Read reviews for the Tempest 165 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!
Just wanted to chime in for the heavier rowers considering a tempest 165 but scared off by average rower reviews. Im 5'10 215 lbs, size 11 shoes. Intermediate to advanced rower. Former Marine and stocky.
I was worried at first that i wouldn't fit this boat. Especially since the website says small to medium people and reviews were all by smaller people. But the measurements looked right so I gave one a shot. Pleasantly surprised to see that i slipped right in. Feels like a normal greenland style to me. Feet can move in all direction without hitting deck and the cockpit fit right. After sitting in it I immediately purchased from the seller. My intentions were for it to be a playful day boat that I could still use to cover some ground in. It has been great for that. Still enough room for few days worth of stuff if you expedition row.
Been rowing this boat for about 2 months now. Initial impressions were good and have only gotten better. Good primary stability, excellent secondary. It is a fast boat that holds 5mph ish all day speed for me. It does weathercock if you don't use the skeg. Not noticeably more than any other boat I've rowed (theres been a lot)but it does happen. On flat water it feels pretty much like every sea kayak i've ever rowed. If you usually row sea kayaks then you get it. Very much like a dagger alchemy with more speed. But where it really shines is when the water gets a little disturbed. Loves chop and speed. Just feels at home like that. Not sure if its the boat or me but on flatwater i feel bored its so predicable. Thats kind of nice in a way.
First trip was a 17 miler down a local river that has a nice long class 2/3 strip in the middle. I was a little concerned taking a new to me boat on that run but it really got me to trust the secondary stability and test the edged turning on cutbacks. Even had a chance to do a recovery of another rower that went in. Since then i have been out in conditions up to 20kt winds and 3-4 foot swells mixed directions. Felt comfortable and playful all the time. I have rowed stuff in this that some of my other boats would have me bracing non stop in.
Rolling is easy, self recoveries are smooth. Just enough room for me to slide in and do a re-enter and roll. No accidental spills yet though. its just matter of time lol.
Rigging is good and up to sea kayak standards. I had happened to pick up an older boat so it had the regular phase 3 in it. That wasn't gonna work for me so i stole the airpro phase 3 out of my loaner tsunami 140 and put it in this boat. Sucks for people that get my loaner, but go buy your own if you want a nicer seat :-) As a side note, yes it is def worth it to upgrade if you can. The Airpro phase 3 is a great seat.
I find that my weight really makes the boat just a little more sweet. Kind of like where they say boats settle with more gear, this boat settles into the perfect zone for me. If you are thinking of a 170 due to size, do yourself a favor and try out the 165 first. you may find that it feels better than a 170. For some reason unless you are like 120lbs they always push you to the 170. I gave it a 9 purely due to weight of the boat. Cant wait to test out the pro for comparison.
Its sleeve and length makes TEMPEST fast, its dagger board corrects drift and lower front bathtub, allows maximum control over the boat.
It’s the vest choice if you are an initiated kayakist.
Long: 503 cm
width: 55 cm
weigh: 24 Kg
Loading capacity: 136 Kg
As an open water craft, I am thrilled with how well this boat performs. As other reviewers point out, there is noticeable weather-cocking if any wind is present, however, the adjustable skeg eliminates that problem completely. Once the skeg is down, the boat just locks in. I remain giddy about how little wind and chop affect my speed. This thing cuts like a knife. In tight areas, or without wind, I don't use the skeg because there is adequate tracking from the boat's keel. That said, when I brace and turn on an edge, the boat feels like it's half it's length.
I love the adjustable seat and braces and the hatch covers do a great job of keeping water out when you're upright.
I've noticed that I get about a cup of water in each compartment every time I roll. Because of its wonderful performance and quality, I am absolutely thrilled that I own this boat and I would buy it again, if I had to do it over.
The older rear cover leaked and imploded and was awful. The very original one was nice and you could use a bungee if needed. The bad one, or awful one, was the second generation design. This last one (I think 2009 is when it came out?) works well. It did not implode and it did not leak. I rolled the kayak at least 20 times and even let it float around upside down for a while. I was happy to see the rear compartment still dry.
I don't know if it is another case of some do and some don't but this did not leak at all.
It's been a reliable and enjoyable boat to paddle, though on longer trips I get leg cramping and a sore butt if I don't periodically stretch.
It's maneuverability is good with the skeg up and it tracks like an arrow with the skeg down. There have been a few times I missed having a rudder, especially when paddling around coves and such but my main purpose for getting this kayak was so I could cover more ground faster.
I have decided that I'm not a big fan of the day hatch. I'm older and not flexible enough to access it while paddling. Since the skeg box breaks up the space in the back, I would rather have one large compartment for stowing gear on overnight trips. Cosmetically speaking, the boat has beautiful lines and the WS Phase 3 seat is the most adjustable and comfortable seat I have had so far.
One note of caution... I'm 5'6", 160 lbs and have size 10 shoes. If you're any bigger than me, you may not fit in the kayak. The cockpit fits me like a glove but I do find my feet a bit cramped. It's nothing I can't deal with but knowing what I know now, I probably would have gone with the Tempest 170 which has a slightly higher deck.
Overall it's an excellent kayak that will handle big wind and waves, even if I'm ready to yet.
The Tempest 165 was far and away the best boat I tried. From the moment I got in - I could tell... It was perfect. Many adjustment positions enabled it to become better than perfect. I belong to a club of FAST kayakers - and I wanted to be able to at least half-way keep up - but I am usually at the front or near the front with comparative ease. I disagree with another reviewer - this is a very fast boat if you know how to paddle a kayak properly.
For capsize training - the boat is great. It was much easier to re-enter than a Necky model I was originally trained in.
For comfort, the tempest is very good. The seat is fine, and I can lean all the way back on the deck. I do not know how to roll - but this yak is very stable and it dinks easily. It also edges remarkably well, enabling it to turn fast and easy. I do get leg cramps after a few hours - but with the on-the-fly foot peg adjustments - I can easily stretch out and change my position.
I seldom use the skeg unless I am in a heavy wind. It does not turn well with the skeg down but it stays straight in the wind when using the skeg. Since the skeg is infinitely adjustable - you can find the combination you need for the wind you are fighting.
I have already abused the yak tremendously by bumping logs, skimming rocks and running up onto beaches. There are many scratches on the Kayak - ... But it takes abuse well. I do not think I could ever have a glass boat - I would destroy it in no time.
Storage capacity is much less than I would like. It handles a three day trip - if you don't carry too much water and gear. If it carried more, I probably would not like the size and shape of it - so I cannot complain too much. It is what it is - a moderate sized, fast, comfortable boat that is one of the most highly rated on the market.
For what it is - the boat is not too heavy. The weight is an honest 55 pounds (I checked) - which includes the seat, hatch covers and rigging. Other folks I know have found that their Kayak's weight was understated by several pounds or more... I still need help with transporting it because it is long and bulky. I am sure a person with big feet (mine are tiny) would have a lot of trouble because I don't have a lot of foot-lifting room.
I feel very secure in this boat. It is 21.5 inches wide - and is soft chined. You can lean it over at virtually any angle - and the transition is continuous and smooth. I do not think I will ever want a hard chined boat after finding out all the advantages of the rounded bottom. Most people are fixated on getting a wide, stable boat - and then they find that it is slow and uncomfortable to paddle. This boat is stable like a wider boat, but sleek enough to prevent knuckle bashing.
The best thing to do is rent, rent, rent. Never buy a boat without testing it. I am so glad I kept looking. Any boat would have been OK for me. But only this Tempest was outstanding. No regrets.
The Tempest has a very comfortable seat, thigh hooks and backband. Just awesome. And, with its coaming shape and low aft deck, is the most comfortable cockpit to lay back in of any boat I've ever tried, including homemade specialized "cheater" rolling boats. I removed the hip pads to allow full motion for balance brace, etc. (They can be easily reinstalled.)
Yes, the hatches leak, but I understand newer models have improved covers that don't. The cockpit coaming leaks too. It's plastic.
This boat is not fast, but fast enough. I take long day-paddles, and have no trouble keeping up with younger companions who use Euro paddles in longer boats. I find I always use some skeg -- without it, the boat has no tracking whatsoever. Skeg down, the boat is still very maneuverable and, again, fast enough. And the cockpit is SO comfy...
The Tempest is good in rough water, and rides waves in surf well. A faster boat catches waves better in the short-period chop of the Great Lakes and is more fun for surfing here on the third coast.
I plan to get a sleeker, drier composite boat to use for most day paddling and short overnights. But for teaching and other bashing about, and working on the range of Greenland rolls at the pool, I doubt I will ever trade in my RM Tempest.
I use the boat on reservoirs, rivers with barge traffic, and small creeks. I am a powerful paddler (male, 45 years old) and I can easily average 4-5 knots per hour with my Tempest. I occasionally paddle 5-8 knots upstream, dawdle in the woods for an hour, and then paddle downstream-all in one long afternoon.
I cover so much distance that finding good water to paddle has become a problem. The river in my area has both power boat/jet ski traffic in good weather and tug/barge traffic at all times. I had been river kayaking at night to avoid the power and jet ski operators that constantly endangered me, but an uncomfortably close call with a tug and barge tow has put me off night river kayaking somewhat. There are no creeks longer than five miles locally, so I have to drive from 30-100 miles to find a long stretch of “small water.” But back to the review…
My Tempest is a high performance vessel and has never let me down. I abuse this boat. I have a Werner Corryvrecken paddle, and I put it to good use. I paddle my Tempest into creeks that are just a few inches deep and so narrow I have to split my paddle and use it like hand paddles. I use an aggressive, high angle paddling style, and I have, on several creeks, inadvertently paddled so fast and so far that I ran aground before I saw the stream bed.
I have slid my Tempest over stumps and logs (skeg retracted, of course) and it just keeps going. I have launched and beached in nasty areas. My Tempest has a many scratches and gouges, but like the Energizer bunny, it just keeps going.
My boat has taken me places I didn’t think were possible in a kayak. I have gone so far in streams that I have to pick up my kayak and pivot it, upright on the stern, to turn it around. I have come within 50 yards of beaver; the wild animals are apparently unaccustomed to a human venturing so far into the bush.
This boat will do whatever you want-from fast fitness paddling on rivers and reservoirs, to surfing chop and boat wakes, to lazily drifting in a narrow stream. I absolutely love it. The array of deck lines and bungees does become entangled in tree limbs and such when I am deep in the bush, but this is, after all, a sea kayak. The lines and bungees serve me very well when I setup for a nighttime or river paddle and need a full complement of gear, spare paddle, paddle float, deck bag, bow/stern lighting, etc.
The Tempest weathercocks badly with the skeg retracted. I can be drifting downstream with my skeg up and the boat will pivot amidships with the lightest wind. I can gradually lower my skeg and observe the instant that the skeg’s lateral resistance equals the windage and my vessel stabilizes. The reviewer that said the Tempest skeg was so small as to be ineffective was, in my opinion, completely incorrect. The skeg’s effect is pronounced, both in correcting windage and, if you are a perceptive paddler, in the additional hydrodynamic resistance it incurs.
I don’t view the weathercocking as a design flaw. As a previous reviewer stated, the 165 has a tremendous amount of rocker. The heavily rockered hull, when combined with a little body English and paddle work, makes this kayak extremely maneuverable. The rocker causes the Tempest to pivot amidships noticeably. I believe this is as per design.
I put the skeg down on the river with winds of 15 knots and it readily handles 2’ chop and following seas. I have had my Tempest out on the river in 3-4’ wind-driven waves when the power boat crowd was nervously heading for the boat ramp-and looking at me like I was insane. The limitations I experience are my own; this boat seems unsinkable and unstoppable.
I can put the skeg up and go stump jumping. I am not a whitewater or extreme paddler, but this kayak will make anyone of decent ability feel like an Olympic sprinter or extreme athlete. I am in good physical condition, but I am by no means an advanced paddler.
This boat will bring out the beast in you if you tend toward an aggressive stroke. I sometimes hear the theme music from “Hawaii 5-0” in the back of my mind when that big paddle blade takes bite after bite after bite. I really have to watch paddling downstream-it is far too easy to get going for an hour or two and forget how difficult the upstream leg will be.
Although the WS website describes the friendly handling of the Tempest, I do not think it is a beginner’s kayak. I paddled a 12’ recreational kayak for two months before I bought the Tempest. I called my rec boat “the barge” because I had developed my skills such that the first kayak felt ponderous and slow. Launching with a good deal of unmerited bravado, I nearly capsized the first time I took my Tempest out. That said, one quickly develops the necessary skills. I am very comfortable in the kayak now-I actually dozed off once in my Tempest after taking a long break in warm weather…
The kayak definitely seems to handle better and paddle more smoothly with a bit of cargo. I always carry a heavy toolkit and extensive first-aid kit. As most of my paddling is of late, cold weather, I also carry two dry bags with extra clothes and Mylar blankets. I am a budding sailor, so the idea of ballast may be more acceptable to me than to others. The Tempest just seems smoother with a bit of weight, this is particularly true when I have it up to speed, the momentum seems aided by the weight low in my bilge.
This kayak, especially when combined with a large-bladed paddle, high angle stroke, and aggressive cadence, will give you a workout like you won’t believe. You will cover a surprising distance in short time-regardless of the paddle style and cadence you prefer.
I have not experienced leaky hatches. My rescue repertoire is a paddle float reentry or swim to shore, so I have not repeatedly rolled my kayak. WS hatches have something of a two-step hatch cover sealing requirement. The lower edge of the cover doesn’t audibly “snap” or such, but I can definitely feel whether it is fully seated or not. I have observed fishermen with WS SOTs not properly seating their hatch covers; I believe this may contribute to the problem. I also use ¼” bungees in the hatch cover recess. I always store and transport my vessel with the hatch covers removed and stowed within the hatches. This prolongs the life of the hatch covers.
The 165 is intended for small or midsize paddlers (I am 5’8” and a fairly muscled 175lb). It is significantly different from the 170. This boat won’t carry enough gear for an extended wilderness expedition, but it does everything I want to do incredibly well. This is an excellent all-around kayak and I give it my highest recommendation.
Primary stability is solid and I can easily bend around to access day hatch or grab greenland paddle from back deck. Smaller soup waves roll under the 165 and its stable to just sit there. Secondary is also good and has a predictable and solid balance point and leaning or edging the kayak is confidence inspiring plus fun.
Speed is good enough.
Can camp for a week but only essentials and backpacking gear. Fit tent (tent pegs in the back hatch) in front of footpegs in cockpit - fit 10 + 6 litre water bladders behind seat in cockpit. Is just as good to paddle fully loaded just heavier/slower handling.
Rough water is no problem with me in this kayak. I like to paddle in/on a river month surf zone where the 165 is really capable and doesn't go over to easily ( my skills have increased this year)- I enjoy playing in the rougher stuff and with its low front/back decks this allows for a good range of body movement in and around the cockpit(lay right back if the boat feels like its going over to save a capsize)
Rolls very well - positive fit helps as well. Tracks well - don't need the skeg much. Edges well when tilted.
Big negative with this plastic Tempest is the bid oval back hatch lid has come off - once for me and once with other paddler - both times in the surf. Now have some bungie cord running over it. Day and back hatch leak water, not normally a lot, but more when the kayak spends any time up side down. Bit of a bummer!
Would give the Tempest 165 a better score if the hatches were better. I'll continue to enjoy this nice all-rounder.
Here are the good (non-technical) points: 1. excellent rolling; 2. GREAT in surf and other dodgy conditions; 3. easy access skeg, though hardly need to use it; 4. Can sit in the seat all day (paddling) and still hold a glass of vino as the sun goes down; 5. even as a wee lass can carry the darn thing and atop my 4Runner; 6. just feels 'right'.
And (non-technically) why it's not a '10': 1. can't pack as much gear as other boats of similar size or 6" longer - but also means I pack lean (and drink less); 2. the rear bigger hatch leaks in surf and when rolling, no matter if it's a new hatch or not and I jump up and down on the darn thing.
More than happy to recommend this boat.
Unloaded, this is a fun daytripper even at my size. I didn't expect this, and it has been a wonderful surprise. It has a very smooth, predictable feel when it is about to broach, which makes it easy to control. Its strong secondary stability allows me to put it on edge almost to vertical. Primary stability is also strong, but that has never been an issue for me in any kayak.
The skeg movement feels incredibly slick and works perfectly, though it makes a soft thunk when edging or rolling. I found the kayak and skeg to work the way they are supposed to: weathercock with skeg up (if more than a light wind), run downwind with skeg all the way down, and tuneable at all points in between.
Outfitting in cockpit and deck rigging are well-thought-out. I can't fault those on anything. Because I am so small (and because I wanted to match my seat height to that of another kayak I own), I added 1/2" minicell foam under the seat cover. I initially paddled the kayak without this mod and liked it, but this addition made the fit even better. YMMV.
Leaking hatches are not a problem. The bow hatch is always 100% dry no matter what. The day hatch and stern hatch sometimes get literally a few drops of water in them, only after rolling practice. The amounts involved can be dried with a Kleenex. Sometimes they stay dry even after rolling practice, so I think this is a function of (a) careful sealing of the hatch covers, and (b) temperature differential between cold water and hot air.
I also like the balance point of this kayak. I can shoulder-carry it, something I've not been able to do with kayaks of similar weight and size.
The T165 is easy to roll and easy to do paddle-float re-entry with. It really has no deficiency that I can think of, and a lot of strong points including behavior in boisterous water and wind.
There is a good balance between primary and secondary stability. The boat tracks well but also turns well when put on edge. It is reasonably fast, considering its 16.5 foot length, and it is exceptionally well-behaved in strong winds.
1) The cockpit is extremely comfortable.
2) Seat, thigh braces, hip pads, and foot pegs are easily adjustable.
3) It has good speed, despite its relatively short length.
4) The boat shines in the wind. The skeg allows excellent trimming for weathercocking and leecocking.
5) The front deck is low, reducing paddle strikes for short paddlers.
6) The backband and back deck are low, permitting the paddler to lie completely back on
the deck. This is also good for cowboy scrambles or other re-entries over the back deck. 7) The boat is very easy to roll.
8) Hardware and finish are good.
9) The convenient day hatch provides quick access to munchies, a paddle jacket, or other items.
10) The recessed compass niche is perfectly located and convenient.
1) Limited storage space for long trips. I find it adequate for 4-5 days.
2) Like any skeg boat, the skeg can jam. It needs occasional lubrication & cleaning.
3) On my boat the day hatch and rear hatch leak despite numerous attempts to fix them. I've talked with other Tempest owners who had similar problems.
I have enjoyed the boat tremendously and plan to keep it for a long time to come.
The best feature about this boat is that it is designed with thigh, hip and knee braces already installed. You can easily adjust it to a variety of humans (I'm a 5'3" female). It would be nice if other mfrs did that.
The worst feature is that every hatch leaks, the worst is the small day hatch. Sure, all plastic boats may leak, but this is the worst I've had so far. Yeah I use dry bags, but the bungee cords are annoying (funky design) and easy to lose, and the covers are not at all easy to put back on.
Like the many similarly-designed boats, it works well in rough water and will take care of you. It's tough finding that perfect all around performance boat (like to play and do long tours on the same trips). So I'm not impressed with my forward progress in quiet water or into 25 knot winds in Lopez Pass. It bounces along nicely in following seas.
I agree entirely with the previous review's example regarding correcting strokes. Even if you're a diehard "no skeg" user, you get tired of correcting and end up using it. I don't agree that the skeg is useless, you'll notice the drag and less maneuverability in waves when it's there, and it does get you from A to B. The skeg doesn't seem to leak. No problem rolling it.
Here is something obvious to me that I did not read from anybody yet. If you are looking to go from point A to point B in a straight line with back wind and waves greater than 2-3 feet, unfortunately you are looking for a bumpy ride, and you will require a lot of corrections. The skeg design for this boat is insufficient and the skeg is almost useless. Would this be corrected this would improve the boat many folds.
I do plan on going out into the surf a lot more and I need a buddy boat for one of my teens so it seemed very reasonable to get a used plastic kayak. A quick assessment of kayaks out there for my size ruled out all but the Necky Chatham 16 and the WS Tempest 165. The Chatham’s bow is very maneuverable it would be a fun boat in the surf, but the kayak doesn't track as well as the Tempest. Since I wasn't buying a kayak just for the surf I chose the Tempest 165. It was a good decision since the Tempest 165pro behaved wonderfully in the surf, maintains a nice speed and carries plenty of camping equipment too.
The plastic kayak responds just as nicely as my fiberglass kayak. It might even feel floatier? It edges just as nicely and rolling is a treat. I checked for leaks and found none. Hopefully WS has worked out the first year production bugs? The hatch covers seem too easy to get on and off compared to my fiberglass model, but the bungees take care of the fit well and I'll always have float bags installed when playing in the surf zone or crossing the surf zone. My fiberglass boat has a custom placed forward bulkhead so I don't use foot pegs. I'd like to change out the foot pegs in the plastic Tempest for more comfort, but that is the only thing I'd change.
What a lucky gal I am to have two Tempests. Why then am I dreaming about adding a Pygmy Artic Tern 14 and a surf ski to my fleet?
Compared to the Slip Stream:
The Tempest 165 (I'm 5'9" 150 lbs) has fantastic secondary stability - I can easily J lean much further without swimming than I ever could in the Slipstream. Paddling the Slipstream is like riding a unicycle - if you have good balance and are vigilant, you stay dry. If not, you swim (or have an impromptu rolling practice).
It's a dream to go through all the BCU 3* "school figures"; the Tempest comes up nicely from sculling for support or a roll. I can lay back over the back deck, which I never could do comfortably in the Slip Stream. There's much more storage space under the hatches, especially under the rear hatch where the skeg is placed further back than in the Slip Stream.
The cockpit, ah, the cockpit. It's like padding while sitting in a Barca lounger - extremely comfortable. No more pinched nerves (Slip Stream) or cut off circulation in the butt cheeks (I test paddled a Romany - ugh!). No need to add glue-in hip pads (I have narrow hips) for fit - the stock setting is just fine. And the thigh pads are comfortable for edging.
Hatches close easily and are watertight. Foot pegs easily adjustable.
Handles beautifully in 1'-5' waves with good maneuverability. Will try in surf next weekend but expect only good results.