09-24-2012Submitted by: doranne
Reviews for Dirigo 106 Kayak by Old Town Canoe
Based On: 23 Reviews
- Rating: 10 of 10 no regrets; this years favorite purchase
09-19-2012Submitted by: Cindylou
- Rating: 8 of 10 I am new to kayaking, having only started this year. Was borrowing a neighbors Wilderness Systems Pungo 12, and loved it, but wanted my own kayak and didn't want to spend 800.00 for a Pungo. Tried a few 10 ft kayaks. Bought the Dirigo 10.6 and have been very happy with this kayak! Of course it does not track as well as a 12 ft kayak or is quite as fast, but it does very well for a boat of its size. I have no problem keeping it straight on windy days. And on calm water it is pretty fast for a 10 foot kayak. It is very stable, which is very important for me. Great for fishing, lots of storage. On choppy water you will get a bit wet. I don't mind when it's warm, but might need a spray skirt when it gets cooler.
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.
04-09-2012Submitted by: JH
- Rating: 10 of 10 I bought the Dirigo 106 last spring mostly for fishing and camping out of. I have had it in many big lakes and small rivers. I have beat the crap out of this thing and it takes the abuse very well. Plenty of storage space for fishing and camping gear.
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.
11-08-2011Submitted by: Chuck
- Rating: 7 of 10 I have both the Wilderness Systems Pamlico 100 and the Dirigo 106 that I purchased used a couple of months ago in new condition. The great thing about the Dirigo is the lower sides that aide in paddling and the really nice bungie cords and paddle holder. The seat is also very comfortable in this 2011 version.
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
08-09-2010Submitted by: RKBerta
- Rating: 9 of 10 I did a review of this same kayak in April of this month. Normally I use it on lakes and slow rivers for fishing but last weekend I went on a 7 mile river paddle that opened my eyes to the durability of the Dirigo. I should put a caveat here...my Dirigo is a 106 version that I bought 4 years ago. The latest versions have changed the seat design (I liked the old design better) and I believe gone to a lighter/thinner hull material. I have heard that the newer hull has some issues with strength and Old Town may have gone back to the previous design...you may want to check if this is so if you decide to get one. If so it would be a good move because I found the old hull was REALLY able to take a pounding.
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.
07-21-2010Submitted by: Jason T
- Rating: 3 of 10 Owned one for about 2.5 days and only used it once before returning. Took it up a river for a 4 hours round trip and 2/3 the way through the sides of the seat back had rubbed my back raw. The molded rubber seat had a sandpaper like feel. Took it back today and exchanged it for a Wilderness Systems Pungo with Phase 3 seat which is in my tandem and I know I would love.
06-25-2010Submitted by: PFO
- Rating: 4 of 10 I bought a Dirigo 106 kayak 14 months ago. Before buying I contacted Old Town for a recommendation. I have used the kayak about 8 times on a river in Wisconsin and the bottom is wearing through, the inside of the "Tri Hull" has many large cracks in it and there is now a hole in the bottom of the boat. Old Town says the kayak is not for rivers with rocks! I am out an 800.00 dollar kayak and they won't do anything but send me a patch kit. My old kayak was a cheap now discontinued Kiowi 10 single layer and I used it for 20 years on the same river. I will not buy anything from Old Town again
05-14-2010Submitted by: cephas
- Rating: 7 of 10 Well, I speak for the bigger Kayak man. I'm 6'4" and 300ish. I can tell that I am pushing the upper limit for the boat, but the only complain I have about the boat is the same with any sit in. Namely trying to get that much leg in an out. All things considered I love the boat and have found nothing that does "everything" any better.
04-21-2010Submitted by: RKBerta
- Rating: 8 of 10 I have had a Dirigo 106 for about 4 years. I bought it primarily due to its stability as all of my family uses it and I primarily use it for fishing so speed is not an issue nor is tracking. In fact I value the advantage of the short kayak for maneuvering in tight locations.
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.
08-31-2009Submitted by: Neil
- Rating: 10 of 10 This is the best kayak I've ever owned, oh yes it's also my first!
I'm 6'2" and over 200 pounds and found this yak easy to enter and very comfortable to paddle. It tracks well and is very easy to maneuver. We live in a community of small lakes and canals and it's perfect. My wife has an Old Town Rush and we plan to paddle the creeks of the Charleston Lowcountry so we like the dry storage on the Dirigo.
07-02-2009Submitted by: Nick L
- Rating: 9 of 10 I love this boat. I have had it for about four months now, and I have had no problems with it. It tracks very well, especially considering the length, and the storage capacity is mind boggling (I carry all of my climbing and caving gear and usually have plenty of room left over). I have taken 6+ mile trips in the boat, and would have kept going if not for the fact I didn't want to paddle back upstream to the takeout. Great on lakes and decently fast moving streams, hoping to try it on some class II later this summer.
04-28-2009Submitted by: MNYaker
- Rating: 7 of 10 It's a shorter kayak, so tracking and speed aren't anything to write home about. I took some GPS readings, and casual paddling will range from 3 to 4 mph, with a maximum speed of about 5 mph (sustained for about 20 seconds). However, ease of transport and maneuvering were high on my list of requirements, and this kayak delivers in those categories.
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.
09-09-2008Submitted by: CC
- Rating: 8 of 10 My husband and I just purchased the 106 this weekend. While we are new to kayaking we have canoed quite a bit. We were able to try both the 106 and the 120 before buying. While the 120 tracks better and is a bit faster, we really like the portability of the 106. It is very stable, comfortable and tracks well enough for the recreational kayaker. We especially love the storage hatches -- much easier to get your stuff when needed. We have taken them out on flat water and will also use them in rivers. I look forward to many years of paddling and camping with these.
08-22-2008Submitted by: pspector
- Rating: 5 of 10 I just purchase a Dirigo 106 and I am very disappointed in its performance. The tracking is terrible as the boat drifts considerably and is pushed by the slightest breeze. In a barely perceptible wind, it will veer sharply when you stop paddling.....much like a car with terrible alignment. Best thing about this kayak are the storage compartments.
08-04-2008Submitted by: marty
- Rating: 6 of 10 I have a Dirigo 106 and a Victory Blast. The Dirigo is heavier to take in and out of the water, it does not track as well, and it gives me a backache with it's low lumbar support.
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.
09-12-2007Submitted by: nc887
- Rating: 10 of 10 I've had the Dirigo 106 a couple of months now. I really like this one. I was looking for a shorter kayak that was stable & could handle some of the faster moving rivers here. One I could move around without a cart, yet has enough room to store some gear. Love the dry hatch in the rear & the small one in the front is great for the keys or cell phone. I see no tracking problem at all. When you need to turn it turns. It's a little noisy on the front when paddling fast. I don`t think it's that noisy tho even with the upsweep noise. I was still able to paddle up on 4 deer on the shore of a lake drinking water.
The seat is great also. Very easy to adjust the bottom & the back.
The hull seems to be holding up just fine. I do run around & hit rocks from time to time.
The bunge cords are nice on the front & rear. Great for bilge pump or gear & also to hook a paddle & paddle float in for getting back in if in deep water.
Not the fastest, but great for it's size. If I need speed then I use one of my longer & narrower kayaks.
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)
08-24-2007Submitted by: meischen
- Rating: 10 of 10 My wife and I both have Dirigo 106 as a beginning fishing kayak. We like the 10.5 foot, 46 lbs. that make it easy to lift to the car rack. Just right for lake and calm river fishing. We have kayaked along Lake Michigan shores in Wisconsin. Stable. A feel good kayak.
08-22-2007Submitted by: chcollins083
- Rating: 9 of 10 I purchased the Dirigo 106 about a month ago. I've only had it on class 1 rivers and small lakes. It is an excellent fishing platform, very stable and plenty of room for gear. The adjustable seat it comfortable enough for all day use. I am a beginner to kayaks, but I have no trouble keeping the tracking straight. The only problem I have is if a lot of water splashes up on the stern and floods the dry hatch lid, it is no longer a dry hatch. I can see this boat lasting a long time, even if encounters with rocks are often, the hull is stiff and thick enough to take a lot of abuse.
08-14-2007Submitted by: CFW
- Rating: 9 of 10 The Dirigo 106 is the fifth kayak in my flotilla which now includes 10+ to 20+ foot kayaks. Comfort, stability and storage are excellent. As with any shorter boat tracking is more of a challenge. Perhaps because I have gradually decreased the lengths, I find with only slight adjustments in my paddling style, I can track as well as many can with much longer boats.
11-30-2006Submitted by: SJP
- Rating: 10 of 10 I got this kayak about 1 and a half months ago and have no problem tracking in the wind and it has decent speed for its length. I have used it in lakes and slow rivers in MA and I love in great rod holder location and good dry storage are another plus - can't wait for spring.
06-16-2006Submitted by: sam
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have the dirido 106 and love it. It is the perfect blend of recreation anf fitness. I hear that the dirigo 120 goes a little faster. For me that does not matter because I want a good workout and like the transportablity of a smaller kayak.
05-30-2006Submitted by: Kado
- Rating: 4 of 10 I purchased the Dirigo 106 and a Dirigo 120 the same day. Compared to the 120 the 106 isn't even a consideration. It's a fun kayak on still water with no wind, but put a little wind in the mix and it can be extremely frustrating, especially if the wind is at your back. It is very stable and quit maneuverable. On calm water, itís a blast for turning, and exploring. However, any wind what so ever and it will weather vane. Every paddle stroke causes the nose to move sideways. Once the nose starts to go, the only way to correct is with a few very wide sweeping paddles on one side or using the paddle as a rudder, which get tedious if youíre trying to get somewhere. If you want to buy a 106, I recommend you spend a little more money and at least get the 120 or better. I bought the 106 for my girlfriend, but she found it to be too much work, so I use it and she uses the 120. She is much happier now! I would give the 106 a 10 for stability and maneuverability on calm water. It only gets a 2 for tracking, a 7 for comfort, and a 4 for speed (very slow, you spend too much effort trying to keep it tracking). I still have allot of fun with it, but I canít wait to get back in my 120.
04-24-2006Submitted by: MuckSavage
- Rating: 10 of 10 I just bought this from a friend. I have alot of time in canoes but this is my first kayak. Stability is excellent. Comfort is suberb thanks to the adjustable seat. I had no problem keeping it tracking straight. I'll give this boat very high marks. My only problem is the cupholder on the "dashboard". It limits the space my left leg has to move/enter the boat (I'm 6'-2" 210 lbs) Other than that, it's a great boat & my only regret is that I only got to spend an hour & a half on the water before the rain came & the weather's not supposed to break 'til Sunday!
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!