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When I say this kayak is fast, I'm comparing it to the Dirigo and other recreational kayaks in that class. This kayak will not win any races when put against longer ocean kayaks.
Overall I'm very happy with the Loon and would buy another if given the chance. Great boat!
The sealed stern supplies storage for my 10L and 20L dry bags, as well as room for my 15L compression bag (packed tightly with a couple shirts and pillow). Thus far, I haven't noticed any leaking from the sealing material but I could see that in the future I may be inclined to "re-caulk" around the edges. I have a small two person tent that I pack behind the seat and a few small ammo crates that hold some fire-starting gear and "bagged" dinners are able to sit on the floor of the kayak in front of my feet.
Ranked at 325lbs max I was worried that my weight of 240lbs and the weight added from camping gear would be too much for the kayak, but I was wrong. All of this gear, (carefully packed for proper weight distribution) as well as myself are kept afloat by the Loon 120 with ease.
As far as foot and seat comfort goes, I'm 5'11" and have men's US 13 sized feet. The foot rails slid into position perfectly and the seat adjusted to the proper back height with no problems. The kayak is comfortable and I definitely recommend it to anyone similar in size.
It is actually pretty stable in sea waves, being buffeted crossing open harbors. Never capsized, no spray cover, but have blige pump and sponge for water issues. I think the Loon 120 is a very good purchased for what we use it for. Bought 2 for $750.00. I am thinking of purchasing 1/2 spray covers. The Loon 120's are made of polyurethane. We took them in water less that a foot deep to ocean deep water. Bottoms got scratched from some underwater obstacles.
Overall on a one to ten rating, they rank a nine.
My only real complaints were the somewhat heavy weight (a polyethylene material at 52 lbs) not bad, but lighter boats always made me envious. Also, the storage and carrying capacity on longer trips was a bit if an issue. While there was room for a weeks worth of food and gear--it was tight, and I had to make liberal use of the topside bungees. And, of course, gear stashed topside invariably acted like sails which is not a friendly setup in strong winds!
Overall, though, a more than capable craft and I thought it was a good value for the money.
The glued-in Minicell Foam Bulkhead leaked some water into the stern hatch. I repaired this by using clear silicone RTV to reseal the joint on both sides of the bulkhead. A welded in plastic bulkhead would be leak free and much more reliable. If I use a low angle stroke, even with a 230cm paddle, I sometimes hit the knuckle of my thumb on the deck. Rounding the joint between the deck and the hull somewhat would solve the “Skinned Thumb” problem.
Overall this is a great boat to putter around in, fishing, photography, exploring small rivers, lakes, and ponds. However, this boat is not suitable for open water unless you can stay in sight of the shore. The cockpit and cockpit opening is so large that when you capsize, you fall out, “Wet Exits” are very easy, but this boat is not “rollable”. For its intended use, I would buy another Old Town Loon, In fact, I did, I bought a Loon 100 for my son.
The Loon 120 has exceeded my expectations: First off, it's made out of Polylink 3, a foam/plastic sandwich, which means it has built-in floatation, and doesn't require space-robbing foam block inserts. With its rather bulbous bow and rear space hatch, you can pack a ton of gear into this thing and still have room for your feet. The Dirigo, for instance has a flat bow and a cup holder which intrudes into the space, making it useless for cargo. The Loon 120 is rated for a 290 lbs capacity. I think that’s conservative. I’ve had it loaded pretty close to that and it handled it very well. The Pungo 120, which has similar hull dimensions, is rated for 400 lbs. At 52 lbs, the Loon 120 is much easier to handle than my 80 lbs Guide 160, but less weight is always nice. It this point though, losing 15 lbs would cost you an additional $1,000 - $1,500, so I can live with it.
It’s very stable; I think you’d have to really try to tip it. Coming from a canoe I had visions of spending a lot of time learning wet exits, but it hasn’t happened yet. I’ve even taken a few jaunts in Lake Superior it’s handled just fine. It’s also fast and effortless to paddle. This is, again, coming from a canoe guy. It might be a slug compared to a 17’ ocean kayak, but there’s not a canoe that can touch me, ergo, keeping up with your canoeing buddies is no effort.
Finally, at a price of $599, it’s not cheap, but it's not expensive either. There are a lot of choices in this price range, but I feel I picked the best design for my purposes.
It's fantastic for lakes, slow moving rivers and tidal streams. I paddle tidal inlets and back backs bays with no problems. I even paddled the Delaware Bay a mile off shore in three foot chop. It is NOT designed for the ocean and I personally would not take it there. It has great stability and moderate speed. My one regret is the cockpit is completely open. If you tip, pray that you are in shallow water. The kayak might submerge about a foot below the surface without flotation. Always use flotation bags in open water, which take up space. I had a dealer install a rear hatch and he could not figure out how to make front and rear bulkheads. The kayak is heavy at 56 pounds empty, and the plastic is showing gouge marks from scraping on rocks, boat ramps and gravel parking lots. This kayak will handle the weight, I am 320 and my gear another 20 pounds. Fantastic kayak for beginners, as a loaner, or your mother in law.
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