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Cayuga 160 Description

The Cayuga 160 is a kayak brought to you by Old Town Canoe and Kayak. Read Cayuga 160 reviews or submit your own review to share with the paddling community. Check out a few other kayak recommendations below or explore all kayaks to find the perfect one for you!

Cayuga 160 Reviews


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Old Town Canoe and Kayak
Cayuga 160 Reviews

Read reviews for the Cayuga 160 by Old Town Canoe and Kayak as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

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I am relatively new to…

Submitted by: Rob_raig on 5/30/2018

I am relatively new to paddling, having been active for about a year. I was able to pick-up a Cayuga 160 at a great price. The boat is about 5 years old but was well maintained and required little maintenance before I set her loose on the water. I could not be more impressed. At 16' the Cayuga is a bit of a handful to manage outside of the water, especially without assistance. It is a heavy boat and with a rudder, the balance, bow to stern is off just enough to make you pay attention every second the boat is in your hands, lest the stern drop and hit the ground unexpectantly. Once in the water, the awkwardness disappears and the prowess and grace of the boat shine.

The Cayuga is incredibly stable in the water. I am able to move freely in the cockpit without fear of tipping. The boat sits low to the waterline and with its length, you can feel immediately confident in your ability to handle the boat, move around and lean without the kayak listing to tipping. When paddling, the boat does not exhibit any wobble. The width of the Cayuga is an important factor affecting stability. Generally, you would expect this level of stability from a much wider kayak but the design of the hull permits the boat to be narrower without compromising on stability nor maneuverability or comfort/confidence.

As noted above, the Cayuga's maneuverability is remarkable. Without the use of the rudder, the boat quickly and efficiently turns and responds to turning paddle strokes. Traditionally, the level of maneuverability I have experienced with the Cayuga had previously only been possible in shorter kayaks with flat bottoms- I was initially fearful the Cayuga would be a handful in the water but after having put it through multiple environments + under multiple conditions from surf to heavy rain with choppy unpredictable seas, the Cayuga maintains is responsiveness in spite of these conditions as well as a novice paddler in the cockpit.

Speed and efficiency characterize the Cayuga's movement through the water. I paddle with a club of seasoned paddlers and I find myself having to restrain the Cayuga's desire take the lead with minimum effort on my part. After a recent 5 hour paddle, I felt little fatigue at the end of the leg due in great part to the efficiency in the design of the boat. The Cayuga truly slices through the water with very little drag.

For me, tracking is where I struggled with other boats- when having to paddle in a large group in relative formation, tracking is essential so as to not distract other paddles in their cadence. The Cayuga holds a straightforward motion after you stop paddling. Although it has great tracking it still maintains its maneuverability.

As noted, I have experience in the Cayuga under multiple conditions from a flat lake to choppy surf and the boat maintains its capacity for quick turning and maneuverability.

This boat seems to never run short on space to stow gear from day trips to five days of camping. Surprisingly, even after stocking the wells + nearly maxing out the deck, the boat suffers little from the additional weight and requires limited compensation to maintain control.

The cockpit is roomy and at the same time makes the paddler feel secure and in control. At 5'7" I have plenty of space to maneuver and stretch during long paddles and the backrest, which is low and hits me right above the lumbar area, is soft enough to comfort and firm enough to support. The seat is long and wide and contoured- it caused no fatigue or discomfort

The rudder system is simple and effective with foot braces that are attached to the rudder in the rear of the kayak. I have paddled with + without the rudder and the Cayuga is pliable in the water without but obviously, more nimble and responsive with the rudder.

All in all, the Cayuga is an exceptional boat I look forward to maintaining for many years to come- you could not ask for a better design, a more manuverable and great looking boat than the Old Town Cayuga 160!


I bought my Cayuga 160 new in…

Submitted by: paddler232910 on 10/3/2008
I bought my Cayuga 160 new in August of 2007, although I think it is a 2006 model. I've used it primarily for backcountry kayak camping trips in Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. The Cayuga has been ideal for these trips because the front and rear storage compartments are deep and surprisingly wide. The hatch covers are big enough to easily get to my gear.

In between trips, I've done a lot of rolling practice (which included plenty of wet exits) in local ponds. The front hatch stays bone dry and the rear hatch only gets a few cups of water in it after multiple overturns. In calm water, my GPS speed averages about 7 - 8 km per hour and in choppy water my GPS speed drops to about 6 - 7 km per hour. Initial stability is very comfortable for paddling, but maybe not comfortable enough for non paddling activities like fishing. It responds nicely to edging or leaning for making small steering corrections. I do have the rudder which works well, but I've found that I only use it if there are quartering tail winds.

I would have rated the Cayuga 160 a "10", except that the seat back is too high. Since Lakes Michigan and Superior can get pretty choppy, I always need to use a spray skirt. The high seat back made it very difficult to get my spray skirt to stay fitted in place at the rear of the cockpit. I finally solved the problem for good by cutting off 2" across the top of the entire seat back.

In summary, the Cayuga is ideal if you don't have room to store a kayak that's any longer than 16 feet, but you need room for a lot of camping gear in a kayak that can handle large bodies of water.


My first kayak, and I made a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/29/2008
My first kayak, and I made a good choice. I've now put about 200 miles of river and lake under her and recently paddled about 12 miles in the Mississippi Sound, choppy to 2'. It handles great. The Cayuga 16 is not a short radius turn kind of boat that you need in small winding streams, but it's a gem in big water, smooth or rough. I'm 6'2" 180# and the kayak fits me extremely well. I rate this kayak a 10 because of value and performance.

It has been many years (30)…

Submitted by: paddler232451 on 4/9/2008
It has been many years (30) since I paddled a kayak but, living next to beautiful Lake Pend Oreille in northern Idaho, I decided it was time to take up paddling again. Based on the comments in this forum (thanks for the help folks) I purchased a Cayuga 160 from Outdoor Play. Service was fantastic, advice on clothing and sizes was spot on (thanks Jason). The kayak was special ordered and arrived this week.

Anyway, I took my new yak out in the wind and rain/snow. Entry and exit was very stable and beach gravel did not scratch or scrape the surface. Within the hour, I felt very confident in the handling, stability and capabilities of this craft. By the end of the second hour I enjoyed playing in the chop created by the wind (20+ mph) and felt like a kid again. Although outfitted with a rudder it was not necessary in this wind, just point and shoot.

My rating of 8 is based on the fact I have only been out once, and I don't have a frame of reference for other kayaks except for the one I used many years ago.

Finding good on-line service can be difficult but for what it's worth I would rate Outdoor Play at the top, service and delivery were first rate.


I love the Cayuga 160. Ive…

Submitted by: paddler232341 on 10/1/2007
I love the Cayuga 160. Ive had it for about a year and have done several trips in Lake Erie with it. Once I became comfortable with the movement of a kayak, I was able to challenge myself a little more. This past week I added a spray skirt. I had an east wind (coming from the lake towards shore) which made the waves around 3 feet tall. The Cayuga had no problems cutting the waves or surfing them on the return to land.

The kayak handles well in every situation I have taken it, but it handles above my expectations during 3 foot waves. I have zero complaints about this and believe the people at Old Town did a fantastic job with the design. Sure, the market has other fiberglass or kevlar kayaks for 3 times the money, but this kayak has the bang for the buck. I suggest this kayak to anyone looking for a really great ride with comfort, efficiency of paddling long distances and stability.


An update for you as I have…

Submitted by: paddler232113 on 8/16/2007
An update for you as I have now had the Cayuga 160 for a few months now and have more than 80 miles under its keel. I have been out in a variety of conditions, from gentle swell to f5/f6 and 5ft following seas and once I learned to trust the boat I have been fine.

Some points:
The bow is not as raised as other dolphin bow kayaks, so heading into larger waves it can bury the nose into waves which sweep back into the edge of the front hatch. The raised hatch cover then sprays a good amount of water back towards the cockpit. Heading into a F3+ head wind you will get very wet. And the hatches ship a little water when the deck is awash. (Applies to the rear hatch too when washed over with quartering waves).

The Cayuga 160 seems to be a very well balanced boat and unless there are steep waves, and wind conditions are F4 or more I mostly don't need to use the rudder. However, once seas are big enough to stop me putting the kayak up on edge to steer then I would drop the rudder and play it safe (It should be noted I changed the rudder pedals from the sliding arrangement to a "gas-pedal" type as soon as I got the boat, so I cannot comment on the standard footrests).

The Cayuga 160 surfs very well - it really is quite easy to pick up a relatively large wave and ride it for 5-10 seconds at a time. With the rudder down you can pick up rear quartering waves at quite an angle without broaching.

As far as confidence in its stability I am now far more comfortable in choppy conditions than my friend in his more traditional glass 22in wide kayak, but I don't seem to suffer too much in the speed stakes - and can average 3-3.5mph for 3 or 4 hours at a time. I may run into its hull speed eventually, but generally there is enough spare to put in a few power strokes to catch a wave, or to make a sprint around a headland in between wave sets.

I was caught in worsening conditions this last weekend. F4-F5 went up to F6 and waves were 5ft and quartering sets were coming in as we headed for a planned exit point. The waves were frequently breaking and several times I had to lean on the paddle fairly hard as I surfed them. I am fairly confident in the Cayuga's secondary stability now, and while it was not prudent to continue our paddle it gave a great boost to know that the boat was not out of its element in (what was for me) challenging conditions. It was predictable, stable and confidence inspiring.

For an 16ft plastic intermediate sea kayak I now have to give it 10/10. Very very impressed.


Been out 3 times to sea in my…

Submitted by: paddler232113 on 6/21/2007
Been out 3 times to sea in my new boat - and I can say it hasn't disappointed.

Excellent initial and good secondary stability. Long keel line with only moderate rocker make for good tracking while a very comfortable seat and knee braces which makes reasonable edging easy enough to alter course and carve gentle turns. Relatively low rear deck minimizes windage meaning you don't need the rudder unless you are into more challenging conditions. While it's not as fast as a narrow composite boat, it is easy to paddle at a fair speed (est 4mph+) and has a good glide. Paddling into 3ft wind driven swell I didn't get too wet - the bow doing a good job of parting the water, even when submerged in oncoming waves.

I would subtract a point for a very flat bottom which might add to initial stability, but make it more sensitive to larger waves, and the plastic across the hull under the seat is very thin without support so it can "oil-can" easily. Care in transporting and storage (and landing on beaches) is needed. This is the price you pay for a relatively light weight of under 26kg (not bad for a plastic boat with rudder). However, the excellent finish and attention to detail almost makes up for this. Bungees can be re-threaded and are then more than adequate for split paddles, hydration packs, tow lines and bilge pumps. There are full deck lines and the hatches are huge and watertight. They are really big with integral seals and easy to open and refasten. The small day hatch right in front of the cockpit is much easier to use than the traditional location behind the seat!

For a beginner or an intermediate paddler trying sea kayaking after a few years of recreational freshwater paddling it won't disappoint - it handles as good as it looks, and everyone I've met says it's a fine looking boat.


I suppose I have to rate this…

Submitted by: rookedad on 10/30/2006
I suppose I have to rate this kayak a 10, because it is the best kayak I have used yet. I bought it because of the good deal I thought I was getting. After using it about 10 times on Lakes, in creeks and in the Ct. River, I have decided that I got a GREAT DEAL! I have used it enough to adjust the seat and to know it makes a difference, it does get better.

The Kayak I got has a rudder, and it also makes a great difference. I am fairly new to kayaking[ at 56] and still need to learn a lot about technique. Got in the river the other day and the wind was blowing really stiff, I put the rudder down and only had to worry about paddling, not controling. It could have been a pretty rough day, but it turned out great because of the rudder.

Went out this evening, again pretty windy, put down the rudder and practiced my paddling rather than have a fight for control. I needed to make a fast trip because it was getting dark. I think my stroke is improving.

I had been using the kayak without the rudder in better conditions, and it is fairly easy and comfortable to control by edging and stroke. I prefer to not have to use the rudder, but I am really glad to have it, to extend my usability of the kayak. I would have to think very carefully if I really wanted to try conditions that I have already been in, without the rudder.

I am not to thrilled looking at the hatch covers, but I think they work fairly well. Maybe I just have to learn to put them on tighter, if that is possible. I had been looking for about a 45lb. kayak 12 - 14'. I am about 200lbs. so the extra length of the 160 carries my size better. The 54lb. weight is a bit more than I wanted to load and unload myself, but it is doable. Most 14' kayaks weigh this much anyway.

The keyhole is the smallest I could reasonably use, smaller than I wanted. But again it is working out great, smaller is good when the splashing starts. Every time I use the boat, I like it more, more glad that I went for it. Every time I adjust the boat, it fits better, glad I adjusted it and could.

I am sure there are better boats out there (for more money, much more than I paid) but I won't be needing a better one for a long time. I can just buy a better paddle and I will be able to improve that way, for less money!


The Cayuga 160 by Old Town is…

Submitted by: pcovell on 8/7/2006
The Cayuga 160 by Old Town is a great boat if you’re graduating from a SOT or smaller Sit In. I’m relatively new to kayaking but was an avid racer of sailboats for my years. I’m currently 59 and at 6 ft, 185 lbs, I tired of my OC Caper very quickly. However, if I was into fishing I would still have the boat. But ex sailboat racers always have the need for speed. I did a lot of research online and visited a few dealers to get an idea of the type of boat that would meet my intended usage (day touring) and my pocket book. I also demoed or rented a few boats to get the feel of each boat. Reading about the specs of each boat is good research but you have to paddle each boat to really know what feels right to you. My price range of under $1500 kept me in the polyethylene material for a boat in the 14 to 16 ft range. I narrowed my list to Old Town Cayuga 146, Necky Manitou 14 and Old Town Cayuga 160. I really liked the Manitou 14, the cockpit was a little bigger than the other two boats therefore easier for me to enter and exit, it was stable, turned easily and it accelerated very quickly. It also had a retractable skeg that I was not able to really test. If price is an issue I would recommend this boat at $999. However, I wanted longer, faster and relatively light. The Cayuga 160 filled the bill for me. I found a dealer that had a 2007 model at the 2006 price of $1199. My maiden paddle was in Clearwater Harbor, Fl for three hours with lots of big boat wakes. The first hour was a 4 mile non stop paddle with an 8 mph 45 degree head wind. I was very pleased to average 4 mph for my first paddle without any basic kayak instruction or classes. The adjustable foot braces and thigh braces coupled with the most comfortable adjustable ‘XtraComfort’ seat made me feel as though I was part of the boat. The feel of the boat, the stability, the additional speed and only 54 lbs in weight are what helped make my decision. It’s an excellent value from a company that’s been around for over 100 years. Review 9 of 10 only because of cockpit size for me.

I used the Cayuga 14'-6" last…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/14/2005
I used the Cayuga 14'-6" last July in the Kayak for a Cause trip across the Long Island Sound, in NY. It was my first time using a sea kayak. I have been using an Old Town 138T for years in slightly tamer waters.

The Cayuga performed very well. It was easy to paddle and was very stable in 3ft to 4ft swells. The initial and secondary stability were very good. The boat is very easy to turn without using the rudder. It handled waves beautifully, I was able to surf 2 to 3 waves consecutively over and over again. The boat was easy to paddle and was pretty fast, I covered the 12 miles of open water in less than 3 hours - the first hour of which I spent a lot of time waiting for other people in the group. When I got in the groove the boat really moved nicely. Although I will say that you really feel like there is a lot more boat in front of you compared to some of the more sleek and low kayaks I have tried since (i.e. the Necky Chatham 16, though of course the Necky is much more money). The tall deck accounted for a few smashed knuckles into the deck during the trip.

I am 5'-10" and 160 lbs and was pretty comfortable in the boat. The seat is comfortable, with good lumbar support. The thigh braces happen to fit me just right but are not adjustable so paddlers of different heights may have a problem (you would have to drill new holes if you want to relocate them). The small hatch in front of the cockpit was very convenient. It fit a bottle of water and some power bars with room to spare. It was nice because it was out of the spray skirt and right in front of you. Overall I was pretty happy with the boat am giving serious consideration to buying one. It’s a lot of boat for the money.


What a nice kayak. I paddled…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/9/2005
What a nice kayak. I paddled this new OTC Cayuga 160 for a few hours and I loved it. At 16' it tracked well and was much faster than my Dirigo 140 that I made my friend paddle (HA, HA). I was nice about it though. I wouldn't leave him behind for too long. Anyway, I really liked the small hatch just in front of the cockpit (it fits two 16 oz. long necks just right), the bow and stern hatch covers are the same large size and water tight, the extrasport seat is very comfy, and the thigh braces (made from the same comfy foam as the seat) helped out a lot when I really wanted to lock in and go fast. I will definitely buy one of these boats.