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Reviews for Big Critter Kayak by Wilderness Systems

Rated: 8.6/10 Based On: 5 Reviews

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Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I have had my Wilderness Big Critter for approximately 10 years. I love it! It is well made. Tracks on lakes exceptionally good. Easy for one person to handle.
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Submitted by: Matt
Rating: 8 of 10

     Though the Big Critter is out of production, if you have the chance to buy a used one, I recommend it. I bought one for my wife, and after taking it out myself, I would gladly trade her my Old Town Loon 111. The Big Critter tracks great, it's stable, and very comfortable - I'm 6'2", 220. It doesn't come with any bells and whistles, other than the foot pegs and a small well, and though the seats aren't padded, you can stay on the water comfortably for two or three hours. The cockpit is also large enough for me and my son, who is around 42 inches tall. I imagine a well behaved dog would enjoy this kayak as well.
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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Even though the big Critter is no longer available I wanted to comment on the boat because the Pamlico 120 is very similar. This has been an amazing boat the least expensive I have ever owened. It tracks great and is amazingly stable. The large cockpit makes it easy to enter and exit. I am 6"3" and I love the room in the boat. I have been kayaking for 20 years and owned both sit on tops and sit ins. This has been my favorite rec kayak. So consider the Pamlico 120 as the hull is the same as the Big Critter but it has a dry hatch and a better seat.
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Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     My bro-in-law and I just purchased two Big Critters. We took them out onto the local reservoir lake for the first try-out. Here's the specs , according to the Wilderness Systems brochure: Length: 12', Width: 29", Depth: 14", Cockpit: 57 x 22, weight: 50 lbs., max capacity: 400 lbs.

The boats come equipped with stern hatch (not waterproof), deck rigging, an adjustable backrest, floatation fore and aft, and adjustable footpegs. There is a molded-in cupholder in the seat bottom.

Initial stability was enough for me (novice) to be comfortable right away. I was surprised at the ability of the boat to be leaned during a sweep stroke to facilitate turning. There is good secondary stability. I was able to lean the boat almost to the point of water coming in over the side during some maneuvers and not feel like I was out of control. Tracking is very good through lake water that had a few 4-6 waves due to some wind. My previous boat is a 9'6" s-o-t so turning this craft seems slow in comparison, but still much easier to maneuver than a 138 Loon I have tried.

My bro-in-law and I are both "big fellas", 6'3", around 275-300 lbs each, thus the reason for choosing this model. The wide and long cockpit makes entering and exiting simple and the weight capacity allows us extra carrying ability. With the 12' hull we can pack all our goodies for a day trip with ease. A Little Playmate 6-pack cooler just fits under the stern and can be shoved up beyond your feet, or behind the seat. The stern hatch is roomy enough for extra gloves, camera, phone, etc. but not accessible while on the water unless you have another boating buddy to reach the stuff for you. I have lots of room in the hull for goodies and grill, extra clothes, etc., even the dog, if she behaves.

The seat is very basic. With adjusting straps for the angle of the backrest, it's comfortable for the first couple hours, but later in the trip I was wishing for a little padding on the lower back.

It's too bad the Big Critter, as well as the Critter, are deleted from production this year. Seems the Pamlico and Pungo are filling the same niche. So, if you can find one, the Big Critter is a great boat for larger paddlers on a budget.

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Submitted by: Tom KirkmanSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I already have a WS Mallard, which I think is the very best small pond, creek or stream fishing kayak out there. But I wanted something a little bit larger and faster for longer stretches of water. The Big Critter turned out to be just what I was looking for.

It's remarkably fast. And, it tracks well even though it doesn't have a visible keel. Instead it has two channels that keep it moving straight. Very effective. The boat is also incredibly stable. I really, really like this boat and it rigs out nicely for fishing.

The only thing I don't like is the seat back. I found it a bit uncomfortable. I wish they would put the Phase-3 seat in it and they certainly could as they have it in the Critter Expidition and the seat bottoms are the exact same. That would make it perfect and make me rate it a 10 instead of a 9.

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