a close 9. Will I buy another one? Most likely... unless someone else comes out with a better 12 footer!
I would not recommend this boat for a shorter paddler; if you have a short torso, you may find yourself constantly hitting the combing with your elbows. One negative I found was that the adjustable foot rest mechanism, although easy to adjust, often slipped when I applied pressure with my feet. Normally I would attribute this to the abuse one would expect a rental yak to take, but the boat appeared to be in very good condition.
Another negative was that the boat tracked a bit to the right. Still water, chop, wind coming from different directions -- varying conditions over the course of a few days of paddling -- it still tracked to the right. However, overall, a good recreational kayak.
A shortfall of the Wilderness System company is their customer service. I had some difficulty obtaining the Certificate of Origin when I purchased both kayaks (necessary here in PA in order to regisiter) and recently I wrote to them when I had difficulty with the WS sprayskirt I purchased for my Pungo. My request for service was ignored. Don't purchase a WS sprayskirt if you are the owner of a Pungo.
I go out with 2 friends with Perception Sierra's and my kayak is much more responsive. Pungo tracks better and turns much cleaner. Pungo moves through the rough seas and handle the tough currents much better. At the end of a rough trip my friends tend to have quite a bit of water in their cockpits, my Pungo barely any. After all my experience so far I unequivocally give the Pungo a 10.
I am delighted with my purchase, and look forward to exploring small rivers and lakes. Unlike many boatmen, I am very interested in what occurs long the shorelines more so than open water. I've got several modifications in mind, but don't want to do them prematurely until I have adequate experience and know precisely what needs to be done. The size of the boat is a big plus. It fits in the back of my small pickup easily.
Thanks everyone for making my kayak purchase easier. I'm rating the Pungo a 9 and a 10 scale. From my point of view you can never get enough stability, so no kayak is truly perfect. This one is close, however.
Would have rated 10 if had a bulkhead and larger hatch. I think a bulkhead is a great safety feature in the event of a swamping although the Pungo has foam in both ends and a bag. I am 5' 7 about 190. I fit in the boat fine.
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