Pamlico 140

This Product Has Been Discontinued

Pamlico 140 Description

The Pamlico 140 is a kayak brought to you by Wilderness Systems. Read Pamlico 140 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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Pamlico 140 Reviews

Read reviews for the Pamlico 140 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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I purchased this kayak used,…

Submitted by: J_sinatra1991 on 12/27/2023

I purchased this kayak used, well after it was discontinued by Wilderness Systems. I had to do some reading up on it because the used price the gentleman was offering was very close in line with what some other cheaper and lesser quality rotomolded PE yaks were goi g for brand new.
I got lucky with this one but I feel it necessary to star that if you buy one of these used you should be sure of what you are getting. The one I purchased from this gentleman was the flagship version of the Pamlico 140 in that it came with ALL of the premium features that model offered. Phase 3 Lite seat, rear sealed bulk-head, stern hatch, adjustable foot races and deck rigging. NOT EVERY version of the Pamlico 140 comes with all of those features standard so be sure to check. Not all come with a stern hatch,and less come with the sealed bulkhead.

Volume: if you Google around on the internet you keep seeing the weight capacity is 400lbs…. Not sure where people got this but the W.S catalog from ‘02 clearly states the “recommended capacity” is 300lbs. I try to stay under that figure when I go out. I’m a 5’8” man who with loaded PFD and aluminum-shaft paddle comes out to 150.6lbs. So I have roughly another a little under another 150lbs of gear capacity to play with on this thing. I entered kayaking and kayak camping from the backpacking world/hobby so smaller lighter camping gear was already filling my gear shelves and with that in mind I seldom ever come close to even 70lbs of gear in this thing. I have easily done that with a small hard sided cooler filled with ice and drinks and not lost a bit of paddling performance.

Performance: some people leaving reviews are listing this a a touring kayak but I would respectfully disagree with that categorization. This kayak has an extremely wide beam. Not as wide as some but if you are a person of smaller stature trying to do a braced turn or edge this thing is going to be extremely difficult. It has pronounced and solid primary stability and very poor secondary stability there’s no thigh braces on this kayak and not even thigh PADS. W.S clearly never designed this thing for manueveurs such as that. That being said a skilled paddler can definitely move this thing around just fine. Indeed even a novice paddler will have no trouble turning this thing on flat water or a slow river whatsoever without the need to edge this kayak or lean that much even. I would place the Pamlico 140 solidly in the “performance recreational” or “premium re recreational” categories. It has premium features you don’t find on most rec boats like real sealed hatches, good adjustable seating, sliding and locking foot braces, and some actually halfway substantial deck rigging.

This boat is both wide and has a more flat/Rounded hull with two “tracking channels” on the bottom. Being that this boat is so wide and has such a large volume spread over its 14’ length as well. The old timer that sold it to me stated “this thing will float in 3” of water….I can attest that that appears to be quite true give or take an inch or two depending on paddler weight/gear.
my local river’s level fluctuates throughout the year quite a bit. If my local gauge reads less than 5ft the river is considered at that point to pretty much be impassable unless you like getting out and lining your yak through the numerous and lengthy shallow spots. Even @ 5.5ft there are still areas in late summer where one must get out and walk alongside their watercraft or completely bottom out. In this kayak (with gear) I did not have to do this once and for that reason I am thrilled with it. I was initially skeptical about taking a 14’ with an open cockpit on this winding river by me figuring it would be a bear to turn and the wave trains would fill it with water. That was not the case and the fact that I can pack enough gear in here to safely stay 2-3 nights out on my local river(longer if I do strictly dehydrated meals or re-supply at one of the many towns along the river with take-outs and river access points.

W.S states this can handle up to Class II rapids…. Well like anything that is going to depend on the specifics of the class II rapid as no two are Alike… if you have class II’s on your river with pretty straightforward lines to follow you will be just fine. Anything beyond that and you the paddler needs to really know what you are doing. You will have to use more intermediate/advanced paddling techniques to turn the boat quickly while not losing momentum in order to execute those types of rapids. Even with the large open cockpit of a rec boat there is still a large amount of angled front deck to shed some of that water if you end up plowing through a wave. I haven’t got one yet but there is an actual combing on this large cockpit that WILL allow you to put a larger skirt on this boat. Being the size it is it would bviously will not stop everything but would help you stay drier.

This Pamlico is also Rudder capable but I do not have one installed and I’m on the fence about if I want to invite the additional expense of adding one. As it stands I paid less than 4 Benjamin’s for this boat and the W.S rudder kit for this is a touch over 3 banjamins… that’s 3/4 MY cost of the overall boat JUST to add a rudder. It may be in the cards at some point later on but not now.

If you are a discerning person who doesn’t have the bread to fork out the cost of a brand new performance/premium rec boat at over a grand getting plugged into one of these available on the used market is a great option.

Weight: I’m not going to sugar boat it. This is a large PE boat built of appropriately thick material with premium features…. It’s heavy for a 14’ kayak at around 60lbs. By comparison the day-touring Tsunami 145 by W.S that has another 6” in length, a bow sealed bulkhead the conventional Phase 3 seat (not the lite version) and thigh braces comes in @ 53lbs.
getting it on top of the car is possible with proper planning but still not fun. Bath mats are your friend and I suggest only lifting one end up at a time. This kayak would pair best with a folding or collapsible kayak cart but if you are reasonably strong it in not too bad to shoulder carry (empty) over short distances. This kayak is not winning any award in the weight category but that’s ok for my purposes. But something potential buyers should understand.

All in all the Pamlico140 is a great rec kayak. Definitely one to get if you THINK you may like kayak camping but can justify the cost of a dedicated touring boat just yet. Equally as at home on a slow river enjoying some drinks with friends or the odd overnighter could fish out of it without too much trouble aswell. It’s really a kayak that does a lot of things pretty okay but is not purpose built to excel at any one them but it’s a solid step-up from a basic box-store sit-inside I will be purchasing a more dedicated touring boat later this year but I will be retaining this in my line-up as a “buddy boat” because it just does so many things so well. Overall I’m QUITE pleased with the boat and I think anyone that can snag one at a “used” price will be extremely happy with it. I’m


I got a great deal on a 4 or…

Submitted by: paddler236297 on 6/27/2015
I got a great deal on a 4 or 5 year old Palmico 140 on craigslist for $180 and used it at least 3 times a month including 2 trips on the Everglades wilderness waterway, a 5-6 day 99 mile trip from everglades city to Flamingo. It was very stable and comfortable for me at 6'5" 260lbs.

On the everglades trip it also carried all on my camping gear, food, 6 gallons of water and my big self without sinking too deep. Much better compared to the WS Pungo 120 I did it on the year before.

However my complaint is the tracking. It did not keep a straight line in wind, or if waves came from the front or rear. I think because the large kind of bulbous front section caught too much wind and pushed it to one side or another. But the tracking is my only complaint, it was comfortable and capable on long multi day jouneys. Some dick head has since stolen it from outside my place so I have switched to a WS Tarpon 140, because I like to fish and dive on the reefs outside Miami, and the sit a sit on top doesn't sink in large waves and it is easier to get back on while diving in open water. I couldn't get back in the Palmico in open water without sinking it.


Just bought a 2004 Pamlico…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/27/2012
Just bought a 2004 Pamlico 140 and went out with a friend on his Tarpon 160 for a quick comparo. I like the Pamlico for the cargo space. The tarpon was easier to paddle but when we raced We were dead even and the tarpon could not pull away from me. I was able to hit 7mph on my GPS and I thought that was respectable. Tarpon also seemed to track a little better. I thought the Pamlico was more comfortable. I got the boat for 250 and am pleased do far.

I bought two Pamlico 140s six…

Submitted by: paddler233965 on 5/2/2011
I bought two Pamlico 140s six years ago as first boats for my son and myself. Looking back on my experience with this and with others I have paddled, I can highly recommend this boat for beginners, large paddlers (I am 6'5", 215#). We've had them in everything from swamps to rivers to large bays to open ocean, and while not the best at the latter they do OK if you don't ask too much of them. Before we took them out in the open water we practiced self and buddy rescues and found them extremely easy to reenter, even in less-than-calm water.

Goods: Large cockpit, plenty of weight capacity - camping gear, etc. Very stable and forgiving, strong initial stability. Pretty fast for its width, tracks well - it has rudder fittings but I have never considered installing one. Best foot peg adjustment I've seen yet, easy to adjust when in the boat and provides a good firm rest.

Bads: Hard to edge for turns; hull is so wide you have to splay knees out to brace against hull if you want to paddle with more than your arms. The hatch cover is not easy to seal. No bulkheads means everything must be in dry bags. Large cockpit means a lot of water from spray, paddle drips - easy to pick up a few gallons of water on a choppy day, and a skirt has to be so large it won't hold if you get any significant amount dumped on you from waves, etc.
Biggest complaint is that both boats developed cracks in hull where seat bottom is "welded" to the hull. Since it is a stress point, it requires periodic repairs (plastic welding). I severed the seat bottom from the hull using a hacksaw blade; this seems to have stopped the problem without (so far) creating other stress points.

The Pamlico 140 was discontinued several years ago but for someone starting out or wanting a boat with the characteristics above, you can find them for next to nothing and you really can't go wrong. I plan to get a true touring kayak soon for longer trips, but I will keep the Pamlico for workouts and getting others started in this great sport.


I bought a used Pungo 140…

Submitted by: paddler232965 on 12/8/2008
I bought a used Pungo 140 from a local outfitter in South Carolina a couple of years ago and have used and abused it since. It is great for small to medium rivers and lakes but is not nimble enough to maneuver small creeks. I have found this from experience! (having drug it across countless logs, I don't think that I can hurt it). The cockpit is easy to get in and out of and with a half skirt, you will stay dry. It tracks straight and is stable and the seat and footpegs are comfortable. Hard to beat for the money!

I just recently started…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/19/2007
I just recently started kayaking. The boat is not tippy and it easy to make it go in a straight line. It turns easily enough too. I am able to tip over, fall out and climb back in. I use float bags to minimize water entry. This is a great kayak!

I bought 120 but it was too…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/19/2007
I bought 120 but it was too small. Then I got a carolina 14.5 and gave it to my wife. Then I got my 140. I like not having bulkheads.It's easier to get my gear in and out.

I'm a proud owner of a red…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/8/2007
I'm a proud owner of a red one. It's very roomy and it's extremely easy to enter and exit the Pamlico 140. It's really stable so you can relax and enjoy it. The Pamlico 140 is also fast, and it glides across water. It can also haul a lot. No matter how much gear I had, my Pamlico 140 could stow it very easily. I feel it's very stylish, and it's so great! I love the Pamlico 140!

The boat had wonderful tracking, and can also turn with ease. It is amazing how the boat can have such stability, while having good performance, tracking, and maneuverability all in one. I am an intermediate paddler, and I must say this is the perfect kayak for me. All skill levels, from beginner to Expert, it suits all levels of skill. This is a great touring Kayak.


Just paddled my new Pamlico…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 11/8/2005
Just paddled my new Pamlico 140. Just about what I expected. Took very little water to float, which is just what I needed for the river around here. Seat is the Phase 3 Light and does not begin to compare to the true Phase 3 seat. Installed a precut section of high density foam and seat feels ok but still not very comfortable. Workmanship of fit and finish is very good. Installed 2 flush mount rod holders aft of seat around the deck bungees. I'm 6'2" and 190 lbs and it fits me fine. As advertised the tracking leaves something to be desired but for a flat bottomed, keeless kayak it's ok. For the money it's a pretty good little boat.

Took my new Pamlico 140 out…

Submitted by: Rfree on 8/9/2005
Took my new Pamlico 140 out twice this past weekend on two local lakes. Conditions were very calm and the water in both instances was a sheet of glass. As advertised, the boat is very stable and I had no concerns about tipping even when attempting leaning turns. Since this is my first kayak it is difficult for me to say how fast or well the boat turned. It did seem to take a few strokes to get it going in the direction I intended. Using the rudder made turns a snap. Eventually, my stroke will improve (looking for a good kayak class) so I don't doubt my stroke could be part of the issue. The phase 3 seat is fantastic and the bulkhead, stern hatch are nice features.

Taking the kayak off of my Subaru wagon (using J style yak rack from Thule) is a bit of a chore by myself. The kayak is supposed to weigh 56 pounds but I think it is more than that when you throw in the rudder. Carrying the kayak from the car to the put in is a task I care to not have to do to often. I'll be getting a yak cart to save my back. Overall, pleased with the kayak and will be using it often for casual paddling alone or with my son sitting in front of me and perhaps a bit of fishing. At $400, the price could not be beat!


Plenty of room for my 6-2…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/31/2005
Plenty of room for my 6-2 275# body. Room to spare for my size 13 feet. A friend that is 6-6 with size 15 feet had ample room even. Tracks straight whether going into, with, or angling into waves-wind. The phase 3 seat is wonderful, my legs don't fall asleep after 1/2 hour of paddling. Comfortable even after 2 hours on the water. STABLE. Handles class II, and Superior wonderfully. Respectable speed. The only bad thing is no watertight compartments. Otherwise it's a wonderful kayak with adequate storage that I highly recommend to anyone with a large body and feet. I would have given a 10 if it had some dry storage.

I generally liked the boat…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/6/2005
I generally liked the boat but am rating it a 6 based on a comparison with the Old Town Dirigo. The Dirigo comes with a bulkhead installed as well as smoother surface against which to brace you knees and legs. The Pamlico has a sharper edge so when you brace to help with turns, it cuts into your legs. Also, it seems that the cost for installing the foam bulkhead dramatically increased from the day I made the purchase and waiting two weeks to arrange for installation. It seems that once I correct for the differences, the difference in price of the Dirigo would be negligible. It would seem that the cost of adding that small piece of foam during the manufacturing process would be minimal and would have made for a better boat.

I’m a 6'6" fly fisherman -…

Submitted by: paddler231040 on 4/18/2005
I’m a 6'6" fly fisherman - and this watercraft is ideal! Whether I'm floating a moonlit river for brown trout or skirting a Muskie lake - the Pamlico 14 is great. One caution, if you get the fishing package, spend a few bucks for a little heavier anchor. Also, open cockpit allows for excellent sitting down fly casting!

I have several boats and this…

Submitted by: paddler230992 on 3/18/2005
I have several boats and this is my fav. I live on a river in S.E.Texas, I hunt and play in this boat all year. I brought out 2 deer on it this year, and have been on three day trips with all my gear without a problem. I've also designed a canopy for it and it handles well with it. Do that with a touring boat! I would give it an 11 but they only allow a 10.

I purchased a used 2003 model…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/3/2004
I purchased a used 2003 model Pamlico 140 with the Phase-3 seat and a Voyager spray skirt and paddle. I tested the boat on a 27 mile 2-day river float trip. The boat had plenty of room for all my camping gear including a 7'x9' tent, sleeping pad & bag, backpacker stove, ice chest, food, two fishing poles and tackle. The only time I noticed the load was when we carried the boat to the water. I'm 6'2", and I had to put the foot pegs on the last (back) notch, but the large cockpit made it easy to get in and out of the boat. When I brought the boat home I unloaded it by myself from the rack on top of my SUV. I'd say it's not too heavy at 57#, but it's always better to have help with a boat this big. I'm very pleased with the Pamlico 140, and I give it a 10, because it filled my need for a high capacity fishing and camping kayak. I believe Wilderness Systems builds high quality kayaks.

Plus: big, roomy, stable. I can put my feet up. Minus: I drip…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 12/18/2002
Plus: big, roomy, stable. I can put my feet up.

Minus: I drip water on my knees. If I get a skirt, then it may as well be another model. The others we go with have more light touring kayaks. I feel as if I have a big yak and am far off the water.

For some it could be a 10, but for me only a 6.


We wanted to start kayaking…

Submitted by: JunkName on 12/4/2002
We wanted to start kayaking as a family, since the kids are bigger now (12 and 14) . . . we realized it's time to start enjoying life again! Tried out a few kayaks, but wanted something stable . . . I don't want to tip over unless I choose to. Also, I want to carry my camera with me and camping cargo for overnight trips . . . and keep them dry!

The first time I got in a Pamlico 140, I knew it was the boat for me. I felt like I'd never tip over in it. I could actually move around in it comfortably. And the cockpit is large enough that I can take a cooler AND my dog! I was so excited about the demo that my husband tried it and decided it was just right for him, too. So that was two sold. Our son was with us and he liked the Old Town Castine. We were pretty sure our daughter would need to stay dry at all times too, as she'd probably insist on having her discman and CDs with her during our kayak trips . . . so we brought her back to try the Pamlico and she loved it, too. So we bought 3 Pamlico 140s and one Castine!

We bought late in the summer, so we only had occasion to go on a few trips, but each time out was like heaven . . . a mini vacation. Being out on the water in my kayak is the best stress reliever I've found yet. I'm more comfortable in my kayak than I ever thought I'd be. We ordered rudders on all four kayaks . . . putting the rudder down is like having a steering wheel! It's great! The length of the boat is great for long-distance touring. Looking forward to the spring . . . it should be the best ever!


I just bought a new one, this…

Submitted by: rufus_sr on 10/31/2002
I just bought a new one, this is the second one I've had, I wanted a rudder and it was cheaper, than buying a rudder and putting on the old one. I like it because of length, size of cockpit, its not as big as the pungo's cockpit. It paddles good, tracks good on calm flat water, but put it in wind, chop it different, put the rudder down and it does ok. The rudder is a good thing to have as conditions change often sometime, I wish it had a sealed bulkhead on front though. The seat doesn't set as good as the regular phase 3, because the bottom of the seat is molded as part of the kayak,and is raised up off bottom, looks as if they had a perception designer to design it, because it has tracking channels like the perception acadia, seat bottom designed same way, but I like it a lot, thats why I would rate it 9 out 10.

This is a new model with some…

Submitted by: Bernie_CNY on 6/24/2002
This is a new model with some slight differences from existing Pamlicos. It's a great boat and id have bought it except it is just a little too long to carry in the bed of my small Toyota pu. BUMMER!!! The new Phase 3 seat is excellent and the most comfortable on the market today. The cockpit around 40" long is plenty enough for easy entry/exit. Yet not so large as to make it impossible to support a skirt that wont get crushed in under the weight of water from a big wave/rapids. It tracks great, is quite fast and handles very well for such a long boat. Plenty of room for storage, which the smaller, somewhat cramped feeling 120 version lacks. The cockpit is a bit deeper as well and the sides don't rub uncomfortably against my knees when I put them up like the 120.I went with a Pungo and love it but this would have been my choice if I still had my full size pickup. Try it-you'll like it!