Most Recent Reviews
The Tempest 170 (roto-molded) is my first kayak. It's a great entry level boat to ramp up for longer distance kayaking, touring or camping without breaking the bank. This roto-molded boat is sturdy, of tight construction and has the Voyager seating system which is reputed to be the best in this price range of kayaks, I did find the aluminum adjustment system of the Voyager backband to be problematic in that the previous own failed to rinse of the saltwater after his five-day paddle in Haida Gwaii, (aka the Queen Charlotte Islands British Columbia), so I replaced it with a Seals back band that features all plastic hardware and sets up in a little better spot on my back.
This kayak can take a lot of punishment like dragging over rock beaches and teach the aspiring touring kayaker a lot. Tempest 170 is not the most playful kayak around (57 pounds) but it will respond to your turning abilities as they develop and give you decent feedback. You can surf this kayak no problem. It's not the easiest kayak to learn to roll in. But you will, eventually and when you do, you can be confident that you can easily roll a lighter more playful kayak with even more aplomb.
The boat responds well to dropping the skeg for long straight-line paddles as well as raising when you want to get more playful (spin, roll etc.). It will "tell" you to drop it as you paddle in wind or across a current. I personally prefer skegs to rudders for ease of ladder or cowboy self-rescuing. Mine did have a kinked cable when I bought it used and replacing that is a $60 part and about an hour of labor. The skeg system is not the easiest in which effect a skeg cable repair but there is instruction online and anyone with a modicum of mechanical skills can figure it out.
My Tempest 170 has peg and track slider foot-rest adjustments which can be fairly easily adjusted even using your feet while underway. The boat has plenty of storage with a day hatch just aft of the cockpit, and very generous forward and aft main hatches. Deck-lines and storage cords run the full length of the boat.
One more advantage to owning the Tempest 170 is there are a lot of them around so you can find parts and swap tips with other owners. Again, mine is the roto-molded version (New = $1,500 used $1,000 or less), Wilderness also sells the Tempest 170 in pro/fiberglass version which retails new in the $2,500 range.
If you want to learn kayaking and aren't sure the bug is going to take but want a safe, sturdy boat, consider the Tempest 170 from Wilderness Systems.