Wilderness Systems Tempest 165

1 review
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4-star:   1
3-star:   0
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1-star:   0



This is a solid, all around sea kayak which, despite…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $1200


This is a solid, all around sea kayak which, despite its 55 pounds, handles easily in a variety of conditions. The design enables a relatively new paddler to build skills while experiencing better than average performance from the boat. This is a comfortable kayak for an afternoon on the river or three days island hopping in the San Juans.


  • Durability of all parts
  • Performance in various conditions
  • Adjustable seat system
  • Touring capacity and performance


  • Rubber hatch covers may lose integrity

This is an entry level touring kayak that has been an excellent skill builder for myself and my wife. We have small-to-average frames and the boat is well suited for our sizes.

With its retractable skeg, the Tempest 165 is a reliable boat in stiff river currents and coastal rock hopping. The boat is very well balanced, especially when loaded with gear, with edging and maneuverability every bit as good as it's lighter sister, the composite Pro version.

The Tempest 165 sports a highly adjustable, padded seat system, making a ten-mile jaunt up-stream a comfortable journey. The adjustable thigh bracing and padded knee braces especially add to the stability of this boat when and where it is most needed.

The only small quip I have is that the rear rubber hatch cover on my wife's older boat has lost its seal and tends to leak during wet exits and rolls. While we generally stay upright, it would be an added assurance if we knew this compartment could be trustworthy flotation. That said, we find that keeping the covers off in storage helps them retain their shape.

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Manufacturer's Description

Visit Wilderness Systems's Tempest 165 page.

Retailers' Descriptions

Here's what other sites are saying:

Wilderness Systems Tempest 165 Sea Touring Ocean Kayak with TruTrak Skeg - The discerning voyager's choice, the Tempest 165 sea kayak from Wilderness Systems is the ultimate kayak for those who want to push their limits. Designed for paddlers with a smaller frame, the Tempest 165 features a lower deck, narrow beam, and slightly shorter length. From its ultra-comfortable cockpit to a well-mannered shallow-v hull design that behaves itself in conditions calm or chaotic, the Tempest lets you spend your time refining your skills and having more fun instead of fighting to stay upright or on course. Ergonomic Phase3 AirPro Tour outfitting allows you to set up your seat and cockpit to precisely fit your body. All controls are right at your fingertips for easy adjustments. The TruTrak skeg keeps the Tempest 165 moving straight and tracking true when winds or currents kick up. The hydrofoil shape cuts efficiently through water, and retracts into a water-tight housing when not in use. Multiple hatches with sealed bulkheads and deck rigging let you place gear where you want it. With great control, edging, and speed, you'll go places you've never been in the Wilderness Systems Tempest 165 sea kayak.

- Outdoorplay

The Tempest 165 Expedition kayak by Wilderness Systems is ideal for paddlers with smaller frames who want big time performance. The 165 is scaled slightly smaller, with a 13" depth, for smaller framed paddlers. Perfect for open ocean sea kayaking and touring, the Tempest offers the best in stability and performance.

- RockCreek

An outstanding rough-water expedition sea kayak proportioned for smaller paddlers. Exceptionally capable and comfortable, it stays in control even in rough conditions, letting you have fun and refine your skills rather than fight to stay on course. The hull's increased rocker and chine enable skilled paddlers to stay on course in rough seas and carve turns on edge. Retractable skeg gives you even more control in rough water. The Gen2 polyethylene hull is high-density, stiff and lightweight plastic, thin yet durable with a smooth finish and rich, long-lasting color. Now equipped with the new Phase 3 Air Pro seat which features contoured perforated foam to increase ventilation and comfort. All adjustment straps are easy to use and are located forward of the paddler no more reaching behind to awkwardly pull on straps. Gear bag attached to seat holds snacks, water bottle or anything you want to keep close at hand. Bungee cords let you fold seatback down flat if you transport your boat bow-down on top of your car. Thigh braces, hip pads, seat and ergonomic back band all adjust to custom fit your body, so the boat responds instantly when you brace, lean and accelerate. Adjustments are within easy reach while you're in the boat and use friction rather than ratcheting for precise control. SlideLock foot-brace adjustments are also within arm's reach, so you can reset the foot pegs while in the boat. Footpads are shaped to alleviate foot fatigue. Hatches and bulkheads provide plenty of dry storage for gear. Expedition deck rigging and compass mount are recessed to minimize deck spray. Reflective perimeter deck line provides extra visibility. Carry handles attached with shock cord provide shock absorption to ease the load on hands, wrists and shoulders. USA. Dimensions Overall 16'6" x 211/2"; Cockpit 34" x 18". Capacity 300 lb. Stern storage 3,765 cu. in. Bow storage 3,849 cu. in. Day hatch 1,984 cu. in. Weight 55 lb.

- L.L.Bean

As the smallest member of the Tempest family, the Wilderness Systems Tempest 165 is perfect for a smaller person with a big sense of adventure. Designed to be balanced, friendly, and forgiving, the Tempest 165 is well-suited for paddlers of any level looking for a seaworthy kayak.Now through April 27: FREE SHIPPING WITH NO SURCHARGES.