Read reviews for the Loon 111 by Old Town Canoe and Kayak 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!
Wife and I rented these from a livery service, so I expected some degree of wear and tear on them when we showed up.
For a boat that retails for $600, I would expect a much higher quality, and a better feature set. There are precisely ZERO bonuses on this boat. The only positive thing I could say about the features was that I had ample room to store my bag behind my seat.
There are very limited tie downs, only on the aft end, and much to far to be useful without assistance.
Both my wife and I had tracking issues with these on a moderately slow river, both wanted to drift badly. They are certainly a little faster than other recreational boats I've paddled, but the tracking shortcomings really detracted from the speed gains.
The seats weren't as comfortable as the Dirigo that I've borrowed a few times.
Correcting course was pretty smooth, but it was required far too much in my experience. I'd expect better for a mid-range recreational boat. I've got some $200 boats with more features that track at least this well, with far more features and storage capacity.
5'11", 185lbs. I own two Loon 111's, 2 Vapor 10's, 1 Castaway, and 2 Otter Sports.
Without reservation, I can say that the Loon 111 is my favorite of all of these boats. It is pretty easily the best all-around recreational boat in my little fleet.
I have taken the 111 down several sections of the Charles River, The Nashua River and the Merrimack River. There have been many casual afternoons on Long Sought for Pond, Lake Cochituate, Whitehall Reservoir. And for a little more adventure - some Cape Cod paddling around Lieutenant Island in Wellfleet on the bay side, and Salt Pond Bay in Eastham, on the ocean side.
This boat handles it all. I've been out on days that were flat calm, and days where even the excellent stability of this kayak was put to the test in moderate to heavy chop and 10-15mph winds. Initial and secondary stability get high marks from me. I can't speak to long, open water crossings, but I imagine on a calm day with proper flotation, she'd hold her own.
Because the boat sits fairly high in the water, I was concerned that wind would make her swing, but she tracks very straight and true, even without a rudder. She does tend to roll a bit over large boat wakes if you're not fast enough to turn into them, but I have only once felt in danger of tipping.
Because she is built with the indestructible Polylink 3, she is a tad on the heavy side, especially getting her on top of my XTerra. Her weight and width definitely detract some from her speed (Definitely not as fast as my Castaway) - but I'm not the racing kind of guy anyway. I really enjoy just casual paddling, legs dangling over the lip of the cockpit, camera in hand, waiting for an interesting bit of wildlife, or a great shot of the sun through the trees.
I purchased both of my 111's on Craigslist, each for under $300 including a paddle. This was about 5 years ago - and though I am a casual paddler, I don't baby them. Most of the problems I have seen with this boat are that the outer hull scratches fairly easily, but it seems to be merely cosmetic. I haven't noticed any problem with performance. Again - I'm not out there to win any races. The trim around the coming did separate on one of the two Loons, but a little marine sealant and I was back in business. They really are a great rec-boat, so snap one up if you can find a cheap one in good condition.
Her weight, lack of drain plug, and lack of dry storage are the only reason I would rate the Loon 111 a 9. I handle the dry storage problem with a Seal Line dry bag that stows neatly behind my seat. I suppose I should mention too, that her seat does get a tad uncomfortable after a couple hours out on the water, but a gel seat cushion will likely solve that problem this year.
I have and will continue to recommend this yak to friends. Happy yakking - and remember; Any day on the water is a great one!
I'm 6'5" and it was easy to get into and tracked very well. It wasn't the fastest or sleekest kayak but it was a great first kayak.
I upgraded to Carolina 14.5 Airalite but I can't bear to part with the Loon.
These boats will do almost everything from rough water, fishing and touring. I am seriously considering this boat for my son to bass fish with. OLD TOWN IF YOU'RE LISTENING, PLEASE PUT THE REAR HATCH BACK IN THIS BOAT. It makes it so much more versatile.
Now though it is getting old and worn out, so I have tried to find another new yak to replace it with. Unfortunately the Loon III is no longer imported into Australia and so after extensive research I just purchased a Pungo 120. To be honest, what a piece of over rated garbage. World leading seat design? Poorly designed and made. The very simple Loon seat is ten times more practical.
And most importantly, since receiving this creative retirement gift from my family in 2003, we have acquired a total of EIGHT old town kayaks that live on our Seven Island Lake in Lincoln County Wisconsin. Our entire family from grandpa and grandma down to our youngest two-year-old grandson all ride the water in our family of Loons..
I have used the boat around the Outer Banks and Lake Erie Islands and it handles 4' waves well. I use it for long distances paddles since it carries gear very well. I can put a 30 liter bag with a 20 liter and my cooler behind the seat. In August we ran the top 65 miles of the Great Miami, the Bass Islands in Lake Erie and the 50 miles of the Tennessee Blueway. It has taken very ruff treatment over rock and oyster beds and the triple layer hull has held up. Great all around boat.
I still believe this is a great value if you can find one. The only caveat is this: I bought a bungee-style Extrasport spray skirt from OT and due to the larger open cockpit,it's a bear to put on. If your seat is in the middle of the adjustment range, it's hard to put the skirt on while sitting in the kayak--you need a helper or very long arms to attach it. On solo trips, if I need the skirt, I clamp it near the front of the cockpit with two small spring clamps and then work the skirt around and to the back. I think this is a problem with many large cockpit openings, regardless of the brand. Also, due to the long stretch the skirt has to go, water will pool a bit right in front of you as the skirt sags.
Other than that, this is a very good little kayak. I believe it's a better buy used than the new single-layer plastic offerings from OT.
I sold, rented and paddled kayaks for over a decade at a major sports retailer in Oregon, and in my opinion, OT did it right. The Polylink3 Loon is a recreational boat, not for class III waters or above, unless you're brave, adventurous or dumb, but it is a sturdy, stable and roomy boat that will last for many years. As with any plastic boat, store it out of the sun and you'll still be enjoying it ten years from now. No, I don't work for Old Town or Johnson, their parent company. I just know about kayaks. For it's intended purpose, this is a good one.
Plus: fairly light weight, 40-45#. My wife or I can lift onto car solo, verses canoe. Keeps kids entertained as their hands on the paddles, not bothering each other. Being used, I got fair price, 3 for price of 1.25.
I've only paddled canoes and a Walden Kayak. Much more fun.
I feel like I am laying down in this one, I can sit low on this yak, its stable, fun and strong. My friend has the Pelican Persuit 100, no comparison, he is a little faster but that's it, not as stable, he wiped out last week on a stretch I breezed through.
I sit all the way back, the rear sits low when I really crank on it, he says its almost underwater, might affect my speed but on down river I don't care.
-Roomy for tall big guys
-short for cockpit size
-stable, secure, comfortable(14 miles without getting out, no pain)
-Polylink is worth it
quality control - mine has a superficial crack inside, it seems like they repaired this, its a strong repair, but rotomolds are not going to be perfect, this should have been a factory second, I called LL Bean and complained, they offered a replacement, but seemed a nitpick to me so I passed.
-The seat can be adjusted on the track, doesn't always stay in place, one of the reasons I sit all the way back in the yak.
Those are my only complaints, its a great boat, not super fast, but way better than low end pelicans, non Polylink's, great for rivers, Yough, simple, a little heavy but not outrageous, and finally without any foam its got TONS of space.
It was either this 111 classic, the Loon 120, or possibly the Wilderness Systems Pungo. A friend of mine has the Pamlico and rides very low to the water (friction increased water spillage a greater possibility). So I nixed the Pungo.
I chose the Classic 111 because it was shorter and I want to be able to cruise down ANY river skinny and wide. The 120 does have a more comfortable seat though. My decision was not easy. I still wonder if I should have gone for the 120 because it may also be faster on lakes ( I live on a lake in Joisy) This is my first boat and my next one will be the Old Town Adventure Series or of the like.
All in all, I went for durability; a kayak I can hand down to my children.
I kayaked faster against the wind than a couple walking (for exercise). Took it for a test run on my lake about 10 miles with and against the wind. I was very impressed!!!! I made equal time on the back 5 miles. Going the 10 miles, took me about an hour and a half but that time also included me crossing the 1/2 mile wide lake and checking out houses.
I have read reviews that it does not track well -FALSE, tracks very well. Thought I wanted the 120 for speed! but I believe you only get more leg room and a hatch but then you lose storage for foam blocks. You want speed? Get a touring Kayak that also stores more. If you get the Loon 111 Classic it is because you want to take long day trips and maybe over night it and you want to hit some skinny fast rivers. Also its great for a short day run for exercise or to explore.
Pros: Cuts through the water!
Stable in choppy water (psyched for bigger waves!)
Tons of leg room! (I'm 6'2")
Tons of storage! (no foam blocks polylink3)
Does not come with un-necessary storage hatch (dry bag it) and does not waste knee room for a cup holder like the Dirigo.
Cons: Does not offer the extra comfort seat option like the Dirigo and other Loons. Not that I care about a seat. No beer holder (cup holder).
For the purposes this boat was intended for, impossible to imagine a better design of boat. The only regret I have is that I waited this long to buy one. Now that I have, I fully intend to make up for lost time and use this boat at every available opportunity.
At the price these things are going for, if you're looking for a general-purpose light-touring recreational portable virtually indestructible playboat that behaves like a "real" kayak, well, what are you waiting for? Buy one!
All in all a great boat!
We have used them extensively for exploring lakes and wetland areas and our old canoe just sits in the basement. We find we can fit both of them securely on top of our standard Dodge Caravan and it just takes a few minutes to load/unload with some quick-release straps and foam padding. We found very good directional stability, especially in windy conditions, compared to a number of kayaks we had rented during our research. A little care in flipping the carrying handles up over the end of the boat avoids the annoyance of hearing the handle gurgling along in the water behind you. Ours are both the Polylink 3 material and it seems to be pretty durable with the exercise of reasonable care in launching, etc.
It is a great boat for little river and pond and if you want "rig" your yak for fishing it is very easy cause the polylink is a good material and make holes inside it’s not a big job...(and you can save big money).
I’m a canoe racer to and I practice in this little yak with my single paddle, it’s very fast and it’s easy to turn on dime when I adjust my footbraces for that. I’m very happy and for the beginner or advance paddler it’s a great boat and he’s not heavy to put on your car...Oh the last thing, he have a great look like a real sea yak.
I can’t give 10 because the perfection is not in this world but 9 it’s very good.
I am 6' and 225 and am very comfortable in this boat. I have carried kids (6 to 8 year olds) with me and the boat maintains its stability very well with the additional weight.
The issues I found are minor annoyances. There is a black ring of plastic on the inside rim of the cockpit which comes loose very easily. It can be reseated just as easily, but I do not think it should have to be done regularly.
Another annoyance that I found across the board on the OT models that I looked at was that they have no drain plug. I found the part for a few dollars on the internet and will be putting it in over the next few weeks, another thing that the manufacturer could and should offer as a standard option.
The last item is that the rear T handle drags in the water which creates some extra noise when paddling. All are minor issues that are easily lived with, for the versatility and stability that we have found with these boats.
I now own a w/w boat, and am looking for another, a 17 foot long sea kayak which I'm thinking I might sell ( the loon is fine for most of my touring/exploring needs). For an all around little boat it's been a great craft. I use a bent shaft canoe paddle as my "spare"/ sneak paddle, and the typical kayak touring paddle for getting from point A to point B and beyond.
Still, I’ll probably never sell this boat. It requires next to no skill to propel in quiet water, holds one adult and one child, and is nearly indestructible. I suppose a solo canoe would be more versatile, but I’d hate to put an unskilled guest or a rambunctious child in a solo canoe. Plus, a good solo canoe costs at least twice what our used Loon cost us. Thus, it’ll always have a place in our garage as a family cruiser and/or guest boat.
My purchase was based on four factors: quality of materials, back support, large cockpit at a good price and the Loon 111 scores on all counts. The quality of the hull seems far superior to anything else in this price range - sturdy, insulated and should survive more wear than most others. The high back seat can be adjusted fore and aft within the large cockpit - accomodating paddlers of various sizes - and well suited to life-long back problems - only the Phase 3 seating of Wilderness Systems exceeds this seat. The large cockpit allows plenty of room for my 7 year old daughter to ride with me. The salesman thought that she was near the top end of being able to ride there, but I think we will get 2-3 years of being able to ride together. The list price of this boat is currently $499, but is available through some sources at a 10% discount.
Finally, it has been mentioned that some 111s have manufacturing flaws. My model (2001) has no such flaws and tracks reasonably well. I rate the boat a 9 only because the highly stable design limits speed somewhat.
This boat has all kinds of primary stability. My kids will both suddenly lean way over, and the boat leans that direction, of course, but there's nothing those kids can do to tip that boat if I don't want to. It feels very stable, and is reasonably fast. In waves, I find that the high-volume bow hardly ever lets any water onto the deck. You'll slow down - the boat does sorta pound into those oncoming waves, as opposed to slicing right through - but you'll stay dry. That's just what I want; I usually have my camera along, and the kids probably wouldn't like it nearly so much if they didn't feel secure.
The bungees on the rear deck are perfect for shoes in case you walk through mud or sand on the way to the put-in, and don't want to get the seat and inside of the boat too dirty.
I'd originally set out to get the 138. For cartopping on my small car, I am glad not to have the additional weight and length, and I don't think I'll ever miss the length (which would offer improved speed and tracking) on the water either - I didn't buy this boat to tour.
I think I would have been equally happy with a Pungo (or better yet, the Pungo superlight/ultralight/whatever they call it) but that boat was 100 - 200 bucks more, and was not available locally on the day I was ready to buy!
Bottom line, this has proven to be the ideal first boat for me. Now I'm hooked on the sport, and am looking to get a sea kayak in the Spring, but that's a different story...
The boat tracks well. It is stable, even for a big guy like me; I'm 6'2" @ 245 or so. The high backed, movable bucket seat is great! You can adjust the trim of the boat, even underway. Properly trimmed and proplelled with decent paddling technique, this boat will haul the mail!
Due to space considerations, I shall probably go with a folding kayak. However, if I were to buy a hard shell boat, I would HEARTILY recommend the Loon 111. Due to my size, I would probably opt for the Loon 120. The Loon 111 is a great, all-round boat that'll do many things well. You can't go wrong by buying one.
Our kayak interest started a few years ago from watching the many groups of kayaks heading past our cottage on the weekends. There are so many Loons going by that I think I'm at an Old Town convention. I'd be willing to bet that 80% of them are Old Towns and most of them are Loon 111's. That should tell you something. We do have other brand dealers avilable in our area, but with all the Loons floating around, I wonder how they stay in business.
Watching this parade every week got my wife interested in trying out a kayak. My uncle had always been the kayaker in the family, so I never knew much about them. After we traveled all over the countryside looking at different makes and models, we made a trip to the Old Town dealer. As soon as she sat in the first seat, she looked up at me with a big smile and told me to bring the truck around so I could load up her new Loon 111. She loves it so much that I've lost my riding partner in the canoe. She was never much of a "river- rat" until she got her Loon. Now, she's always out there riding around.
Last weekend, my friends brought their kayaks (both Old Towns) down for a float trip. Since my wife was working, I gladly went along with hers. This was the first time I was in the thing longer than 20 minutes and on this trip we were on the water more than 5 hours before getting out of the seats. I couldn't believe how comfortable they were. Neither my back or my butt gave me any problems. So.... now that I feel so out of place in our canoe, I'm currently looking for another boat. Yea, you guessed it - it will either be a Loon 111 or the 138.