Read reviews for the Loon 120 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!
As a first time kayak buyer/user I did a lot of research before buying. I liked the Old Town Loon series and landed on 2 of the 120's. At 12ft long and 56lbs it takes some effort to carry but in the water it's fantastic. Extremely stable and comfortable. Paddles and tracks nicely. I didn't realize how good these were till this weekend when I let the kids use the good ones and I got stuck with a friends cheaper kayak. Wow am I spoiled. The Pelican was tippy, tracked poorly and was downright uncomfortable.
Hey, kayaking is fun no matter what - but if you can swing one of these you will not regret it.
Very happy with its performance and features. The only downside to me is the size of the opening to the cockpit - makes it easy in / easy out, but it also makes splash-in an issue. It's also slightly wider than I think I'd like, but it is roomy, which is nice. The seat is great - highly adjustable and comfortable. The footrests are also easily adjusted and quite comfy too.
The rear hatch, which has a little toggle-lock certainly appears to be water-tight - in practicing some "emergency" maneuvers, I pretty much scuttled the boat (it's OK, it was very shallow and totally on purpose) and the towel I had in the hatch remained dry - not a drop of water in there. I also think the removable "work deck" is handy with it's easy-access water-tight storage (the little USB outlet which lets you put a USB power cell in the storage bin and connect your phone or whatever) is kinda silly, but I'm sure those who feel they must be ever-connected will appreciate it. My concern with the work-deck is that even when it's "locked in", it could still be easily dislodged in a turnover situation and become separated from the kayak - if you left your keys or phone in the bin, you'd be hosed.
So, my first impressions, after a few trips and several hours of playing is that it's a really nice kayak, and for me its been a great first boat. I'm sure I'll enjoy it for several years.
We are "seniors" and do not do white water or ocean kayaking. Rivers, streams, lakes and fair weather kayaking only.
The Loon 120 (and 126) have what I can only describe as a "big boat feel". They are very stable, track well and are comfortable. You sit in these kayaks, you don't "wear them".
They have a new (and I think unique)removable "dash board" with a water tight compartment, a place for a drink and even a USB connector that can, if you choose, hook into a USB "battery" that you would place inside the water resistant compartment. I guess you could use it to charge your iPhone if you wanted. We call it the glove compartment.
I am trying to think of some negatives, but really cannot.
And-I love the new lines on this kayak-the stern has a very clean look to it.
The Loon Series seems to be a new take on a classic for Old Town. They have some nice marketing material www.oldtowncanoe.com/Loon_Series/ including a good video overview of tech: www.youtube.com/watch?v=iM_Ow4L6Gi4, but not much in the way of user reviews, especially compared with Pungo 120, the class leader. The closest I could find were mentions of the Loon's seeming predecessor, the Camden: www.paddling.com/Reviews/showReviews.html?prod=2765. But, that is not a really fair comparison when the Loon is new for 2016.
Even without much to go on in terms of third party reviews online, I narrowed down my choices for rec kayak to the Pungo 120 and Loon 120. I went to REI and looked at/sat in both.
Here are my observations:
Price: Pungo beats on price: $899 to $999
- Loon beats on subjective fit and finish and overall style. The lines of Loon just seem more refined and I just like the looks and color choices a bit better
- Loon beats with its seat, which again feels and looks much more refined to my eye (and butt!) and comes with more intuitive controls. It almost looks like suede from a little distance, and it is more well put together, with less in the way of random cords, etc hanging out like in the Pungo.
- Note: I'm 6'2", 240 lbs
- Pungo seems just a bit wider in the hip/thigh area.
Because of the angles in the bottom of the boat, my feet rested just a tad more comfortably in the Pungo than in the Loon.
- The above stated, it feels more streamlined to sit in the Loon. I seemed perfectly fitted to ride in the Loon
- The stern hatch of the Loon seemed better than the Pungo in terms of watertight seal.
- The "workdeck" - the front tray to hold a water bottle, devices, etc, seems more intuitive on the Loon. The hatch to open the front dry storage on the Pungo was behind the water bottle area, and was difficult to open without using two hands. This seemed a potential on-the-water usability issue which I did not like
- I actually do not like the USB port of the Loon, but decided to look beyond that. For me, it is very possible that current USB technology will die out before I'm ready to move on to another kayak, and to be stuck with it seems silly. I know others will disagree and find it useful, especially if you're taking cellphone videos, etc, but I don't like something which is pretty much the only planned obsolescence on the boat.
- That rant stated, I did find the bungy cord to hold up a device in the Loon's workdeck to be a nice touch, and I assume I'll make use of that
On the water performance:
- I know this is perhaps the most important, but I have yet to test either one on the water. Based on the keel line for each (V-shape) and the extraordinarily similar dimensions, my assumption is that they perform relatively similarly. Since I bought the Loon, I can follow-up with an on-the-water of that if folks are interested. If you're interested in a Pungo video, this guy made a pretty good overview, but I could not find a similar review for the Loon:
This boat tracks well and turns well for a rec boat, has a huge open cockpit, and because of the construction, floats when full of water, due to the foam inner hull. I think OT gave up on this expensive manufacturing process after being bought out by Johnson Worldwide Camping, or whoever they are. Too bad..the older Polylink3 boats will outlast many other plastic boats made today.
If you can find an older Loon that has the Polylink3 construction, or even a Cayuga (very rare), my advice is, Buy It.
When I say this kayak is fast, I'm comparing it to the Dirigo and other recreational kayaks in that class. This kayak will not win any races when put against longer ocean kayaks.
Overall I'm very happy with the Loon and would buy another if given the chance. Great boat!
The sealed stern supplies storage for my 10L and 20L dry bags, as well as room for my 15L compression bag (packed tightly with a couple shirts and pillow). Thus far, I haven't noticed any leaking from the sealing material but I could see that in the future I may be inclined to "re-caulk" around the edges. I have a small two person tent that I pack behind the seat and a few small ammo crates that hold some fire-starting gear and "bagged" dinners are able to sit on the floor of the kayak in front of my feet.
Ranked at 325lbs max I was worried that my weight of 240lbs and the weight added from camping gear would be too much for the kayak, but I was wrong. All of this gear, (carefully packed for proper weight distribution) as well as myself are kept afloat by the Loon 120 with ease.
As far as foot and seat comfort goes, I'm 5'11" and have men's US 13 sized feet. The foot rails slid into position perfectly and the seat adjusted to the proper back height with no problems. The kayak is comfortable and I definitely recommend it to anyone similar in size.
It is actually pretty stable in sea waves, being buffeted crossing open harbors. Never capsized, no spray cover, but have blige pump and sponge for water issues. I think the Loon 120 is a very good purchased for what we use it for. Bought 2 for $750.00. I am thinking of purchasing 1/2 spray covers. The Loon 120's are made of polyurethane. We took them in water less that a foot deep to ocean deep water. Bottoms got scratched from some underwater obstacles.
Overall on a one to ten rating, they rank a nine.
My only real complaints were the somewhat heavy weight (a polyethylene material at 52 lbs) not bad, but lighter boats always made me envious. Also, the storage and carrying capacity on longer trips was a bit if an issue. While there was room for a weeks worth of food and gear--it was tight, and I had to make liberal use of the topside bungees. And, of course, gear stashed topside invariably acted like sails which is not a friendly setup in strong winds!
Overall, though, a more than capable craft and I thought it was a good value for the money.
The glued-in Minicell Foam Bulkhead leaked some water into the stern hatch. I repaired this by using clear silicone RTV to reseal the joint on both sides of the bulkhead. A welded in plastic bulkhead would be leak free and much more reliable. If I use a low angle stroke, even with a 230cm paddle, I sometimes hit the knuckle of my thumb on the deck. Rounding the joint between the deck and the hull somewhat would solve the “Skinned Thumb” problem.
Overall this is a great boat to putter around in, fishing, photography, exploring small rivers, lakes, and ponds. However, this boat is not suitable for open water unless you can stay in sight of the shore. The cockpit and cockpit opening is so large that when you capsize, you fall out, “Wet Exits” are very easy, but this boat is not “rollable”. For its intended use, I would buy another Old Town Loon, In fact, I did, I bought a Loon 100 for my son.
The Loon 120 has exceeded my expectations: First off, it's made out of Polylink 3, a foam/plastic sandwich, which means it has built-in floatation, and doesn't require space-robbing foam block inserts. With its rather bulbous bow and rear space hatch, you can pack a ton of gear into this thing and still have room for your feet. The Dirigo, for instance has a flat bow and a cup holder which intrudes into the space, making it useless for cargo. The Loon 120 is rated for a 290 lbs capacity. I think that’s conservative. I’ve had it loaded pretty close to that and it handled it very well. The Pungo 120, which has similar hull dimensions, is rated for 400 lbs. At 52 lbs, the Loon 120 is much easier to handle than my 80 lbs Guide 160, but less weight is always nice. It this point though, losing 15 lbs would cost you an additional $1,000 - $1,500, so I can live with it.
It’s very stable; I think you’d have to really try to tip it. Coming from a canoe I had visions of spending a lot of time learning wet exits, but it hasn’t happened yet. I’ve even taken a few jaunts in Lake Superior it’s handled just fine. It’s also fast and effortless to paddle. This is, again, coming from a canoe guy. It might be a slug compared to a 17’ ocean kayak, but there’s not a canoe that can touch me, ergo, keeping up with your canoeing buddies is no effort.
Finally, at a price of $599, it’s not cheap, but it's not expensive either. There are a lot of choices in this price range, but I feel I picked the best design for my purposes.
It's fantastic for lakes, slow moving rivers and tidal streams. I paddle tidal inlets and back backs bays with no problems. I even paddled the Delaware Bay a mile off shore in three foot chop. It is NOT designed for the ocean and I personally would not take it there. It has great stability and moderate speed. My one regret is the cockpit is completely open. If you tip, pray that you are in shallow water. The kayak might submerge about a foot below the surface without flotation. Always use flotation bags in open water, which take up space. I had a dealer install a rear hatch and he could not figure out how to make front and rear bulkheads. The kayak is heavy at 56 pounds empty, and the plastic is showing gouge marks from scraping on rocks, boat ramps and gravel parking lots. This kayak will handle the weight, I am 320 and my gear another 20 pounds. Fantastic kayak for beginners, as a loaner, or your mother in law.