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Pamlico 160 T

by Wilderness Systems

Reviews

More of a "real kayak" than I had feared. I'm…

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More of a "real kayak" than I had feared. I'm an experienced solo kayaker but I needed a boat for my new-kayaker wife and I to explore the tidal estuary near our home with occasional trips along the (sheltered from prevailing swell) coast in good weather.

I am extremely impressed with this boat. I was expecting a barge this feels like a kayak, but with some comforts of a canoe. Compared to an old Klepper double or sit-on-top, this doesn't feel like a big boat, they've done some magic to make this 33" wide hull feel narrow. Even unloaded It rides low to hide from the wind and so it would be a wet ride in chop without the skirt. Maybe the low deck is what makes the paddle stroke feel more like paddling a decent solo kayak than I expected for a boat this size.

The rudder is critical for us in even light breeze (I'm 165 she's 125) as without cargo we weathercock badly. On a trip we could trim with cargo. Note that the huge open cockpit means compromised seaworthiness compared to a single or double w/ 2 hatches. It required some jerry-rigging of float bags etc to the hull before I felt comfortable out of comfortable swim distance to shore. I can just barely load it solo on my low roof rack, in high wind I'd struggle.

I was given my Pamlico 160 T by my father who used…

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I was given my Pamlico 160 T by my father who used it to paddle on flat water with his dog in the boat. It was too big of a boat for him to handle solo though. I mostly use it solo, with the front seat pulled back to the middle of the boat and the rudder extension straps in place, and I also use the spray skirt. It's a wet ride without it unless it's dead calm. Other than it's weight problem, it's a pretty good boat!

It's hull design is based somewhat on a greenland style, so it's initial stability is good, but not great. It's secondary stability however, is bombproof. I have taken it out solo on the Columbia river in 20 knot winds, and it behaves pretty well. It's also pretty fast in solo mode. I average 4.5 to 5 miles an hour (GPS) in calm water. You definitely need the rudder in any wind or current condition, but it is very maneuverable with the rudder up if you happen to be in a weedy area.

With two people in the boat, you need to adjust the front seat for proper trim or it doesn't behave too well. Once in trim though, it works extremely well for it's intended purpose. This is a big boat intended for calm water day use, but it does work well for solo camping trips as long as you sit in back and load your goodies in the front passenger area to get proper trim. You could load front and back, but the rear seat is pretty much a fixed in place affair so it makes stowing gear in the stern a problem, and there is not much room in the front.

The big problem with this boat is weight. I can move it around and car top it solo, but it is a pain to do so. Especially after having done 10 miles on the river or around a lake. I do use this boat beyond it's intended purpose, and it does a decent job. For it's intended purpose, it's the best open cockpit tandem out there. If you buy this as a recreational boat for family use on calm water, it will do it's job admirably. Stable enough to fish out of, and fast enough to keep up with everyone else. I will be making a skin on frame sea kayak for solo use later this year (24 lbs is much easier to move around than 90lbs!) but I will be keeping the Pamlico for family use. It really is, other than the weight, a great boat.

A friend of mine bought a used Pamlico 160T that had a…

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A friend of mine bought a used Pamlico 160T that had a factory-installed 20 lb. thrust trolling motor. The battery goes between the seats. You can really pile the miles on with this setup. It's average GPS speed is 3.7 mph, close to what a long distance paddle speed would be. After going 40 miles, the 90 amp/hour battery we used was only discharged down to 50%, which is remarkable. Unfortunately, Wilderness Systems no longer sells the version with a trolling motor, but you can always install your own. (BTW, I'm not completely lazy; I own and use a sea kayak.)

The reason that I knocked three stars off the Pamlico is that it's the wettest ride I've ever had in a kayak. Bow and quartering waves soak the front seat passenger, and occasionally the back seat passenger as well, on larger lakes or when motorboats pass close by. If it's a cool day, this can be quite uncomfortable. It's bad enough that my friend who owns the boat wants me to make a wave deflector for the bow.

I purchased the Pamlico 160TR and have enjoyed all the features. I…

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I purchased the Pamlico 160TR and have enjoyed all the features. I use Hully Rollers on a 2005 Toyota 4Runner and have no trouble loading/unloading. I also use a kayak caddy to move to the water without any help from my wife. This kayak is great for exploring flat water lakes and rivers. There are better kayaks for white water use. I have been going out weekly on Lake Austin with my wife and dog and have enjoyed every trip. Bigger is better in my opinion. Very comfortable and easy to paddle. Rudder works great. I have owned a 17' fiberglass square transom canoe, 25' sailboat, 14' inflatable SeaEagle with wood floor and the Pamlico 160TR is my new favorite.

This boat is a tank. It will not track without a rudder…

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This boat is a tank. It will not track without a rudder. I am an experienced kayaker and made the mistake of taking it out on it's maiden voyage without getting a rudder. I spent most of my time trying to keep the huge thing from self beaching...

The seats are comfy but cannot be adjusted while in the boat. My husband is 6'6'' and complained about the plastic sides on the seats rubbing his thighs. Cloth sides or no sides would have been better. The long hull on each end is difficult to access. NO one has arms that long. If you get this boat you will need a lot of accessories to make it work. May not be worth it when you add everything up.

I've kayaked for about 3 yrs and needed a boat for my…

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I've kayaked for about 3 yrs and needed a boat for my wife and me so our kids could come along in our old 12 Waldens. Our yaking consists of small lakes and calm rivers. The boat in question is a Pamlico 160T w/rudder.

1st and foremost this thing is a barge. It's huge. And if you’re not a diehard kayaker you'd probably be happier with a canoe. But if you’re a kayaker this thing is the waterborne equivalent of the Ford Excursion. The SUV of kayaks.

You need the rudder. You simply will not be able to make it go straight without it. Yes I meant to say it like that.

My wife and I can maintain a speed of 4 knots for endurance and sprint up to 7 with it. (GPS) The seats are top notch. And with the extra length between us keeping perfectly in unison with our paddling is not necessary, but only barely. If it was 2" shorter our paddles would collide. Pay the extra over the 145.

She weighs a lot, 85lbs. is underestimating. You'll be quite the hombre' if you can heft this up on a roof rack by yourself. 2 words....Hully Rollers....enough said.

Storage is adequate for 2 people camping for a weekend. But you'll always be able to carry more in 2 hulls than in one. The advantage is speed and cost. And in our case, roof rack and real estate. We needed to carry enough hull area for 4 people so the extra length of a tandem made sense over buying, storing and transporting 2 more kayaks.

Misses in my opinion. A rear hatch and bulkhead. The bow is taken up by the front paddlers legs but there's good space behind. Easily 3 large drybags. And the center between paddlers fits a good size igloo if you’re so persuaded. Maybe one med drybag in the bow but then you’re sacrificing the front paddler's wiggle room. Also I wouldn’t want to flip her and try to bail it out. The good news is initial stability is very good. Never once have I felt she was on the edge. Even with both of us looking over the same side at the river bottom going by.

For style.....it's just not there. It doesn’t have that "sexy" flair of Capehorn or Tsunami. But it's a no nonsense hauler. Out of the available tandems of this size this one is the best.

The seats are nice. The rudder sticks. I wish I had gotten…

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The seats are nice. The rudder sticks. I wish I had gotten a canoe.

Purchased the 160T after demoing a 145 for casual weekends on the…

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Purchased the 160T after demoing a 145 for casual weekends on the water with the family. Overall, we're very happy with the boat but be aware, as some other reviewers have mentioned, it's a heavy and awkward boat. I was able to get it off the top of a Grand Cherokee alone with no damage but it's not something I'd willingly do again. Wilderness Systems' seats are top-notch and this boat has tons of room. My only complaint is that the company needs to pay a bit more attention to the rudder cables ... one of ours wasn't properly clamped in the ferrule and came loose with the boat on the water. Not a complicated fix but something I wouldn't expect in a new boat.

Went into EMS a few weeks ago after doing months of research…

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Went into EMS a few weeks ago after doing months of research and narrowing down my selection to a Ocean Kayak Malibu 2 XL sit-on-top tandem. I was looking for something that sat 2 adults and a small child that we could take out in Moriches Bay in Long Island and the coastal rivers and marshes in Southern Maine. The rep agreed with my choice, but also pointed me to the Pamlico 140 tandem. He said I would have a little more protection from the water and thus be able to use it in slightly more turbulent water than a placid lake and for a slightly longer season. Also would allow for some storage. Instead of selling me one, the store had a demo day on a lake and I tried both the Pamlico and an Ocean Kayak single. It was an unfair comparison, but the single without a seat was incredibly uncomfortable, less stable and wet from the outset. The Pamlico was surprisingly fast, the seats were more comfortable than my Volvo and the rudder was a huge bonus. When I told the Wilderness Systems rep that I would be going out with my 195 pound brother (I'm 175) and my 45 pound daughter, he said it would be too close to the max weight for the 140 and not be as stable as I wanted. I ended up going for the Pamlico 160 with the rudder. On sale, I got it fully outfitted for $850, which included the two fully-adjustable seats, a child seat and the rudder system. The kayak is everything I was looking for. Great initial stability, faster than I thought, lots of room for two guys and a small child, the seats are unbelievably comfortable and allow for numerous adjustments, and the rudder was quite nice in a small chop. Additionally, it comes with a little cupholder, again something my Volvo doesn't have. I love this boat. The only problem is and the reason for my rating it an 8, rather than a 10, is that it's an absolute tank. I thought I might be able to carry 85 pounds. Not a chance and not even easy pulling on a paddle boy. This is a big heavy boat that will be great for anyone in similar circumstances to me and can leave the boat near to where they will be putting it and exiting the water. One other strike, and this is not so much related to the model but rather semi-enclosed vs. sit on top, is that its slightly harder to clean and empty water from. Nevertheless, for me, the Pamlico is infinitely better option for the variety of kayaking I am likely to do and only slightly more expensive, when you add seats and other accessories than the OK Malibu 2 XL. I will be very happy with my Pamlico until the next time that I have to get the boat on top of my car without any help.

We own two efficient singles but wanted a tandem for family camping…

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We own two efficient singles but wanted a tandem for family camping, fishing, to paddle with 80+ year old Mom and less experienced guests. This boat is great for our purposes. A heavy sucker, but stable and quick for its size. Rudder is a MUST in our opinion. Skirt working quite well so far. Seats stellar. Deduct one point for its weight but an overall fine boat for relatively calm waters and folks with the strength to rack it and move it around on land. Bought some kayak wheels for this one.

Bought this kayak used it was a rental, it had the phase…

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Bought this kayak used it was a rental, it had the phase 3 seats, which I really like. Did not have a rudder, which it needs. This is the same as an excel. I got the rudder kit unfortunately the local dealer will not install it for free, like some other dealers do.