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Reviews for Cayuga 130 Kayak by Old Town Canoe


Rated: 8.94/10 Based On: 16 Reviews

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08-07-2014
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I bought my Cayuga 130 with rudder, a used boat, in May of 2014, it's a 2007 model. I live in metro Atlanta and there are many places to paddle. So far, I've only taken it on fairly calm water in large lakes, but have had a chance to test out the rudder in cross winds. I'm 6' and 184 pounds and the ergos fit me well. It has an older Extrasport seat, reasonably adjustable but not at nice as some of the current seats.

I can make pretty good speed and find edging turns and maneuvers to be easy. There is enough storage for an overnight trip (planned), and I can heft it myself in a high-carry if need be to get it to and from launch sites. I'm very happy with my kayak and look forward to many good years paddling.

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06-04-2013
Submitted by: Stephen Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I had a 13 and a 146; loved them both, had to sell 4 years ago. Went to buy a new one and Old Town stopped making them, well I thought... they're made by Necky, 146 Manitou and the 13. Necky and Old Town are the same company, same boat, just different name, made by Johnson. I got a brand new one love it!
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04-30-2013
Submitted by: SteveSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     This is the best kayak out there. I have owned the Old Town Dirigo 12, Necky Manitou 13, and the Old Town Cayuga 14.6 and this is the best boat I have ever paddled, you will fall in love with this boat like I did.
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08-08-2011
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Everybody loves the kayak they chose. That makes sense.
I have a Cayuga 13, which I chose over the Necky Manitou 13 and Wilderness Systems Tsunami 120. I tried all three. One can't go wrong with any of those boats, it probably gets down to personal preference.

I chose the Cayuga because it was more comfortable for me and because it had a front hatch (the Necky does not, and the Tsunami 120's is teeny). For me, the Cayuga is more comfortable to sit in all day because it doesn't have the molded thigh pads so I can move my legs a bit more. And I need the front hatch for the flexibility of infrequent overnights. [Small Necky complaint — good luck getting that rear hatch sealed].

You might have different needs. The thigh braces in the Necky translate into paddling efficiency. And they are necessary for stability in rougher water. So there is a tradeoff in choosing the Cayuga. I probably would have chosen the Necky ten years ago, but as I got older and less flexible I need to be able to change the position of my legs a little bit during the day. And because the Cayuga doesn't have the molded thigh braces (you can order an optional thigh brace kit) it is a spot easier to get into and out of. (Note, the Necky and Old Town have the same seat, so that isn't an issue re: comfort). I'm probably a little more tired at the end of the day from the lack of thigh braces — it's a tradeoff.

And the Tsunami 120 is a little more maneuverable because of the shape of the hull and shorter length. When I am on some rivers I miss that shorter, more maneuverable boat. It was hard to not choose the Tsunami 120 — it is an excellent multi-purpose boat. For some reason, my feet never felt quite right in it. I don't know if that was a real or imagined issue. The end of the cockpit felt a little narrower and I didn't like the angle of my feet when they were on the pegs (the Tsunami has the easiest to adjust foot pegs — I know because I was adjusting those things frequently trying to get my feet in a right spot).

It sounds terribly un-technical. The Necky and Tsunami are really nice kayaks, and in ways they are better than the Cayuga. I chose the Cayuga because it was the one I found the most comfortable at the beginning of the day and the end of the day.

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04-28-2011
Submitted by: JBGSend Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     This is my 3rd year using my Cayuga 130. I bought it new at REI, on sale too. There are already a lot of glowing reviews here. I would just like to add that if there are any significant currents to deal with where you intend to use it, you will need the rudder. Budget accordingly, as it adds 25% to the cost. When you're on a bathtub like the Tualatin River you won't need it. But on the Willamette River it is a constant fight to keep it on path. I'm happy with it just the same.
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09-23-2009
Submitted by: Mike in ConnecticutSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I purchased the Cayuga 130 in May '09 and have now used it all summer. What a great decision this was!!! I purchased from Cabella's based on the consultation and recommendation of their dept. manager who is an avid kayaker. This Cayuga is extremely fast, yet stable. The cockpit is just the right size for a 6'1" man, My legs make a nice fit on the sides of the boat, making me "at one" with the boat. I'm very happy with this offering from Old Town.
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08-11-2009
Submitted by: DavidSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My wife and I just completed two years of RVing around the USA carrying the Cayuga 13 plus an Old Town Pack Canoe (for flyfishing) on the top of our motorhome. During that time I have fallen in love with the Cayuga 13 (bought it for my wife). Heck...I love her too. As a follow-up to my review of 6/11/08, we have paddled all over the place including lakes, bays, rivers and streams. Again...I repeat that I believe this is the best kayak in this size range (12-14.5 feet). It's incredibly responsive, fast, tracks well, and easy...very easy to paddle. What amazes me is that I love taking it out into 2-3 foot waves or down class one/two rapids in small rivers. We had a ball on Casco Bay in Maine. Gotta be the ultimate boat for handling all types of water except for open ocean. We have canoed whitewater in Oregon for 20 years but the winds drive us crazy on lakes, thus the changeover to kayaks.

I did a comparison test today with a brand new Necky Manatou 14 kayak I bought last week, spending four hours with my wife in her Cayuga 13 going around Paulina Lake in Central Oregon. We just couldn't find another Cayuga out here on the west coast so I'd heard so many good things about the Necky and after a short demo on the Deschutes River I got a great price and decided to buy it.

    Here are the results.
  1. the hatch covers of the Necky suck! Boy...have they made something that should be easy very difficult with a neoprene cover that is very, very difficult to adjust. The Cayuga takes a few seconds. The Necky about ten minutes if you can get it to work.
  2. the speed and comfort of the Cayuga beat out the Necky. That's right...my wife actually beat me in a short distance race. I won in a long distance one. And I am in great physical shape! It's due to the design difference of both boats. The Cayuga does not need a rudder. Look at the stern keel and you'll see why it tracks well.
  3. The Cayuga is easy, I mean real easy to paddle and glide. The Necky on the other hand has a slow response time for easy paddling. One has to use the thigh braces and slightly roll the boat all at the same time to make it move fast. One takes a little energy, the other takes a lot of energy to overcome the initial inertia.
  4. The Manatu 14 has a nifty skeg that works great in the wind.
  5. The Cayuga turns a little easier than the Necky but I was impressed with the turning speedf both. Not bad for a larger boat.
  6. Both are made of the same product, owned by Johnson Outdoors, and Necky seems to market their products better. Personally I think Old Town's attention to detail makes it a better boat for the money.
  7. The seats on both boats are very comfortable...same products.
  8. I would never buy the Necky Manatou 13 when the Cayuga is a superior boat with extra features such as thigh braces, better hatch covers, and superior design...all for the same amount of money.
Over the next two months we will put these two boats through their paces as we paddle the ocean, bays and rivers of Oregon. Next report in December. So far...that Cayuga is a real gem!

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08-03-2009
Submitted by: J BSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Just bought my Cayuga 130 this morning and went with the 2008 model because the thigh braces were extremely better than the 2009 pads. The boat is extremely comfortable once you adjust the seat and pegs. For a 13 ft boat man is this thing fast it tracks well and has a really nice hull design (something to do with the Necky influence)

On the 2 lakes I had it on today it tracked very well and paddled almost effortlessly. The only reason for a nine is because the 2 lakes today are really not a good representation of all types of water. In the next month I should be able to test it out in multiple places. But for now I love this boat and plan to keep it for a long time.

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05-26-2009
Submitted by: stephen e welchSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The Cayuga 130 I think is the best kayak on the market.
This is my 4th kayak... I had a Dirigo 110 and this is twice the kayak. It tracks great, paddles easy and fast, handles windy conditions very well... and ruff surf. The seat is comfy, and I love the thigh pads... it makes it very stable. I will buy one for my wife, she has a Loon 100 and looking to buy a Cayuga 110. I love this boat. You get what you pay for... very very happy. Good work Old Town, you got one right.

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05-22-2009
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     I'm giving a low rating only due to Old Town's quality control.
My Cayuga 13 had to be special ordered as the 14'6" is the only size available at the local Sport Chalet. When the boat came in, brand new and plastic wrapped, there was a huge deformity in the underside of the hull just forward of the seat area. Much like as if someone had turned the kayak over and set a 50 lb. weight on the hull while the material was still curing and consequently leaving a large "dent". A phone call to the tech guys at Old Town only produced some reheating procedure where the hull material would be re-shaped. That was not satisfactory to me, so I returned the boat and requested a new one. Certainly a new boat would not have the same problem. Not true!!! When the brand new replacement came in, the same exact problem was present, albeit a smaller version of the first. This time I did allow the store to try the heat gun technique to re-shape the hull bottom and surprisingly it worked. Not 100% but 95%.

Since I wanted this particular shape/size of kayak badly, I decided to just shelve my feelings away and keep the boat. I don't know why the boats are being shipped out this way. No one at tech support told me that this was normal. They actually stated that it was unusual for customer to have to use heat guns to re-shape the material.

That being said, the Cayuga 13 has been an excellent kayak. The hull material is very strong and light. It is extremely easy to paddle. It has very little drag and moves through the water swiftly. The "water proof" compartments do leak a little but are still useful. I kayak in the ocean without a spray skirt. I've taken 2 ft. surf right in the chin, flooded the whole cockpit and was still able to paddle and not sink; mostly due to the "dry storage" compartments that kept the boat afloat. In very turbulent water, the Cayuga does toss and turn a little. I think a larger kayak would solve this issue as size does matter in this department.

Overall the kayak is a great boat. I just hope that Old Town resolves this issue with the hulls on special orders.

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04-06-2009
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     This is my third boat, started with a dagger zydeco and then moved up to a cd kestrel. I'm really enjoying the cayuga as a river/lake boat. No noticeable leap of performance over the kestrel, but it sure is more comfortable and the extra hatch storage area in the bow is nice, along with the front bulkhead which reduces the amount of water that can enter the boat if you spill on the river. The only drawbacks have been lack of a paddle keeper bungee that will be resolved by buying an aftermarket kit, and it's a bit heavy at 52lbs although this may help on the durability side. Overall a fine value.....
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10-01-2008
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I usually paddle an Old Town Cayuga 146 and you can see my review of it for most of the things like hatches, rigging, seat, etc, I don't want to write it all out twice.
The 130 is a little shorter than the 146, so while it does track really well for the length, it's not quite as straight as the 146, when I paddle hard I get the nose wandering a bit. I have noticed more with this one than the 146 if you stop paddling, you will start to turn a little to either side. I find this is more the little bit of bow wandering I just mentioned than any problem with the hull design itself, and it takes very little to keep it going straight. Both lengths glide really well, with the 130 being easier to turn as it is shorter.

The cockpit rim is slightly bigger, so it holds the skirt a bit tighter, but inside it seems to be the same size, but as I mentioned in the other review it's plenty big for me 6'2" 215 lbs, but any taller and you might have some trouble with the foot braces. I find though for my size, I am probably on the high end of the weight range for this boat, I can paddle it no problem, but don't feel like I sink in as much with the 146, so make sure you try both out if you're thinking of getting either one.

I have not had the 130 out in as many conditions, has been mostly calmer, smaller water, so I can't say how it performs in rough, windy, wavy conditions, but based on how the 146 handles them all, it should be fine. Being easier to turn it may weathercock a little more, but I'm not sure. Overall it's a great boat, I gave it an 9 for the small problems described here and in my 146 review, and took the extra point off down to 8 only for it being on the small range for my size/weight.

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07-01-2008
Submitted by: patSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Awesome. Use it for ocean and sometimes chop comes up takes it really well. No complaints. Exactly as great at what I wanted it for. Tracks great, stable, comfortable seat. I'll always get Old Town because I'm so happy with this one.
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06-11-2008
Submitted by: DavidSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I went to Mountainman Sports in Old Forge, NY last week and tried three 13 foot kayas...Old Town's Cayuga 130, Necky's Manatou 13 and 14, and the Wilderness Tsunami 135 and 130.

Although I did go down to 12.5 feet and up to 14.5 feet on some models, I found 13 feet as perfect for an all around kayak for lakes, rivers, streams and coastal bays. The most comfortable for me was the Cayuga 130. Loved it side braces and double hatches. A little more in weight than the Necky (52 pounds vs 45), I wanted the extra hatch as better insurance for my wife who is less experienced with kayaks than I am. She is 5'5" and I am 5'11" and it fit us both well just by adjusting the foot braces.

We carry it on top of our 27 foot motorhome on a special custom rack to hold our canoe as well as two kayaks. I would have possibly chosen the Necky Manatou 13 except it had only one hatch and it lacked a knee brace in the standard edition. We are very happy with the Cayuga 130.

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03-05-2008
Submitted by: S.R.Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I was looking for 2 day touring type kayaks for my wife and I, everyone's reviews helped me choose, thanks.
Local stores carry only Perception Blackwater (which I read performs poorly and I did not want a skeg), Carolina (sluggish performance), and Wilderness Systems Tsunami (which I read performs very well). All these boats retail locally for over $1000. Reviews on the Carolina and Blackwater said they were similar to a log in the water, but the Tsunami was a great boat. I had narrowed it down to either a couple of Tsunami's or an Old Town Cayuga and was calling around other stores about 100 miles away and found a small store that had received some sort of an overstock and had just gotten in 4 - 2008 Cayuga 130's that they had not ordered? Got 2 of them for $1100, 1/2 price, so I couldn't pass that up.

Have not had them in the water yet but after purchase I noticed that the seat pan heights were adjustable and both boats were at different heights, I could not make that part of the seat adjust manually and was afraid I would break the bracket trying. Finally had to remove the entire seat from the boats (4 screws) and make the adjustment after the seats were removed. This adjustment cannot be made without removing the seat since there are plastic keepers which prevent inadvertent adjustment. The factory was responsive through email and suggested returning to dealer to set the seat at the lowest level, and to rest the seat pan on the hull or "the mounting bracket would break from the extra weight of the paddler." Extra weight of the paddler? (Seems to me the paddler will weigh whatever they weigh and the seat should be designed to support the paddler) This statement made me look carefully at the entire mounting system and I have to agree, although the seat is really nice and comfortable, the mounting system appears to be a weak point, 4 screws holding it to the hull, a rigid plastic ladder of notches for factory adjustment.

The smaller cheaper boats we had previously had the seat supported by a molded portion of the hull which was indestructible. I will hope for the best and have not been able to find any issues with broken seat brackets in reviews but will write a further review after we use these boats. Might be something to consider if you are looking at several different boats.

I have been working on a couple of hanging locations in my garage and lifting the boats up and down to test the fit and I have to admit they not only look streamlined but they are very slick to the touch and look and feel like they will slip through the water much more easily than our old 9.5 rec boats.

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08-29-2007
Submitted by: Jack O'BrienSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Cayuga 130 Review – Great design
Bought 2 – 130s June 2007 for small lakes/ponds Am 64, 5’8”, 170 lbs (OK should be 160). A lot of experience with (relatively) heavy canoe.

Look up the reviews for the Cayuga 14’6” – a lot of real good reviews! The 130 (13’ 1”) has the same width, same streamlined bow, stern and hull design. They took the 15 missing inches from the center. That explains why the weight capacity dropped from 330 lbs to 236 lbs. The shorter length allows better turning (without a rudder). I would not bother with the optional rudder.

I think the hull is very stable – rocks a bit for about + 10 degrees then it feels like an outrigger is attached... Compared with the Loon 120, the Cayuga is 25” wide vs 28” This allows shorter people to use (more effective) high angle power strokes without hitting the side of the boat. (rented a 30”wide tandem and this was a problem – had to stay with low angle strokes).

A big deal (I think) are the thigh pads. With your feet on the foot pegs it is easy to press your thigh against the pads. From a stability point of view, you then become one with the boat. By shifting body weight you can compensate for swells, speed boat wakes, etc. Now, you can really apply power, if you wish. Also – no sunburned knees.

Seat is real comfortable. In lowest back position it provides a great lumbar support... Hatches – nice, well designed (provide extra air chambers in case you dump it).
I think this will replace the Loon for people under 200 lbs.

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