I recently decided to start kayaking recreationally as a fun way to get in a workout and explore the outdoors. I had no idea how to choose a kayak or where to even begin, but after reading a Pungo 120 review, I decided that would be a good starter kayak for me.
|Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 Angler||No ratings yet!||$$$|
|Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 Kayak||$|
|Wilderness Systems Aspire 105||$$|
Things to Consider Before Buying a Kayak
Before you buy a kayak for any use, you will want to consider at least three things: weight, cargo space, and sit-on-top style vs. sit-in style.
As you will likely be spending a lot of time carrying your kayak when you are not in the water, you will want to carefully consider how much weight you can handle. Often times, heavier kayaks will come with more extras and a higher weight limit, but if you are a smaller person, you might want to sacrifice some of the extras for a more reasonable weight that you will be able to carry from your vehicle to the water.
If you intend to spend several hours at a time in your kayak, you may want one with more cargo space, so you can bring coolers, food, or even fishing gear. Some kayaks have more cargo space than others, so it is up to you to decide if or how much you will need.
Sit-in vs. Sit-on-top
Sit-in kayaks tend to give you a more efficient hull design, which means you’re going to be able to get more speed by putting in a lot less paddling effort. You’ll also find that they have a secondary stability that is great for rough water conditions.
On the contrary, a sit-on-top kayak is has more initial stability that makes them great for smooth water. You will find that this style is great for beginners because they are unsinkable and easier to re-enter should you fall in or jump in for a swim.
Pungo 120 Review
The Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 kayak is one of Wilderness System’s best selling kayaks for a good reason. Wilderness Systems designed this sit-in kayak to be well-balanced in terms of stability, speed, manageability, and even comfort. If storage is important to you, you will be happy to know that it comes with plenty of storage options, and since it weighs just under 50 pounds, it should be manageable for most people.
The kayak is designed to seat one person, and it measures 12 feet in length. It is just under 30 inches wide, and Wilderness Systems uses a molded polyethylene as the primary building material for this kayak.
The Wilderness Pungo 120 comes at a moderate price, so it is great for anyone looking to get into recreational kayaking, and since it holds up to 325 pounds, it is great for both large and smaller kayakers.
- High density, durable materials
- Very stable
- Adjustable foot pegs
- Stern storage is difficult to reach when in the water
- Some discomfort around thigh braces
- Does not maneuver quickly
Features and Benefits
The Wilderness Systems 120 Pungo has many design features that are brand specific, and you might find them to be nice extras to have on your kayak.
SlideLock XL Foot Brace System
If you plan on spending several long hours out on the water, comfort is going to be a priority. If you’re like me, you will find the Wilderness System’s SlideLock XL Foot Brace System will provide you the additional comfort you need when spending a lot of time in the kayak. The foot brace system is easily adjusted, so you can change it to meet your different needs and comfort level while you’re on the water.
Thigh and Knee Padding
Keeping with the theme of comfort, you will find that the thigh and knee padding installed in the Pungo kayak is another nice addition. If you are unfamiliar with sit-in kayaks, you might not realize that several hours on the water can lead to discomfort around your thighs and knees as they rest against the inside edge of the kayak. The padding Wilderness Systems installs helps to reduce the discomfort, so you can stay out on the water longer.
Orbix Stern Hatch
If you are interested in owning a kayak with ample storage, you will be pleased with the Pungo 120’s Orbix stern hatch. The storage unit located directly behind the kayaker is designed to have an aggressive lock, which will keep your belongings dry. You will find that this rear hatch has a lot of room, so you can store all of your most important belongings safely.
Along with the stern hatch, the Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 kayak comes with a Kayak Konsole, which is a hinged hatch that has levers and seals to keep your other belongings dry. If you have something like a radio or cellphone that you need to keep dry and within reach, the Kayak Konsole will ensure that they stay safe while you are out in the water. With sit-in kayaks that are at risk for being submerged, both the stern hatch and the Kayak Konsole will be very important to you if you plan on taking any personal or health and safety items that could be damaged by water
These are just a few of the key features on the Wilderness Systems Pungo kayak that I believe you will enjoy. To see these features and others in action, you can view the video below.
Of course, there are several other kayaks you might want to compare to the Pungo 120 kayak
Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 Angler
The Pungo 120 Angler is very similar to the Pungo 120, but as I’m sure you can guess, it is designed to be a fishing kayak, which means it has more features specific to fishing. Because it has these extra features, you will find that this option is more expensive than the recreational version of the Pungo 120.
If you want to have the option to add fishing attachments to your kayak, you will love this kayak. If you are just planning on doing some recreational kayaking, the Pungo 120 is a far better and more affordable option.
Similarities to Pungo 120
- Weight limit
- Exclusive Wilderness Systems features
Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 Kayak
The Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 is far more inexpensive than the Pungo 120. It is very basic and comes with limited storage. It is only 10 feet in length, and it weighs 40 pounds. Unlike the Pungo 120, it can only hold up to 250 pounds.
This is a great option for anyone who doesn’t plan to use the kayak very often or has never tried kayaking before. If you are looking to use a kayak more than once a year for more than an hour at a time, you will probably want to invest in something a little more comfortable and sturdy.
Similarities to Pungo 120
- Designed for beginners
- Bungee Storage
Wilderness Systems Aspire 105
This Wilderness Systems kayak is only 10 feet in length, but it holds up to 400 pounds of weight. It is also slightly more affordable than the Pungo 120. It also does not come with the extra Kayak Konsole storage like the Pungo 120.
If you are a larger person, you will probably prefer this Wilderness Systems kayak over the Pungo 120. If the weight limit isn’t an issue, and you like a lot of storage, then I would stick with the Pungo 120.
Similarities to Pungo 120
- Wilderness Systems exclusive features
Check Out Pungo 120
After you buy a Pungo 120, you will be able to take to your nearest lake or river and start exploring while getting some great exercise. The kayak will provide any beginner with the stability they need while also having a quality that will allow you to stick with it as you grow and become more experienced as a kayaker. With all of the incredible features that Wilderness Systems adds, you will have a great experience spending hours on the water on your own or with friends.