See Current Kayaks from Wilderness Systems
in the Buyers' Guide
Select Kayak to View in Buyers' Guide
Goods: Large cockpit, plenty of weight capacity - camping gear, etc. Very stable and forgiving, strong initial stability. Pretty fast for its width, tracks well - it has rudder fittings but I have never considered installing one. Best foot peg adjustment I've seen yet, easy to adjust when in the boat and provides a good firm rest.
Bads: Hard to edge for turns; hull is so wide you have to splay knees out to brace against hull if you want to paddle with more than your arms. The hatch cover is not easy to seal. No bulkheads means everything must be in dry bags. Large cockpit means a lot of water from spray, paddle drips - easy to pick up a few gallons of water on a choppy day, and a skirt has to be so large it won't hold if you get any significant amount dumped on you from waves, etc.
Biggest complaint is that both boats developed cracks in hull where seat bottom is "welded" to the hull. Since it is a stress point, it requires periodic repairs (plastic welding). I severed the seat bottom from the hull using a hacksaw blade; this seems to have stopped the problem without (so far) creating other stress points.
The Pamlico 140 was discontinued several years ago but for someone starting out or wanting a boat with the characteristics above, you can find them for next to nothing and you really can't go wrong. I plan to get a true touring kayak soon for longer trips, but I will keep the Pamlico for workouts and getting others started in this great sport.
The boat had wonderful tracking, and can also turn with ease. It is amazing how the boat can have such stability, while having good performance, tracking, and maneuverability all in one. I am an intermediate paddler, and I must say this is the perfect kayak for me. All skill levels, from beginner to Expert, it suits all levels of skill. This is a great touring Kayak.
Taking the kayak off of my Subaru wagon (using J style yak rack from Thule) is a bit of a chore by myself. The kayak is supposed to weigh 56 pounds but I think it is more than that when you throw in the rudder. Carrying the kayak from the car to the put in is a task I care to not have to do to often. I'll be getting a yak cart to save my back. Overall, pleased with the kayak and will be using it often for casual paddling alone or with my son sitting in front of me and perhaps a bit of fishing. At $400, the price could not be beat!
Minus: I drip water on my knees. If I get a skirt, then it may as well be another model. The others we go with have more light touring kayaks. I feel as if I have a big yak and am far off the water.
For some it could be a 10, but for me only a 6.
The first time I got in a Pamlico 140, I knew it was the boat for me. I felt like I'd never tip over in it. I could actually move around in it comfortably. And the cockpit is large enough that I can take a cooler AND my dog! I was so excited about the demo that my husband tried it and decided it was just right for him, too. So that was two sold. Our son was with us and he liked the Old Town Castine. We were pretty sure our daughter would need to stay dry at all times too, as she'd probably insist on having her discman and CDs with her during our kayak trips . . . so we brought her back to try the Pamlico and she loved it, too. So we bought 3 Pamlico 140s and one Castine!
We bought late in the summer, so we only had occasion to go on a few trips, but each time out was like heaven . . . a mini vacation. Being out on the water in my kayak is the best stress reliever I've found yet. I'm more comfortable in my kayak than I ever thought I'd be. We ordered rudders on all four kayaks . . . putting the rudder down is like having a steering wheel! It's great! The length of the boat is great for long-distance touring. Looking forward to the spring . . . it should be the best ever!
100,000+ people can't be wrong!
The Paddling.net Newsletter is a must if you like to canoe or kayak! Each week it is packed with great articles, photos, product reviews, and special features. Better yet, we promise not to sell your email address to anyone; that's right ZERO spam! Sign up today and find out what you've been missing!