10-01-2012Submitted by: Brentino
Reviews for Pungo 120 Kayak by Wilderness Systems
Based On: 92 Reviews
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have paddled a few kayaks, from Old Town models to Perception models and the Pungo 120 is above and beyond them. The seat is the most amazing thing I've been in. It tracks great for a 12' boat and has amazing stability. I am 6' 240lbs. so I can put pressure on a boat and rock it very easily...this boat had no issues with me at all.
I've upgraded my deck rigging, but that is because I like having more than was there (very easy and cheap to do). Good storage for trips, great hatch system, and the console is perfect. Test one and you'll fall in love with it too!
09-12-2012Submitted by: Fred P
- Rating: 8 of 10 We bought our Pungo 120 one year ago. Great boat, stable, east to paddle and tracks well. Super fun rec. boat. negatives, bottom always buckles when tied on to racks, no matter how tight its tied, and front handle broke really easy, when it was being carried... some leakage in rear hatch
09-05-2012Submitted by: rnsparky
- Rating: 10 of 10 I had the original Pungo [now called the Classic Pungo] and now a decade later I re-discovered the second gen Pungo.
Excellent boat, tracks like an arrow. All it needs is a paddle holder and it's ready to go
08-02-2012Submitted by: Jeff
- Rating: 10 of 10 We are 3 seasons into our Pungo 120's. We are still happy and proud recreational owners. We are in it for the enjoyment and exercise. When we are up at our cabin we try to get in 2 lakes every weekend and maybe 3.
The Pungo's are light enough to transport smooth and easy to paddle and we never feel tippy. Plenty of storage and comfortable for a 2 to 3 hour adventure. Our Pungo's always turn heads and pass on complements from people enjoying the morning on the dock with a cup of coffee. Sometimes we are asked to stop and they want to learn about our kayaks.
Since we bought our Pungos our canoe has not seen daylight, and we have a happier adventure on the water. My comment may bore a snobby paddling enthusiast. But my comments are meant for the recreational user that just wants to enjoy kayaking. If I had to replace my Pungo yes, I would look around to see if I could upgrade for my needs. But most likely I would rebuy a Pungo 120. Be safe on the water buy a bright color.
07-30-2012Submitted by: Marinesoup
- Rating: 8 of 10 I love this kayak. It's my first kayak, and I was worried that because I'm 6'2" 250lbs that I might be too big and top heavy and the kayak would be tippy (I'm not good with the balancing thing).
You pretty much have to tip this kayak on purpose in order to tip it. Very stable although the boat does sit a bit lower in the water than maybe others. *But not too low* 2 dry storage areas on the boat also.
If you're a beginner like me, and want something stable in the water and it comes in a lot of colors and it's got the best adjustable seat (bad back here), this is the Kayak for you.
It's 50lbs, so it's not a light weight, then neither am I...
05-24-2012Submitted by: beryl stoler
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have owned a PUNGO 120 for several now and it has performed well beyond expectations, in all water arenas.It has superior stability and maneuvers on a dime. the quality of construction is excellent. I paddle in all weather conditions and the PUNGO has never failed me in any way. ALL of the PUNGO line is superior.
04-02-2012Submitted by: MEHoffman
- Rating: 10 of 10 We just bought two Pungo 120 kayaks and took them out on a lake today for our first outing. We love them. They paddle very easy and primary and secondary stability is good. I will join in with those who say they are NOT whitewater craft as they do not turn quickly at all. But if lakes and slow rivers and other relative flat water is your thing these boats are an excellent choice for the money.
02-20-2012Submitted by: GB
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have read all the reviews and did not see the reason I bought the boat so here goes.
Initial stability - excellent
Secondary stability - excellent
Ocean ability - limited to shore line cruising
River - Don't know
Lakes - I would not cross a four mile stretch of open water, but that is me.
Boats - 14' Vision Composite; 16'+ Double Vision composite; 16' Swift Saranac; My wife has a 12' Vision composite
Now for my purchase decision.
We have a 63 pound labrador mix that loves to go with us, previously the only way we could do this was for me to take the Double Vision (tandem kayak) with the dog in the bow seat and me in stern. Heavy - cumbersome and although easy enough paddle in smooth conditions a little tough in wind. Lots of research etc and came to the Wilderness Systems 12' Ultralite.
Great tracking very stable easy to paddle, our dog lies in between my feet up towards where the cockpit ends in front and rests her head on the top deck where I've placed foam pipe insulation for comfort. She can shift positions, get up to stretch etc with no stability issues.
Not my favorite boat, but the best boat I could find to take a big dog for a paddle. I did buy floatation bags for the bow area.
01-24-2012Submitted by: Jim H
- Rating: 8 of 10 Got to agree with the most of these reviews, I really enjoy my Pungo 120. I paddle up around and through the Snohomish Estuary, near Everett WA quite a bit. Tide, current and wind are all common factors. I don't go out in the blow me downs, but this Pungo tracks well in the conditions I am willing to encounter. GREAT Recreational use kayak!
01-18-2012Submitted by: kvelez
- Rating: 10 of 10 After three years with an Ocean Kayak Scupper Pro I upgraded to an easier to paddle and more comfortable Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140. Due to a back injury, the 14Ft 68LB Tarpon had to go. Wilderness systems phase 3 seating surpasses any other kayak in the market so anything but a WS was out of the question. Other manufacturers should take notice. The Pungo 120 has excellent primary and secondary stability. I was able to enter it by sitting on the side and rolling my legs in while turning just like I used to do in the Tarpon 140.
The Pungo 120 is more a more versatile, faster kayak that accommodates just about everyone's needs. It is 20% easier to paddle and performs as well as any 14FT kayak. Excellent tracking and easier to turn than comparable width kayaks. Narrower kayaks will turn easier but stability decreases. This kayak does it all. I have no plans on taking it to rough seas that is what sea kayaks are for.
09-15-2011Submitted by: SL
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have tried several different kayaks this summer before purchasing a Pungo 120 this past week. What a great kayak. It tracks straight and paddles with little effort. I would highly recommend this kayak to anyone looking for a first kayak. It's my first, it might just be my last.
07-13-2011Submitted by: PJ
- Rating: 4 of 10 I've paddled all kinds of kayaks, from 17 foot long sea kayaks, to surf skis, and whitewater boats. I found the Pungo cockpit to be too long to be practical. It was about the same as sitting on a SOT, but without the advantages of a SOT which are easy entry and no swamping. And like others, I have found that WS often overrates the weight capacity of their boats.
07-08-2011Submitted by: BrentEades
- Rating: 9 of 10 My first kayak, though I've done a lot of canoeing. Love it so far.
I started out in the Mississippi River -- the small Canadian one, not the big American one. Paddled downstream a few miles against the current and the tracking and stability was good. I felt quite comfortable and in control. Turned around and suddenly found myself going upstream against a 25-mile-an-hour wind, whitecaps and lots of chop... still handled fine. I got wet but never felt unsafe.
I like the Pugo 120 a lot so far.
06-15-2011Submitted by: Paxratt
- Rating: 6 of 10 The boat deserves a rating of 20. Wilderness Systems customer service however deserves a zero. When we invest as much as we do in a product, it is beyond understanding why Wilderness Systems are either unresponsive or blame the customer (You hit rocks). I paid full price for a Pungo, and got a blem. Didn't last two seasons. My first Pungo lasted 8 years. I replaced THE BLEM with another Pungo but if I have any more problems it will be my last due to the company's lack of customer service. It's the best kayak out there, though.
06-05-2011Submitted by: Big Al
- Rating: 10 of 10 I looked at a lot of kayaks along the way. The Perception line, old river, fought between sit on top and sit in. Looked and tried some 2-grand kayaks. Then along came this super sale and the Pungo 120.
Here's what sold me.
And finally, I bought a mini bimini top from a place called Kayak Kanopy. It's a little pricey in my estimation but in Florida with all our sun it has been a God send. Fiberglass rods fit in the rear pole hold.. straps up front and back. I went out for 3 hours on Tampa Bay with little sunscreen and didn't even turn red. Weighs 5 pounds.
- The hull.
Faster then most 12 footers and remarkably stable. Tracks extremely well.
- The dry wells.
None of this rubber cap business you have to snap on. Yes, its cheaper but it's time consuming and not very practical while you are on the move. The dual handles provide an water tight fit. I also got the half dash with it's dry well for my cell phone and GPS. Filled the kayak on purpose and everything stayed dry.
...and maybe most important for me:
- The seat.
I'm nearly 6 feet 4 and trying to adjust straps while you're moving is a pain and can tip you over. The simple pull strap in the middle to raise and lower the back is genius. The pull handle on the side and back strap works great.
Only... minor complaint.
It's a little hard to empty all the water in it because the kayak is so well formed with no drain holes. Picky, huh?
I'd recommend Pungo to anyone. The Prodigy 10 is nice, but again the hull design on this kayak is far more stable.
10-26-2010Submitted by: JRS
Have fun with it. I sure am!!!
- Rating: 9 of 10 I've own my Pungo 120 for almost a year now. I kayak mainly on the upper Potomac and have run my Pungo on flat water, Class I & II rapids, over rock gardens, up creeks, and on inlet and surf conditions at North Myrtle Beach. This includes during high water conditions and during the winter when the ramp is snow-covered.
Here's the skinny...
My being in this boat for 5-6+ hrs at a time is probably the best testimonial I can offer. It's not the river rocket like the 24" wide 14 footers, but I can cruise at over 3 mph without too much more exertion or effort.
10-04-2010Submitted by: temari88
- The width makes the boat extremely stable for entry and exit. I fish and do a lot of photography out of mine and there's very little if any tipping sensations when twisting to make a cast or take a photo.
- Pay attention to the other reviews on maneuvering swift water. Low class II's that I can run straight are about the max for this boat. You simply can't kick it around with your hips and paddle to zig or zag much, but if you set up your line, it does fine.
- The bow profile gives the boat lift, but with a low profile top, it does torpedo rather than ride to the top on higher waves or sliding down a wave in the surf.
- Practice and use your sweep stroke as that is the optimal way to rotate this boat, but if the boat's moving, even that stroke will not spin you.
- The seat is wonderful, with full adjustments, but be aware of the cam tab on the front of the seat (controlling the seat back height). It is a target for feet when entering and exiting the boat, and can easily be stepped on and damaged. Parts are available, but it's a 2+ hr job requiring the seat to be removed from the boat.
- Rating: 9 of 10 We purchased two of the Pungo 120's, approx. three and a half years ago. This was our first venture into kayaking and we must say, that for recreational usage, they are great!
After the first year, we upgraded our racking system to the Tulle Hullivator and this was well worth the investment and has been fantastic - a great means of reducing the wear and tear on ones body!
09-29-2010Submitted by: Jeff
- Rating: 10 of 10 My wife and I are first timers to kayaking. We purchase two Pungo 120's one for each of us and really did not know what to expect at $600.00 each. We found out that is a GREAT PRICE.
Our 1st experience my wife got in and I pushed her off from shore a bit more aggressive than I should have. I thought oh no I am going to hear about it. Much to my surprise she took to it like a duck to water. I got in and I must say it is more stable than I had expected. We took it easy the first day just going around the shore of our 250 acre lake. At the end of the day she liked it but was not sold if she liked it enough to keep them. A few weeks later a friend invited us to paddle down the Namagogan River in Northern Wisconsin with his wife and kid's. I must say it was a successful day and a real confidence booster for both of us. Now we go to larger lakes with boat traffic with out much fear of large waves.
I must say the Pungo 120 handles very well and stable. We do not feel tippy or do we get wet. We do have the dash on ours and we like it very much. Great for storing a small camera, wallet, money, keys and keeps them dry as a bone. The external net bag is great for sun screen or bug spray. This past season we took them out about 8 times and enjoyed every trip. My wife is more interested in going kayaking without any hesitation.
Actually, I like it more than our canoe and never pulled the canoe out for one trip this year at our cabin. The Pungo 120 seat is so much better than the web seating in the canoe easier to paddle, stuff stays dryer, more forgiving, and I am less worried about tipping. I feel much more relaxed and comfortable. I must say we are keeping them. The dealer gave us a 30 day bring them back if we don't like them for a 100% refund. Needless to say we did not take him up on his offer
I do not see us as getting into camping or long over night trips with them even though they would be great. We use then for recreational paddling and for the seeing and photographing wild life in Northern Wisconsin. We did not get all fancy with the racking systems. We just keep the seats out of our mini van all summer and just slide them in the back and tie down the lid. I bought a foam noodle at the dollar store cut it down the center half way thru and slip it on the bottom of the gate. Works great and does not scratch up the kayaks. I back up to a launching ramp and slide them out one at a time. easy as can be. Just do the same loading up. No heavy lifting and its fast and super easy to get them in and out of the water.
08-27-2010Submitted by: kboyle3
I give them a 10 out of 10.
- Rating: 10 of 10 I just bought a Pungo 12 Ultralite to replace an Old Town Otter 138T that performed well but was too heavy for me. On my maiden voyage, I paddled on a windy day from a relatively sheltered part of a big lake around the lee of an island and into 2 to 3 foot waves plus boat chop. I did not have the console because it did not come with the kayak so I was very concerned about taking in water. To my pleasant surprise, the waves washed over the deck but did not splash into the boat and I took in only about a cup of spray.
Otherwise the Pungo was very responsive and tracked and turned better than I expected, much better than the Otter. I'm 6' 215 lbs and it is so easy to get in and out of. The seat is so much more comfortable than the Otter and I love the 40 lb weight. I can easily get it in and out of the lake.
08-05-2010Submitted by: MadTripper
Overall, it does everything it promised and I highly recommend it.
- Rating: 10 of 10 I recently purchased a 2010 Pungo 120 from Endless Mountain Outfitters in Sugar Run, PA. I demo'ed on a Saturday, rented on a Sunday and took the Pungo I paddled right home with me at a very reasonable price.
I am new to kayaking however have spent quite a bit of time on the water in small boats, canoes, and even a 4 year stint in the Navy. The day I demo'ed, I tried my Pungo, a Pamlico, and also a Tarpon. I really liked the Pungo best of all due to the way it handled. I'm 6'3" and weigh about 210 lbs. The cockpit is very roomy even with the dashboard in place. I added a flush mount rod holder, a Scotty rod holder and a paddle mount. I have a bungie style paddle strap on order as well as a 1 lb anchor.
So far I have put about 50 miles on it in 4 weeks. I haven't had any issues with the design. The seat is easily adjustable while on the water and is also very comfortable. Handling the kayak is pretty easy as it weighs around 50 lbs. I use the foam block and cam straps to haul it around on either my SUV or my wife's mini van.
My dry storage was leaking at the base of the divider wall however this could have been from its life as a rental prior to my purchase. I applied some Goop Marine glue and haven't had a problem since. I did take it to a lake in New York and flipped it intentionally to see how it would feel. The Pungo sat just under the surface and since I was in shallow water, I was able to tip it up to drain most of the water. Re-entry was not difficult either.
I would definitely purchase this kayak again although I would like to try the 140 and feel the difference.
07-28-2010Submitted by: Vern
- Rating: 10 of 10 I've been an avid kayaker for a number of years, mostly flat water. I have an Old Town 138 Loon and a couple of 111 Loons for the kids. I recently purchased a Pungo 120. I bought the boat at the Mountain Man Store in Old Forge NY. You can test paddle the boats on the Moose River right in back of the store. I test paddled both the 12' and 14'Pungos.
Both boats have extremely comfortable seats that are about as adjustable as one could have in a kayak. Like the Old Towns, the Pungos have a very large cockpit. I've often paddled with a dog or second person in front of me. The Pungo's come with a removable dashboard that's very handy. Both Pungos paddled straight however the 14' was much harder to turn. The 120 Pungo is also harder to turn compared to the 138 Loon however not so difficult that a novice would have a lot of problems.
The 120 Pungo tracks straight and is fast for a 12' boat. If I have any complaints at all, is that the 120 Pungo has a very low bow. I recently had the boat in a lake with 1'-1.5' waves and the bow would bury itself in the wave and the water would travel down the front deck and dump into the cockpit. It was a good thing I was near shore as I only lasted about 10 minutes in those waves before I had a boat full of water.
Would I buy the 120 Pungo again? You bet. Just know that it has its limitations in rough water. (You could wear a skirt although I didn't buy one with the boat)
07-23-2010Submitted by: Brad
- Rating: 10 of 10 After a number of weeks of research I bought my Pungo 120. I ventured out on the Bow River for a 2 hour paddle and all I can say is WOW. My past kayak experience has been limited to a number of multi-day ocean kayaking trips (in 17 footer sea kayaks) so paddling a smaller kayak without a rudder on a big river was a new experience. Any concerns I harbored regarding maneuverability, tracking and stability were erased within minutes. The boat is exceptionally comfortable and within the first 15 minutes I was looking for the faster moving water and darting back and forth between the shores with a huge smile plastered on my face. I love this boat!
07-14-2010Submitted by: RV
- Rating: 10 of 10 Purchased my Pungo 120 a couple of weeks ago and so far,love it! Tracks great, paddles and glides easy. Doesn't turn real fast, but that's why it tracks so good. Seat is comfy, but keep in mind it's a kayak seat not a recliner. Very stable, hatch and console are great. Mine has the front flotation block in the front, WS stopped putting flotation in the bow. Talked to a rep,yes they actually answer the phone, who said they did not find it necessary to have the block. Not sure I agree with that. If anything I feel they should have made the block larger, not removed it. Of course you always have the option to add an air bag. Nice, shiny plastic also scratches easy,but that's probably expected from plastic. This is a great boat, I would recommend it to anyone who likes paddling and fishing.
06-04-2010Submitted by: Jd
- Rating: 10 of 10 A true Classic. I looked at the Pungo in '04, and went with a cheaper boat, that fell apart. After 6 years of ww and sea kayaking, I went back and bought a Pungo. Rigged it for fishing and this boat is fantastic. Fished out of a Tarpon for a couple of years which was nice during the Summer, but the Pungo is a year-round boat, year in and year out. Great tracking, seating and amenities, possibly the BEST boat ever made. imho
05-27-2010Submitted by: supertracks
- Rating: 10 of 10 We rented previously and finally decided to purchase. After paddling many brands and models we settled on the Pungo 120 Ultralite. For all of the water we paddle in the Northwest the Pungo serves our needs as a flat water boat. The new Ultralite material is basically a thermalform boat of acrylic and plastic. It is more expensive but saves 10lbs. or so off the rotomold boats. I like the big rear hatch for storing gear and the kayak console for storing little stuff. Since it does not have a front bulkhead I used the NRS bow flotation product.
Boat performance, tracking, and stability is great. There are faster boats out there my 12 year old sons Perception Tribute 12 is faster since it is a narrower boat with a soft chine. But for comfort, easy cruising, and a lot of fun you cannot beat the Pungo series.
04-07-2010Submitted by: momma4c
- Rating: 8 of 10 I just picked up my Pungo 120 this afternoon after waiting 3 weeks for it. I took it out on the lake tonight and even though it was extremely windy I had no problems. Tracking was great and it seemed to glide very well. I have a 10' Old Town Vapor that I like just as well, but this makes paddling so sweet. Very much worth the wait.
10-22-2009Submitted by: kayaklover
- Rating: 9 of 10 I'm 6'10" and find the Pungo awesome. I've had it for approx 7 years and love it. I use it often and have never swamped it. I've used it fishing, on rivers and NOW ON THE OCEAN FOR LONG TRIPS. Love the tracking and storage room. I use a skirt and have great experiences with it. Highly recommend this boat for a all purpose kayak. Excellent value.
10-12-2009Submitted by: T M
- Rating: 10 of 10 I purchased my PUNGO 120 at Joe's Sporting good's this past May and could not be any happier! I started out with a Perception Sundance 9.5(Excellent starter kayak) the spring of '08 and within a week I was ready to upgrade. I kept going back and forth between the Wilderness Pungo 120 and The Old Town Dirigo 106. I liked the Fact that the Dirigo had the 3-way adjustable seat and the easy access rear hatch that can be opened while sitting in the kayak! (At this time the Pungo still had the Rubberized rear hatch seal, not fun to seal even when out of the Kayak!) Also the Dirigo could fit inside our Dodge Grand Caravan along with the Perception Sundance 9.5 and CLOSE THE REAR DOOR! So I went with the Dirigo!
This year Wilderness Systems made a change with their hatch Door's and I had a chance to sell my Dirigo, So I made my Purchase of a Mango Pungo 120 and am now in The PERFECT DO-ALL KAYAK!! The Pungo track's much straighter, and is much faster! The rear of this kayak is molded with a Bobtail, So it really performs like a 14'! The seat is the BEST I have ever sat in! Having Individual thigh adjustments is just perfect for my leg's. And did I mention the 57" x 22" cockpit opening? When you remove the dashboard it's great for you and your K-9 friend or small child. I also mounted a Scotty rod holder on one of the cubby's on the Dashboard. Work's Great!
The Pungo fits in the Caravan with the Perception Sundance, but the Rear door remains open about a foot! Small price to pay for a Faster, Straighter AND Roomier Kayak!
08-18-2009Submitted by: docham
I can't say enough WHAT A GREAT KAYAK WILDERNESS SYSTEM'S HAS MADE!!
- Rating: 10 of 10 This was bought to use for exploring backwaters and to teach and survive teaching grandchildren how to kayak. It has quickly become a favorite as it tracks well and survives abuse. It is different from my Formula Serenity Sport but has quickly become my favourite as it easier to use for fishing and photography. As a platform to introduce children to the pleasures of small boats it is excellent- stable tough and tracks well. Mine does not have a "dashboard" and would recommend that if available.Also the trade off for tracking and stability is some lack of maneuverability but that is a minor issue so far. I would recommend this boat for recreational use, beginners to intermediate , cottagers- cheaper boats will frustrate too quickly and you have to spend a lot more for other boats with specific upgraded features.
05-23-2009Submitted by: Imabren
- Rating: 10 of 10 I just bought a new Wilderness Pungo 120. It is the perfect boat for the rivers and waterways in NJ. It has a great dash board to keep things close by. I like the water tight compartment for my stuff. The seat is very comfy and there is lots of room for equipment. I hope to be spending may years exploring this kayak.
05-22-2009Submitted by: wirerat123
- Rating: 9 of 10 I've had a Pungo 120 for about 8 years now, and I have to say I've had it in just about any type of water you can imagine. I'll break it down for folks.
If you don't care for this boat, then most likely you didn't research the boat before you bought it. It is a rec boat that is capable of crossing the boundary between sea Kayak, touring Kayak, and rec boat.
- Anything over class 2 rapids on a wide river, and well expect disappointment. This boat is not maneuverable enough for rapids. Anyone running rapids should buy the appropriate boat. If you bought one of these for fast moving water that requires lots of maneuverability or rapids that's your fault, you didn't do your research. That's not what this boat is for.
- Bigger water lakes ponds, and slow moving rivers. This boat excels; It tracks straight as an arrow, glides really well, and is surprisingly fast. For the money this boat cost me, I couldn't be happier. I cruise a lot with kayakers that use sea kayaks and touring Kayak, and well, I can keep up with them pretty darn well.
- Fishing, Well, yet another thing that this boat is great for. Yes the front deck is a little far away, but ample storage area on the floor in front of the seat and a large enough cockpit that I can easily reach anything in front of me nixes the issue with the large cockpit opening. I can do a couple of strokes with my paddle, and track dead straight for a long ways before paddling again, leaving me plenty of casts between paddle strokes. This is a terrific fishing boat.
- Camping, yep, camping. Me and my girlfriend both have 12ft Kayaks Mine a Pungo 120, and hers is a Victory Classic 12. We use them for 3 to 5 day camping trips. Both have plenty of storage in them for 5+ day camping trips, they track and glide well enough that you can relax and still get a lot of water covered in between strokes. We use them on larger slower moving rivers for our extended trips, and are more than pleased.
I have these boats: Wilderness Systems Pungo 120, Victory Classic 120 (My girl uses this one), Wilderness systems Pungo 100, Pelican Potomac 100es (Loaner boat), Dagger "the green boat", Liquid Logic Jefe and a Cedar Strip 15ft touring boat I built.
90% of the time I am cruising the Pungo 120
If I am on an over-nighter with mild rapids and a lot of maneuverability needed I'm in my Dagger green boat. If I'm doing a day trip with heavy rapids I'm in the Liquid Logic Jefe. If I am doing anything else I'm in the Pungo. Even my cedar strip boat is neglected even though it's a superior boat in just about every way. Why? Why not, the Pungo does everything I need it to do better than I ever dreamed it to, and I don't have to worry about messing up something that took over a year to build. The Cedar strip boat is more of a boat I use to show off.
The Pungo 120 is easily one of the best rec boats I have ever cruised.
04-27-2009Submitted by: Scott
- Rating: 6 of 10 For a boat that is perpetually the best selling boat in the country, this is also the boat you will outgrow the fastest!
The Pungo is a great flatwater, dead calm river boat that tracks like an arrow and is very stable. However, don't take that to mean it's a great boat. First, what makes it track straight is the deep v hull, which is what will get you hung up every time in shallow waters and turn you sideways in quick moving water should you get stuck. The cockpit is large and easy to get in and out of, however, it is too large for a 'real' spray skirt. Pungos notoriously sit low in the water, so any real rapid you have to negotiate you have a good chance of having a wave blow over the bow of your boat and half fill your cockpit. The only spray skirt you can get is a nylon size 7 from Seals. It's not stiff enough to hold any water. No one makes a neoprene skirt that big.
Also, the weight capacity of the 12' is grossly overrated. Wilderness says it will hold 300lbs. I weigh 215 and carry ONE dry bag in the stern hatch. I sit so low in the water it's ridiculous. The boat also needs a front bulkhead, as water can quickly turn this boat into Cleopatra's Needle, and could also then have a day hatch. You better get the 'dashboard' for this boat too, because you'll never reach anything on the deck in front of you because it's too far away.
This is a REC boat only, if you have any inclination of growing with kayaking and trying more than the local pond, try a Tsunami or Tempest. Don't get me wrong, my Pungo has served me well, but, in less than a year, it's short comings have truly held back my paddling.
I paddle at least once a week all year long, sometimes more. In one week I put almost 30 miles on my Pungo, some of it thru some pretty big waves on the Delaware River, complete with imploded spray skirt!
Good boat, but, severely limiting
07-22-2008Submitted by: tigger2
- Rating: 8 of 10 This is a great recreational kayak. I have been using it for two year. Nice and comfortable seat with plenty of room. (I am even able to take many kids for rides in front of me - we just put down a pad for them). It is a very easy kayak to use. Many people have used this kayak for the first time when visiting with no issues. No fancy upgrades but it is a great overall kayak.
07-15-2008Submitted by: PungoDon
- Rating: 9 of 10 I own both the Pungo 120 and the Old Town Dirigo 120 and find them to be very similar. The larger cockpit makes the Pungo a little more comfortable for me (6' 190lbs) and it seems to be a little lighter.
They both track very well and the Pungo is a bit harder to make sharp turns without back-paddling on one side. I like the padding on the side of the cockpit better than the Dirigo's. It seems more durable and the fasteners are a more secure method of installation than the stick on pads on the Dirigo. The seats are very comfortable on both.
I've used the Pungo quite a bit in the 6 weeks that I've owned it and I really can't come up with any real complaints. It came with a Harmony add-on console. I like the option of using it or leaving it behind. When I first got the boat it had a deformed cockpit, offset from the centerline and, I believe, it affected the boat's tracking. EMS was quick to replace it and Wilderness Systems was very helpful. I'm sure they would have stepped in if I had any problems resolving the issue. The replacement boat is flawless and tracks like an arrow.
I've only used these two boats and only in ponds, lakes, and slow moving rivers so my experience is limited. It is obviously not a perfect kayak as there are faster and more maneuverable boats out there, but it is a very good play boat and I would recommend it to anyone not looking for high performance.
07-08-2008Submitted by: kayakJC
- Rating: 6 of 10 I had been comparing the Pungo 120 vs. the Old Town Dirigo 120. I found they both have pros and cons, but fairly similar overall. My cousin and I were able to try both kayaks during the Paddle-Fest at LL Bean in Freeport, Maine.
The one thing we both noticed right away was how straight the Pungo went, Too straight! (other people have also mentioned this on this review forum) It seemed like I had to almost stop to get it to go in a diff. direction. The Dirigo tracked great and turned a lot better. Both were just as stable as each other.
I found the foot pegs in the Pungo to be more easy to accidentally move. The Seats were totally different and that would be the riders preference. The Pungo cockpit was larger and the front nose lower which I would imagine the combination would allow more water into the cockpit in rough conditions.
The Dirigo has quicker storage covers (two twist knobs) but the Pungo's may seal better??? Dirigo's have way more bungee-cords on the top of them, which I find very useful. I found them to be similar in speed but have heard the Pungo is a bit faster.
I checked out the Duralite Pungo; Didn't seem too Durable. Very thin and full of bumps and dents while still in showroom cond. (saw 3 duralite's in all). I've read great reviews on both and have heard of many people who prefer the Pungo. So it was at first a very hard decision for me, but after trying them out and deciding what "I" really wanted out of a kayak. I bought the Dirigo (as did my Cousin) and am very satisfied with it.
My recommendation to buyers would be to TRY them out to see what "YOU" like in a kayak. Good Luck!
06-11-2008Submitted by: bird
- Rating: 10 of 10 Because of all the high praise, I bought a Pungo 120 Duralite and found out for myself why.
This was the boat I was looking for as its comfortable, light, fast for a rec boat and stable. I use mine mainly for bass fishing and with its light weight I can shoulder it and carry it to places that never see a boat.
I have fished more this year then the past 3yrs combined because it's so convenient and fun. I would consider it as a high performance recreational kayak, it simply meets my needs.
06-05-2008Submitted by: dominicrizzo
- Rating: 10 of 10 If you look down this page a few reviews you will find a 6/10 review that I wrote about two weeks after buying my Pungo 120 (posted 5/2/08). I stated that I was going to sell the Pungo 120 but decided that maybe I made a snap judgment and figured it was only fair to give the kayak a few months worth of paddling before I made up my mind. I have now had the boat for six weeks and need to correct my original review.
I took my Pungo to the Monocacy River (in Maryland, it spills into the Potomac) and had the best small mouth bass fishing trip ever. It totally changed my opinion on this boat.
I look at it this way... I didn't know what I was doing. Before April of 2008, I had never paddled a kayak. I was expecting a canoe like experience. I was totally wrong by stating that the boat would be hard to steer in the river. I had to strengthen my paddling technique and read up on the basics of kayaking.
I have discovered that on the slow rivers is where this boat shines. Its super straight tracking allows you to shoot upstream like your paddling in a pond. The molded skeg and very narrow/vertical bow allow you to keep the boat going straight up stream with no tail wagging. For some reason the boat actually feels more stable in a current then on lakes and ponds. The skeg and sharp bow also allow you to keep the bow of the boat perpendicular to the shoreline while drift fishing, without paddling. The current pushes on the bow and stern equally and holds you 90 degrees to the current. The boat won't spin on you. I also learned that the current helps you turn. You can use it to swing the front of the boat around, allowing you to make very tight 180 degree turns.
I have added a few things to my boat. I mounted a scotty rod holder to the d right rear deck and made my own anchor out of a mesh bag full of gravel. I also attached a paracord lanyard to the front of the seat. My gear bag gets attached to the other end of the lanyard and then pushed up into the bow for storage. When I need to change up my lures I just pull it back towards me, when I'm done I kick it back up into the bow. I do need to add a paddle holder of some type, but for now I just stuff it up into the bow with my tackle bag and let the other end rest on the back or side of the cockpit under my arm.
So, now I feel that the Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 was a great buy and that I was unfair in my first review. This boat is great for fishing and river paddling. I have to give it a 10 out of 10. Hopefully I did not convince anyone to buy a boat other than the WS Pungo 120 with my first review because I was definitely dumb for giving it a 6/10 before I really learned how to kayak.
05-16-2008Submitted by: JRA
- Rating: 10 of 10 This is an exceptional kayak for fishing bays, lakes, rivers, creeks and even streams. Tracks really well and turns easily on class I and II rivers... you just need to know how to paddle! It is very stable and tipping it over is nearly impossible, unless you do it on purpose or a beginner kayaker that likes to try to sit on the side getting in.
I own 3 of these yaks (for 5 years now) and loan to friends often and soon after they go out and buy one for themselves. If you are a fair weather kayaker, only use it for 2 months out of the year, like to swim EVERY time you go kayaking, enjoy getting ALL of your gear soaking wet... then get a SOT.
If you like to be protected from rain, keep everything you have bone dry, use year round and have a superior kayak for the price, then get a Pungo! And learn to plastic weld, with soldering iron, if you like to fish the creeks and small rivers. Patches up gouges great.
05-02-2008Submitted by: dominicrizzo
- Rating: 6 of 10 For all of the "8"-"9"-"10" reviews that this boat received I am very unhappy with mine. I was on the fence about buying the Pungo 120 or a native watercraft ultimate 12 and went with the pungo because of the 150+ positive reviews on this website. I planned to use the boat for fishing and recreational paddling. Its overall quality is good, it is very comfortable (just like everyone says).
It is not as stable as everyone says (I got to go swimming today when it flipped on me while trying get into it. The boat tracks well, too well. The tightest circle I can turn by paddling continuously on one side is about 15 meters in diameter. Don't even think about trying to "spin out" to make a quick turn, If you try to back paddle on one side of the boat it turns about 20 degrees and you lose all forward speed coming to nearly a complete stop. dragging the paddle on one side or the other is more like braking than turning, and you get even wider turns than back paddling.
I have been using this boat on a large lake and calm ponds and was planning to take it on the Potomac river, but wont be because it is so hard to steer.
If you are looking for a boat that tracks like an arrow then this is a good choice. For big, flat water I recommend the Pungo, for fishing buy a SOT or an ultimate 12. I feel ripped off and now have to sell this boat before I can buy the Ultimate 12 that I should have bought in the first place.
11-21-2007Submitted by: phussmann
- Rating: 9 of 10 After owning this kayak for 3 and a half years and using it extensively on lakes of all sizes, tidal rivers, sloughs,etc. I feel that I can now give an honest assessment of its performance.
For the purpose that it was intended it works great, it tracks well is easy to enter and exit and the seat is very comfortable and adjustable. It has held up well and I am not easy on it in the least and the weight is light enough for one person to car rack if needed. I have used other boats, mostly sit on tops or tandem sea kayaks and prefer the Pungo overall.
Probably the only things negative I have to say is that the cockpit is probably a little larger than needed and more flotation in the bow would be a good thing (I have added a flotation bag).Otherwise I highly recommend this to the recreational kayaker.
On other comment on the reviews,I feel that submitting a review for a kayak that one has just purchased and not used yet is not helpful to potential buyers. Until one takes the boat out in varying conditions one cannot give an accurate review. Thanks
08-30-2007Submitted by: cmsimpson
- Rating: 8 of 10 WS Pungo 120 My boat is just one of many water toys in the collection. I have used my Pungo for fishing, day trips, and duck hunting. It is very stable (I am 6'5" and 275#) and tracks well. It has ample room for fishing tackle, dry bag, cooler, and shotgun. I hunt marshes and flooded timber and small creeks. I fish inland lakes and ponds. I even tackled some class II water once, got very wet, the bow drives straight through the waves. Note to self, no more white water, not in the Pungo anyway. However, for gently flowing streams and creeks, lakes and marshes, it is my favorite. The spray skirt sheds water nicely and doubles as shade from the sun. The seating system is very comfortable, even after several hours. I wish the camo version was available when I bought mine 4 years ago. The sand color blends well into natural surroundings. I would and have recommended this boat to others.
08-27-2007Submitted by: mpa
- Rating: 8 of 10 My first review of this kayak (Aug. 2003) was one of disappointment. 4 years later, after many paddling trips in different conditions, my review is completely different. My paddling techniques have improved which makes my experience with my Pungo more enjoyable.
It is a stable kayak in all the conditions I use it in. I enjoy fishing in the marshes of seabrook and plum island and this boat handles it well. My wife and I were on the Concord river yesterday and it handles slow moving rivers with ease. There is plenty of storage for gear and the boat is light enough for me to handle easily on and off the car.
My wife has a 14.5 Carolina Perception and I can keep up with her with a little more effort when on paddling trips. I use this kayak a lot and have not had any problems with it structurally. Nothing has broken on it and it still is in good condition after 4 years of high use. I would highly recommend this kayak for all types of recreational use. A very satisfied customer and a much different review than the first one.
08-14-2007Submitted by: susanj
- Rating: 10 of 10 update on Pungo 120:
paddled a few miles yesterday and am very pleased with this boat. It's light, tracks well and the seat comfort is terrific.
08-13-2007Submitted by: susanj
- Rating: 9 of 10 I purchased this boat yesterday from Mountain Man in Old forge. This is my 4th yak and for the last few years I have paddled mostly canoes. Recently I paddled my niece's Perception Sundance 12 and had a good time with it other than the terrible seat it had. I realized I'd been missing paddling a yak and started my research. This boat handles well, great seat and the design is good. I noticed a little wagging but it did not hurt tracking at all. I had it out in wind and a small shop in Oswego, NY today and am very happy with it.
06-06-2007Submitted by: Loon
- Rating: 8 of 10 This is our third kayak and I have several friends (all with different boats) so I have experience with quite a few. I have back problems and need to adjust my position often. I was looking at the 14' Tsunami but the cockpit seemed too confining for my problem. The big cockpit and comfortable seat of the Pungo seemed to fit my need.
Our local store didn't have the 140 but did have the 120 for under $600, so I bought it. The boat really is comfortable. Because of the phase 3 seating it should work well for just about everyone. There is good storage. I can fit a small cooler in front of my feet providing easy access. The dry storage is enough for me - we rarely go out for more than day trips. The boat does move side to side as you paddle. This is probably more due to its length than hull design. My friends with longer boats noticed it right away when they tried the boat. The boat doesn't cut waves as well as some others. You will likely get wet in good chop. I think this is related to the front end design. Both of these problems can be resolved with slower, more relaxed paddling and may not affect everyone. But I paddle upstream and against the wind quite a bit so there is some pretty strong paddling going on at times. For heading down stream this boat is great. The comfort and roominess of the cockpit are wonderful. Haven't had it out on flat water yet.
05-08-2007Submitted by: SwampThing18
- Rating: 10 of 10 We kept on borrowing a friend's, and loved it so much we bought one. No complaints at all. The boat tracks well, handles open water well, as well as swamps. Quick and easy to turn, etc. Extremely well designed and built. Highly recommended.
01-18-2007Submitted by: NormSamuelson
- Rating: 10 of 10 I now have two Pungo kayaks. I started with a Pungo 140. When I decided to get a second boat for kids, grandkids, and friends, I took time to look at other boats, but could not find any that were as comfortable as the Pungo. My newer boat is a Pungo 120, which I like even better than the 140. Being a year newer, it has some nice padding around the sides of the cockpit. I weigh 270, so I need a boat that will support my weight. I paddle lakes in Northern Arizona almost every weekend, year round. I have loaned this boat to lots of people, and they all are impressed with it.
12-11-2006Submitted by: Mark
- Rating: 10 of 10 Purchased a red duralite pungo 120 from REI last spring. I am 62 yrs at 6' with 195 lb weight. Used it several times on small MN lakes during summer, three river trips this fall and ended season with a paddle on a small half iced over lake in late November. Paddling alongside newly forming 1/4 inch thick ice with its tinkling bell sound made me feel like a real eskimo. Duralite construction working well so far, even after going over many rocks, getting numerous scratches in bottom while using in shallow low water river conditions this fall. In colder weather I use a full skirt to keep paddle drip off my legs, plus sealskin socks and gloves. Very comfortable adjustable seat and foot pegs, very stable, tracks well, paddles easy with 140 cm paddles for me, but I have not experienced a real sea kayak yet so cannot compare it to one. Love the 39 lb weight and with my bad back its very easy to carry when moving from car to a distant launch area. Found it easy to cartop travel the kayak upside down with 4 foam canoe blocks placed around the coaming, plus one nylon rachet strap over kayaks middle through rear of front car door openings, plus one 1/4 inch dia nylon rope tied on each side of rear car bumper having a single overhand knot thru kayaks rear carrying handle. Initially bought for stability for fishing, but found its so much fun to paddle around and explore in that I haven't fished from it yet. When I am alone, its much easier and more fun to paddle and use vs my 18 ft alumacraft canoe, but I believe the canoe is more stable and more comfortable to camp and fish from in areas such as MN boundary water trips. Am wondering if new pungo 140 duralite might be a bit faster and better for use if fishing and camping on large 2000 acre plus lakes ? Then again, 140 might be more difficult to turn on narrow stream bends or when manuvering class I and II rapids ? Rating it a 10 for my current use, but after obtaining more experience I may want to upgrade to a true sea kayak.
09-06-2006Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 5 of 10 I'm 5'3" 115 female, new to kayaking, not new to paddling or other water sports.
Demo'd a plastic version (not Duralite) this past July. Impression: a barge. Slow. The back end waggles. Takes too much effort to get going and stay on track, even allowing for my beginner technique. I demo'd other kayaks of similiar size (Kestrel, Santee 116) that same afternoon all with my own paddle & experienced much better handling. No comparision really.
The coaming lip had a fairly scratchy underside lip. Couldn't imagine trying to keep my thighs braced up against it. Or curling my hands around it picking it up.
That said, the Pungo is very stable. & sits pretty high off the water, which might be reassuring. For someone looking to get in and stay at beginner level and have some floating splashing fun, it's fine.
Great family kayak or one to keep at the cottage for guests. I could imagine it being a fine fishing platform, too.
I just wasn't in the market for any of those.
I also checked out the much prettier Duralite version displayed outside my local outfitter's shop. The temperatures that week ran hot (mid 90s) and with a little effort I could have poked a finger imprint in the hull...but I didn't ;-)....for the extra money for Duralite, no thanks....
06-19-2006Submitted by: Josh
- Rating: 10 of 10 I attended the LL Bean Kayak Festival in June in Annapolis, Md, looking for a beginner Kayak. This one blew the others out of the water! It was very comfortable (I especially like the extra padding on the sides where one's knees touch), and tracked well. It is very light in the Duralite version, which I recommend.
05-23-2006Submitted by: claude52
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have to agree with all the other reviews. This is definetly a 10. The Pungo 120 is a great Kayak! Its my first Kayak and I did alot of research and also took the advice of the ever so helpful people at Mountainman up in Old Forge NY. I picked it up last month and my first time out in it was a blast. I got right in it and took off. Very steady and tracked very well. Took me all of 5 min. to get used to handling it. Couldnt ask for a better first time kayak. Seat is exceptionally comfortable. Looking foward to several years with my Pungo 120.
05-22-2006Submitted by: GSLgal
- Rating: 10 of 10 Haven't spent time in it yet but test paddled at least 10 different yaks at Paddlefest this weekend. Bought the WS Pongo 120. It blew comparable boats (by Perception, Dagger, Liquid Logic, etc.) out of the water for stability, tracking and comfort. Adjustable seat(esp. thigh support)is so comfortable. Footpeg system so easy to adjust on the fly. Tracked like a dream. I'll post again once I've got some hours logged on it.
02-13-2006Submitted by: John
- Rating: 10 of 10 My first review is listed below on 5/6/04. Nearly two years later, I had the Pungo out on a stunning 57 degree day in Chicago area. The Pungo is a little scratched, but I love it! I have rented many different kayaks over the last two years on various trips. None compare to the Pungo 120. This is a wonderful kayak.
01-18-2006Submitted by: mittleman
- Rating: 9 of 10 I spent a lot of time researching kayaks and found paddling.net a valuable resource. I looked at many boats, but decided on the pungo 12 when viewing it at REI. It was the most confortable boat for me when sitting in it from the show room. I have a Jack Russell Terrier who goes everywhere with us, and decided there would be room for her also.
Since purchasing my "yellow banana" we have been out every weekend. It's a great boat, tracks well and like all the reviewers state, it is very comfortable. We could cruise all day long in this boat at any speed and enjoy every minute without any discomfort. My new pungo is a pretty boat with a nice open cockpit, and great for photography when my puppy is in our other boat...It holds lots of gear, and I may need to get a skirt at some point in the future if taking it on bays or rough water, due to the low bow which could take on some water if there are some whitecaps or a large wake from other boats to contend with. This is a perfect boat for me as I am a novice, and one I feel very safe and secure in. My paddling partner has a Pamlico 10 by Wilderness Systems and I believe she will trade up to a Pungo at REI due to its slower speed and fair tracking ability.
12-28-2005Submitted by: Jeff
- Rating: 9 of 10 Versatile, solid beginner boat. My wife and I both have used our Pungo 120s in a variety of conditions, from coastal bays and sounds to farm ponds, from class I rivers to massive reservoir lakes. They get the job done in all situations. Granted, you can't go hardcore touring way out in the ocean or do much whitewhater above class I (though II is possible on warm day when you don't mind getting a little wet), but then you'd expect to have to own multiple boats to do all that. The Pungo 120 is a great rec boat choice for someone who wants to do a little of everything in his or her boat and be comfortable (great seats!) doing it.
10-23-2005Submitted by: John \
- Rating: 8 of 10 A member of WKFA regularly fishes from this sit-in kayak. It is a very comfortable yak. Good stability and a nice small-water fishing platform. Nice workmanship.
08-29-2005Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 Oh most holy, perfect, and complete... My 12' Red Beauty is calling me to stop work and go play on the water. She is super stable, tracks like a dream, and comfortable with the oversized cockpit and phase 3 seat. The real test came up at Yellowstone Lake in Wyoming when the wind came up and whitecaps materialized. We were over an hours paddle from shore. My Pungo girl took it all in stride. Next, I may have to retrace the voyages of Leif Erickson, Magellan, and Sinbad the Sailor. You may want to consider a longer paddle length due to the size of the cockpit. Did I mention that I married my PUNGO??? Happy paddling, you won't be disappointed with this one!
08-14-2005Submitted by: harbo
- Rating: 9 of 10 I love my "Pungos". I have four of them. I can put any person in them and feel confident that they can handle them. I have only one complaint on the newer model (2004) WS changed the shape of the bow and the forward part of the cockpit. They flattened it out and by doing so they made it more likely that water will come into the cockpit. My older ones slice through waves while my newer one tosses the water into the cockpit! Oh well, I just need to use the skirt more.
08-12-2005Submitted by: Johnnie41
- Rating: 9 of 10 I just took out my new Pungo 120 Duralite last night for the first time and it was a great paddle. We went out on a calm waterway that I have traveled many times and this was by far the most comfortable ride yet. The kayak tracks well and does have plenty of room. I found the large cockpit great for relaxing for a spell as well as when working. I'm looking forward to spending much time in it. Great kayak.
08-04-2005Submitted by: K98
- Rating: 10 of 10 We put our first kayak, a Pungo 120, in the water for the first time today. The location was Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park, just a few miles from our home. My 14 yr old son took it out first followed by Mom and me in our Mad River Explorer. The Pungo tracked quick and straight, and the kid gave it two thumbs up. After a few miles, we pulled onto a sand bar to have some refreshments and swap boats. My wife paddled off in the Pungo (she has no kayak experience), junior and I followed in the canoe. About an hour later, I got my turn. Actually, wife and son elected to go swimming, so I grabbed the Pungo. Had a great time with it, great boat for beginners. Tracks straight, good glide, and handled the afternoon breezes well. The lake was getting a little choppy as we headed for port, the Pungo handled it well, and junior stayed dry. Family consensus is that we buy another one...maybe two. Great little boat.
06-27-2005Submitted by: Skender
- Rating: 10 of 10 2005 Pungo 120, great kayak, I use mine on Greenwood Lake, NY and am very happy with it. I have been reading other reviews about having a hard time tracking the kayak and can tell you that it has to do with centering your weight. As far as the advertised capacity I can tell you that it is probably right as I often have my Labrador Retriever (about 85lb) in the kayak. I am 6' and 210lb. and have no problem even on a busy day on the lake with real choppy conditions. It's just a great kayak with a large cockpit and plenty of storage. Highly recommend it to any beginner. I fish from mine on regular bases and itís great.
06-20-2005Submitted by: ddhdesign
- Rating: 10 of 10 Pungo 120 Duralite. I am new to kayaking and tried a few shorter boats first (too squirrelly for the flat Susquehanna River), then tried the new Pungo Duralite. Very stable and at 39lbs I could lift it to car rack by myself. Enjoying it very much.
06-09-2005Submitted by: capecodder36
- Rating: 10 of 10 Older series Pungo 120-----Own two other boats. Passing by a large boat discount house last Fall. Mango colored Pungo sitting outside. A quick stop, quicker negotiations and I drove away with a new older (high coaming) model Pungo. A bit of customizing and have been using it as the command boat at a Cape Cod kayak tour operation. An absolutely superb boat for protected waters and tidal marsh exploration. Storeage is more than adequate. Stability is very good. Inexperienced paddlers quickly feel at ease. Some difficulties with smaller paddlers---underarms brushing against the high coaming. This was solved with the installation of split foam pipe covers. Looking at replacing existing fleet of sea boats and doubles with the new low coaming Pungo. Wonderful boat!
06-07-2005Submitted by: EFSOUTHERLAND
- Rating: 8 of 10 I am new to the kayaking sport. A friend and I recently purchased kayaks. I bought the Pungo 120 and him the Manitou. I've had mine out four times in small lakes and rivers. The Pungo was fine. I fished from it, swam out of it and nature watched in it. I like the open cockpit and generous storage fore and aft. The seat is very comfortable and the footbraces adjust on the fly easily. The dry storage compartment in back seems to work fine and the drain plug in the stern is a nice touch. The boat tracks well with or against the wind and current. Will find out more in a couple of weeks when I float a little more active river. All in all a good beginners boat especially if you hunt or fish.
04-25-2005Submitted by: guyhaggard
- Rating: 10 of 10 I got my first kayak a Pungo 120. Took it out and enjoyed it very much. Was easy to use and glided well in water. All I need is front and rear airbags and it will be better (they will sink if filled with water). I got the boat used for $150 and it looks like it has been around for awhile and is still in good shape. Canít wait to got again as soon as weather gets better here in cold SE Michigan.(they say snow over weekend yuk).
04-14-2005Submitted by: BWGRP
- Rating: 10 of 10 I tried my Pungo 120 for the first time today. This boat is very stable and handled my weight. I am 6'2" and 310# and top heavy. This kayak is a keeper for me and my wife has one also.
04-12-2005Submitted by: John
- Rating: 10 of 10 I gave my first review on the Pungo 120 on 05-06-2004 (see below). This is a wonderful kayak. I highly recommend it. The seat is wonderful. It handles well in both smooth and choppy waters. I can't wait to get back in the water.
02-27-2005Submitted by: BobK87
- Rating: 9 of 10 I purchased my Pungo 120 last year and cannot wait to use it again!!! Itís easy for me, a beginner, to use and yet has enough capability to keep more experienced paddlers happy. I have one question/complaint. I purchased the half skirt. I am not sure how to use it best. It has bows built-in but I have a problem with water collecting on top of it.
10-12-2004Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 I am a professional captain employed by a TowBoat U.S. company. I have enjoyed almost every aspect of water related activities; however, I had never used a kayak until taking my family on vacation in New Hampshire last summer. We rented kayaks on the Saco River and we were hooked. I visited the local Kayak shop and described my experience and the type of kayaking I expected to do. I wanted a kayak that would handled the little rivers of New Jersey with an occasional overnighter. The dealer recommended the PUNGO 120. I purchased two of them and my son and I used them in our lake. I found them to be very stable and comfortable. My son only capsized once while trying to catch a football we were passing around.
The true test came last weekend when we did an overnighter on New Jersey's Mullica River from Atsion to Pleasant Mills. We rented a third Pungo 120 for my wife, she only had the NH experience under her belt. We loaded the Pungo 120s with all our backpacking gear and then some. I was amazed how much gear they could hold. I did add deck rigging over the stern hatch to carry Thermarest pads. The Mullica River is only 15 to 30 feet wide, many snags overhead, at water level and just beneath the surface. The stability and maneuverability of the Pungo 120s got my family through, over and under all the obstacles in our path, including six beaver dams, without mishap.
My son and I each weigh over 225# and we each had at least 60# of gear in our boats. The Pungo 120 easily handled the weight and actually seemed even more stable than without gear. The Phase 3 seats were very comfortable even for the five hours of paddling the first day, and the roomy cockpit adds a sense of security to novice paddlers. We are planning our next trip as I write this review.
09-27-2004Submitted by: rufus,sr.
- Rating: 10 of 10 As a loyal WS customer, I have a 140, but got to demo the new Duralite 120 today, which weighs 39 lbs. I was really impressed with this 12 ft. kayak, it paddled as fast as the 140, handles as good, think WS is making a good kayak better.
09-14-2004Submitted by: brat
- Rating: 9 of 10 I have a 2001 Pungo which I really like. I just bought a 2004 Pungo 120 and I like that one even better. I bought Pungos because of their large cockpit, width and sturdy build. My husband and I fish in our kayaks, so they need to be stable, especially when reeling in a big pike. The seating in the new Pungo is great, I don't get numb like I do in the older Pungo. I also like the slidelock foot rests, as I cursed every time I got into the older kayak after my husband used it and I couldn't reach the footrests.
The only mistake I made was not removing the hatch cover before driving on the highway for the first time. We lost it, but I recovered it the next day, unscathed. We'll be taking it off next time.
08-25-2004Submitted by: Eli
- Rating: 9 of 10 I was one of the first to have a 2003 Pungo1200. This was my first kayak and I have been using it for two full seasons. I use it on ocean bays, rivers, lakes, ponds and tidal rivers. The 1200 is very stable in all conditions and tracks greats. The cockpit has tons of room and the seat is excellent. I do think that it could weight less but it totals weight is only 49 pounds. The hatch cover will come off if you carry it on top of your car. In my case the hatch came off and the contectng line broke so I lost the cover. A replacement is large $$$$. I think that there should also be a front water proff hatch. Accesing the back hatch can't be done while in the kayak (in a safe manner). I would but this kayak again and I do tell my friends to do the same.
08-23-2004Submitted by: MSS
- Rating: 10 of 10 I did a good bit of research and am very happy with my purchase of the Pungo 120. Yak handles well and the seat is the most comfortable around. I bought two and we do as much paddling as we lay the seat back and just sun. Great first purchase. My children have no trouble handling the 120.
08-04-2004Submitted by: LindaKeith
- Rating: 9 of 10 The Pungo handles beautifully even in some choppy Lake Huron waves. I have health issues and have been on prednisone so I had to have a boat which could handle my size. I just wish it were lighter weight and as easy to handle out of water as it is in the water.
07-29-2004Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have now had my 120 for 4 months and have had it in the water at least 15 times. I absolutely love it. It's easy to handle, stable, great tracking. We also have a Dagger Element and find that the Pungo is much easier to handle. The Dagger is a bit more stable, but you lose your tracking ability because of it. I would highly recommend the Pungo 120. It's a great beginner boat, and will remain a great boat even as your skills improve.
07-07-2004Submitted by: KMP
- Rating: 10 of 10 I just bought a Pungo 120 2004 as my first kayak. I'm 5'11" and 350 lbs, so I researched fairly carefully to find a good recreational kayak that had enough cockpit room and carrying capacity for myself and a small ammount of gear. I found this kayak exceptionally comfortable. It is both roomy and has a very comfortable seat if you are a very large person. I did not find it to ride particularly low in the water, and had it in some pretty shallow places. As for stability, I only rolled it one time on my first time out, which I attribute to inexperience rather than the design of the boat. I noticed that it didn't track as straight as I thought it would, but again, I account this in large part to inexperience with my paddling technique. Overall, I'd highly recommend this for large folks who want to get into kayaking as a great form of excercise but were afraid of the smaller kayak lines.
06-28-2004Submitted by: tschuck
- Rating: 10 of 10 I've had mine now out for several trips, in many conditions and with many paddlers (myself, my sons, their friends, etc)
This boat is the "sporty family car" of the recreational boats. You can trust it for stability, abuse the stability without ever feeling unsafe, coax a lot of speed, make it turn any direction you want with little effort. You can take along a small child, or the family pooch. This boat is truly fun to drive, gives tons of exhiliration, but never compromises peace of mind.
06-24-2004Submitted by: mudflap
- Rating: 9 of 10 I just bought the Pungo 120, and I love it. The boat is super stable and a great tracker. Though not the fastest boat, it's still fast enough; heck, we could all use a little extra excercise anyways. I've used it in some very choppy open waters and have never felt in danger of tipping. My only complaint ia that due to the with, I do sometimes hit my knuckles while paddling, a minor flaw. Also, with a 450lb. capacity, it provides for a good weekend camping trip on the river. Well worth the price.
05-31-2004Submitted by: Harbo
- Rating: 10 of 10 Pungo's are great! I just bought my third one. The new 2004 model is even better than the other two I already own.I also have WS "Rascal", it too is a great little boat. Why so many boats? GRANDKIDS! I can put anyone in these boats with no experience and have them going down the river just fine in no time at all. The hard chine on these boats is a great idea, they track very well. Once you get comfortable in these you can make them turn pretty fast too by just leaning into the turn and getting the boat on its side. I really can't say enough good about these boats, for the price--they are the best boats around for general purpose kayaking. I use mine on rivers around Michigan and even in Lake Michigan with no troubles (if you use your head and know your limitations and the boats limitations as well)
05-28-2004Submitted by: Dan
- Rating: 10 of 10 My first kayak - great investment. Got an awesome deal from REI, got it for $399 because someone else was as well. Anyway, it's a very stable boat. I'm about 6'0 and 230 lbs, and me and my dog (26 lbs) had no trouble going out and up the Gasconade river in Missouri while flyfishing. Tracks extremely well, only leaning to the side induces somewhat of a curved path. Very easy to handle, and my GPS tracks me at around 5 mph going against a pretty good current. Easy to carry too. Definitley worth the money. Good boat.....highly recommended.
05-18-2004Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 Overall I am satisfied with my Pungo 120. I got a killer deal at $499. I only wish I had gone straight to a touring boat for my first kayak. The quality of the Pungo seems high and the Phase 3 seating is awesome. I can go for hours and it's like sitting in a recliner. The Sidelock footrests are really convienient too. These two features are what might sell you on a Wilderness Systems. The kayak is a little "tippy", like you are sitting on a knife edge. Overall, the boat is stable though. The biggest drawback....it is too WIDE!! 29 inches is just unecessary. Even with totally verticle strokes I hit my fingers on the side often. Nothing is perfect. I give it a 9.
05-17-2004Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 8 of 10 Just a follow-up on my first review in which I stated that I didn't like the way it tracked. I have now had this kayak for a full year and my paddling technique has improved, I find I can handle this yak much better than when I last reviewed. It is so stable in most conditions that I have no reservations about going out on rough conditions. Plus it is so light and easy to handle which is a plus. We have recently bought my wife a liquidlogic seneca, which is more of a touring kayak than a recreational kayak, and was able to keep up with her today on the Parker river in Plum Island. she was having much trouble paddling straight similar to me last year. she hasn't done as much paddling as I have. On second thought, I would recommend this kayak for anyone who wants to do recreational kayaking. I plan on getting myself a new kayak next year and will keep this one for my kids or if anyone wants to try kayaking and needs a nice stable kayak.
05-06-2004Submitted by: John
- Rating: 10 of 10 Took my first ride on 5/5/04 in Illinois. Went on Du Page River (calm), Des Plaines (heavy, commercial river), then portaged over and dropped it into the historic Illinois & Michigan Canal (smooth as glass) for the return trip.
The Pungo handled the heavy chop of the Des Plaines with no problem. Easily sliced through the rough parts, tracked straight, and moved quickly. In the future, I would add a spray skirt to avoid getting a little splash on windy days. On the I&M canal, I really cranked it up, and it sliced through the water. Very nice.
The seat was wonderfully comfortable. Plenty of storage behind the seat. Have not even put anything into the dry well yet, which stayed dry even when I hosed it off after the trip (so the seal works).
The boat is a little tippy if you lean too much but I attribute that to the v-shaped hull, which gives you more speed and solid tracking.
There was plenty of room in front of me. You could easily put a child, dog or coyote in there.
One thing I have not seen posted before is the adjustable footpads. I really like that you can adjust them with your hand (sliding them forward and back), rather than trying to do the "Foot Doodle" thing of trying to release and push it forward or pull back before it locks in.
Just by chance, I met up with another Kayaker who had a Pungo, which was 10 yrs. old. He stared at my new one with awe, and I stared at his, knowing that I look forward to a decade of solid use by this kayak.
I had no problems lifting it up and down. Weighs about 50 pounds.
04-26-2004Submitted by: KayakDad
- Rating: 5 of 10 I just bought a Pungo 120 today with the idea that my kids and I will do some kayak fishing and flatwater cruising. None of us ever tried kayaking before so this was going to be a new adventure for all of us. Put the kayak in the pool for a little practice, tracked straight, easy to steer, good looking boat too.
Now for the bad news. This boat has a 400 lb rating, and I am 6'0" and about 265. Other than sitting perfectly straight, this boat would roll over. The water line came up to the top of what one would consider to be the gunwales, or about 4-5 inches below the lip of the cockpit. For the life of me, I can't imagine how anyone can possibly put 400 lbs in this kayak and not sink. I really think Wilderness is stretching the limit (for marketing reasons?) with that rating. Anyway this is not the boat for me and I will definitely be looking for a more stable platform for myself. As for my 23 yr old 160lb son, he had absolutely no problem maneuvering the boat and he purposely tested the stability by leaning over the side until it started to tip. Again, no problem and he absolutely loved the boat.
In closing, I give the boat a 5 because I think Wilderness is grossly exagerrating the safe weight rating of this boat.
04-19-2004Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 8 of 10 I took my new Pungo 120 out this weekend for a 3 hour ride on the North River in Marshfield, MA. A perfect day for paddlingon Saturday. I found the boat to be very comfortable and it tracked surprisingly well. The river was moving very fast as it is a tidal river. The phase 3 seating was very comfortable as I had to make a few adjustments to find the right setting. Turning was OK, not bad, not great. Speed was good, not great. But, I bought this boat for mostly cruising down the river as speed was not a concern. The cockpit is very spacious and can accomodate 400#'s. I will have to give it a few more trys as the river was so fast that paddling was quite easy. All in all, I'd say the Pungo was a good grab for me.
03-29-2004Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 Well for the price and what it was designed for the Pungo is a very nice rec. boat. The stability is excellent since I've never been dumped out even when traversing high boating lanes on a weekend. The seat is very comfortable. It lacks a from hatch so cleopatra's needle is going to happen if you fall out and you better hope you're close to shore.
03-03-2004Submitted by: Naryan
- Rating: 10 of 10 I got my Pungo at the end of last summer. I have found that it is a really fast boat, faster then most other 12 footers. It also traks extremely well. The large cockpit is also useful if you want to fit in a child or dog. The only problem that I have had is that the storage lid broke off when it was on top of my car. I drove back and found it, but the small cord doesn't hold very well. I would recommend stowing the lid in the car, and not leaving it on the kayak during transport. It is the winter now, and I cant wait till spring when i can use it again!
10-20-2003Submitted by: Don B
- Rating: 9 of 10 The Ws Phase III seating is extremely comfortable. This boat tracks well even in wind and chop. Compared it to a Loon 138 and 110. Both seemed deficient: 110 = no room for storage. The 138 had a *place* for an *optional* dry storage compartment, and was much heavier, bulkier, harder to handle. The Pungo 120 is a winner. Light, good tracking and handling, handsome, and the most comfortable rec kayak in its price range.
08-18-2003Submitted by: mpa
- Rating: 5 of 10 I have recently purchased my pungo120 and have had it out in rivers and ponds. It is stable and roomy but I am very disappointed in its tracking abilities. It tends to go hard right or left and I'm not sure why or what causes it. I took my brothers loon 120 out and tracked so much straighter than mine. I am very disappointed and feel like unloading it soon. I have noticed that it tracks better in running water than still water. Took it out of Hampton Harbor in Seabrook, NH the other day and the conditions were choppy at best, swells of almost 1 1/2'. It tracked good in those conditions. I hope this helps someone in trying to decide what to buy.
08-12-2003Submitted by: Mike Campbell
- Rating: 10 of 10 I just recently purchased the Pungo 120. My first kayak was a Kiwi Lobo. It was a nice little boat, but after two years of use, I outgrew it. My dealer convinced me to wait for the "new" Pungo, and I am glad I did. The new 120 is GREAT! It is stable, very easy to get into and out of, the Phase 3 seating is like being in a reclining chair. I got it in Orange and you can spot me from a great distance - a good safety factor. The fit and finish is great and the 44 pound weight makes it very easy to handle by myself - 230 & a bad back.
It tracks great, very stable and looks great with room for a bunch of stuff!
07-07-2003Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 Purchased a 2003 Pungo 120 at the beginning of the year, and have now had it out enough to be able to give it a review with some perspective. My main reason for going with boat was to find a craft which I could fit into (6'3" 240 lbs), which would still allow me to carry camping & fishing gear, and yet not be too heavy to portage for any distance. This little boat seems to meet all these needs. The stability is so keen that you don't need to stay acutely aware that you're in a boat all of the time. The Phase 3 seat is everything it's bragged up to be, and also makes a nice "seat" for your head during a portage. The room behind the seat is handy for stowing a dry-sac for quick access gear, and the sealed-bulkhead hatch in the rear will hold a LOT of gear. It's greatest test was a short overnight camping trip, where I had myself and likely 70 - 80 lbs. of gear stowed in various ways. I had to paddle approx. 7-8 miles into a fairly strong wind, with a 2 - 2.5 foot chop on the lake. At no time did the boat make me nervous, and I felt safe and stable the whole trip. I definitely would recommend a spray skirt for this sort of thing, and go for a longer than average paddle to compensate for the width of the boat, so you won't be banging your knuckles. The boat does indeed track quite well, and can sustain a fairly good speed if you feel like digging in for a bit. It seems quite sturdy, and has taken some banging around in rocks with only a few scratches.
There are two negatives that should be mentioned, but which are not terribly serious:
1) The coated nylon sprayskirt the WS makes for this boat is awkward to fit on, once in the boat, due to the 55" length of the cockpit. It also uses a long zipper/velcro closing, and forms a basin in your lap, where some water seeps through, no matter how high on your ribs you wear it. I've searched in vain for a neoprene skirt to fit the large cockpit. In a word, if you plan to use this in cold water often, you may find it somewhat uncomfortable.
2) The other limitation is only for those with biig feet (I'm a size 13). The footbraces mounted in the front are great, but the shallow/wide shape of the hull means you have to sit with your feet angled outwards a fair bit. This gets a bit ####### the knees after a while, as well as limiting your seating position options.
These are really only minor problems, but I'm defintely glad to have bought this boat, and have had a ton of fun fishing & camping with it this year.
06-06-2003Submitted by: Bonneville
- Rating: 9 of 10 The new design Pungo is sleek and definitely surpasses its predecessor in appearance. The Phase 3 seat is the real selling point. You can adjust the back's height and angle, as well as the slope of the seat. There's some room behind the seat for items you want easy access to. The grab loops are beefy and comfortable, and the cockpit is cavernous. It's a snap to get in and out, but it's a little wide for my taste. I'd prefer a slightly narrower opening to gain some knee lock for leans, even though I know it's not supposed to be a slalom boat. The hatch is a nice size and the bulkhead doesn't appear to leak. The forward bungy (a single strand) has limited use. The plastic seems sturdy, without making the boat heavy. The Pungo seems to be designed for tracking, which it does well. Obviously, you give up some turning agility. It feels quick for a 12' boat. It's very stable, so you should feel free to fish, birdwatch or whatever. A great boat for beginners as well as those who just like a user-friendly platform.
Don't Miss the Paddling.net Weekly Newsletter!
90,000+ people can't be wrong!
The Paddling.net Newsletter is a must if you like to canoe or kayak! Each week it is packed with great articles, photos, product reviews, and special features. Better yet, we promise not to sell your email address to anyone; that's right ZERO spam! Sign up today and find out what you've been missing!