Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140
A versatile, high quality kayak built to last a lifetime.
- Stable for size
- Tracks well
- Hatches Leak
The Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140 is not marketed as a lightweight boat, so I'm not going to deduct points because it's heavy, but know that it is. The Orbix hatches used on these boats look really cool and are convenient to open and close; but they all leak which some people consider a really big deal. I don't. Kayaking is a water sport. That means I and my stuff will probably get wet. Stuff I don't want wet I put in a dry bag; easy. You may feel differently. So that's the bad. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk about the good.
The seat is adjustable three different ways while you're sitting in it, and offers one of the driest rides in the business. So you won't find yourself sitting in a puddle all day like you will with so many other offerings. It also sports a reasonable amount of padding, support, and ventilation. These attributes help make long days on the water even more enjoyable. On their website Wilderness Systems says, "The ergonomically designed Phase 3® AirPro seating system offers quick and easy back and leg support, making the Tarpon the most comfortable sit-on-top kayak on the market." Many people agree, myself included.
There are quite a few pre-molded locations designed for mounting things like fish finders, a compass, rod holders, camera mounts, etc. That said, there is no need to cut and drill the hull to do so because of the excellent Slide Trax Accessary Rails, which allow countless mounting options for pretty much anything. As a side, you can also make your own custom mounts and attach them to the rails using ordinary 1/4-20 stainless steel bolts, as the bolt head fits perfectly in the track. So it's quite adaptable for photography, fishing, videography, sails, etc.
It's quite stable for its long sleek dimensions. While a novice may find it a bit "tippy" at first, it shouldn't take much time to become accustomed to it. The reward for that patience is a boat that slices through the water much more efficiently than shorter, fatter boats. You've got to give a little to get a little and with this boat you get a lot. As a plastic SOT kayak, it excels at covering long distances without waring you out due to its long, sleek, efficient hull design.
It tracks extremely well, and turns easily for its length without a rudder. A novice may feel a rudder is necessary, but I assure you it's not. I've navigated some fast moving, twisty, obstacle ridden rivers in mine with ease and without a rudder. Sure, a certain amount of skill is required for this but if you always rely on a rudder you'll never develop those skills and techniques.
Now that's not to say a rudder doesn't have a place on this boat. In a stiff and slightly off center headwind the Tarpon 140 can be a handful; much more so than the T120. Here a rudder can help ease your workout. A rudder is also useful for photographers by helping to keep the kayak in position when framing a shot. So while not necessary, a rudder can find some uses here.
The Tarpon 140 has more than ample stowage for extended touring and camping adventures. There is a large compartment in the bow with a generous sized hatch opening. You can fit quite a bit of gear and supplies in there; just remember to use dry bags for items that need to stay, well, dry. The rear tank well is also quite large and the bungie cords are fully adjustable due to the Slide Trax mounting system. While an Allen wrench is required to adjust the cord mounts as standard, you can do as I have and substitute bolts with knobs on top for the Allen bolts to allow for tool free adjustments. There are additional storage compartments sides and center which are located perfectly within reach for snacks, gear, sunblock, etc. Finally, there's a bottle holder.
The Tarpon 140 is a roto-molded, plastic boat, which though heavy, is virtually indestructible. The plastic used is top quality and you can expect it to last a lifetime with minimal care. It's a fantastic, well balanced boat with a great feature set suitable for light fishing, grand touring, fitness, or just getting out and enjoying the water. While the hatches do leak, I feel the pros are just too strong to let that one little con drag the score down even a half of a star.
For someone looking for a little more performance in a fun and capable roto-molded ride this is a five-star offering; I guess 4.8 if you really want to be picky about those hatches.
I've been kayaking for many years. Kayaks are one of the most specialized water craft on the planet. I own and have owned all kinds of roto-molded, thermo-molded, and composite kayaks. I currently and probably always will own a Tarpon 140 and a Tarpon 120 among the other kayaks in my fleet. For camping and trashing about on the rocks they can't be beat. My Tarpon 140 is about 10 years old, has seen extensive use and even some abuse, and it's still in great condition.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $785
Great SOT kayak for touring the rudder is a must. Recommend for day tours and fishing.
- Excells through the water.
- Heaps of storage space inside and the rear tank well
- Rudder makes keeping on track and turning easy
- Comfortable seat
- Bit on the heavy side
My partner and I first started kayaking with Tarpon 100 about 1 1/2 years ago. We loved kayaking and found the T100 lacking in something. We loved the Tarpon range for comfort so we upgraded to T140 with rudder. Although the T140 is much heavier than our old T100 we find it easy to load with two people. We regularly take the T140 out for day trips. There is ample room for storing and esky in the rear tankwell, as well as other equipment inside the front hatch.
The reason for choosing a SOT rather than a SINK was I have limited knee movement, and SOT are very easy to enter and exit. Only thing you need to watch out for is your legs are exposed to the weather so sun screen is a must. The T140 are a heavy kayak and turning is difficult unless you have the rudder installed, which we do. This makes it so much easier and you can keep paddling rather than stopping to correct your coarse.
The seat is extremely comfortable and we can sit for 5 hours with no problem. The plastic is very thick and durable, we are always scraping over sunken branches and rocks, with just scratches to show for it.
We have had our Tarpon 140 for about 6 months now we have paddled in calm and rough conditions and it handles any condition well. We are extremely happy with them. I would recommend any wilderness kayak as there workmanship is tops, but if your looking for a touring SOT T40 is the go.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $1600 Australian
The Tarpon is a fast easy to paddle SOT that is at home in the small ponds and creeks of the Midwest, as well the surf and open ocean. It is a great platform for fishing or light touring and has plenty of storage.
- Easy to paddle
- Tracks very well
- Lots of storage
- Easy to rearange gear with the track system
- Can handle a wide range of waters
- Takes pratice to stand up and fish
- Not the lightest kayak to carry
I have had my Tarpon for three years now and have paddled and fished out of it in creeks, small ponds, big lakes, and the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. I have never had any issues with it, and it has performed great.
I have paddled several other kayaks and the Tarpon is my favorite. It is well made and a little heavy out of the water, but the heft will not be noticed in the water.
Quality wise the Tarpon and Wilderness System kayaks are at the top of the short list of quality manufactures and you really can't go wrong with any of the top companies in quality. But you have to try them out on the water. What looks good may not feel right for you.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $850
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