Submitted: 01-18-2012 by JWS
Very pleased with the Wilderness 170 poly. Has been my first kayak and have had it for 1 1/2 years. I'm 5-10 and 200#'s and I like to call it a sturdy body style:-) After reading some posts about the hatches coming off/lose, I did put some cross straps on them and have never had a problem.
While I haven't got a lot of experience in others except for short stints, it seems to track quite well w/o using the skeg, and with it, it feels like its on a guided wire. I don't roll in it but a re-entry is not difficult. Haven't had to do that in rough water as the boat feels pretty stable. I have done a little surf paddling around Seattle and over some LARGE container ship waves where if you take them head on, you can spear the second.
As far as speed, I have little to compare to, but I have paddled 40-miles in about 7.5 hours from Olympia to Seattle (Alki) without exiting the boat. I've had some high-angle training and using a more upright angle really makes a difference in speed. It's not "light" to lift onto Thule racks on an SUV, by I go one end first and then the second w/o a problem. Haven't camped in it, but there's lots of room compared to panniers on a motorcycle:-))I think you could easily do a week if you packed camper style. The seat is very adjustable and is a strong point, as are the adjustable foot pegs. Although I'm building a cedar strip kayak to try a 60-mile in a day paddle in May of 2012, and won't hesitate to use this as a back up.
Wouldn't hesitate to recommend. docked it 1 point maybe for the weight, but it's not bad at all really