Tempest 165

16' 6"
Width (in)
Weight (lb)

Tempest 165 Description

Signature performance, but designed for paddlers with a smaller frame, this kayak features a lower deck, narrow beam, and slightly shorter length.

Tempest 165 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, Intermediate
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Smaller Adult/Child, Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Wilderness Systems
Tempest 165 Reviews

Read reviews for the Tempest 165 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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This kayak sparks joy! Note…

Submitted by: paddler1731878 on 10/5/2021
This kayak sparks joy! Note that this is my first kayak purchase, so I don't have too much to compare it to, but it was perfect for my needs. I used the tempest 165 on a 2000 mile source-to-sea trip down the Mississippi. It took a beating but was strong and reliable the whole way through, including in waves and wind. I found the seating system comfortable (obviously important for a long trip) and it was nice to have a quick kayak like this one. I am a 6'1' 160 lbs male, and it fits me well with the adjustable footrests. I was also able to fit camping gear and supplies for about a week without much trouble. After light use for the past few years the hatches are still waterproof.

Had the T165 about 5 years,…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/16/2020
Had the T165 about 5 years, and I have paddled it in quiet water, open ocean, chaotic refraction and reflection, and moderate surf. I am 5-7, 170 lb, and I fit well into the cockpit with good foot and thigh contact - a larger person should try before they buy. It's strong point is it handles the water well - it is stable and reasonably responsive, handles rough water well, and the skeg works well on a course with backing wind or seas. Skeg system has been reliable, never failed me - just try to keep rocks and shells out of the skeg slot. Reasonable durability for the years of rough use and transport I have put it through, including dragging it over sand dunes. I have not noticed hatch cover leaks. The negatives - the bulkhead seals failed in about one year, and the re-sealing has failed - bulkheads are of some value, the leaks are slow. You can't drain all the cockpit water while doing a deep water re-entry, and you can't even drain it all from land. Combine this with water which inevitably enters through or around your skirt in rough water, and I don't think it's a great boat for extended surf or long rough crossings where you can't get to land to empty the boat. Overall, a good boat and a reasonable first touring boat.

I bought one of these used…

Submitted by: paddler491041 on 2/25/2019

I bought one of these used and am 5'8" and 155lbs and it fits me great. I bought this for a trip on lake superior to pictured rocks. It was a camping trip that I needed a weeks worth of gear. Some how I could pack it all. Lots of storage for a narrow kayak like this. We were camping on grand island which is 5 miles or so out and as my luck is the weather was bad. With the wind being 10 to 15 mph I didn't experience much weather cocking but did notice it plows threw waves instead of going over them. But in its defense with me and gear it was loaded up. The back hatch leaked a little 8 oz or so but in bigger waves. All in all it was a great yak i felt safe and never felt like it was tippy. Tracked well and likes to go straight. So turning you'll need to edge it in tight corners. All in all great kayak and glad I got it. Try one out, you'll find out why it was day touring yak of the year numerous years! Thanks for reading


This is an all around…

Submitted by: paddler489256 on 2/4/2019

This is an all around amazing boat for touring purposes. Relatively light-weight and it just glides through the water. I am 6'0 and I fit very comfortably in one of these. Hatches stay watertight and the compartments easily fit all the gear you need.


love this boat. stable,…

Submitted by: paddler472981 on 10/15/2018

love this boat. stable, steady, fast, just great. of course turning is harder than in a shorter boat but it's what you'd expect for a 16-er. goes straight in wind/current, even better with the skeg down. very nice seat, thigh pads, knee pads. seat pegs can be adjusted way up for us short people (i'm 5'1" & mine aren't on the top peg spot). good amount of storage that hasn't leaked during this my first year with it. light to lift. easy to find a skirt that fits. my one big gripe is that the seat is too far forward & can't be moved. there's no reason for like 5" of space between the combing & seat back. yes people store stuff back there but the space is so big, anything in there would roll around & end up by your feet. having the seat farther back would make entry easier because the seat is 5" too close to the front combing. small gripes - needs a cupholder; compass spot is too far away from your eyes. even so i'm thrilled with the boat. everyone who sees it is impressed.


Although not brand new to…

Submitted by: Amie on 7/9/2018

Although not brand new to kayaking, this is my first kayak purchase and I have been paddling with it for about 2 months now. As a petite woman (5'1", 110lbs) I find this kayak very comfortable and easy to manoeuvre. The cockpit is smaller, more narrow, than other sea kayaks so it fits really well and feels stable. It also tracks really well even without the skeg and moves fast on the water. The hatches seem pretty water tight, no leaks so far. Overall very excited about this kayak!


I've been in many different…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/30/2018

I've been in many different PE boats and this is by far the best handling in all conditions. I'm shorter than most and this boat fits me perfectly.


Just wanted to chime in for…

Submitted by: mcgspook on 7/5/2016

Just wanted to chime in for the heavier rowers considering a tempest 165 but scared off by average rower reviews. Im 5'10 215 lbs, size 11 shoes. Intermediate to advanced rower. Former Marine and stocky.

I was worried at first that i wouldn't fit this boat. Especially since the website says small to medium people and reviews were all by smaller people. But the measurements looked right so I gave one a shot. Pleasantly surprised to see that i slipped right in. Feels like a normal greenland style to me. Feet can move in all direction without hitting deck and the cockpit fit right. After sitting in it I immediately purchased from the seller. My intentions were for it to be a playful day boat that I could still use to cover some ground in. It has been great for that. Still enough room for few days worth of stuff if you expedition row.

Been rowing this boat for about 2 months now. Initial impressions were good and have only gotten better. Good primary stability, excellent secondary. It is a fast boat that holds 5mph ish all day speed for me. It does weathercock if you don't use the skeg. Not noticeably more than any other boat I've rowed (theres been a lot)but it does happen. On flat water it feels pretty much like every sea kayak i've ever rowed. If you usually row sea kayaks then you get it. Very much like a dagger alchemy with more speed. But where it really shines is when the water gets a little disturbed. Loves chop and speed. Just feels at home like that. Not sure if its the boat or me but on flatwater i feel bored its so predicable. Thats kind of nice in a way.

First trip was a 17 miler down a local river that has a nice long class 2/3 strip in the middle. I was a little concerned taking a new to me boat on that run but it really got me to trust the secondary stability and test the edged turning on cutbacks. Even had a chance to do a recovery of another rower that went in. Since then i have been out in conditions up to 20kt winds and 3-4 foot swells mixed directions. Felt comfortable and playful all the time. I have rowed stuff in this that some of my other boats would have me bracing non stop in.

Rolling is easy, self recoveries are smooth. Just enough room for me to slide in and do a re-enter and roll. No accidental spills yet though. its just matter of time lol.

Rigging is good and up to sea kayak standards. I had happened to pick up an older boat so it had the regular phase 3 in it. That wasn't gonna work for me so i stole the airpro phase 3 out of my loaner tsunami 140 and put it in this boat. Sucks for people that get my loaner, but go buy your own if you want a nicer seat :-) As a side note, yes it is def worth it to upgrade if you can. The Airpro phase 3 is a great seat.

I find that my weight really makes the boat just a little more sweet. Kind of like where they say boats settle with more gear, this boat settles into the perfect zone for me. If you are thinking of a 170 due to size, do yourself a favor and try out the 165 first. you may find that it feels better than a 170. For some reason unless you are like 120lbs they always push you to the 170. I gave it a 9 purely due to weight of the boat. Cant wait to test out the pro for comparison.


If sea were the jungle, the…

Submitted by: paddler236819 on 5/31/2016
If sea were the jungle, the lion would be the TEMPEST, sea kayak King. Its design has broken all the previsions on sea kayak discipline. TEMPEST is the most awarded kayak. What I the secret? The simplicity and a perfect body adapted shape like a glove. The feeling is fantastic when navigating, full control and 100% freedom. The V shaped hull makes TEMPEST a kayak completely docile and daring at the same time. Is very well balanced and could hold heavy people without problems.

Its sleeve and length makes TEMPEST fast, its dagger board corrects drift and lower front bathtub, allows maximum control over the boat.

It’s the vest choice if you are an initiated kayakist.

Long: 503 cm

width: 55 cm

weigh: 24 Kg

Loading capacity: 136 Kg


I bought a 2014 poly Tempest…

Submitted by: paddler236248 on 6/4/2015
I bought a 2014 poly Tempest 165. I'm 5'4 150 lb. and a strong athlete. I absolutely love this boat. I've taken up to 10 mile non-stop paddles through glass conditions to 15 knot white cap, 2-3' wind-swell. I have not taken the boat into surf conditions.

As an open water craft, I am thrilled with how well this boat performs. As other reviewers point out, there is noticeable weather-cocking if any wind is present, however, the adjustable skeg eliminates that problem completely. Once the skeg is down, the boat just locks in. I remain giddy about how little wind and chop affect my speed. This thing cuts like a knife. In tight areas, or without wind, I don't use the skeg because there is adequate tracking from the boat's keel. That said, when I brace and turn on an edge, the boat feels like it's half it's length.

I love the adjustable seat and braces and the hatch covers do a great job of keeping water out when you're upright.

I've noticed that I get about a cup of water in each compartment every time I roll. Because of its wonderful performance and quality, I am absolutely thrilled that I own this boat and I would buy it again, if I had to do it over.


I once had a Tempest 165…

Submitted by: landsharc on 9/16/2014
I once had a Tempest 165 (2007 model) and I do have a Tempest Pro 165 now. I recently used a 2010 plastic Tempest 165 a friend has. I only am reviewing the new rear hatch cover here. The kayak is great.

The older rear cover leaked and imploded and was awful. The very original one was nice and you could use a bungee if needed. The bad one, or awful one, was the second generation design. This last one (I think 2009 is when it came out?) works well. It did not implode and it did not leak. I rolled the kayak at least 20 times and even let it float around upside down for a while. I was happy to see the rear compartment still dry.
I don't know if it is another case of some do and some don't but this did not leak at all.


I bought mine 2 1/2 years ago…

Submitted by: paddler234942 on 4/5/2013
I bought mine 2 1/2 years ago and am mostly pleased. It drives well, has a tendency for slight weathercocking which is easily controlled. The hatches leak to different degrees and the bulkhead seals aren't terribly durable. The boat rolls easily and is fairly stable in rough water. I've surfed it in 7-foot waves and found it reasonably agile and stable on a wavefront and easy to roll back up when a following wave hammers you. It has decent cargo space.

It's been a reliable and enjoyable boat to paddle, though on longer trips I get leg cramping and a sore butt if I don't periodically stretch.


I've had the WS Tempest 165…

Submitted by: Dgremlin on 3/20/2013
I've had the WS Tempest 165 for about 3 months now and have been out at least a dozen times. I was very impressed with the initial stability. At 21 1/2" wide I though it would be rather "tippy" but it's almost as stable as my rec kayak. It's also much faster than my rec kayak. It seems to handle wind and waves great although it hasn't been in anything bigger than 2' swells so far.

It's maneuverability is good with the skeg up and it tracks like an arrow with the skeg down. There have been a few times I missed having a rudder, especially when paddling around coves and such but my main purpose for getting this kayak was so I could cover more ground faster.

I have decided that I'm not a big fan of the day hatch. I'm older and not flexible enough to access it while paddling. Since the skeg box breaks up the space in the back, I would rather have one large compartment for stowing gear on overnight trips. Cosmetically speaking, the boat has beautiful lines and the WS Phase 3 seat is the most adjustable and comfortable seat I have had so far.

One note of caution... I'm 5'6", 160 lbs and have size 10 shoes. If you're any bigger than me, you may not fit in the kayak. The cockpit fits me like a glove but I do find my feet a bit cramped. It's nothing I can't deal with but knowing what I know now, I probably would have gone with the Tempest 170 which has a slightly higher deck.

Overall it's an excellent kayak that will handle big wind and waves, even if I'm ready to yet.


I have had my poly Tempest…

Submitted by: paddler234310 on 10/3/2011
I have had my poly Tempest 165 for ten months. Prior to buying it I rented and/or tried out nearly 20 different yaks of both glass and poly construction.

The Tempest 165 was far and away the best boat I tried. From the moment I got in - I could tell... It was perfect. Many adjustment positions enabled it to become better than perfect. I belong to a club of FAST kayakers - and I wanted to be able to at least half-way keep up - but I am usually at the front or near the front with comparative ease. I disagree with another reviewer - this is a very fast boat if you know how to paddle a kayak properly.

For capsize training - the boat is great. It was much easier to re-enter than a Necky model I was originally trained in.

For comfort, the tempest is very good. The seat is fine, and I can lean all the way back on the deck. I do not know how to roll - but this yak is very stable and it dinks easily. It also edges remarkably well, enabling it to turn fast and easy. I do get leg cramps after a few hours - but with the on-the-fly foot peg adjustments - I can easily stretch out and change my position.

I seldom use the skeg unless I am in a heavy wind. It does not turn well with the skeg down but it stays straight in the wind when using the skeg. Since the skeg is infinitely adjustable - you can find the combination you need for the wind you are fighting.

I have already abused the yak tremendously by bumping logs, skimming rocks and running up onto beaches. There are many scratches on the Kayak - ... But it takes abuse well. I do not think I could ever have a glass boat - I would destroy it in no time.

Storage capacity is much less than I would like. It handles a three day trip - if you don't carry too much water and gear. If it carried more, I probably would not like the size and shape of it - so I cannot complain too much. It is what it is - a moderate sized, fast, comfortable boat that is one of the most highly rated on the market.

For what it is - the boat is not too heavy. The weight is an honest 55 pounds (I checked) - which includes the seat, hatch covers and rigging. Other folks I know have found that their Kayak's weight was understated by several pounds or more... I still need help with transporting it because it is long and bulky. I am sure a person with big feet (mine are tiny) would have a lot of trouble because I don't have a lot of foot-lifting room.

I feel very secure in this boat. It is 21.5 inches wide - and is soft chined. You can lean it over at virtually any angle - and the transition is continuous and smooth. I do not think I will ever want a hard chined boat after finding out all the advantages of the rounded bottom. Most people are fixated on getting a wide, stable boat - and then they find that it is slow and uncomfortable to paddle. This boat is stable like a wider boat, but sleek enough to prevent knuckle bashing.

The best thing to do is rent, rent, rent. Never buy a boat without testing it. I am so glad I kept looking. Any boat would have been OK for me. But only this Tempest was outstanding. No regrets.


After paddling my new Tempest…

Submitted by: paddler234217 on 8/14/2011
After paddling my new Tempest 165 at least twice a week since April I can honestly say that this is the best boat I have ever paddled.I have actually purchased four boats in the last several years in search of what I considered the perfect boat for me. Well, I found it in the WS Tempest 165. I was advised that this boat would suit me well due to my relatively small frame. The only thing that keeps me from rating this boat as a 10 is the seat which I don't really find all that comfortable. This boat handles well through relatively large waves on Lake St.Clair,and handles really well on all of the small rivers, creeks and streams in SW Ontario. It's just a fun boat to paddle. I won't be looking for a new boat in the near future - I love my Tempest!

The Tempest 165 RM is a…

Submitted by: paddler233806 on 4/15/2011
The Tempest 165 RM is a beautiful boat. For plastic it is very attractive, not too heavy, and durable of course. I'm 5-9, 175, and use a Greenland paddle exclusively.

The Tempest has a very comfortable seat, thigh hooks and backband. Just awesome. And, with its coaming shape and low aft deck, is the most comfortable cockpit to lay back in of any boat I've ever tried, including homemade specialized "cheater" rolling boats. I removed the hip pads to allow full motion for balance brace, etc. (They can be easily reinstalled.)

Yes, the hatches leak, but I understand newer models have improved covers that don't. The cockpit coaming leaks too. It's plastic.

This boat is not fast, but fast enough. I take long day-paddles, and have no trouble keeping up with younger companions who use Euro paddles in longer boats. I find I always use some skeg -- without it, the boat has no tracking whatsoever. Skeg down, the boat is still very maneuverable and, again, fast enough. And the cockpit is SO comfy...

The Tempest is good in rough water, and rides waves in surf well. A faster boat catches waves better in the short-period chop of the Great Lakes and is more fun for surfing here on the third coast.

I plan to get a sleeker, drier composite boat to use for most day paddling and short overnights. But for teaching and other bashing about, and working on the range of Greenland rolls at the pool, I doubt I will ever trade in my RM Tempest.


I own a 17' plastic Tempest.…

Submitted by: abelfus on 10/27/2009
I own a 17' plastic Tempest. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say this is the absolute best plastic kayak on the market today. I've owned over 50 kayaks and this is far and away my favorite. I can't say enough about it.

I have had a plastic WS…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/10/2008
I have had a plastic WS Tempest 165 for eight months now. I am very happy with this kayak.
My boat was a 2005 model, new from a protected storeroom ($500 off), so it may not have the same seat as newer models. The OEM seat was uncomfortable and I have modified it. The seat was the only aspect of the boat that I am not absolutely thrilled with.

I use the boat on reservoirs, rivers with barge traffic, and small creeks. I am a powerful paddler (male, 45 years old) and I can easily average 4-5 knots per hour with my Tempest. I occasionally paddle 5-8 knots upstream, dawdle in the woods for an hour, and then paddle downstream-all in one long afternoon.

I cover so much distance that finding good water to paddle has become a problem. The river in my area has both power boat/jet ski traffic in good weather and tug/barge traffic at all times. I had been river kayaking at night to avoid the power and jet ski operators that constantly endangered me, but an uncomfortably close call with a tug and barge tow has put me off night river kayaking somewhat. There are no creeks longer than five miles locally, so I have to drive from 30-100 miles to find a long stretch of “small water.” But back to the review…

My Tempest is a high performance vessel and has never let me down. I abuse this boat. I have a Werner Corryvrecken paddle, and I put it to good use. I paddle my Tempest into creeks that are just a few inches deep and so narrow I have to split my paddle and use it like hand paddles. I use an aggressive, high angle paddling style, and I have, on several creeks, inadvertently paddled so fast and so far that I ran aground before I saw the stream bed.

I have slid my Tempest over stumps and logs (skeg retracted, of course) and it just keeps going. I have launched and beached in nasty areas. My Tempest has a many scratches and gouges, but like the Energizer bunny, it just keeps going.

My boat has taken me places I didn’t think were possible in a kayak. I have gone so far in streams that I have to pick up my kayak and pivot it, upright on the stern, to turn it around. I have come within 50 yards of beaver; the wild animals are apparently unaccustomed to a human venturing so far into the bush.

This boat will do whatever you want-from fast fitness paddling on rivers and reservoirs, to surfing chop and boat wakes, to lazily drifting in a narrow stream. I absolutely love it. The array of deck lines and bungees does become entangled in tree limbs and such when I am deep in the bush, but this is, after all, a sea kayak. The lines and bungees serve me very well when I setup for a nighttime or river paddle and need a full complement of gear, spare paddle, paddle float, deck bag, bow/stern lighting, etc.

The Tempest weathercocks badly with the skeg retracted. I can be drifting downstream with my skeg up and the boat will pivot amidships with the lightest wind. I can gradually lower my skeg and observe the instant that the skeg’s lateral resistance equals the windage and my vessel stabilizes. The reviewer that said the Tempest skeg was so small as to be ineffective was, in my opinion, completely incorrect. The skeg’s effect is pronounced, both in correcting windage and, if you are a perceptive paddler, in the additional hydrodynamic resistance it incurs.

I don’t view the weathercocking as a design flaw. As a previous reviewer stated, the 165 has a tremendous amount of rocker. The heavily rockered hull, when combined with a little body English and paddle work, makes this kayak extremely maneuverable. The rocker causes the Tempest to pivot amidships noticeably. I believe this is as per design.

I put the skeg down on the river with winds of 15 knots and it readily handles 2’ chop and following seas. I have had my Tempest out on the river in 3-4’ wind-driven waves when the power boat crowd was nervously heading for the boat ramp-and looking at me like I was insane. The limitations I experience are my own; this boat seems unsinkable and unstoppable.

I can put the skeg up and go stump jumping. I am not a whitewater or extreme paddler, but this kayak will make anyone of decent ability feel like an Olympic sprinter or extreme athlete. I am in good physical condition, but I am by no means an advanced paddler.

This boat will bring out the beast in you if you tend toward an aggressive stroke. I sometimes hear the theme music from “Hawaii 5-0” in the back of my mind when that big paddle blade takes bite after bite after bite. I really have to watch paddling downstream-it is far too easy to get going for an hour or two and forget how difficult the upstream leg will be.

Although the WS website describes the friendly handling of the Tempest, I do not think it is a beginner’s kayak. I paddled a 12’ recreational kayak for two months before I bought the Tempest. I called my rec boat “the barge” because I had developed my skills such that the first kayak felt ponderous and slow. Launching with a good deal of unmerited bravado, I nearly capsized the first time I took my Tempest out. That said, one quickly develops the necessary skills. I am very comfortable in the kayak now-I actually dozed off once in my Tempest after taking a long break in warm weather…

The kayak definitely seems to handle better and paddle more smoothly with a bit of cargo. I always carry a heavy toolkit and extensive first-aid kit. As most of my paddling is of late, cold weather, I also carry two dry bags with extra clothes and Mylar blankets. I am a budding sailor, so the idea of ballast may be more acceptable to me than to others. The Tempest just seems smoother with a bit of weight, this is particularly true when I have it up to speed, the momentum seems aided by the weight low in my bilge.

This kayak, especially when combined with a large-bladed paddle, high angle stroke, and aggressive cadence, will give you a workout like you won’t believe. You will cover a surprising distance in short time-regardless of the paddle style and cadence you prefer.

I have not experienced leaky hatches. My rescue repertoire is a paddle float reentry or swim to shore, so I have not repeatedly rolled my kayak. WS hatches have something of a two-step hatch cover sealing requirement. The lower edge of the cover doesn’t audibly “snap” or such, but I can definitely feel whether it is fully seated or not. I have observed fishermen with WS SOTs not properly seating their hatch covers; I believe this may contribute to the problem. I also use ¼” bungees in the hatch cover recess. I always store and transport my vessel with the hatch covers removed and stowed within the hatches. This prolongs the life of the hatch covers.

The 165 is intended for small or midsize paddlers (I am 5’8” and a fairly muscled 175lb). It is significantly different from the 170. This boat won’t carry enough gear for an extended wilderness expedition, but it does everything I want to do incredibly well. This is an excellent all-around kayak and I give it my highest recommendation.


I have been paddling a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 12/21/2007
I have been paddling a plastic T-165 as my main kayak for about 10 months since buying it new (2007 model)
The kayak is outfitted very thoughtfully with lots of adjustment and it's easy to get a 'wearing the boat' feel.(5'10"/155lbs) Deck bungies allow for paddle tubes up front to store euro blades and greenland paddle behind paddler under convenient bungie arrangement, so its good for my needs.(with half a foot of Greenland Paddle sticking over the stern). Can fit a helmet behind the backband in the cockpit to access on the water.

Primary stability is solid and I can easily bend around to access day hatch or grab greenland paddle from back deck. Smaller soup waves roll under the 165 and its stable to just sit there. Secondary is also good and has a predictable and solid balance point and leaning or edging the kayak is confidence inspiring plus fun.
Speed is good enough.

Can camp for a week but only essentials and backpacking gear. Fit tent (tent pegs in the back hatch) in front of footpegs in cockpit - fit 10 + 6 litre water bladders behind seat in cockpit. Is just as good to paddle fully loaded just heavier/slower handling.

Rough water is no problem with me in this kayak. I like to paddle in/on a river month surf zone where the 165 is really capable and doesn't go over to easily ( my skills have increased this year)- I enjoy playing in the rougher stuff and with its low front/back decks this allows for a good range of body movement in and around the cockpit(lay right back if the boat feels like its going over to save a capsize)

Rolls very well - positive fit helps as well. Tracks well - don't need the skeg much. Edges well when tilted.

Big negative with this plastic Tempest is the bid oval back hatch lid has come off - once for me and once with other paddler - both times in the surf. Now have some bungie cord running over it. Day and back hatch leak water, not normally a lot, but more when the kayak spends any time up side down. Bit of a bummer!

Would give the Tempest 165 a better score if the hatches were better. I'll continue to enjoy this nice all-rounder.


OK, the merits of this boat…

Submitted by: MedicineMan on 7/26/2007
OK, the merits of this boat are well known...our version is roto... and is the first roto kayak other than the Jackson Rocker that I've bought in many years - this to say that the quality of the plastic and the forming has improved vastly. I concur with the other posters that this kayak is a joy to roll -- just be careful or you will windmill back into the water - it is that easy. The outfitting is the best I've seen on many a boat, bungies galore and well places. The seat is ever so sweet and the hip pads and thigh braces are an example for the rest of the industry. This kayak was purchased to celebrate the youngest's birthday... after having paddled it for a week I am considering one in composite. Why not a 10? The hatches leak... every hatch leaks... it's a tupperware boat right, well rubbermaid and tupperware do not leak and neither should a roto kayak's hatches.

I have owned a plastic…

Submitted by: paddler232173 on 7/9/2007
I have owned a plastic Tempest 165 for about three months now. The very positive reviews of the Tempest are a testament to the thoughtful design and outfitting of this boat. Half of my paddling is on rocky rivers where glass boats are not a choice. I am a plastic boat guy and probably always will be.
The distinguishing performance feature of the Tempest is its high degree of rocker. Place the Tempest on the floor next to nearly any other boat in its class (plastic boats for sure) and the rocker on this boat will stand out.
The rocker is what makes this boat so maneuverable and so much fun to paddle. The sharp approach at the bow and V at the stern provide decent tracking on a boat this length. But, the Tempest really shines when you put her up on edge and carve a turn. It is a thing of beauty, and in this respect the Tempest performs better than any other boat I have paddled.
The 165 is a low volume boat. I am not saying you can’t take it for two week or month long expeditions, but it would not be my first choice. 95% of my paddling is day trekking with an occasional weekender, and for this the Tempest is an excellent choice.
The low volume of the boat also contributes to its performance. As others have pointed out, the low, flat rear deck and back-band make the Tempest an easy boat to roll. The low decks also reduce its profile to the wind.
The Tempest will weathercock, but in my opinion less so than many other boats. Weathercocking is easily corrected if you choose to use the skeg (some paddlers think skegs are for weenies, count me in the weenie group). Weathercocking results when the center of pressure of the wind against the profile of the hull and paddler is aft of the center of drag of the boat against the water (and so the wind pivots the boat around the center of drag and the bow “cocks” into the wind). The skeg shifts the center of drag toward the stern, thereby reducing the effect.
As others have reported, I have seen some leakage in the rear hatch especially after rolling or playing in waves. The seating system is comfortable and adjustable on the fly. The back band provides good support as long as you are paddling, but expect a pain in the back if you have to stop and sit for any length of time.
All in all I love this boat. I want to thank Ilya at Princeton Outdoor in Clifton, NJ for pointing me to the Tempest, it wasn’t on my consideration list. The boat maneuvers like a dream, is an adequate tracker, and performs well in all conditions. You can do much worse in a kayak at this price.

I love this boat. Nearly a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/3/2006
I love this boat. Nearly a year ago I bought it 2nd-hand online from the west coast ($650) and had it shipped to NC ($100). Had never paddled one before, but did a lot of research. Woman's intuition. I paddle it on local lakes, rivers and offshore in all conditions around the NC coastline, primarily with a Greenland paddle. Most times it's packed to the gunwals with camping gear, food etc. I'm 5'8 and 125lbs and probably need to add a bit more packing around the thighs to keep me in when fooling around upside down. I recently passed my BCU 3* and of 12 who assessed all others were glass Nigel Dennis' - only three of us passed - yay for the plastic Tempest.

Here are the good (non-technical) points: 1. excellent rolling; 2. GREAT in surf and other dodgy conditions; 3. easy access skeg, though hardly need to use it; 4. Can sit in the seat all day (paddling) and still hold a glass of vino as the sun goes down; 5. even as a wee lass can carry the darn thing and atop my 4Runner; 6. just feels 'right'.

And (non-technically) why it's not a '10': 1. can't pack as much gear as other boats of similar size or 6" longer - but also means I pack lean (and drink less); 2. the rear bigger hatch leaks in surf and when rolling, no matter if it's a new hatch or not and I jump up and down on the darn thing.

More than happy to recommend this boat.


I've been paddling this kayak…

Submitted by: pikabike on 1/24/2006
I've been paddling this kayak for half a year now and am thoroughly pleased with it. At 5'2" and under 110 lbs, I expected it would make a good camping kayak, and it is. Loaded up with 2 weeks of supplies (doable if you're not the kitchen-sink type), the T165 behaves as well as it does when unloaded, just a little slower to edge and accelerate...something I'd expect from any loaded kayak.

Unloaded, this is a fun daytripper even at my size. I didn't expect this, and it has been a wonderful surprise. It has a very smooth, predictable feel when it is about to broach, which makes it easy to control. Its strong secondary stability allows me to put it on edge almost to vertical. Primary stability is also strong, but that has never been an issue for me in any kayak.

The skeg movement feels incredibly slick and works perfectly, though it makes a soft thunk when edging or rolling. I found the kayak and skeg to work the way they are supposed to: weathercock with skeg up (if more than a light wind), run downwind with skeg all the way down, and tuneable at all points in between.

Outfitting in cockpit and deck rigging are well-thought-out. I can't fault those on anything. Because I am so small (and because I wanted to match my seat height to that of another kayak I own), I added 1/2" minicell foam under the seat cover. I initially paddled the kayak without this mod and liked it, but this addition made the fit even better. YMMV.

Leaking hatches are not a problem. The bow hatch is always 100% dry no matter what. The day hatch and stern hatch sometimes get literally a few drops of water in them, only after rolling practice. The amounts involved can be dried with a Kleenex. Sometimes they stay dry even after rolling practice, so I think this is a function of (a) careful sealing of the hatch covers, and (b) temperature differential between cold water and hot air.

I also like the balance point of this kayak. I can shoulder-carry it, something I've not been able to do with kayaks of similar weight and size.

The T165 is easy to roll and easy to do paddle-float re-entry with. It really has no deficiency that I can think of, and a lot of strong points including behavior in boisterous water and wind.


I've owned my Tempest 165 for…

Submitted by: paddler231233 on 8/5/2005
I've owned my Tempest 165 for a little more than a year and a half. I've paddled it in a wide range of conditions, including calm bays, surf, rock gardens, open ocean crossings up to 38 NM, camping trips, and strong winds. It is a very versatile boat.

There is a good balance between primary and secondary stability. The boat tracks well but also turns well when put on edge. It is reasonably fast, considering its 16.5 foot length, and it is exceptionally well-behaved in strong winds.

1) The cockpit is extremely comfortable.
2) Seat, thigh braces, hip pads, and foot pegs are easily adjustable.
3) It has good speed, despite its relatively short length.
4) The boat shines in the wind. The skeg allows excellent trimming for weathercocking and leecocking.
5) The front deck is low, reducing paddle strikes for short paddlers.
6) The backband and back deck are low, permitting the paddler to lie completely back on
the deck. This is also good for cowboy scrambles or other re-entries over the back deck. 7) The boat is very easy to roll.
8) Hardware and finish are good.
9) The convenient day hatch provides quick access to munchies, a paddle jacket, or other items.
10) The recessed compass niche is perfectly located and convenient.

1) Limited storage space for long trips. I find it adequate for 4-5 days.
2) Like any skeg boat, the skeg can jam. It needs occasional lubrication & cleaning.
3) On my boat the day hatch and rear hatch leak despite numerous attempts to fix them. I've talked with other Tempest owners who had similar problems.

I have enjoyed the boat tremendously and plan to keep it for a long time to come.


My experience with the…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/27/2005
My experience with the plastic Tempest 165 has been fair enough although I just sold it after 2 years. I can't speak for the fiberglass model, I originally demoed both, but the seat and center of gravity felt higher on the fiberglass, almost like I was in a sit on top. Didn't feel like I was connected enough.

The best feature about this boat is that it is designed with thigh, hip and knee braces already installed. You can easily adjust it to a variety of humans (I'm a 5'3" female). It would be nice if other mfrs did that.

The worst feature is that every hatch leaks, the worst is the small day hatch. Sure, all plastic boats may leak, but this is the worst I've had so far. Yeah I use dry bags, but the bungee cords are annoying (funky design) and easy to lose, and the covers are not at all easy to put back on.

Like the many similarly-designed boats, it works well in rough water and will take care of you. It's tough finding that perfect all around performance boat (like to play and do long tours on the same trips). So I'm not impressed with my forward progress in quiet water or into 25 knot winds in Lopez Pass. It bounces along nicely in following seas.

I agree entirely with the previous review's example regarding correcting strokes. Even if you're a diehard "no skeg" user, you get tired of correcting and end up using it. I don't agree that the skeg is useless, you'll notice the drag and less maneuverability in waves when it's there, and it does get you from A to B. The skeg doesn't seem to leak. No problem rolling it.


Overall the Tempest 165 is a…

Submitted by: paddler231128 on 6/10/2005
Overall the Tempest 165 is a fair kayak, for sea kayakers with extreme paddling skills that do not like to paddle with the skeg in water. Comfort, fit, control, and playability of this kayak are very good. It does not have the BULLETPROOF, secondary stability of its 170 counterpart, but is still very comfortable. Also it's quite fast!

Here is something obvious to me that I did not read from anybody yet. If you are looking to go from point A to point B in a straight line with back wind and waves greater than 2-3 feet, unfortunately you are looking for a bumpy ride, and you will require a lot of corrections. The skeg design for this boat is insufficient and the skeg is almost useless. Would this be corrected this would improve the boat many folds.


I just bought my second…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/29/2004
I just bought my second Tempest 165. Why would I need more than one? Yes, I've become one of those people whom one kayak is not enough. I bought a Tempest 165pro earlier in the year (see my review in February 2004). I still love that kayak. I had an opportunity to paddle in the surf and go caving on the Oregon coast early in the summer. It was the first time in the 18 months that I've paddled that I got knocked over, a couple of times. I didn't like the gel coat getting scratched on the beach, or the thought of something worse happening. I need this kayak every weekend and cannot tolerate it being out of commission.

I do plan on going out into the surf a lot more and I need a buddy boat for one of my teens so it seemed very reasonable to get a used plastic kayak. A quick assessment of kayaks out there for my size ruled out all but the Necky Chatham 16 and the WS Tempest 165. The Chatham’s bow is very maneuverable it would be a fun boat in the surf, but the kayak doesn't track as well as the Tempest. Since I wasn't buying a kayak just for the surf I chose the Tempest 165. It was a good decision since the Tempest 165pro behaved wonderfully in the surf, maintains a nice speed and carries plenty of camping equipment too.

The plastic kayak responds just as nicely as my fiberglass kayak. It might even feel floatier? It edges just as nicely and rolling is a treat. I checked for leaks and found none. Hopefully WS has worked out the first year production bugs? The hatch covers seem too easy to get on and off compared to my fiberglass model, but the bungees take care of the fit well and I'll always have float bags installed when playing in the surf zone or crossing the surf zone. My fiberglass boat has a custom placed forward bulkhead so I don't use foot pegs. I'd like to change out the foot pegs in the plastic Tempest for more comfort, but that is the only thing I'd change.

What a lucky gal I am to have two Tempests. Why then am I dreaming about adding a Pygmy Artic Tern 14 and a surf ski to my fleet?


I paddled a Current Design…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/29/2004
I paddled a Current Design Slip Stream for four years. I had added an aftermarket back band to make up for the horrible stock back band, which offered no support.

Compared to the Slip Stream:
The Tempest 165 (I'm 5'9" 150 lbs) has fantastic secondary stability - I can easily J lean much further without swimming than I ever could in the Slipstream. Paddling the Slipstream is like riding a unicycle - if you have good balance and are vigilant, you stay dry. If not, you swim (or have an impromptu rolling practice).

It's a dream to go through all the BCU 3* "school figures"; the Tempest comes up nicely from sculling for support or a roll. I can lay back over the back deck, which I never could do comfortably in the Slip Stream. There's much more storage space under the hatches, especially under the rear hatch where the skeg is placed further back than in the Slip Stream.

The cockpit, ah, the cockpit. It's like padding while sitting in a Barca lounger - extremely comfortable. No more pinched nerves (Slip Stream) or cut off circulation in the butt cheeks (I test paddled a Romany - ugh!). No need to add glue-in hip pads (I have narrow hips) for fit - the stock setting is just fine. And the thigh pads are comfortable for edging.

Hatches close easily and are watertight. Foot pegs easily adjustable.

Handles beautifully in 1'-5' waves with good maneuverability. Will try in surf next weekend but expect only good results.


We are kayaking more and more…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/20/2004
We are kayaking more and more in rocky areas. So to spare my fiberglass NDK Romany, I started looking for a plastic boat that has similar characteristics. After trying several boats and not liking them, I was very suprised to paddle the Tempest. It's fast, responds pretty good to lean turns and rolls very easily. I've had it in 2 foot waves and 10-15 knot winds. It behaved consistantly in cross, quartering and head winds. In strong tail winds or following seas it will want to broach. Corrective strokes or using the skeg will take care of that. As far as the leaking hatches goes, I've found that making sure the they are sealed properly helps. They still seep water a little bit when very wet or capsized. I always seal gear in dry bags anyway. Because the back deck is so low, it is difficult to fit large items in the rear hatch. The deck line arrangement is well thought out and give a lot of felxibility for storage. While it will never compare to a composite boat, it is a great boat for the money and well designed.

I have been paddling many…

Submitted by: heronsflight on 6/4/2004
I have been paddling many Wilderness Systems boats for years. I was excited about the design of the Tempest series. I took this one out for a class and tour and came back with all three hatches full of water even though I had properly attached the rubber hatch covers with their special bungees. Another person in the class tour also had the Tempest 170 and found the same thing. The Pro models don't have this problem. What I suggest is double drybag anything that is of importance to you in the rotomolded versions.

I have had my Tempest 165…

Submitted by: csnider on 11/3/2003
I have had my Tempest 165 Roto for several months now. Best outfitting of any kayak on the market period thanks to it's whitewater cousins at Wave Sport, which have the best outfitting on the market. Easy to roll with or w/o a paddle, handles beam winds nicely and is a joy to paddle. I always love the sweeping proclamations made by paddlers reviewing a particular model who will rate the carrying capacity of a kayak as good for a weekend only, or one week only or two weeks only and so on. I just completed a 4 week trip down the Noatak River in Alaska in a Feathercraft Kahuna, which most so called reviewers rate as good for a maximum weekend touring boat. The only difference in my experience between a weekend trip and two weeks or more is the amount of fuel and food you will need to carry. Unless one is making a fashion statement, you will need the same amount of basic gear (tent, sleeping bag, stove, appropriate clothing for conditions, etc.) for a two day or a two week trip. The Tempest 165 can certainly handle long trips if my 14 ft. 9 inch Kahuna handled all my gear for 4 weeks.

I just got a Tempest (in…

Submitted by: paddler230372 on 9/25/2003
I just got a Tempest (in plastic) based strictly on the design, which is essencially that of a Nigel Dennis Romany, but in a much less expensive matierial. I have had the boat out in 5ft. chop, heavy winds, as well as out in perfectly glassy conditions. in all scenarios it has handled exceptionally well. A great boat learn/apply advanced paddling techniques in as well (i.e. rolling, and other self-rescues). The boat has enough capacity to do shorter trips (1 week max), but is still small enough to retain a certain ammount of playfulness.

I just bought a Tempest 165…

Submitted by: paddler230107 on 5/5/2003
I just bought a Tempest 165 last week at my local REI and have had it out twice so far. I have not had it out on the ocean yet, but so far I am very pleased with the boat. It tracks extremely well and it is very stable. The only reason I don't give it a 10 is because the rear hatch is hard to get back on, it takes a little work. But once it is on, it stays on. Over all, I would say this is a very solid boat, and I can't wait to get it on the ocean.

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