Width (in)
Weight (lb)

Aspire 100 Description

Easy handling and maneuverability with great stability, the 100 is sized perfectly to fit a female or small-framed paddler comfortably. Named "Best for Beginners" by Men's Journal, April 2013. Designed for the paddler who prefers agility over brawn, the Aspire is a performance-oriented recreational kayak that bridges that gap between efficiency and stability.

Aspire 100 Specs and Features

  • Structure: Rigid / Hard Shell
  • Cockpit Type: Sit Inside
  • Seating Configuration: Solo
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Smaller Adult/Child, Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Smaller Adult/Child, Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Additional Attributes

  • Phase 3® AirPro
  • Thigh and Knee Padding
  • SlideLock XL Foot Brace System
  • Orbix Stern Hatch
  • Stern Bulkhead
  • Bungee Deck Rigging
  • Comfort Carry Handles
  • Molded-In Kayak Console
  • TruTrak Adjustable Skeg System
  • Skid Plate

Wilderness Systems
Aspire 100 Reviews

Read reviews for the Aspire 100 by Wilderness Systems 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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Love the size, weight and…

Submitted by: paddler820819 on 7/13/2020
Love the size, weight and comfort especially the seat! Awesome product!

Paddling this dreamboat…

Submitted by: ktoczyski on 7/10/2020
Paddling this dreamboat through flat water is like slicing through warm butter with a knife! It glides forever and tracks like a dream even without using the skew. The Aspire 100 is very responsive to quick direction changes in class 2 rapids and avoiding strainers and submerged rocks. I paddled 14 miles in complete comfort in the adjustable seat. When I was turned on edge by a sneaky boulder there were no involuntary swims. Serious stability! I drove to Nashville to Hook 1 outfitters who were the only folks to have this kayak in stock for 250 miles! There was a torrential Tennessee thundering downpour 10 minutes after I left the store and Matt checked on me by phone to make sure all was well. I like this kayak so much I bought another one for my daughters in Denver.

I needed a shorter kayak that…

Submitted by: loisannejohnson on 7/9/2020
I needed a shorter kayak that I could use on a variety of water; that tracked well, had water tight storage and a longer cockpit. I read a review of the Aspire, made a phone call, and bought it the next day. I have always liked Wilderness Systems; have an Arctic Hawk and a Tchaika, both wonderful for different reasons. This Aspire is super comfortable, a real plus when one reaches 70. It tracks amazingly well for a short hull; and I've not even used the skeg yet. I have not fully tried the Aspire in a variety of situations but I expect it to live up to and exceed my expectations. My only issue is that it is heavier than my fiberglass kayaks and I now must find a hullavator in order to load it on my car. When the Aspire is made in Kevlar; I will be first in line!

What sold me on this kayak…

Submitted by: paddler543171 on 8/14/2019

What sold me on this kayak initially was the comfort. Coming from a sit on top with a molded seat the phase 3 seat felt like pure luxury. The foot braces and seat are easy to adjust and the knee braces are in just the right place for a smaller paddler (5"3').

What really made me fall in love, though, was getting it out on the water. Compared to my previous kayak it is fast and easy to paddle. The maneuverability and stability are excellent and even without the skeg down it tracks pretty straight. The cockpit opening is large enough that you can catch a breeze and not feel like you are in an oven in the direct sunlight.

Overall, the Aspire 100 is a great choice for a beginner to intermediate paddler and will fit a smaller paddler very well.


The Good: The small size,…

Submitted by: Craig_S on 8/14/2019

The Good: The small size, the Phase Three seating, Ample Aft Cargo hold, Retractable Skeg large internal volume.

The Bad: No paddle holder, weight.

Usually in a short boat of this type (10 Foot) they'll have a tendency to want to pivot L/R while being paddled. Surprisingly this boat does not It tracks straight, while being paddled, yet it still retains the high maneuverability that all short boats have. Paddle it a bit and then rest, and the boat still continues straight. Most boats Ive been in up to 14 ft, tend to hook either left or right depending on which side the last stroke was on. But if you are in wind, or a bit inexperienced with paddling and are having some trouble staying straight as an arrow simply drop the Skeg, and this thing tracks as well as my Tsunami 175.

It has a carrying capacity of 300 Lbs, making this ideal for day trips, and can hold most everything you would want to haul for a day out on the lake or river. Although the Skeg will eat up some of your cargo volume there is still ample room on either side if the Skeg to place something the size of a light weight sleeping bag and a solo tent, making this a good boat if you wanted to also do an overnight camping trip as the remainder of the storage area has enough room food pots and other camping essentials. There is also some additional room behind the seat in front of the bulkhead for some additional storage perhaps about a 20l dry bag.

The cargo area is bulk headed and the hatch locking and waterproof, giving you built in flotation should you get dumped. However I found the locking hatch levers were a bit tight to operate, necessitating pushing down on the hatch to operate the levers so as not to cause damage. This is perhaps done to insure the waterproof seal of the hatch, but it sort of left me feeling as if i Might break something perhaps this will wear in over time. Due to this tightness it is probably impossible to get into the hatch while out on the water.

Other appointments it has a bungee, water bottle holder, that can either hold a bottle upright, or lying down on it's side. It also has rear and forward bungee, however the rear one seems to be more of an ascetic as opposed to functional, the forward one is large enough to hold your life vest, should you not be wearing it or a waterproof bag.

The foot rests are the standard Wilderness systems adjustable rests and are quite functional and adjustable combined with the Phase three seating this makes for a boat that is quite comfortable to paddle all day.

Performance wise, the hull design appears to be based on a updated design for the venerable Pungo, even though this boat is shorter than the Pungo's it tracks just as well if not better (With the Skeg deployed.) and as for speed, the boat seems to be just about as fast belying it's short stature. Weight wise it comes in at about 45 LBS, which for a boat of this length is a bit on the heavy side, however this mostly seems to be duet to the added thickness of the roto-molding used, so good and bad. Bad that its a bit heavy, but good in that due to the extra thickness it'll take years of abuse and bouncing off or scraping over rocks. This may lend it to being a new favorite of outfitters.

In transporting this boat is quite easy to transport, if you hoist it onto a shoulder by the cockpit, it's balanced making it quite easy for single carry or solo portage. If you have two people the handles Fore and Aft make it a breeze to carry, so much so that I have carried two (One left hand and one right) with two people. For tying down to a car or SUV the handles fore and aft make great attachment points for tying down your boat, either in a "V" rack or with using "J" hooks.

My only complaint with this boat is a lack of a paddle holder that seems to be standard on recreational boats of this nature. This is easily addressed with aftermarket bits, either by your outfitter, or done by yourself as there is plenty of room to find a place.

So to wrap up, this was a surprising little boat, that punches well above it's weight performing in the class of the the 12 to 14 foot Pungo's making this a great choice for a for a day tripper class of boat, or a single night, maybe two (if you have a R/O filter.) for kayak camping. and if you keep the Skeg up, it would make for a great river boat, either flat water or up to class 1, it would also serve well for fishing too with adding on options for that.

All in all it's a great all around boat, the jack of all trades, and masters a few too.


I had the Wilderness Systems…

Submitted by: paddler443497 on 6/18/2018

I had the Wilderness Systems Aspire 100 it was a great kayak for all ages! It was very sturdy and reliable on rough water and also in calm waters. I loved that it was so light compared to other kayaks I have had. I highly recommend this kayak to anyone looking to purchase a kayak!


I purchased the Aspire 100…

Submitted by: Nmaccini on 5/18/2016
I purchased the Aspire 100 over the winter and got a great price! I have taken it out on 3 floats so far, and it is very smooth and stable. Solid construction, hatch is water tight, tracks nicely although not super fast. Great for beginner to intermediate lake and slow river paddling. Kayak is sturdy, and well made. The foot pegs are really easy to adjust from the seated position and the seat is comfy and has way more adjustment than I need. I recommend this yak to everyone!

New purchase today and first…

Submitted by: paddler236536 on 9/24/2015
New purchase today and first time on the water w/Aspire 100 was a very comfortable one. Spacious cockpit, though, a tad wide. There's room for my long legs. I'm 5"10'. The skeg was nice to have available to use and the compartment is a great size. Price seemed fair for the quality.

I bought this kayak for my 9…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/29/2015
I bought this kayak for my 9 year old daughter when I got a Pungo 120 for myself. My rating is based on the Aspire as a recreational kayak only. It is a well made recreational boat that is very comfortable due to the well loved Phase 3 seat and really large cockpit. lots of room in the cockpit for gear and even more in the stern compartment. The stern hatch has a lever to open and close it that is easy to use.

The Aspire is very stable. Initial stability is really all I'm talking about because there is no edging the Aspire. It is too wide for its 10 foot length to put over on edge. This doesn't matter much because it is really easy to turn using just sweep strokes. My 9 yr. old had no problem maneuvering around. It doesn't track as good as the Pungo but the drop down skeg improves the tracking a lot. The skeg uses a cord that catches in a wedge to lower and raise it. That was a bit awkward to work and I think it would fray over time.

For my girl the boat was a little wide. At 27.5" wide, she had some trouble hitting the paddle on the side of the boat. For an adult this may not be a problem. The Aspire was at its best in the Congaree National Park in South Carolina. It was easy to maneuver around the cypress trees in the swamp. We sold the Aspire and Pungo because we wanted kayaks that we learn more skills in and use for bigger trips.

If you want a small, comfortable kayak for short excursions, then this is a fine one.


Aspire - 2015 model Great kayak, good price. great paddling and skeg is…

Submitted by: richardmark on 7/4/2015
Aspire - 2015 model
Great kayak, good price. great paddling and skeg is nice feature and easy to deploy when desired. Great thigh rests and holders for water, phone or whatever. A little lighter might be nice but overall the best kayak I have used for a long time.

Three months ago I had never…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/23/2014
Three months ago I had never been in a kayak. One trip with some friends and I was hooked. Bought the WILDERNESS SYSTEMS Aspire100 two days later. I love this boat.

It is perfect for a first time kayaker of smaller frame. Extremely stable. I've never had a problem getting in and out with the 44" cockpit. Probably fall out of it the next time out, now that I mentioned that. The Phrase 3 seat is comfortable for almost any length trip. It adjusts 3 ways to add to your comfort, right from the seat.

I really like the Sidelock footbrace system, especially soon after I got the boat and was trying to find the optimal settings for me. One of the BEST features is the unique drywell hatch. Two latches and it's open, in or out of the kayak. The skeg is easy to deploy and allows the boat to track straight and true. Loading is easy at 44lbs. I use a Thule Loader bar.

I gave the boat a '9' only because now I want a 12' or 13' kayak. I'm sure I'll buy another kayak this winter (good wife willing), but I will keep the Aspire100 and continue to paddle it or perhaps use it as a loaner for a person new to kayaking. This kayak will give you all the enjoyment this sport offers, no matter the weather.


I bought the Aspire 100 for…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/18/2014
I bought the Aspire 100 for when I want to get a quick hour or two on the water. It is very light at 44 pounds and not that awkward to carry due to the relatively short 10 foot length. Also, there is a built in retractable skeg and with it deployed the kayak tracked straight as an arrow. The manufacturer states this kayak is designed for smaller framed people. I spent 4 hours last weekend on the lake fishing, and the seating system was extremely comfortable. I gave this kayak a 9 out of 10.