Submitted: 10-03-2007 by Chuck54sd
I give the Gen-2 polyethylene Wilderness Systems Northstar a 9 out of 10. I am 6’ 240lbs, my girlfriend is 5’2” and (well let’s not go there)... but needless to say we both love the speed & stability that the Northstar provides and we can both easily slide in & out of the 20 inch wide cockpit. We do mostly river & back-water kayaking in the sometimes breezy conditions of South Dakota.
Things we like: the Northstar easily slices through the water, and weighing in at 93 lbs, with two people, is able to maintain a comfortable momentum (once up to speed) with minimal effort. We found that bent-shaft carbon fiber paddles greatly reduce fatigue and really compliments this boat. The hatches have remained dry on all trips we have gone out on thus far; it has excellent stability in rough waves; plenty of attach points & webbing to tie stuff on the top when heading out for a long trip; the rudder provides excellent response & control and is easily raised or lowered from the rear cockpit (I would recommend lubricating the pedal controls with a light grease on the slide mechanism for smoother operations); The Phase-3 seat is “awesome” you can adjust that puppy for a very comfortable seat and it breathes quite nicely even on the hottest days; being of polyethylene construction it is virtually indestructible for most river hazards (we can run over rocks, branches, and whatever is just below the water without fear of cracks or tears); bottom line... this kayak is joy to own and has provided hours of kayaking pleasure.
Things we didn’t like: Face it... this is a heavy boat at 93 lbs.... once in the water it is great.... getting it there can be a challenge. After our initial struggles....we purchased a Thule 897XT Hullvator which effortlessly loads the boat on top of my 3-dr Geo Metro and a NRS boat cart....thus problem solved !!! We have not experienced any heat related warping of the plastic hull, and based on other reviewer’s comments have taken great care to ensure our Northstar is well supported in transit & storage. We also periodically polish it with Formula 303 to provide UV protection of the polyethylene and make it shine.
To get a 10 out of 10, it would weigh 50 lbs, still be as strong as an ox, and load itself onto our car on command.... but in the real world.... this is an excellent value and a great tandem kayak choice for novice or expert alike.