Read reviews for the Pamlico 145T 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!
-> Tracks well
-> Fast for a plastic rec tandem (yeah, I know)
-> Great adjustable foot braces
-> Seats give good firm support
-> Not fast to turn
-> High-ish profile for windy days
We've put 425+ lbs in big paddlers in and I can see putting another 75 lbs in to get to max capacity, but the cockpit would be inches out of the water at that point, so max possible is probably less than stated.
It cruises nicely due to its hull design: 3.1 to 3.7 mph with easy to steady paddling, about 4.7 to 5.0 mph w/ firm paddling, and 5.5 to 5.7 at a sprint. These speeds can even be achieved paddling solo. It tracks OK for experienced paddlers, but paddling solo I do notice that I need to make corrections more often than some other kayaks. The bit of front end drift is likely because it doesn’t have a sharply-defined keel-like front end or back end, but the benefit then is a bit greater maneuverability. I did not feel much need for the rudder that one of mine has on it. I did find that the primary stability is a bit less than I expected, which is not ideal if you are using it in tandem since it is already sitting fairly low in the water; this characteristic is somewhat made up for by the good secondary stability, but is still something to be aware of.
One limitation is that its weight capacity is only about 400 pounds, which is not much for a 14.5-foot tandem boat (a 450-lb capacity would be preferred). This means you will sit pretty low w/ two good-sized people in it (like myself at 6'3" & 200 lbs), so you may not be as thrilled in water w/ boat wakes or w/ chop. I agree w/ those that say you should have some floatation in it, especially if you take it away from the shoreline (though we have never tipped or swamped it). About 300 to 325 pounds load might be ideal, such as two mid-sized folks or a larger and a smaller. Also space-wise with two taller people in it, you may find it a bit tighter than ideal. And not a whole lot of storage space when used as a tandem, though there is plenty if you use it solo).
So if you don't plan on going tandem a lot w/ two larger people, this boat is sleeker and lighter than a lot of the tandems, and can be used nicely solo too, though it is a rather basic boat.
As for the boat itself:
It's roomy, as it is a tandem. Lots of leg room, room for kids, dogs, etc.. It is heavy, but its a big boat. It tracks very well, but it's a tandem, so it is really up to both paddlers and not so much a boat design issue. The hatch does not provide watertight storage.
Understand that you are not going to win a race or speed down class II's in this boat. This is primarily for flat to small choppy water. Coastal rivers and sounds are ideal.
I give it a nine because it is well suited for what it is designed for
We regularly paddle in tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay and the yak handles both calm and choppy water. A half skirt from an single kayak, modified to fit around the larger cockpit helps to keep water off the front occupant.
It does have a tendency to turn to the left, but we have been able to correct for this with sweep strokes by the rear paddler. It can be a little trying in following seas, or in cross currents, but for the most part we have very little difficulty getting the boat to track. It does have ferrules and mounting screws in the back for a rudder and we may try one in the future.
One other advantage - the boat sits low to the water, enabling us to use the same paddles that we have for our single kayaks.
A thoroughly enjoyable, nimble and swift tandem.
The Phase 3 Air Pro Tandem Seating System... excellent. No sore back or rump... going to see if I can retrofit this into my solo yak. The cockpit is the same size as the Perception Prodigy II 14.5' that I have used before. The padded thigh braces were very comfortable... and the slide-lock foot braces were easy to adjust. All of these items in the cockpit allowed my 6'-2"/280 lb. frame to fit very comfortably in the rear cockpit without my feet touching the front seat.
Tracking... very good once my son and I got into sync. Cuts through the water very nicely. When the boy's "paddle got tired" (he's nine), Dad had him stow it so it wasn't dragging. Paddling this tandem solo was not that bad... with his weight forward I was not swinging back and forth like a shorter solo.
One negative is that it did seem to roll more than the Prodigy II 14.5. Twice, in no wake areas, I had a wave roll over the left rear quarter and into the cockpit. This did not happen with the Prodigy II in the same river... although to be fair... the river was wider where I was with the Perception tandem.
I like this yak... if we add a tandem to the family fleet... right now... I'd choose this one.
This past weekend I crossed the Chesapeake Bay (7.3 mile one way 8.6 back plus another three inland). Despite the 1 - 2' waves the boat never made me feel it was not capable. I did not use a rudder I did ballast the front a bit with a couple gallons of water and my gear (in case of overnight needs). It handled the trailing quartering wave well and never broached in the troughs. On the return leg most waves were near broadside again with no problem. Perhaps not the best craft for this purpose it nonetheless it performed very well. I would not recommend much higher waves but can't say I know the limit.
I love this boat and for back shallow water trips with a nap in the middle (very roomy) it can't be beat. Fun for the kids up front too.
I went to several area shops and went on line to get all the information I could on tandem kayaks. I was disappointed to find that there was not a lot of information out there and what I did encounter was not that positive. I went to several shops that they wouldn't even sell me a tandem. "I tried one once with my wife and we almost got a divorce..." was one shop owners response.
The best advice I received was to try them out. I did and after trying several tandems out I went with the Wilderness Systems Pamlico 145T. I knew that I would be spending more time soloing than with a partner. With that in mind it was important to me that the boat perform well as a solo boat which it did.
It is a fast boat for its length. It tracks nicely and handles both flat choppy waters quite well. The majority of my paddling is done solo and the boat performs great. Its narrow hull makes soloing easier than some of the other tandems I tried that were wider. My only complaint is that the foot pegs do not adjust as easily as I would like but I find that I don't even need them. The seats are comfortable and I really like the adjustable back support. Its a nice feature. As a tandem it is supper quick. and glides across the water effortlessly.
The key to remember with a tandem kayak is team work especially with a loved one or someone who has never paddled before. Let that front person dictate the tempo of the stroke. Enjoy the time spent with them on the water and work together.
I have paddled big lakes and reservoirs to small ponds and even rivers. The boat handled each type of water very well. All and all I am very pleased with my Wilderness Systems Pamlico 145T.
My kayak lives on top of my Toyota Hilux ute (on top of the ladder racks). It slides on and off easily. I it a little heavy to carry to the water without a kayak trolley (not worth damaging your back for the sake of a few hundred dollars).
QUALITY - Build quality of kayak is quite good generally. Seats are comfortable. Small fittings on rudder didn't survive their first use - best to upgrade (wouldn't want to get caught out in treacherous waters with bung fittings). Storage compartments leak (unless properly resealed), so don't put any valuables in there thinking they will be dry. The company I bought the kayak off didn't want to know about any of my problems (even though it was only a week or so old) -a bit typical of kayak shops here.
TIPS - If flying tandem, put inexperienced paddler in front; if going in other than flat waters, get a rudder; don't think of going out in rough conditions without a rudder.
Verdict - Great kayak for what it is designed for. Generally very good quality. I paid top dollar for it but I regard it as being good value for money. I was glad I paid the extra $400 or so for the rudder (it saved me once and makes life very simple when there is a moderate/strong cross-current).
After an hour of paddling tandem I was ready to take it back. As others have noted, tracking is difficult (no rudder) and it's a little cramped for 2 compared to other sit-on-top tandems I've used. If the front paddler remains in a neutral position, I found it relatively easy to keep straight, but if the front paddler tends to lean on the stroke that seems to have a big effect.
After taking it out for a solo turn, I changed my mind completely. Every kayak is a balance of compromises. This one is a very nice recreational solo boat that can also take a second (smaller) person. It is a much different boat when solo'd - comfortable, fast, pretty nimble for a longer boat. I am quite happy with this tradeoff, but others who are looking for something to use primarily as a tandem may not be.
I love the hull shape, it paddles easily, and my adjustable back seats are the best I've seen for comfort but may have been redesigned. The ability to move the seat to the middle for solo outings is a great feature. We like the large open cockpit, but have to watch out for wakes.
My only complaint is that the boat is short for 2 people. With two adults, the boat sits low in the water. Another couple feet would be great for buoyancy. The 160t has the length, but is wider. The beam on the 145 is a good compromise of stability and glide.
If this boat was a couple feet longer while keeping all of the other specs, I'd give it a 9 for a recreational tandem.
I've spoken with the store manager and he is wondering if this particular kayak that I bought might have a hull defect. He wants me to bring the kayak back to the store so he/his staff can check on that possibility. Defect or not, he has agreed to take the kayak back and help me select a kayak that my wife and I will enjoy.
2 words of advice though:
- don't buy this boat without the rudder. It tracks great with the rudder, but poorly without it. And if you're paddling with 2 people, you really need the rudder.
- add big flotation bags in the bow and stern before you go more than 100 yards offshore. The cockpit is huge, and if you capsize, it's worse than a swamped canoe. The flotation it comes with is completely inadequate, and you will NOT be able to self-rescue. I put big flotation bags in, and now it rides pretty high when swamped so that you can bail it out from in the water.
I have added flotation (pool noodles zip tied to pad eyes I added internally fore and aft). The rudder is a great addition, but took some time to install. WS installation instructions need some updating for this model. However tracking with the rudder raised is certainly acceptable. Also, this thing is pretty fast.
If you let it glide it would turn in a circle. We have a 16.5 Perception & a 9.5 Mainstream that I use for fishing & neither of those track as badly as the 145 Pamlico. With the Perception we could paddle for several hours at an enjoyable pace & even the Mainstream that plows the water was acceptable but with the Wilderness we were tired & sore after 2 hours because we had to constantly fight the kayak. In open water under power it would veer either left or right & we would have to compensate for this & we could not hold a straight line. We have been kayaking for several years so we are not amateurs.
If you want to leisurely paddle along the shore 2 or 3 times a year it is fine but not for anyone that wants to enjoy kayaking as many times as they can get away. This kayak is WORK!!!
If I could return it to the store I bought it from I would, but after "use" I can not. Since I am stuck with it I am going to make a rudder hopefully to counteract the zigzagging we had to fight. I found the Wilderness rudder on line but it cost $200+. I am a machinist so I believe I can make it for a LOT less. Before you buy this tandem kayak TRY IT OUT!!!
Luckily the motorboat driver allowed them onto his boat, and then towed the swamped, overturned 145T to the dock where we dumped out the water. The lesson moral of this story: The 145T will fill with water and swamp without float bags fore and aft. The factory-installed little styrofoam floats do almost nothing to keep the boat afloat. I'm certain that, within minutes, we would've seen our tandem investment sink to the bottom of the deep Florida lake. Did I mention that there was an "Alligators are Likely" warning sign posted near the dock of this lovely lake? (as there is with most lakes in central Florida).
We still love our boat, don't get me wrong. But we've installed huge floatbags fore and aft, and we intend to practice a tandem wet entry/exit technique as soon as winter's over, and we clean out our swiming pool's leaves.
Prior to last weekend, I had done all my paddling, both tandem and solo, on flat water - slow moving south Louisiana bayous, and in marsh ponds - where the boat (with rudder) works extremely well. But last weekend's course was on a nearby river with a variety of water conditions, from wide, slow stretches to areas full of fast moving water around hazards (fallen/sunken/floating trees and large rock formations), and even an area of small class I rapids.
The first thing I learned was that the rudder is pretty useless when navigating a narrow, winding, quick course, or when trying to back- or forward ferry from side to side across the current. You're better off pulling the rudder up and using just your paddle and leaning into the turns.
The second, and most important, thing I learned is to use _two_ flotation bags, one in the bow and one in the stern, if you are on fast moving and/or hazardous water. The first day out (trying to avoid the instructor, who was bravely - or stupidly - standing on the edge of a narrow right-angle cut we were supposed to navigate), I got caught in a strainer, and the cockpit _instantly_ filled with water. The hull (but, fortunately, not I) was totally submerged and wedged between a fallen tree and a boulder broadside to fast moving water, and it took four grown men to pull it out. I was using just the one standard flotation bag in the stern, and it was not enough to keep the hull afloat when the water rushed in. (The good news is that this is one tough boat. After we pulled it out, nothing was broken, and, other than a small scratch on the hull, you couldn't tell that anything had happened.)
The next day, I put a second flotation bag in the bow. My first time over the rapids, I flipped the boat (my fault, not the boat's), and the bow dived under the water, just as it had done the day before at the strainer. But because of the added flotation, the bow popped right back up. There was still a lot of water in the cockpit, though not as much as before, since the front float bag reduced the cockpit's volume, and the combination of the additional flotation and reduced cockpit volume kept the boat afloat.
So...Enjoy this great, versatile boat, but don't think the rudder is a substitute for paddling skill, and carry extra flotation when it's called for.
The first day I bought, was the day I first went on the lake (solo). It was a calm day and paddling was effortless it seemed, however, I noticed the water line higher than I'd like for just 215# male. After adding my wife on board, the water line increased dramaticly 170#. The specifications call for a capacity of 500 to 525 depending on where you get your information. When the motor boats and jet skis pass by creating a wake of 1/2 - 1 feet, water would wash over the front into the cockpit, from the side it was a little better, but still water entered due how high the water line reaches in still water, only 4-5 inches more to the top of cockpit opening.
Paddling is a little ackward, and we end up hitting each others about 10 times during an 1 hour tour. Tracking is bit difficult in the wind, w/o the rudder system.
Pros: 1) Sleek look 2) Comfortable seats 3) Adjustable seats (for solo and seat backing heights) 4) Carrying handles 5) Speed 6) Calm water/wind tracking
Cons: 1) Although called a Tandem, it taxes the "alleged" capacity, with 2 adults and other than calm water conditions. 2) Back Seat is fixed (can't slide forward) 3) Rocks easily when partner leans too far as you. (May be the case with all Kayaks, so I hesitate to put this here.)
All in all, I am happy with my choice. I may end up purchasing a sleeker Pamlico 145 PRO just for myself and have the wife and kids use the other. Although I have been eyeing the Perception boats (single).
That day the wind started at 5 mph, then reached about 30 mph as the day went on. Although I had little experience in a kayak, I could tell the Pamlico was a great choice for the day. I had to constantly wait on the rest of the group (about 10 kayaks) everytime we started into the wind. The others were in the usual rec kayaks 12 - 14 long. At the end of the day, we did the typical sprint to the finish line. The only boat that could keep up with me was a 15 ft Perception double when they were both paddling like crazy. Needless to say, I was impressed with the speed of the Pamlico. Since then, I have rented and attended a number of demo days trying to find a better boat. Unable to find one, I finally gave up and bought a Pamlico 145. The first time I brought the new boat home, my daughter and her 8 year old friend took off before I even had a chance to try it out. I knew I made the right choice when I heard them laughing as they paddled out and back without a problem. I've even managed to get my wife to go out with me a few times, but for some reason she always forgets her paddle and brings a glass of wine instead. It paddles just fine when there are two people and only one working.
Due to the open cockpit, it's not very sea worthy. I wouldn't recomend taking it in surf over 2-3 feet. Taking a wave head on will fill the cockpit instantly. I did manage to surf a few waves to shore, which I didn't expect was possible on such a large boat. The boat is incredibly stable. I can stand in it without a problem, and manuver to the front or back of the boat to access gear without the fear of tipping. It is relatively light. I don't have a problem getting it onto the car, but I have a strong build (5' 6", 200lbs), so some may find it a bit of a pain handling it alone.
I think this is a great first kayak. It's stability will instill confidence in beginners. You have the option of one or two people, It's roomy enough for hauling lots of gear, and you can fish off it. After using it for a year, I have found that I most often take extended solo day trips. I am averaging 6-10 miles a day on the river. I will be purchasing a Cape Horn 17 for next season, which will most likely become my main boat, but the Pamlico will be nice to have around for guests, etc.
+ Handles two medium-large size people. + Rudder system works well . + With additional full skirt, Pamlico goes from calm river to the open waters of Lake Michigan with no problem. + Handles well in tandem or solo trek. + Easy access for both seats. + Comfortable and adjustable seats. + Spacious storage room.. + Great universal kayak. + Light enough to be handled/lifted by one person
- Rear kayaker may find some discomfort if they have long legs as distance between front and rear seats with rudder control is not long enough. - In Solo position, rudder system control cables catch or drag on solo seat. More annoying then anything else. - No foot pegs for front kayaker in tandem ride.