Submitted: 01-24-2006 by pikabike
I've been paddling this kayak for half a year now and am thoroughly pleased with it. At 5'2" and under 110 lbs, I expected it would make a good camping kayak, and it is. Loaded up with 2 weeks of supplies (doable if you're not the kitchen-sink type), the T165 behaves as well as it does when unloaded, just a little slower to edge and accelerate...something I'd expect from any loaded kayak.
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.