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Wilderness Systems Ripper

rated 5.0 of 5 stars

The Ripper has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best sit-on-top kayaks for 2024.

photo: Wilderness Systems Ripper sit-on-top kayak

Ripper kayaks are easy to transport, extremely maneuverable, and stable even in rougher waters. These 8-ft kayaks can take your water enjoyment to a new level. Go to the spots boats can't reach, fish from it, or just enjoy the beauty of your local rivers, creeks and bays.


  • Easy to store and transport
  • Very maneuverable
  • Self-baling
  • Easy deep water re-entry


  • Weigh about 40 lbs, if portage is necessary
  • Not as fast as longer kayaks if speed is important
  • Max weight is 225 lbs
  • Only rated to Class 2 Water

We have three of these Wilderness Ripper kayaks and have kayaked in them for almost ten years. They still are in as good a shape as when we first bought them...well, maybe a few cosmetic scratches here and there, but nothing else. We have explored everything from small creeks to large rivers and open bays. The level of water needed to float these little kayaks is very small, and yet they handle the big waters well, too.

At 8 feet long and 30 inches wide, these kayaks have incredible maneuverability. They can be turned in tight spots simply because of their shorter length. It is also easier to transport them to the put-in because of this. In fact, I have learned how to put two of them in the trunk of a Toyota Corolla!

Because they can go where other boats can't, they make it possible to see wildlife up close in their natural habitat. Their stability allows for some great photo opportunities if you like photography.

These kayaks are sit-on-top, which means you never have to pump it out or learn "the roll". They continually self-bale significantly reducing any chance of capsizing. Having said that, my husband and I do practice deep water re-entry and it is so simple, using the same motions you would use to get out of the deep end of a swimming pool. Even in some rougher water I have found these to be very stable.

There is a good sized storage space at the back of the kayak with an attached bungee to contain your gear.  I usually keep our emergency gear, extra water and a meal there. There is a 6-inch hatch in front if you like to fish and want somewhere to put your catch... I have never used ours for fish, so I can't speak much of the capacity. I have put our cell phones in there before.

The molded foot-brace system allows you to use different foot positions for different needs, and give a fit to virtually anyone. There are also built-in seats which give back support. These are especially nice on longer paddles.

I particularly like the small metal loops on each side where I can attach gear. I use these to keep my camera and important items close at hand.

These kayaks are not meant for whitewater kayaking, but they can be used for surf kayaking. They are especially nice for flat-water paddles and have brought us hours and hours of incredible fun. There is nothing quite like sitting out in the middle of the bay, watching the fish jump and enjoying a beautiful summer sunset.


Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $300

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Price Historic Range: $337.46-$449.00
Reviewers Paid: $300.00

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