Submitted: 06-22-2012 by JKlapa
Bought an OT Sport Jolt 101, circa 2004 on craigslist.com. The only, and I MEAN only information I could find on this kayak were the reviews found here on paddling.net. Asking price fit my budget so I drove it home.
After in depth research I found that the "Jolt 101" (and 116) were made by a company called Dimension and were at some point adopted by OT Sport (Old Town). The most recent makeover was also its last. Old Town ditched the OT Sport title and made one last version of the Jolt in traditional 10.1' and 11.6' models- as they always used. This last model featured a small storage area in the front, knee pockets, and eliminated the drop-down skeg (skeg featured in OT Sport models). It was quite a different design than that by OT Sports.
I noticed that reviewers of this kayak have been writing about two different kayaks called by the same name. This review is the for "the early model" of the Jolt 101 by OT Sport. This model includes a drop-down skeg, rear sealed bulk w/ storage lid, and rear deck rigging w/ grooved deck to easily secure water bottles. This is not to be confused with the other Jolt that others are reviewing, which, as stated earlier are a front small dry storage, no skeg, and knee pockets. I reckon that the differences have been well lit by this point, so here's the review!
I've used this kayak only once, but have experience with several other kayaks; enough to put it through a test that checks a comforting amount of weaknesses and strengths.
This test run was on a slow-moving river (Wisconsin River) with 10-15mph wind. 6-20-12
Paddling for 2.5 hours in varied amounts of aggressiveness and the kayak was extremely comfortable the entire time. I'm 5'9"and was able to rest my legs very comfortably on top the cockpit, slide way up in the cockpit and lounge, and was even able to sit cross-legged. The sloped triangular shape of the bow made resting my legs an experience similar to that of testing out the expensive reclining chairs at furniture stores. The kayak remained stable in any seating position, though I wouldn't attempt paddling any distance in such positions.
Boat remained stable and dry in varied conditions. This area of review almost needs to be broken down into two subsections because it behaves very differently depending on the position of the skeg.
With the skeg in the up/not-in-use position, the boat was very easy to maneuver and was still tracking very well with lighter strokes. It was fun to battle waves like a warrior squirreling all over the place with frantic power strokes.
With the skeg down/in-use the boat tracked very well but was harder to keep in the right direction during crosswinds. In calmer waters it performed great, sometimes surprising me by the distance I had covered in so little time.
I knew what I was getting into with crossover kayaks. I wanted something that could handle the best of both worlds. I believe this kayak is the answer for that based on the experience I have with it (no WW yet). However, there are a few gripes I have. When the skeg isn't in use, it still sticks out of the stern a couple inches. While I don't know if this has much of an impact on performance, I do know my performance will have an impact on it. That's to say that I'm scared for its life when I load it on my car by myself and it takes a rear-nose dive right onto the skeg.. Can't help but wonder if it could use a small trim. Also, still with the skeg: The mounting screw that people review as "a knuckle skinner" was relocated by the previous owner so my attention is focused on the cleat system that holds the skeg line. It's a pain in the arse that I'm not able to shift the skeg up, securely, with just one hand. I have to put my paddle down, and focus a fair amount of weight and pressure to securing the line into the cleats so that it stays put. This risks stability and losing a paddle. I'm brainstorming a different system. There isn't much space in the storage area because the skeg housing almost awkwardly protrudes. Still enough room for my 5L drysack, nalgene, and a few other things. There is room between the seat and rear storage to put things and the cockpit is large to make up for the dry area. Haven't dealt with any leaks yet.
She's heavy, but sturdy, and can clearly take a beating. I had a lot of fun with this yak and can't wait to have more opportunities for varied conditions. I'll update this as soon as I gain more experience.