Read reviews for the Pungo 140 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!
Bought mine used from Charles River Rentals (Boston area) and find it a good fit for a large person (6'2' and 265 lbs). Have been out on 2-3 hour trips and find seat comfortable. As others have noted, tracks straight great, but not suitable for narrow, twisty streams. Have only been out on flat water in mild weather, so cannot comment on more trying conditions,
This is my 2nd kayak I have owned. Previously I had a Necky Rip 12 and felt that I needed to upgrade after gaining more experience. The Pungo 140 exceeded all of my expectations. This recreational kayak has it all (except for a pop down keel). There is plenty of storage in the front dry box as well as the rear. The seat is also fairly comfortable and has a few more ways to adjust for comfort than my previous kayak. The overall weight is what you'd expect from a recreational kayak at around 75lbs dry weight (not recommended for long portaging). My favourite feature is the removable dash with built in cup holders, a place to put extra fishing lures and a small dry compartment.
Overall I am pleased with my purchase and would recommend this kayak
I love the boat. The seat is more comfortable than I would have thought possible. The cockpit is very roomy and it comes with a drink holder ("console"). The Pungo 140 is a luxury yacht in the world of kayaks. I feel like I'm paddling my living room around. The Pungo is faster than I thought it would be and it tracks really well. It handles moderate waves extremely well. It likes waves!
I am completely thrilled with my Pungo 140.
The Pungo moves on flat water as if it were a skinny sea kayak--I can easily keep up with my paddling partners in their 14-16 footers. An additional perk is that the Pungo can carry a lot of gear. I have gone on mulit-day paddling trips carrying my tent, inflatable mattress and cooler, without any problems. It is also comparatively lightweight, and I have no trouble loading it on my jeep. I now have a couple other boats I use (Hobie Outback for fishing, Perception Torrent for whitewater) but my Pungo is my go-to boat for all-around easy paddling fun.
I've had mine for a few months now and it is perfect at what it's designed for: a comfortable, safe entry level+ kayak designed for day trips or camping trips of 1-5 days on lakes or rivers. I found that up to 10 miles at a pop are no problem at all. The boat is so stable you can fish or even stand up (if your balance is good enough) while on the water easily. The cockpit is huge so bringing your dog out paddling is no problem too (yes, I've seen it done).
Where it wasn't designed to go: small creeks with numerous switchbacks will have you frustrated because this boat LOVES to go straight! Open water paddling clearly wasn't a planned activity by WS for this boat, you can get a skirt for it, but at 28" wide trying to roll it should be an Olympic Event.
Stay inland though and even larger rivers are a joy. I had the unexpected pleasure of "surfing" mine up the Hudson when the tide was coming in and riding the incoming swells felt fantastic! You'll love all of the storage space if you plan on camping a couple of days too.
After taking it out weekly on local lakes for the past two months I have come to love several things about it and only one major criticism. The kayak is well made from quality products. The design is very stable and I have pushed it and tried to turn it over a couple of times and haven’t been very successful, short of hanging completely out of the kayak is very stable and difficult to turn over. It is stable enough to fish from and that can involve some moving around, a friend of mine has a 20 year old Pungo and still fishes from it.
The seat is simply fantastic, it is adjustable every way from Sunday, so if you can’t get comfortable between the seat and the foot braces you probably don’t enjoy paddling to begin with. The foot braces seem flimsy at first glance and use but once on the water they have proven stable, durable and easy to adjust while on the water. There is enough space behind the set to put a small cooler with drinks or snacks, or any other miscellaneous items (bilge pump).
Now here is the negative:
I bought the boat quite a few years ago and when I received it it had come equipped with a rear bulkhead. No bulkhead in the front however. At the time I didn't give that fact much thought because I liked the size and stability of the boat. The large cockpit opening seemed really easy for getting into and out of. However, the large cockpit coupled with no front bulkhead caused a great problem for me at one point.
I was fishing in Cape Cod Bay and had hooked a very large striped bass. One thing led to another and I ended up capsizing the boat. Of course anything not tied down washed away with the tide but that was no issue. I was able to right the boat OK also. I had a hand bilge pump and was all set to use it... One big problem, due to the lack of a bulkhead in the bow, the boat was filled in the front with water and the bow was pretty much submurged, though not entirely. Normally that shouldn't be much of a problem but the front of the large cockpit opening was also under water which doesn't allow for pumping. There's no way to lift the boat high enough in deep water while swimming to get the front of the cockpit above the water line. So, no pumping. Plus a long swim in salt water, a mile! Thank goodness for the other safety equipment I had on board. I lashed the swamped kayak to my wife's oat and she was able to tow it to shore. This is either a major design flaw by not having a front bulkhead and large cockpit opening or just a manufacturing defect which left out the installation of the bulkhead.
All the Pungo 140's I've seen since have a bulkhead installed in the bow. A bulkhead can even be purchased through Harmony and installed, but to get he manufacturer of the boat to right the situation has been impossible due to their customer service or lack thereof. So, I give this boat only a 5 for safety reasons.
I have not experienced the new generation of Pungos but I can tell the hull configuration is the same, or very close to it. I hope at sometime in the future Wilderness produces Duralight versions again! I'd probably get one for my wife!
Initial Stability: 10
Secondary Stability: 10
Speed: 6 (it beats a 10 or 12 ft rec. boat)
Construction: 9 After nine years and a lot of miles on the water the only problem I have had is the rear hatch cover has shrunk making it a real pain to close. No leaks, no fading, even the bungees have held up well.
The Pungo 140 tracked very well, and despite some waves coming splashing over the top of the kayak all my gear in the holds remained dry. I am very happy with this kayak, and the reason for not giving it a 10 is I haven't had it long it enough to see how well it will hold up to what I hope will be many years of use.
During the kayaking season I paddle at least once a week on average and have taken it on several weekend camping trips, the storage space is great! It is very durable, over the last 2 seasons it has gotten some scratches on the bottom from sharp rocks and trees etc but as they say every scratch tells a story! The only cons I can come up with is it is a little heavy to carry solo and it does warp if I leave it on my Thule glide and set too long in the sun but any poly boat is going to do that.
Overall I would highly recommend the Pungo 140 or the Pungo 120!
All in all I think it is a great boat for beginner and intermediate kayakers.
Seat is comfortable and easy to adjust. Bought the kayak from Kenco in Kingston, NY after Bill Kennedy talked to us for about 45 minutes about kayaks, paddles, and everything to do with it.
I do really enjoy my Pungo 140 as its easy to maneuver in the water, is very stable when the lake is a bit rough and has a nice deep, long cockpit that fits my dog as well as myself!!!
I find the Air Pro seat quite comfortable but takes some getting use to adjusting the back. I find if I lean forward I can get the back into a straight up position. I have a bad lower back so I am amazed at how I can paddle for 3-4 hours without problems.
Since I have not had the boat a long time, and it was not used a lot before I got it, I cannot comment on durability. A drain plug would be nice, but not critical. I realize for a boat of this size w/ this many features that it will cost me something, but at the $969 MSRP, I did not purchase one until I found one that was lightly used, but at a much lower price. Also for a boat in this price range, it would be nice if there were a good, solid place to run a cable through for locking it up; you can run a cable under the side of the seat, but simply with a screwdriver, you could take out the two side screws that hold seat in place and slip out a cable.
All in all, an outstanding boat, both in performance and in features. I debated between a 9 and a 10 for the rating and ended up with a giving the benefit of the doubt based on these assumptions:
a) the durability will be good
b) the boat price is justified.
If over time the durability is less than I am giving credit for, and if I find other boats that are better in the same class and price range, then I should have given it a 9 instead.
I own 3 WS kayaks... a Pungo 100, a Tsunami 145 & now the Pungo 140. I'm a huge fan of WS & have always sung their praises due to their great design & quality build. I've been one of their biggest "unpaid salespersons" & have steered many people to their kayaks. However, for the first time I am disappointed with WS, specifically with the Pungo 140.
Overall, it's a good recreational kayak that can definitely be used for touring. It tracks nicely in a straight line & continues to glide after you stop paddling. It's roomy & very easy to get in & out of. Although it is no speed demon, with proper technique & form, you can have the 140 moving at a brisk pace, especially after you have a good rhythm going. Beginners as well as seasoned flat water kayakers will enjoy this boat. Because of the roominess, it's great for having a child or your favorite pooch sitting up front! The extra volume swallows up coolers, dry bags, etc.
WS "upgraded" the Phase 3 seating to the Phase 3 Air Pro seats. In some ways, it is a welcome improvement. The seating offers more support & is noticeably more comfortable for longer outings. The plastic rivets that affixed the seat cushion are no more. On my Pungo 100 & Tsunami, I've had to replace the seating after the rivets either came loose or the material ripped loose around the rivets. So I was pleased to see that change.
The major problem I have with it is the adjustability of the backrest. WS replaced the simple, single strap that went across the back of the seat with a two strap system that winds in & out to offer adjustability from the front of your seat. The idea was nice, but the design is flawed. The old system on my other 2 boats is incredibly easy to adjust on the fly. You can tug the one ring on the strap & it holds your desired position no matter how hard you lean back. It just as easily loosens when you want to recline the backrest & go into lounge mode for resting & or eating your lunch without having to get out of your boat.
The new system has 2 long straps winding through several contact areas, leading towards the front of the seat. I prefer a more upright seating position when paddling. The upright posture promotes better form & more powerful strokes, and prevents fatigue & lower back pain. I get more support & power when I have the backrest in a slightly more aggressive, leaning forward position. Unfortunately, this cannot be achieved with the new AirPro backrest. No matter how hard I tug & pull on the straps, I cannot acquire the same posture I can with my other two boats. The Air Pro seat lends itself to a more loungy position which detracts from having a smoother, more powerful stroke.
Once I have yanked the daylights out of the straps & have the backrest forward as much as humanly possible, I dare not touch or adjust them in any way while on the water, since its so difficult to get it right again. Even then, after awhile on the water, the seat ever so slowly, starts to recline on it's own. It doesn't hold firmly like the previous design. I'm only 5'9, 175 lbs, so it's not like I have a huge amount of weight pushing back on the backrest.
I spoke to a WS rep & asked if I could speak to someone in their Research & Development department to get advice on how I could remedy this problem and make suggestions for future designs. The rep told me they have R & D people, but they are not set up to take calls from consumers. I was baffled by this. If I were running a company like Confluence (they make WS & other brand kayaks) I would have a hotline directly from the end user to the R & D people. After all, isn't that what should matter the most... what the end user thinks about a product? My pleas fell on deaf ears & the rep simply reiterated several times that he's never had a problem with the Air Pro 3 Seating. I even offered to pay to have them install the previous style backrest strap. (He stated they couldn't do that). He suggested I take the boat to where I purchased it & have them look at it.
My observation is that this is an issue of over shooting with the design & making the "new & improved" seating less efficient.
Oh well. I'm left with having to drill holes & attempt to replicate the old strap system for the backrest. I hope that WS reads this & adheres to the idea that sometimes less is more. Keep it simple. And really take an interest in what a consumer has to say about one of their products that they just dropped a thousand dollars on!
I love Wilderness Systems boats (at least the previous ones), but because of the above, I do not recommend the 140 or the Airpro seating system. (unless you enjoy LazyBoy seating or you're ready to make some alterations to the design)
We have two Pungo 140s. My wife would probably give hers a "10", because she loves everything about it. I gave mine an "8" because the slanted bottom of the kayak under the footpegs gets really uncomfortable on the heels of my big feet after a while on the water. Outfitting foam might solve that.
First trip 225 miles down the Suwannee (trip report - http://backshortly.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/the-suwannee-river-fargo-to-the-gulf-i/), and the difference was apparent. The Wilderness held a straight line and simply felt 'smoother' through the water. Added storage out front helped to organize things a bit better (personal front/utility back) and I liked that. At first I rejected the console idea, but for paddles such as the Suwannee it worked perfectly.
Being one with a 'pack-horse' mentality, the Pungo fits the bill - plus its a little easier on the pilot along the way...
I like the change.
I put a GPS on it and took it for a calm lake trial and was able to maintain 4.3 MPH for about 3/4 of a mile... didn't think that was bad for a 250 lb 5'11" old fart. I didn't buy it to race it but I like fast getaways and it handles perfect... so I did what any logical person would do and bought another demo Pungo 14' Angler. It is faster, sleeker, and as stable or more so than the 12 footer and tracks straight as and arrow ... My guests use the Ascend and my wife uses the 12 footer ... my next one will be a 145 Tsunami ... I've paddled this style on on the Ashley River in Charleston, SC and it was surprisingly easy to get into and out of for my size and tracked very nicely and was as stable as the Pungos...
I would and do recommend the Pungo for kayakers who like to go out all day and/or over night. There is plenty of storage for lunch and camping supplies as well as room for a few bottles of wine or your favorite beverages.
And no wimp this lady keeps up,carries the tents,bags,food,ice,water and my largess she provides yet scratched without complaint she points down still nice and eyes her own she flows right full past her supposed 380 limit. My girl waits while I recover she is ever ready,no wimp she works the fine multichine I need and that is why she is mine.
I have definitely paddled this boat more than it was designed for – Georgian Bay, Algonquin, Allagash Wilderness River in Maine, Lake Erie, Acadia NP and Casko Bay in Maine, Outer Banks NC, and recently 107 miles down the Allegheny River near Pittsburgh.
Because it's 14ft long, it tracks well and I'm able to keep up with the rest of our club who are all in 16-18 foot boats. Sure, we have to paddle a little harder, but haven't had a problem keeping up yet. We frequently run Class II rapids, and have stumbled into a couple Class III rapids without incident. We are very comfortable in our Pungos, because they are very stable. But we have also learned to maneuver them very well. I think the Pungo edges very well. I once raced a 16 ft kayak around a small island, and he had a rudder. I didn't win, but I didn't lose by much. I edged it all the way around and kept up stroke for stroke.
The cockpit is huge, but I bought a full-length spray skirt for it. With the skirt I am able to confidently paddle in 3-5 ft swells. This past summer, I even learned how to flip the boat over and stay in it. I can't roll this boat up because of its width, but I can roll it back up with assistance from another paddler using the bow rescue or paddle-bridge rescue. I was truly amazed when I found out that I didn't have to wet exit the Pungo when inverted. Because the Pungo only has a rear bulkhead, I always put floatation or gear in the front of the boat to keep water out. A large floatation bag from NRS is perfect.
This boat fits enough gear for a week, at least. My girlfriend and I both have Pungo 140s, and we are able to pack them pretty liberally with room left over. Keeping in mind we are backpackers and have mostly small, light gear, we are able to pack the dual-burner Coleman stove and propane, full size camp chairs, and soft-shelled coolers which can keep things cool for a day or two. The coolers fit behind the seat perfectly. It's not quite canoe capacity, but people are very surprised when we bring the chairs and stove out.
So I got my boat in 2005 and in April 2008 I ran it past a rock in a small, very cold creek. The Pungo breached in three places along the starboard hull. A two-inch gash, a ten-inch gash, and another two-inch gash. I was so bummed. I didn't hit the rock very hard, and I had certainly scraped the boat worse in the past. I'm not sure if the April cold waters had anything to do with the breach. Anyway, I was able to finish the trip, taking on very little water. Duct tape would have helped, but alas, I had none. I called Wilderness Systems customer service, and after sending pictures of the breaches and the hull, they replaced the boat without any cost to me! They had to build one from scratch, so I chose a different color, and it was built to the 2008 feature specifications which included much more deck rigging and thigh braces – both extremely welcome additions. Unfortunately, a front bulkhead was not yet standard. I think they have changed that recently and starting shipping Pungo 140's with front and rear bulkheads. Anyway, I can't say enough good things about Wilderness Systems' customer support and how they took care of me.
Around the same time I was getting my new Pungo, my girlfriend also bought a used Pungo 140 off of ebay. Her boat is identical to my first one – probably pre-2006, and only had the single piece of deck rigging, and no thigh braces. This makes it impossible to carry a spare paddle on her deck, and she struggles to find room for all the safety gear that you’d like to have handy, like pump, paddle float, throw bag and tow line. But even without the thigh braces, she is also able to stay in the boat when inverted and can do an assisted roll with a bow or paddle-bridge rescue. The newer Pungo 140s are much nicer with the added features. And I'm sure the new ones with the front bulkheads are a dream (except now you can't pack the camp chairs!).
All in all, part of me thinks that we should be featured in Wilderness Systems advertising because of everything we have done in this boat, from Class II-III rapids, to open water crossings on Lake Erie, Georgian Bay, Outer Banks, and Maine, to week-long wilderness river trips down the Allagash, Nemakagon and Allegheny Rivers. The only we can’t do in these boats is portage any significant distances. But then my rational side thinks that WS would be crazy to advertise what we have done, because they probably don't want the average beginner, recreational kayaker attempting anything near what we’ve done in our Pungos. I guess that would be a huge liability!
So let me state that the Pungo isn't designed for class II-III rapids, and is definitely not a sea-worthy vessel. We have used them on the Great Lakes and the Atlantic, but in fairly moderate conditions. I'm very comfortable in my boat, but we paddle a lot, and we practice our safety and rescue skills at least annually. I have also performed two real rescues in Lake Erie. But if we really had to paddle 10 miles back to shore in rough conditions, we would probably be exhausted because our boats are too short to slice through waves and stay on course. So we would burn a lot of energy on correction strokes (particularly in following seas). And someone would inevitably end up being towed, putting others at risk. Because of this, we are now looking for 17-18 foot, truly seaworthy boats so that we can do open water more confidently.
But I still can't say enough about how extremely happy we have been with our Pungos. It is an awesome boat for starting out in and learning how to paddle, edge, and do rescues. And you can take it pretty far before upgrading to a true sea kayak, if that's where you end up – like us.
Mine is a leftover 2006 model, and it doesn't have the dashboard, which would be nice. I bought a miniskirt for it soon after purchase, and I feel this is a necessity. Waves don't break into the cockpit, and water from the paddle blades doesn't drip in either. It's also nice to shade your legs in mid-day sun or to pull up on a cold spring or fall paddle.
I've never had a problem with the hatches, nor with the bulkhead leaking. As for stability, I love taking it out on lakes on windy days and bobbing around, mini-surfing in 3' or 4' waves. It's not the fastest nor lightest recreational kayak, but a 14' boat usually isn't.
Oh, the seat is pretty good, too. I have chronic back pain, so am careful about what I do lifting, twisting, sitting, etc. I've found that by changing the back angle, the seat pad angle, the foot bracing, etc, I can keep my back from getting too mad at me. I don't know if there's a better system, but this is very good, and has kept me going when I thought I'd have to quit due to back strain.
I've decided to go with a touring kayak, so am selling this to buy a Tsunami. I hope I won't regret it, but feel after 3 yrs that a touring kayak is where I should go.
If you want a stable boat for getting out to fish, paddle on lakes, or for short camping trips, this is a great boat. I give it a 9, only because I don't give 10's very often.
This is my second Pungo as I foolishly sold my first one when I bought my Capella. The new 2009 model that I bought has the new hatches, and front cockpit tray. Take a sponge, bilge pump, and do the front bulhead for contingency waves. Knock on wood, this kayak is so stable I have not turned my new one over yet. I paddle 1-2 times per week with two clubs, join a meetup group or club in your area its free and you will learn a lot.
The price is really cheap, 815-850 plus tax is the price most shops sell these for in my area. I can't say enough how comfortable this Pungo is inside, you will adjust a few time but, Wilderness has been very smart and now sacrificed their quality seat. I did break the little switch under the cup holder but, my kayak shop replaced that free of charge.
I hope Wilderness keeps improving and beefing up this model. The 2009 model has a few subtle changes that I really like versus the 2006. My suggestion, go rent one first, I think anyone who buys a kayak blind is taking a chance, I tried the Tsunami first and really thought I would buy one but, my buddy let me use his Pungo and I was very very surprised. Stay safe, I know I really like mine. BTW If you are not experienced and getting into this, choose a bright colored one, power boaters are really really dangerous in my area.
Mine came with the Kayak Konsole which is neat and keeps my gear within easy reach. The area behind the seat is large but also makes putting a skirt on this boat difficult. There's lots of space in the rear bulkhead area and I just ordered a bulkhead for the front. WS is now making the Pungo with a forward bulkhead and you can order one from your dealer. That will help immensely with keeping water out of the boat while going through large wave trains.
I have had a couple quality issues with my boat. The pull on the Phase 3 seat for pulling the seat back up came off about six months after buying the boat and I cannot get it back on. My rear deck cover keeps popping off in warm weather (which is why WS went to a new system) and can be a pain in the butt. I resealed my rear bulkhead after some leaking began and now its good.
I love the boat, it does exactly what I needed it to do but be careful you read the reviews and get the boat suited for your paddling needs. Different kayaking opportunities require different boats.
Seals now makes a neoprene spray skirt for this boat with a zipper. Unfortunately I cannot find one and EMS was unable to order the correct one for me...
This is a great boat for larger paddlers but keep in mind that it is still a recreational boat. Don't expect the console to keep waves out when trying to get through the breakers. The cockpit is large which makes it easy for you (or big waves) to enter and exit (bilge pump required). It has lots of storage and (as a bonus) you can easily access the space behind the seat while paddling along. I keep a small tackle box there and it’s out of the way until I need it. The upgraded hatches on the 2009 models are a must and they also improved the seal around the bulkhead making it very water tight. If you are a recreational paddler take a long, hard look at this kayak.
The Pungo 140 is great - wide, stable, tracks straight and has lots of storage. I'm a big guy at 6' 270 and I fit fine with plenty of room. Two Thumbs up from me.
I LOVE the new hatches and the console is made with heavier material as well. I got the sand color which is really nice. I have a Seals Splash deck and that kept the drips off. I have to say this yak performed flawlessly... nothing like the Heritage Featherlite 12 I had for a week and returned. Awesome yak...highly recommend. I am 5'6" 230lbs.
PS: Our friends rent every time, they have tried everything out there. The other husband is 6' and about 260 lbs and he now will only ever rent a 140 as he is sure the others will submerge or tip and he is extremely uncomfortable in them.
I have 2 - 140 Pungo's, 1-Duralite 120 Pungo, two Prion yaks and a Hurricane 16-5. I use them all but I use the Pungo most, it's fast, stable and I'm able to pack a lot of camp gear in it. Plus the large cockpit is a big plus, pardon the pun. Now throw in the phase 3 seat and you have a rec boat that can't be beat. I have modified a canopy top to fit on top and that works great for sun or rain. The new boat rates a 10, only because I can't rate it any higher.
This summer, after trying a couple of times to paddle a tandem with my wife, we traded the Pamlico 135T in for a new Pungo 140 Duralite for my wife. In addition to the lighter weight, the new model has some nice upgrades, including the padding on the cockpit opening (which help protect the knees when paddling, and the shoulder when carrying it) and the dashboard (which gives you some nice small water tight storage).
Thanks to the sales lady at Aldens, we went with the 140 for my wife rather than the 120 which we originally thought about buying. We are glad that we did, although after a couple of times out, she was not just keeping up, but passing me on occasion.
If you are a big boy or girl looking for a recreational kayak that will make you seem like an experienced kayaker, the Pungo 140 is a sure bet.
If you live in the Northeast, you should check out Alden of Sunapee in Newport, NH as a place to shop. They are a small shop with everything you need. They have the knowledge, the advice, the service, a wide range of inventory, and a great place to try them on the water before you buy.
If you are looking for a good place to paddle after you buy it, you should take a trip to Wells Harbor in Wells Beach, ME (Maine). There are a variety of places to paddle, all protected from the ocean. Don't forget the sunscreen!!!
I do not do sea kayaking but have had a few "white cap" issue in large lakes and no problems. I have paddled 140 rentals in Coastal Maine and the water was not flat and the Pungo was fine. I normally paddle 15-30 miles many weekends year round.
I read about all of the problems with these boats - deck rigging - took me two hours on each boat to customize mine and what paddler wants their boat the same as anyone else?
Flotation in the bow - a super large ziplock bag or another dry bag and you have your flotation. I would not want a bow bulkhead. When I camp I STUFF stuff until it is really full. I put my BIG AGNES bag in a compression bag along with my tent and it slides lovely into the bow along with many other odds and ends.
Fishing! - wow what fun in this comfortable sit-in - we have some very fertile lakes here - old reclaimed phosphate mines . The panfish grow to such sizes that they pull the Pungo around. Speaking of kayak fishing - I take newbies fishing. What a great tutorial for boat control. Fishing and river clean-up are great boat control tools and the Pungo excels in all of these.
There are many great boats out there but the Pungo line works for me as a touring, instructional, fishing and just all around fine boat . I have tried many boats and bought several and subsequently sold them.
When you look at a boat that you will spend HOURS in - look at the Pungo behind the seat storage. I put a day pack, large Camelbac, rain gear and a small soft sided cooler back there.
I have paddled this boat all over and in different types of water from the Pamlico Sound on the outer banks of North Carolina, lakes and rivers of Michigan (incl. The great lakes)and I now live in Florida and have paddled from the Gulf to the backwater mangroves and this boat does it all. I have it rigged for fishing but it will also carry a ton of camping gear. This boat if rigged properly (a no-ceeum net instead of a spray skirt) and proper ultralight camping techniques a person can lay down "set the net" from inside and sleep on the beach in that cockpit and be the first one to the fish in the morning ...you can't do that with a bulkhead installed. You can't do that with any other brand of boat in that class.
I encourage people to paddle all kinds of boats and then make their decision, one boat isn't right for everyone. But this week I just bought another Pungo 140 and now I have 3...the whole family loves them. My wife and I are 45 years old and will have these boats for along time… like I said they do everything. A 10 +++
The reason I only gave the 140 an '8' was the lack of a front bulkhead. Being accustomed to a flat bottomed yak, my second trip out in this slight v hull resulted in my rolling it over after going over a 4' high dam. As others have said it was impossible to bail empty without beaching and turning it over. Fortunately I was in a not-too-wide river as it would have been dangerous in the chop of a bay or ocean. I read another reviewers comment that the company will email you a bulkhead template and sell you the foam block to fit one yourself, but that information is not quite accurate; they promised to email me the template (it's been 5 days and it's not here yet) but they won't sell the foam block. They said "go to any dealer of Wilderness Systems kayaks and they will order it for you." My dealer said he had never heard of that (and he's been a dealer of theirs for years), but promised to look into it for me. To not offer a front bulkhead is foolish to begin with, but why bother to have a front hatch if you don't have a front bulkhead? Seems stupid from the get-go!
As for the handling and speed of this yak, I am more than pleased with its quietness and smooth glide and considerable swiftness, but I am still learning to anticipate starting my turns in narrow, tight, winding streams early enough as this yak doesn't exactly turn on a dime as my flat bottomed yak does. In the flat bottom yaks they use channels and chines for tracking control, while the gentle v hull doesn't need them. But that v means no 'turn within your length' maneuvers as I have become accustomed to. And leaning doesn't help carving a turn one iota! The only other thing I found missing was side bungee straps for holding my paddle that my previous yak had, but I've already added those in myself. The front and rear bungees are only good for small packs and accessories.
On the whole I am quite pleased with this kayak, and my much more experienced yak buddy has commented that it is one good looking and running yak. Buy one and you won't be disappointed!
There are two things that you must do prior to using the 140 to it's max: that is a forward bulkhead (easy to install) and a #7 Seal skirt. Oh by the way the level bow does cut the waves at 2 ft., but never falters the speed or tracking.
Great yak and great price.
This boat fits the bill perfectly. I tried about 8 boats before this one and it was no contest. I've been fishing out of it and it is VERY stable. Had a storm blowing in the other night and had to rush back in - no problem keeping up with my friend in his 16ft touring boat. I love the roomy cockpit and the padded thigh braces. Debating whether or not to install a front bulkhead -- it makes good fishing pole storage without one, but I guess I can install a rod holder behind me. The only thing I don't like is that the cockpit is so long that it's really a stretch to try and reach anything you attach to your front deck rigging.
I give it a 9.4/10
HINT: For installing the stern oval hatch cover, clean the cover and the plastic and spray a small amount of 303 on each & spread it around with your fingers. The cover goes on with a snap.
We can't find anything wrong with all 4 Pungo's. In the bow, we use 3 waterproof bags, each with a different colored 1/8" rope attached. Food is in one bag, essentials, (sun screen, tp etc. another and the third has a waterproof plastic case with cell phone, camera, GPS, compass etc. When we want something pull in that cord--when finished, push it back with the paddle or your foot.
Clothes, and other (dry) equipment goes in the rear bulkhead, and a 6 pack cooler goes behind the seat. Wilderness Systems now has a plastic unit called a "DASHBOARD" which fastens like a small spray skirt right in front of the operator. It is new this year, 07, and is a magnificent for fishing or where ever you need a rigid support.
We use a Dirty Dave anchor trolly to anchor by either the bow or stern.
The Pungo is a 10+ in our opinions.
For camping on flat(ish) water, I would say that this boat is awesome. You can pack a ton of stuff in her. I agree with others about the lack of a front bulkhead so I installed one myself. It wasn’t exactly easy but the peace of mind is worth it. And yes, on flat water you would deliberately have to try to capsize to get her to go over. The deck rigging was also lacking but I see that Wilderness Systems has addressed that somewhat in their newer models. This is easy to fix and actually kind of fun.
If you hope to develop intermediate kayak skills then this boat will stop you just shy of that goal. It doesn’t really respond to an edge but it can carve a turn with a low brace. Of course, rolling is out of the question. But you can bring a cooler or tackle box with no problem. I have also had my young kids sit in the cockpit in front of me while I paddle. Try that in an NDK Romany.
So, great rec boat . Good Speed. Tracks well and doesn’t weather cock too bad (If it does you probably shouldn’t be out in that weather). You can pack it like a barge but it doesn’t paddle like one. Comfortable to paddle for hours. I’ll be moving on to a more serious boat but if I had the storage space I would keep her.
It handles very well in streams with sharp turns. I think it has great storage capacity for extra stuff. It's easy to fish out of. I'm glad that I have it and look forward to many more seasons.
It is quicker than most recreational bathtubs, as it should be, being 14 ft long. It is not only noticeably slower than any real touring kayak, but the width ( 28 inches vs 22-24 inches for a normal touring 'yak) interferes with paddling if you’re used to a touring kayak and makes you use a longer paddle.
I wouldn't really want to take it out in the ocean because of the huge cockpit, lack of front bulkhead, and I don’t like the down-sloping nose.
I gave it a 7 because in my opinion its as good as flat-water rec boats go, but don't go comparing it to a touring kayak in speed. And I don’t see it being sea worthy even compared to 14-15 ft rec-touring cross over boats.
I had read in the book that, in order to make a sharper turn, you should lean the boat in order to shorten the water line. While practicing, my leans became bolder, and my turns sharper, until the inevitable happened....the water came in and I went out.
At this point I learned the price of not having a front bulkhead. There was obviously no way I could get back in the boat, as it was mostly submerged. The little bit of foam in the bow didn't do much.
This kind of mishap is why I chose to learn in a small warm lake, so there was no danger, only a bruised ego. I got a tow to the shore, holding on to the tow boat with one hand and to the Pungo with the other. But it made me think about what could happen if the water was colder, the body of water larger, and there were fewer passing boats.
Once home, I immediately ordered a large float bag, which will keep the bow floating, but renders useless the forward hatch.
I am wondering if anyone out there who has installed a front bulkhead would mind posting a description of the process and materials used to make the bulkhead and any other useful information?
I will post an updated review of the Pungo 140 when I have more experience.
The 7.5’ lightweight Warner paddle (black carbon fiber handle and bright yellow blades, all the better to see me with) worked quite well. However, in 25 mph breezes the drip rings did not help keep water out of the boat… it just flew straight off the paddle and onto my jeans. I’ll use the spray shield next time out in heavy winds. There is plenty of room for a small child or dog in the cockpit. And the foot braces placed high in the boat enabled easy bracing of my knees under the cockpit top. I’ll probably pad that area a little after a few further runs when I’m certain what my paddling position will become.
In short, the Pungo does exactly what I thought it would it is a good tracking boat that responds easily and confidently to a lean, takes to both skinny water and open water white caps well. Thus far, it gets a 10 of 10 from this senior paddler.
Currently I am thrilled with the Pungo 140. I am a large person, 6'2", tipping the scales around 300 lbs., obviously one of my factors for deciding on the 140.
Getting in and out of the Yak is an interesting process with my size and bad knees… actually, getting in is easier than getting out... but I am still learning the best ways to accomplish this. The cockpit opening size is a major plus for a large person.
The seating system in the Pungo 140 is superb. No time while out on the water was I ever uncomfortable. I could make easy seating adjustments while seated in the Yak. At no time did I have any comfort problems with my long legs or bad knees. The Yak does feel "tipsy" when getting out, but as mentioned earlier, that is probably my own inexperience.
The space behind the seat (between the seat and the real bulkhead) is really great for those items that you need to readily get too. I had purchase one of those plastic (see thru) gallon jars with a screw on lid for storing my cell phone, keys, etc... I duct taped a small rope around the neck and attached the other end of the rope to the Yak. Keeps everything dry, and easily accessible. I threw the Jar/Jug into the lake and if floats readily with everything in it. Even floats with the lid up and out of the water. The two covers to the bulk heads are a little bit of a problem in getting on.
One of the first things that I found interesting was that the Yak seems to "right it's self". It is very forgiving when tilting to one side or the other. I feel very safe and comfortable with it's stability while in the water (thought the stability getting in and out seems a bit awkward to me right now... but that may be due to my inexperience).
The Yak handles like a charm. We could easily navigate into some very shallow waters with the only thing I had to watch out for was getting into too tight a stream... which wouldn't allow me to get turned around. So far so good. I'll give an updated review later after having had more experience with the Yak. For now I am thoroughly happy with our purchases. I'm rating at an 8 for now as there are some issues I'll want to check out.
I love the idea of the rear bulkhead, fortunately I haven't "sunk" yet, so I don't know the effect of not having a bulkhead up front. I was thinking that it shouldn't be too hard to install a front bulkhead... BUT, I'm not sure. I don't have any idea what the material is that they use in the rear or if it is available to us to install up front. I think that would be a good idea.
Again I am completely pleased with the decision to purchase the Pungo 140. The seating system and the foot bracing system (and its ease of adjustment) I'd have to give these items a 10. (Seating/foot bracing system a 10, and the overall Yak an 8)
Before I took my boat to Cape Cod last fall for a fishing trip I decided to practice wet exit and re-entry in a warm lake and had a similar experience to the two previous posters. I had to stay in the water to bail/pump out the boat as there was minimal freeboard and it took me over 30 mins. before I could clamber back in using a paddle float. If there had been any chop I could not have bailed out the boat.
Realizing that in choppy, cold water I would have been in real trouble, I bought some closed cell foam and installed the front bulkhead, having removed the tiny piece of foam inserted in the bow for "flotation". I now have much improved flotation, much reduced volume to bail out and a usable water resistant front bulkhead storage area. However, it was a laborious process cutting the bulkhead to size and it would have been a lot easier if the manufacturer could have supplied one.
Apart from this quibble, I am as pleased with my Pungo as most of the previous posters. It is stable, fast and a great fishing platform and my wife enjoys paddling it as much as I do. Thinking of buying a second boat this spring - maybe the Tsunami?
I especially like the seat (which is very comfortable) and appreciate the extra room behind the seat, where I put a see through dry bag which contains stuff that I need to get at quickly. My boat is light blue and I have received many comments on how nice it looks in the water. I have hit lots of rocks and stumps with it so it has lots of scratches on the bottom but the performance seems unaffected. I like everything about the 140 and would give it a perfect 10 if it had come with a front bulkhead. If anyone reading this has had a 140 and found something that is superior, I would appreciate hearing from you.
I had already discovered the glories of the Phase 3 seat in my shorter Pungos, so that wasn't a big deal on the 140. For an older paddler such as myself, the thigh supports are a real plus, they reduce the strain on my knees.
When I took the 140 sea kayaking in North Carolina, I had no trouble keeping up with the group and it handled the chop, wind, and the huge wake of a large tanker as well as the 15' sea kayaks with rudders being used by others on the tour. Actually, for an intermediate paddler, the built-in skeg in the back makes it perform better in those conditions than it does on a narrow, fast running river with lots of logs and rocks to maneuver around. On large, open water it tracks arrow straight and moves miles with effortless paddling, but in all honesty, for an 11 mile river run with three class I rapids, I left it at home and took a 12' boat. The limitation was in me, not in the boat, and a more experienced paddler could have made the run in the 140. After being used to the 140 performance, paddling the flat stretches of that 11 mile run in a Pungo Classic 12 felt like I was towing an anvil.
I'm convinced the 140 can handle anything the paddler has the skills to do. Every time I buy a boat I shop and try the demos, but I keep coming back to the the Pungos, and the 140 is the leader of the pack.
It fits well, I'm 6'3" and 200 pounds. Having a spider phobia (you would too if you lived in S. Mississippi) I appreciate the long cockpit which lets me see where my feet are going. It's also nice to be able to lift your knees, hang your feet over the side, and generally relax while paddling.
The boat deals handily with two foot waves and strong winds and has good reserve stability. Does much better than my friend's Loon 111. Still, I would not want to be out in bigger waves. The boat might be capable of it, but I don't want to find out. Tracking is great, as a corollary turning is not, but still not bad if you get the nerve up to lean as far as the boat will let you, a long way. It is a great boat for the protected Gulf Water I frequent.
The Phase III seat is terrific. The hatches water tight. I'm not sure why one is needed up front since there's no bulkhead, however my dachsund enjoys sticking his head out up there and surveying the landscape.
The boat's polyethelene material abrades but appears to be indestructible, I inadvertently launched it from a pickup going about 10 miles per hour. The boat bounced a couple of times on the pavement, picked up a few scratches, but was otherwise fine.
I find I'm beginning to want something longer, faster, lighter, narrower, and/or something designed to surf, but that seems to be a normal progression. For what I bought it to do, paddle out to a mile off barrier island in good weather and explore the local bayous the boat is perfect and just as advertised.
The Pungo 140 is also a great looking kayak, and I have had several powerboaters including a guy in a million dollar sportfisher throttle back to ask me what kind of Kayak I was paddling.
I would highly reccomend this kayak to anyone whether they are an experienced paddler or a beginer. I would have to say this kayak is one of the best purchases that I have ever made. it is a great value for the money.
As far as other people's complaints, they are obviously easy to remedy. 303 on the underside of the rubber hatch lids, and just have some deck lines added if you need more storage on top of the kayak. I also have the large spray skirt. I added some "clip-on" suspenders to hold the waist up a bit. Common sense will get you everywhere! This is much easier than just complaining about these small "issues".
All-in-all, a great kayak. I would recommend one to anyone. They are good for a beginner, to a more seasoned kayaker. I have had all shapes/sizes/ages/skill levels try out my Pungo. And, they all say the same things. How much fun it was to paddle, how easy it was to paddle, and how stable it was. Hopefully, I will get more and more people interested in this "sport".