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Name: judiski

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After 3 summers of paddling our Tarpon 160i's all over the Eastern Shore of MD we give them a 10+. Initially we paddled sheltered areas close to shore but as we have learned the capabilities of these kayaks we have ventured into large open river and bay areas. They handle light to moderate chop without any loss of control. In windy conditions we have no complaints on their ability to track in a straight line. Waves from the side often result in some extra water in the cockpit, but the stability of these kayaks is amazing.

We have found that using a paddle a length longer than normal results in less paddle drip in the boat. In rough/windy conditions wearing rain pants serves the same purpose as a spray skirt. We carry both on a set of Thule Slide and Glide racks on top of a Toyota Highlander without any trouble. Due to the weight they would be extremely difficult for one person to load, although we have a friend who loads his alone all the time. We would never consider replacing these kayaks with a Sit inside.

After reading the descriptions of the various Talic Kayak storage options we chose the Kayak Condo Tilt which is recommended for Kayaks wider than 29 inches. We have Wilderness Systems Tarpon 160i's which are 28-29 inches wide. The Kayak Condo Tilt works great. The directions were easy to follow. These kayaks weigh 65 lbs each so we mounted the first one just high enough off the floor to set a row of storage containers underneath. They appear very secure and these kayaks sit very securely in these slings.

We purchased the Thule Glide-n-set to carry two Tarpon 16 ft SOT kayaks on a medium sized SUV. They are mounted on a set of Thule racks attached to our factory side rails. Once installed these are very easy to use. It takes a little practice and creativity to determine the best way to run the straps, but once a system is developed this becomes quite easy. Since we drive mainly on interstates we always use front and rear tie downs. You'll have to look hard to find a spot to hook these to metal on some cars. (For a Toyota Highlander we discovered there was a screw in "tow hook" that went into the front bumper. By ordering a second hook from our dealer we had great front hooks.) We remove the kayak saddles when not in use and reattaching them to the racks is a quick process if you mark their locations on the bar with paint or tape. The wing nuts do mean that someone could take them if they wanted. We lock our kayaks to the car by running bike cables through the scupper holes and around the roof rack. We are very pleased with these racks and easily give them a 10.

After 5 days paddling a variety of conditions on Maryland's Eastern Shore we easily rate our Tarpon 160i's a 9. They track well in any condition, and we've seen both wind and light chop the last few days. We've used them on winding creeks, large rivers and the more open waters of Chincoteaque Bay. The ease of entry and exit, the comfortable seating position and the large storage capacity if needed are all pluses. They act more like a touring kayak then ever expected. As noted in several other reviews the finish work leaves a little something to be desired.(That's the 9 instead of a 10). There are large amounts of shavings in both the compartments and one of the foot braces immediatly popped off because a screw was loose. Drain plugs underneath the seat would also be a plus. Dripped water tends to puddle there and the seat soaks it up. But they are SOT, if you dress right you'll never notice. Put the scupper plugs in the holes just in front of the seat instead of the foot well and you will collect much less water.The paddle holders are a nice touch which get very handy. We paddled a variety of sit in kayaks and had almost chosen the ones we considered appropriate for us for day trips on the rivers and protected bays. Then we tried the Tarpon 160i SOT and realized they were a solution we had never considered. With the addition of thigh straps they'll be almost perfect. My husband is 6 ft. 2 and I'm 5 ft 2 and these work great for both of us. If you want a little more freedom than a sit in side give these a try.