Orion Description

The Orion is a kayak brought to you by P&H Sea Kayaks. Read Orion 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!

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Orion Reviews

Read reviews for the Orion by P&H Sea Kayaks 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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During corona i borrowed a…

Submitted by: paddler2825584 on 12/27/2023

During corona i borrowed a friends kajak a few times and after a while i decided to get one myself. Another frend had an old kajak. An Orion with small hatches. I fitted in so alright i got it. I practiced in the harbour. The first time i sat in the Orion i felt it wanted to go straight ahead, fast. I tried to paddle with paddles way too long. And one time on the river by myself i felt i needed lessons. Since then (2021) i have paddled many many waters in the Netherlands, this summer the sea near Denmark. I feel very safe and comfortable in my Orion. It is very stable. Has plenty of room for gear on a weektrip. I feel very lucky I got such a beautiful reliable boat by chance.


I purchased a used Orion in March. I have had it out…

Submitted by: wvbowman on 8/11/2010
I purchased a used Orion in March.
I have had it out four times and each time has been more enjoyable than the previous. It edges well, is extremely maneuverable and stable. Of all the boats I have owned (Dagger, QCC, Current Designs) this one is the best overall kayak. I like it so much that I just purchased a second one. Great boat for novice to expert level kayakers. I am 6'1" and 230 and have plenty of room.

My Orion is a custom build…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/22/2008
My Orion is a custom build carbon and kevlar wonder. I would rather have a broader beam, rock steady boat that can turn well than a tippy kayak that only the most agile, flatbelly can handle without constant fear of an unwanted roll. I want to tour, not do upside down gymnastics to prove something. The Orion does have this stability and with its skeg, it absolutely tracks straight ahead. I can carry large loads and as a six-footer still brace on the thigh pads and hit the foot pegs. It is one of a few boats that has a place on the rear deck for an extra paddle, so I carry one for any in the group that loses one. This only occurred once, but boy were they grateful. All-in-all this is gorgeous craft and the carbon weave inside the hull shows the excellent craftsmanship.

All I can say about the Orion…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 3/21/2007
All I can say about the Orion is it is a wonderful as well as beautiful boat! I am a novice but I am so glad I stumbled on this boat on E bay and bought it! It is now used by my wife and she loves it. Its stable but turns on a dime. There are lots of new boats out there but Derrick H. got this one right! You can actually still get this boat made by P&H custom Kayaks! Its built like a brick ////house. All I can say is I and my wife love it!

I was lucky enough to get a…

Submitted by: paddler231584 on 5/24/2006
I was lucky enough to get a very slightly used Kevlar Orion last year. The only one custom made last year BTW. It is only my second kayak I have owned and to tell the truth I dont know if I will ever buy another one after owning the Orion! It is an awsome kayak. P&H makes a very high quality product! From a novice point of view its amazing. If you get a chance to try one do it!

Absolutely wonderful boat to…

Submitted by: paddler230934 on 1/25/2005
Absolutely wonderful boat to paddle. When it came into the shop I work at, I saw the 24 inch beam, and after before saying I would never go back to anything with more than 22, my first though was that this was an old man boat. Boy was I wrong however, as this is one of the finest performance sea kayaks I have ever paddled. I use mine for teaching (mostly kids) and it is very well suited for that purpose. It is very easy and forgiving to edge, and on edge can just about spin around inside its own length. It is also an easy boat to roll, it was in fact the first boat I got a dependable roll in. As for speed it definitely isnt what my Arctic was, but it goes along well enough. In a heavy sea the Orion is a blast to paddle. The fine narrow ends cut through waves, and the boat surfs quite well. I did one trip in it this past summer and was able to carry all of my gear, water, and food, as well as some of my comrades stuff.

Overall just an awesome boat, I got mine in carbon/kevlar all white. The layup is perfect, no bubbles or rough edges. On the outside the gel coat is flawless, no chips/cracks at all. It is still a bit heavy at 50 pounds, but it’s as close to bullet proof as you would want it to be. The hatches stayed dry through everything I've done, and the spare paddle recess fits all of my paddles fine.

Favorite boat, definitely.


This is my second kayak. I…

Submitted by: feltman on 12/6/2004
This is my second kayak. I got it mid-way into my second year of paddling and was the perfect upgrade to my first boat.

The Orion is a forgiving, stable sea kayak that can handle any conditions you care to put it in. Very confidence inspiring with one notable exception that may or may not apply to everyone. I am on the light end of the spectrum for this boat (165lbs) and I paddle it relatively empty most of the time. I am also a relative novice. I have noticed that in a following sea this boat can be tough to control. Not "white-knuckle" tough, but a bit unruly. I'm sure another 20lbs in ballast, gear or belly would help.

The boat has the best turning performance I have seen in boat its size (or a bit smaller.) You can pretty much spin it on axis. It puts other boats to shame in this area. It edges well too (though it's hardly necessary.) Learn to edge before you get this boat because you may never learn once you get it.

The Orion is not fast--it's no slug--but don't get your hopes up on winning any races. You'll get your revenge on your paddling partners when they turn back or slow down in tough seas and you just keep plowing through.

Speaking of plowing....the unusual bow and stern of this boat are so fine they just plunge into waves--I happen to think this is a good thing although you do occasionally get whacked by a wave. This is the reason for the wide beam. The Boyancy is around the paddler in the middle so there is less pitching. The ride is more comfortable and you don't loose steam when paddling in a short sea.

The Orion tracks fairly well without but very well with the skeg. The skeg itself is relatively small and doesn't affect speed much at all (thank god.)

I'm not much of an expedition paddler so I'll reserve my comments about the storage. Seems like there is a decent amount.

I think the Orion is a beautiful design, and an excellent all-round boat, it won't get you there in a hurry--but you will get there and have a good time on the way, and dang-it if it's good enough for Derek Hutchinson (see the Complete Book of Sea Kayaking)--it's good enough for you.

PS: I got the 'ocean cockpit' unaware of the extra technique required to ingress/egress from it. It was a week or so of flailing and fretting and then I was fine. Now I love it. I am a major klutz and if I can get in and out of it so can you--it's worth the effort.


Since 1988 I am paddling my…

Submitted by: paddler228715 on 3/25/2004
Since 1988 I am paddling my Orion, probably one of the first Orions’ build. Disregarding its wide beam, it is a fast and manoeuvrable kayak, plenty of storage space below deck. It keeps very good track in different kind of seas. I made several expeditions with this boat, accompanied by mainly Nordkapps’, and I dare to say this boat meets up. It is a fantastic surfer; overall speed is comparable with the Nordkapp. The only disadvantage is it’s lower bow. In a choppy headwind, this reduces the speed. During the several expeditions (Iceland, Sweden, Spain, Netherlands) I always enjoyed its bulky compartments, the strong build of the hull and the good seat.

After spending more than 2…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/13/2001
After spending more than 2 years looking for an Orion, I had the opportunity to paddle one. The conditions were challenging for this novice: 20-25 knot gusting winds, 2.5 knot ebbing current with strong eddies and 1-2 foot swells. I would never have considered taking my current boat (I'll be kind) out in these conditions. The Orion handled superbly! I spent 2 hours in this most versatile, confidence building and FUN kayak. Don't let the 24 inch beam fool you: it's a dandy performer that leans/edges/maneuvers very responsively. Most importantly: it doesn't over-react to you, it gives you exactly what you ask for.

Big Point: The Current Designs 'Gulfstream' is NOT THE SAME BOAT! BIG differences in quality of construction, COMFORT (the Gulfstream seat is painfully unsupportive), and physical dimensions. The Orion's bow/stern sheerlines are 'finer'; which equates to less bouyancy at the ends - less tendency to broach, weathercock, or get pushed around when crossing eddylines. The bouyancy of the Orion is more centered around the paddler which makes it much more stable when turning through all points of cross-swells and gusting winds.

An absolute pleasure to paddle! It may be an old design - but I believe it's performance will stand the 'tests of time'.


After paddling for 4 years in…

Submitted by: paddler229135 on 3/5/2001
After paddling for 4 years in a Baidarka Explorer (21 beam) i decided to take up kayaking again after 6 years. Tried several kayaks (britains) and came to the anoying conclusion that I needed STABILITY! Then came the opportunity from a friend to paddle his new P&H Orion, beam 23 and a half inch. Feeling a bit strange (old) I entered the high chambered cockpit, and pushed off in a choppy Dutch Ijsselmeer. After getting used to the room inside first thing that struck me was its speed despite his generous beam, it proved easy to maintain the same speed as my narrow beamed collegues. To cut a long story short - by now I paddle my own Orion, complete with homemade (Greenlandic) decklayout ie. toggles and slides to fasten ideally a greenlandic paddle as an outrigger. I can now eat- drink - do some birdwatching (binoculars and all!)- fish with a short rod and feel relaxed. Good kayak for someone who wants to do more than just paddling!