Length: 10' 6" - Width: 27.75" - Starting at: $599.99See More Details about this Kayak
The Dirigo 106 isn't a speed demon or touring craft. It's just a rugged little workhorse that does what I need and fits my budget. That's hard to find in ANY quality product these days.
The only gripe I have about the boat is really just a nit pick, the paddle holder on the side could have been installed different for better functionality. The cockpit is large and easily entered. Also makes for easy exit both voluntary and involuntary.
Bottom line is that I'm very happy with this boat.
This boat is comfortable, stable, and great for all levels of experience.
I think one of my favorite things about the kayak is the storage hatches. There is a small hatch to put keys, phone, and smaller items. There is also a larger stern hatch I am able to access while in the kayak. Both of these are watertight. I think price is very reasonable and the quality is outstanding.
The paddle keeper bungee is nice, but I keep bumping it with the paddle. The seat is the reason I bought this boat - for me at least it is very comfortable and adjustable. The foot rests are also quite good and adjustable. I have a spray skirt, which makes the drink holder useless but the seat bottle holder works well. Old Town could have done away with the drink holder and "glove box" section IMO and just opened up the front of the cockpit, which would have made easier access for taller people like me. However, once seated it's not really in the way. I have used the glove box for keys and it does stay dry.
The rear water-tight compartment has a great hatch with click-seal openers that are excellent. No fussing with tie downs...I can get in there easily while in the boat. The deck bungees are strong and usable as are the handles. It's light enough for me to lift onto the roof rack of my Jeep with moderate effort, and it's easy to carry and dump water out of.
Bottom line is if you are looking for an entry-level kayak that is fun to paddle, has some nice features, can be carried easily, and is well constructed then look at this one.
This boat is for local flat water lakes and creeks. Desire for mobility and carry ability for my spouse. The 106 satisfies these requirements, but it is hard to keep on a straight line. Other than that it is a fine day boat for flat or gently moving water.
A Dirigo is easy to handle for first timers and will deliver a pleasant hassle free paddling experience as it did for us. Today we own ten kayaks and still love the Dirigo and put all of our first timers in it. Our Dirigo offers a safe & comfortable seat for young and old.
I am a 5ft 4in 125lb woman and can load and carry kayak by myself, which was a important factor for me since I often go kayaking by myself. I enjoy this kayak so much and recommend it to anyone who wants a stable, easy to paddle kayak.
Last weekend I took this boat down Rockcastle River through class III and IV rapids that I probably had no business being in and it handled great. I went down a few of the rapids out of control and bounced off big rocks like a pinball and the hull is just scratched up, no dents at all. I even hit one boulder strait on at high speed and the nose did not crumble. The wind is an issue. I paddle with a friend that has a Pungo 10 and I can't keep up with him in a headwind. It can also be a very wet boat, a skirt is a must in windy or choppy water of any kind. Another friend paddles a Necky Rip, he never gets wet.
All in all, I would recommend this boat for any one wanting a great fishing kayak. One thing I really hate is the drain hole in the cup holder on the dash. My paddle drip always fills it up and its a constant drip on my left knee if the skirt is not on.
Compared to the Pamlico the Dirigo doesn't track quite as well. I guess it's the grooves on the underside of Pamlico that facilitate the better tracking. The Pamlico is also lower profiled overall, which helps with crosswinds. The Dirigo's nose kicks up which helps keep water out of the cockpit in faster water. I use a spray skirt with the Dirigo so I loose the cup holder in front. I wish the cup holder between your legs was a little deeper.
I have fitted a WS Pungo Konsole to my Pamlico with a little Dremel work, and I love it. I wish the Pamlico had better bungies like the Dirigo, and a drain hole for the cockpit, but those can be added. I did buy the Dirigo for 300 bucks, so I'm happy with it. For the slow moving, tight rivers that I paddle, and my 190 pound weight, both do well. I will say both are quality boats and both would serve you well. So, which boat do I grab first? Well, if I could only have one, it would be the Pamlico
The river had some class 1-2 rapids including a few areas where the river was "necked" down to go through corrugated culverts. The speed picked up and it was a wild ride with some banging and crashing into the side of the culverts. But the real test was when I had to go over downed trees and big limbs knocked down by recent storms that were in several areas that were in rapidly moving water. The trees and limbs were above the water, and were situated that you didn't know they were there until almost on them..and due to the bank condition you couldn't get out to portage around them.
The short length of the 106 Dirigo makes it not so good at tracking and the high deck height makes it more susceptible to wind cocking on open water... but that wasn't an issue here and the ability to turn on a dime was a big plus. Several of the trees required my buddy in his kayak and I to push and pull to get over the obstacles... often it meant going full bore to counter the current and than trying to pick the cleanest point to bomb over the trees and branches.
With all this hard treatment, I was surprised at how well the Dirigo did... no hull damage and never a hint that it was out of control. I never planned to put my Dirigo through this type of punishment and was amazed at how well it did. I was also REALLY happy that I didn't have my "good" kayak on this trip...its Airolite hull most likely wouldn't have liked the treatment!
So overall the Dirigo impressed me with its ability to survive such hard treatment. I don't plan on doing this on a regular basis...but it is nice to know it can take a beating and survive non the worse for wear.
The pluses...huge cockpit opening gives lots of room for fishing gear, seat adjustments for back tilt and seat tile are adjustable from deck...even when I use a spray skirt. Note however that the latest version no longer has this function (big mistake to eliminate it). The older style seat was better than the latest version in this regard. Large opening hatch and dry bulkhead in back is excellent. Dry well in front "dash" is great for cell phone, wallet, keys, etc. Very durable three layer hull construction is step up from standard roto moulded hulls...much more rigid.
Negatives....sits high and since it is short and smooth bottom it doesn't track as straight as a longer kayak but once you learn how to paddle correctly this isn't really an issue. Bigger issue is that the short length/high height makes it a bit more susceptible to wind weather vaining. The short length makes it more susceptible to getting wet from waves crashing over the bow. Where I paddle (lake) we often get very high winds in the afternoon...25-30 mph and the chop from that will get you wet...that is why I will use a spray skirt those times. For me the stability is very important for my family as it includes three kids down to a small 10 year old. I don't want to worry about a tippy kayak when they are out using it. It can handle some big waves...my wife got hit by a 3' power boat wake last week (don't you hate those thoughtless jerks) that I fully expected her to get dumped...no problem. If you want a fast kayak that tracks straight as an arrow...this one isn't it. I also own a new Hurricane Tampico 135 which is a sports car in comparison but there is no way I would put my 10 year old into it until he gets a lot more experience.
For fishing it is excellent although if I were only going out in warmer waters only I would probably have gone with a sit on top. I have a friend that has the same Dirigo as mine and also a Hobie sit on top. He prefers the Hobie for warmer water (we live in Michigan so cold water lakes are an issue part of the year). We have often paddled together and both Hobie and the Dirigo paddle about the same speed and track the same way.
The foot pedals are a nice design and can be adjusted when in the kayak...something that often can't be done on other kayaks due to the restricted opening.
Final comment about ALL kayaks...do not go by the stated weight of a kayak for comparison purposes. I have yet to find ANY kayak that weighs what the specs say...my Dirigo weighs 49#...not the 43# in the specs.
I would rate this as a 9 or even a 10 if you are mainly going to use this as a recreational kayak...but I knock off a point or two due to the latest seat. If you can find the older version with the deck adjustable seat knobs I would get that one first.
The rear storage hatch is the most accessible and easy to use system that I've come across, however I haven't tested how watertight it is. The cupholder and adjacent dry-storage moldings seem to get in the way of my legs, and I'm 5'11". The seat is comfortable, however the adjustment has slipped a few times. I would suggest this kayak only for those under 6-feet and less than 200 lbs.
If you don't need storage compartments I would recommend the Victory Blast ($250). It performs better and it's lighter but it has no fancy features. I also recommend the $20 kayak paddle (Seasense) from Kmart. I also have the Quest paddle from Dicks sporting goods but I prefer the Kmart paddle.
What else can I say. It`s great on lakes , rivers. I sure it can handle class 1 & 2 rapids. Not sure if "I" can handle a 3... lol... Paddle safe... Denver (NC887)
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