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Product Reviews > Kayaks > Current Designs > Kestrel 120 HV Add Your Review Now!

Reviews for Kestrel 120 HV Kayak by Current Designs

Rated: 9.36/10 Based On: 11 Reviews

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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I first saw a Current Design in a small kayak and bike shop in Fayetteville, NY. Until that day, I was used to seeing the typical big box store ones. I spent last year in a 10 ft, 30" whiffleball bat, and realized very soon after that I loved kayaking, and this boat would not do.

I was immediately impressed with the quality of the Current Design rotomold, it was like nothing I ever felt before. Thick, with no flex to it, a real solid feel. You can easily see the difference in quality with the poly Current Designs uses over just about any other manufacturer, definitely made to last a long time. Within minutes, all the other boats I was considering were out of the question, I ended up buying the Kestrel 120 roto HV.

At the time, I was such a novice that a 25" beam was intimidating me, the HV is a roomy 27". All cords, bungees, straps and the hatch cover work as expected, again, all quality stuff here. Amazing seat, with the simplest of operations considering the possibilities you can choose from, so many that it took me several outings to find the best one. Tilting seat pan is awesome, from flat to maybe a 30 degree angle(dont quote me on the angle) lower back adjustment from low to high, and the best forward/backward tilt adjustment around, a small ratcheting level near your knee which can be set while you are cruising along.

Love the cockpit size at 37", not too big or small, easy in and out. I use this boat on mainly small lakes in the Finger Lakes of New York. Some calm days, some rough days. The Kestrel takes all in stride, and is very stable and fun in up to Two foot waves and swells, since that's all I encountered so far. On calm waters, I can easily maintain 4 miles /hr, with pretty good glide for a 12' boat. Although I'm new to this, it leans with confidence inspiring cooperation.

When I was in the market for a new kayak, my limit was set at $700, for $800, I do believe I picked up one of the best long term values available, fantastic quality, very fair price.

Probably really deserves a 10 rating, but I think a lot of kayak reviews come off over rated by enthusiastic kayakers, who mean no harm, just love their particular kayak, I'm one of them, Love my Current Design Kestrel.

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Submitted by: MJCWSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I am the proud long-time owner of a Kestrel and I love it. Also, my friends love it. It handles well even if you are new and learning. I just purchased an Old Town Loon and hope I will enjoy it as much as the Current Design.
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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Nine months with a 12 foot Kestrel HV. It is the fastest and straightest boat (three others) that I have. Very comfortable for 6'1" 250# paddler. I had to repair the foot brace: the peg broke off. Current Designs provided original equipment replacement with no problem.

Downside? No easy access to on-board storage when on the water. There is no day hatch or bottle holder.
I would recommend this boat to a friend.

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Submitted by: tlmSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I recently bought a 2006 Kestrel 120 HV, and I could not be more pleased. This is a perfect kayak for average-sized adults looking for a recreational boat. So far, I have paddled it in a slow moving river and a bay. The only accessory I wish it was equipped with is a place to hold my water bottle.
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Submitted by: DudleyJSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Bought two new Kestrel 120 HV to replace our sea kayaks for better car topping behind our motorhome. At home we normally paddle in a large bay but on the road we will try anything that looks like fun. We are just finishing a three week trip covering five fresh water lakes and two Pacific Coast sea locations. These boats have been great for us. We are in our 70's but still find them easy to put on and take off the roof of our 4Runner tow car. We got caught in one situation with rapidly rising wind conditions leading to large waves and big white caps necessitating a scramble for a cove to put into and they handled it very well.
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Submitted by: DCHSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     If you are an average to XL adult male or female and want a kayak for class 1 or 2 rivers or casual flatwater touring the kestrel is great. The hull is genius... stiff poly far superior to all other "rec" kayaks. So far no problems with " oil canning" or dents from cartopping. The boat tracks well and handles in milder rapids. Very responsive. It's a little more expensive than some of the big box store specials out there, but in this case you not only get what you pay actually get THE best designed recreation class kayak available!
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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     When the snow finally arrived in late 2008, I finished my first kayaking season with my new Current Designs Kestrel 120 HV in TCS. The advantages in this boat are as follows:
  • the HV (high volume) is roomy for me (I'm 6'4" and 200 lbs).
  • The TCS means the kayak is only 44 pounds and thus I can easily handle the boat in all situations by myself. I can load and unload it from the top of my vehicle with ease, and walk to the shoreline with the kayak on my shoulder. Keep in mind that the easier it is to handle alone, the more you will use it!
  • I found that it maneuvers extremely well. It responds to the slightest stroke of the paddle.
  • I found that it tracks well enough, even on windy days. I've crossed lakes a mile and half wide with fairly rough chops and the Kestrel held its own.
  • The HV model also means more stability, since it is a little wider. This may make for a slightly slower boat, but, so far I have felt totally secure in all water conditions.
I highly recommend this kayak for anyone who wants ease in handling the boat on and off the water, enjoys lakes and slow, scenic rivers, and enjoys comfort and stability while on the water.

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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     As a wildlife photographer I wanted a boat that was lite, stable and had a open cockpit. My answer was the Kestrel 120 tcs hv. It tracks straight. I mainly use it in the bay 1-3ft chop (mostly 1 ft) as a photography platform and it's great. I added a rudder (to to steer while paddling but to steer while shooting). The rear hatch is a bugger to get on and leaks. This boat could be used for weekend trips easily. This winter I plan on using it in more open water of the bay (summer has way too many idiots in boats/jet skis to be paddling in the middle of the bay!) I give it a 10 despite the rear hatch
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Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought my 120HV about 9 months ago and absolutely love it. This is my second yak. My first was a Victory Blast, now donít laugh I thoroughly enjoyed that boat (see my review 2 years ago). Iím a large paddler, 265lb under 6ft, and spend a lot of time in tight areas so I was concerned initially about the extra 3 feet, but my fears were never realized.

The 120 is very maneuverable and light enough to push over partially submerged branches without getting out of it. It does ride low, I thought it was because of my girth, but it seems that others have the same observation. If there is any wind I use a skirt to keep water out. Iíve not experienced any problems with water leaking around the hatch, but I always keep accessories in a dry bag just in case. I did notice that this years model has an adjustable backrest, I will buy one soon.

This boat is an excellent choice for anyone that wants to have fun out on the water and see nature as youíll never see it from standing on the bank.

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Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have a Kestrel 120HV. The kayak tracks well on flat water and maneuvers well through shoals on Class I/II rivers. I have pushed the limits of this kayak beyond the mfg's imagination. The kayak has been used on a 26, 30 and 49 day trip. The bow foam was removed to allow more storage with no effect on the kayak. The dry storage is quite large although the cover doesn't form a tight seal and tends to deform in heat/sunshine. The kayak also handled well on class III and IV and can be rolled with practice. The seat is comfortable even though the seat pad is thin. The paddle holding clips were removed because they are located where the knuckles tend to hit them. Considering the design use of the Kestrel is an exceptional kayak and rates a good 9. Considering the extreme tests, abuse, accomplishments and after 7,000+ miles I give it a well deserved 10.
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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     We'll this being my first kayak, I love it! I had tried a few different boats. This one to me seems the most stable for a first time yaker. I am 6'1" and weigh in at roughly 210lbs. When I went to purchase a boat, the store owner told me this boat was stronger and not so easy to "oil can"; meaning it can take a good beating off rocks (and other boats they seem to find them self parked on top of yours).

Now for my review after owning it for a couple of months.
From what I can tell seems to be pretty good. It stays pretty much on course even into a head wind on open flat water. Easy to turn with some good paddle strokes.
River running:
I have taken it down some swift water rivers and rides nicely thru the choppy stuff.
Cockpit area:
The buckle that adjusts the seat back loosens up after a while. A little modification needs to be done by you to keep it from slipping through the buckle. As for the seat pad, while there is one there, they should design one with a little more padding, but all in all it is comfortable during a 3 hour trip.
Also a spray skirts is a must! The cockpit rim sits pretty closed to the water line when up on edge and without a skirt you will be bailing.
Not good! the seal around the top rim (where it meets the boat surface) is poorly sealed. I ended up taking it off and resealing the rim. The bulkhead wall is also poorly sealed. Needed to reseal it better with more caulking.
Deck Rigging:
Nice amount of bungee rigging to secure your "stuff" to the front deck. More bungee rigging behind the cockpit. All the outside rigging has the reflective cord, nice touch!
It can take a beating! Going over rocks there is not much flex.

So for my first boat review, I give the Current Design Kestrel 120 HV a 8 out of 10. An 8 due to the small bulkhead problem which is an easy fix and the seat buckle designs.

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