10-26-2012Submitted by: rivannahipsnap
Reviews for Loon 138 Kayak by Old Town Canoe
Based On: 81 Reviews
- Rating: 10 of 10 This is a great all-around boat! It is stable yet fast for its length.
It has a large cockpit which can be a positive or a negative, but I found it to be mostly a positive because when my kids were very young I could actually fit them comfortably in front of me on a foam block and still have plenty of room to paddle.
Stable on flat water and can handle up to Class II+ water just fine. Heck, it will probably handle Class III just fine if you can find a skirt large enough for the cockpit and don't expect to maneuver much or grab any eddies.
I'd say this is a great, all-around boat for the vast majority of recreational kayakers. You can fish out of it, use it for photography, or just take it out for a casual day of paddling with stops for lunch and snacks along the way. An excellent balance of stability, comfort, and speed.
08-05-2012Submitted by: jimmapp
- Rating: 10 of 10 Both my wife and I have Loon 138's and you can't beat them. Stable, easy to paddle unless you are in a stiff wind.
Good lake and slow river boat.
07-25-2012Submitted by: dbdb
- Rating: 10 of 10 This boat is a PIG. No 2 ways about it. It is a heavy duty PIG. But I love my PIG.
I have owned it for over 10 years. We have been down many a river here in Michigan together. I regret not buying the other one that Galyans had in stock at the time, had I known how good a boat it is.
The PIG is heavy, 65lbs. Not something most people want to toss on top of their SUV. I drive a Dodge pickup and it fits well in back. We did put it on top of the wife's Xterra once, PITA.
What makes the PIG great, it's indestructible. No bulkheads so when you need to limbo under that log ahead a 6'1" 200lb guy can lay flat in it and look at the spiders under the log. It has a huge cockpit so you can put your legs up and relax while floating down the river, Barcalounger for the water. It comes with a beer holder built into the seat.
By the way the seat sucks, get a Yak Pads gel seat cushion. Your bottom will thank you. This boat was made for floating. It is not the one for open water crossings unless you add some flotation bags in each end and have a spray skirt. The boat tracks well but has serious drag, that's why it is so stable. I also wish I had bought the hatch kit when Old Town still sold it. Watch garage sales and the classifieds, if you see one for sale snatch it up, you can't go wrong.
This is not my only boat, as kayakers know you kind of get a collection for different moods but the PIG is my "go to" boat.
07-15-2011Submitted by: Georges
- Rating: 8 of 10 I own 2 Loon: one is a 138 with rudder (not necessary)and the other is a Loon 111. Pretty comfortable, stable for expedition, good quality, feel confident in, but the only reason for eight is
speed and too long cockpit. I quest but for the rest it is a very good boat for large person and beginner
07-13-2011Submitted by: Clark
- Rating: 9 of 10 I love my Loon 138. It is also my first but I really don't have a need for another, at least for now. I love it dearly and it treats me well but I can't get over the fake hatch in the back. What's the deal? Is there a piece of equipment/bag/storage that fits into the outlined area?
06-27-2011Submitted by: Ryan L
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have had many kayaks, but my Loon 138 was my first one ever. I have had it for over ten years now and it is still my go to boat! I have used it on large MN lakes, small Iowa lakes and large slow rivers. Needless to say this kayak is a tank - in a good way! The polylink 3 has held up considerably well and still remains very stiff. By now, of course, the bottom is scratched up pretty good, but it hasn't seemed to affect it's speed or tracking at all! Case in point - if you can find one of these used, you are most likely in for a good deal!
I mainly use this for long river trips or fishing trips. Bass fishing out of this boat is so much fun as the wide cockpit makes it easy to wrangle lures and fish. I am 6'5" and 225 lbs and for a large paddler like myself, this boat is highly recommended!
03-31-2011Submitted by: MJG
- Rating: 10 of 10 I just inherited a Loon 138 from my uncle. He purchased the boat several years ago when he moved to Wisconsin, but it's never been in the water. He and I had been looking for a kayak for me for a few years now, but never found the right one. Well, now I have the perfect boat, but sadly my uncle is gone.
The lakes are still frozen here, but as soon as I can get on the water, I'll be out there paddling. During summers in high school and college (MANY years ago!), I taught flat water and white water canoeing at a Girl Scout camp, but I have limited kayaking experience (some in Oregon and Washington State). Given what I've read on this site, I think the transition to a stable kayak like the Loon 138 should go well for me.
My only concern about the Loon is the weight and trying to load it on top of my Volvo wagon. I have the full car-top rack setup, but this boat is a bit heavier than my old Grumman aluminum canoe :) I'll figure something out and in the process build up some upper body strength no doubt.
Thanks to all who have reviewed the Loon 138 on this site as I've learned a great deal about the boat and its handling properties. Happy kayaking to all!
11-08-2010Submitted by: mtobie1
- Rating: 10 of 10 It is really simple: The 138 is labeled as a recreational kayak, but this yak is so much more: As for speed; not bad with the right paddle: As for tracking; it is as good as one can get with a 28" wide boat: Stability is very good: The most important point I need to make is it's ability to get you to safety: I have been in straight five foot waves with her on Lake Erie and 3-5 on Pymatuning Lake with a 20 mile per hour sustained wind: Call me crazy, but this kayak can do amazing things. Her only drawback is the 60lbs. of weight at the end of the day. Clearly a ten
07-22-2009Submitted by: darrinf63
- Rating: 10 of 10 I owned the "old style" Loon constructed from the polylink 3 material. I consider this a good choice for a beginner looking for a stable easy to paddle kayak. The large cockpit opening makes it easy to enter and exit, although the pointed front shape makes the sprayskirt difficult to pull off in an emergency. The zipper/velcro closure on the sprayskirt works well.
The Loon tracks well in calm wind. The Loon does tend to turn into the wind, at least with a 140 pound paddler. There is almost too much initial stability, this causes the kayak to ride up waves taken from the side. There is a lot of volume inside so flotation bags are a must. After 8 years and 300+ miles I still really liked the Loon in the water, but it was a bit heavy for me to lift.
07-13-2009Submitted by: WSJ
- Rating: 9 of 10 I read a lot on this site before purchasing a 138T as my first kayak in 2003, after decades of canoeing. It's one of the polylink boats and for my purposes I liked the stiffness and could live with the weight. I was looking for something that would be better than my big canoe or little jon boat for duck hunting and fishing, etc., and called it a birthday present for my 1 year old Lab, Katy.
Six years later I can say without reservation that it's been great! I wish the rear seat of the tandem Loon wasn't necessary for hull rigidity so I could remove it instead of the front seat and have Katy ride behind, but other than that and the substantial weight I've no complaints.
I've paddled in small streams, class II whitewater, swamps and marshes, beaver ponds, sloughs and flooded timber in Arkansas, Lake Ontario, and lord knows where all else, always with the dog and most times with decoys or fishing rods and coolers or camping gear (and coolers) and it's been a marvel. I've done lots of over-nighters with the dog along and there's plenty of room for whatever.
It paddles fairly well for a large, wide boat and it one of the best kayaks for sliding over submerged logs and vegetation is where you're paddling is more swamp or marsh than open water. And the relatively flat bottom (and no keel to speak of) lets you slip over a lot without sticking or tipping, which is not true with a lot of other rec kayaks.
I want a light, sleek, sexy kayak to paddle fast and effortlessly in open water, and one of these days will pony up for something narrow, slippery and expensive, and made of the most modern materials just because. But it won't be hauling the dog and decoys and shotgun, or tent and cooler, and it won't be pushing through cattail or sliding over beaver dams like the Loon.
In the meantime, I've got a new Lab pup, Patch (one of Katy's sons, and he got his first kayak lesson this past Thursday in the 138). And I think I'm about to buy another 138, a used solo, just because the original tandem's worked so well for me. And for the money I can afford to have a spare boat available for friends or relative who want to tag along.
I don't know how the non-polylink boats are, but I've got nothing but the fondest regard for the older style, single or tandem.
05-13-2009Submitted by: Dale
- Rating: 8 of 10 Loon 138 Mfg 2003; last 3# of SN, show manufacture date.
Kayaking flat, class 1&2 water and it is a lot of fun as it responds well, and the key is to learn to paddle correctly and use a paddle with angle adjustment. The paddle angle adjustment give you a variety of speed strokes. The poly link 3 material is not my favorite due to easy scratches, but for $350 for Kayak and paddle I'm happy. The Loon 138 is extremely stable and I added flotation material in the stern and bow as I wanted kayak to float higher in water if sunk. The old units are just as good as new models and lots of savings.
03-24-2009Submitted by: tmikes60560
- Rating: 10 of 10 Just took my Loon 138 out yesterday for the first time. Very happy to find a leftover new Loon 138 in sunrise. I already have a couple of Loon 100s & a Twin Otter. I'm 6'2" 200lbs and the Loon 138 is absolutely the best paddling experience I ever had (and I've been paddling for over 25yrs, with some breaks of course).
I looked at the new Vapor 12XT but was very unimpressed with the softness of the plastic used. The biggest complaint with the Vapor for me was the seat. Very poor padding. The Xtra-comfort seat in the Loon is outstanding for all day paddling. The 138 is stable, roomy and fast compared to other recreational kayaks. Can't understand why Old Town stopped making the Loon. They're still out there if you can find them. Good luck.
07-02-2008Submitted by: Chris
- Rating: 10 of 10 I rented a Loon 138 a few weeks ago for a few hours on the Rifle river (Michigan) to see if I wanted to get into kayaking. I love it and went right to this site to check reviews of kayaks in my price range. I found some good reviews of the Perception Sundance and found one on sale for $350.
One of the main things I was concerned about is the weight limit. I weight about 235, 6 feet tall. The perception had a 350 weight capacity so I bought it. It was a nice boat but I looked like a fat man in a little boat and it was not really very comfortable, so I returned it. I went directly to a Old Town dealer and got the Loon 138 since I knew how it would handle already. It cost a little more($500 on sale) but it is so worth it.
I take it to local lakes every couple days and I already feel very comfortable in it. It is very roomy, even for me. I feel stable and it and I can relax and enjoy paddling and checking out the wildlife instead of trying to keep my balance. This probably is not for the advanced kayaker, but for me or anyone starting out I would recommend this kayak as a great boat.
08-20-2007Submitted by: magooch
- Rating: 10 of 10 I bought my Loon without benefit of a demo; normally I wouldn’t do this, but the dealer just wasn’t set up for it. I did do some research on the Internet and read every review I could find. In the end, the price I paid was just too good to pass up.
The Loon, of course is the quintessential recreational kayak; it doesn’t pretend to be anything else — like some boats that are called transitional. At first, I thought that as a recreation kayak and with Old Town’s description of the boat in their brochure that the boat would have limited capabilities. I have to admit that it took a while before I realized the true potential of the boat, but as my experience progressed, my confidence in the Loon increased exponentially.
Stability is the Loon’s strongest suit, but seaworthiness, versatility and fun are all part of the package. I think the Loon is the all-time easiest kayak to get in and out of and with the adjustable seat it should fit just about everyone.
When I want to go exploring where I might be in and out of the boat a lot and don’t want to be concerned with balance, my sea kayak stays home and the Loon gets the job. The 138 Loon isn’t going to break any speed records, but with the right paddle/paddler it moves right along. I have no qualms about taking the Loon just about anywhere I take the sea kayak.
Along with its other assets, the Loon passes muster on specific features that I think are a must. The Loon’s hull and deck are solid and rigid; its coaming is sturdy and the boat’s ends are fine (as opposed to blunt, or rounded). And the whole thing looks right.
The 138 Loon for me is indispensable and as an all around recreation kayak, I give it a 10.
08-14-2007Submitted by: jhboyd2
- Rating: 9 of 10 I went on a short guided tour at Ponca State Park in NE and paddled the 138. The 9 is based on evaluating it as a rec kayak, not something it isn't, such as a real touring kayak, though if it were 8 to 12 pounds lighter, I'd seriously consider one.
The tour leader had a Swifty, and the third craft was an OT 160T. The weight of the 138 affects its acceleration, but not the top speed. I was paddling very easily while the Swifty paddler was pushing to the limit of his hull speed. The few times I did a sprint, I easily left the others.
The seat was very comfortable. The tracking/turning continuum greatly favors tracking. If you took this in class 2 water, you will be ferry gliding all the time to maneuver. I'd give it the highest rating except for its weight, as long as you paddle within its intended purpose.
If you are big and don't mind lifting 60 pounds, this would be a good kayak for you. I'm old enough I set myself a sub 50 pound limit on any solo I purchase. I have a Victory Blast (old WS Critter mold), Dimension Solo, Hornbeck Lost Pond 10, Phoenix Vagabond, and an Innova Sunny, and have paddled and owned many other kayaks and canoes.
08-09-2007Submitted by: TAG
- Rating: 8 of 10 Old Town Loon 138: this kayak is perfect for what you expect of it, and your expectations should be relatively predictable just looking at the thing. Its recreational defined.
First off, its huge... don't even see why one needs a hatch when any amount of cargo can be loaded via the cockpit. Have easily fit a rider or a dog... both loved it. You could fish comfortably from this kayak. Because of its size it doesn't displace much.
Primary stability is just average, it's a little tricky to get seated and out. Secondary stability- due to its size- is exceptional, no waves will upset this kayak.
As for tracking, this boat is average at best. Would say that it's a pretty slow boat too, although the 138 will outrace its 120 and 100 cousins. Sliding the seat forward helps speed a little. Am a little disappointed in the pace, even though I use it for recreation.
When hunting for paddles, many will advise you need a very long paddle for this wide hull. I have a 230cm and paddle high angle aggressive... I do not see why I would need more than 230cm (long armed at 5'11"). I would stick with down-the-middle paddle recommendations, 220-230cm.
Am not entirely impressed by the PolyLink, it scratches really easy. Lighter colors probably fare better than my dark green. The three layer sandwich has a lot of ways of letting water in between at the seams and screws, which is no big deal except it adds water weight to an already heavy boat. I have to carry the boat solo- by the cockpit- not the best way to carry a kayak, and it feels on the edge carried this way... consider it a 2-person or over-the-head haul.
The cup holder works well. The dead pedals are easily adjustable from your seat, and you can adjust the seat to further place your feet at the width you want down the front taper. The seat is very comfortable and relaxed in position. Lastly, you can count on staying pretty dry in this boat.
CONCLUSION: quintessential large recreational kayak, capable of carrying a passenger, comfortable and stable, great value
here is my 1-5 scale, for recreational criteria first, and for general criteria second:
06-13-2007Submitted by: davetex
- Rating: 9 of 10 This was my second kayak, the first being an old town loon 100 (ten footer). I am six foot 2 inches, 220 pounds.
The 13.8 is the better boat and was the original designed kayak, I believe, and you can tell that the hull and cockpit design lost something when the boat design was shrunk down by four feet to create the smaller version. The shape of the hull is less comfortable on your legs in the smaller version. The big boat fits like a pair of nicely broken in running shoes. Just great.
Both boats are tough, stable utilitarian kayaks with a nice simple design. Both track well in the water, but are a bit on the slow side. They are very dry because of the hull shape and cruise through all sorts of water without any problem at all.
They are both really cheap as well, for what you get. I paid $550 for the ten footer and $700 for the 13.8 (Canadian dollars), which I thought was better value than some of the fancier boats.
The poly link plastic Old Town uses is stiffer than the typical polyethylene of most plastic boats, which I like, but its also heavier. The poly link does tend to scratch easily, but superficially. This probably slows you down some, but not hugely.
The amount of cargo you can put into both boats is impressive, particularly for the 13.8. I fit the largest float bag that MEC sold into the nose of the 13.8 and there was room to spare. The rear hatch will hold a ton of stuff and then there is space directly behind the seat as well. I was able to strap in a spare paddle on both sides of the seat inside the hull and it fits easily and is not in the way.
I also like the user friendly hatch cover. More rigging would be nice (both boats come with a minimal arrangement of bungie cords front and back) but is not essential. I have the multi adjusting grey foam seat in the 10 footer and a rigid black folding seat in the 13.8 and I prefer the simple black folding seat for riding and use. The foam seat becomes uncomfortable over long paddles.
The downside to the 13.8 is its weight and bulk. Loading it on my minivan by myself is a job. Once its in the water, I love it. You know it will bring you home safe.
10-06-2006Submitted by: jerlfletcher
- Rating: 7 of 10 My Old Town Loon 138 is the second kayak I've bought. Got it used for $300. Sit insides don't hold value in Houston, its SOT country. Bought it for fishing. Its the older model, now called the Predator 138, with a larger cockpit than the newer Loon 138s. The large cockpit helps for fishing, as well as entry and exit.
I primarily fish freshwater lakes for catfish, bass, bluegill, crappie,and white bass. The Loon is an excellent fishing platform. I've been able to handle up to 20 lb fish from the kayak with no problem.
Tracking...it tracks true, whether into or against the wind.
Ease of paddling...it is a wide craft, so its a bit slow, but not too bad. I usually put in about 6-8 hours when I fish and paddle/fish 3-4 miles, it does fine. Just wish for more speed when I'm ready to go back the the launch site.
Stability...very stable kayak, the width and length help.
Turning...not the smallest turning radius, it is a wide and fairly long boat.
Comfort...lots of room, but mine has the hard plastic sliding seat, it could be softer, but after a few times out, your but gets used to it.
Staying dry...the only water that gets into the Loon is what I put there fishing and with paddle drips...sloppy paddler.
Ease of loading...not great in the loading department. Also, have to check my straps and tie downs often as the kayak seems to have a tendency to slide a forward a bit. The narrow bow and stern contribute to the difficulty in loading the kayak, it tends to want to turn on you.
Hull slap, other sounds...its very quiet on the water, lets me get close to birds I scared away in my old kayak.
Storage capacity...good, adequete for overnighters. Mine doesn't have hatches, so need to use dry bags for gear and clothes.
Fun...great fun, good cruising kayak, if a bit slow.
Buy another...probably not, nothing against the Loon, but would probably look at other options, maybe the new WS Ride or Liquid Logic Manta Ray. If I should decide to get another kayak, the Loon will remain in the fleet.
Recommendation...all kayaks have strong points and limitations. Consider you use and needs when buying, paddle the kayak if you can. The Loon, if it meets your needs and expectations, is a great kayak.
08-15-2006Submitted by: JR
- Rating: 10 of 10 I recently purchased the OT loon 138 and I love it. I've put my 17 Perception Eclipse out to pasture. This yak is a grrrrreat toy.I absolutely love it's stability, well mannered handling and enormous cock-pit(YAK_PIT?) I'm 6'4" and weigh 220 lbs. And I quite comfortably fit in the 138 with the family dog(60lbs.)This is a great touring yak as well. I highly recommend the OT 138! You won't be disappointed with it.
08-07-2006Submitted by: Alan_Gage
- Rating: 10 of 10 I suppose that I should get out of the way that I'm about 6'1" and weigh about 165 pounds.
I got my Loon 138 a little over a year ago and have put a lot of time in it so far. It was my first kayak and I wanted something I could fish out of and also cover some water if I wanted and to take on smaller rivers and lakes. It's fit the bill very nicely and then some. The large cockpit makes it VERY easy to get in and out of and it's very stable. I can easily reach behind the seat to get things out while out on the water without feeling tippy at all. I've even stood up in it in calm water, and although it was tippy it was definitely doable. I've even taken people (and my big fat toad of a springer spaniel) along with me and it still performs well on short trips.
The boat tracks well and turns decent. It's no speed demon but it's no slouch either. Last night I went out with someone in a Prijon Capri, which isn't known for speed either, but it is quite a bit narrower and lighter. We switched back and forth a couple times and I wasn't able to paddle the Prijon any faster then my loon. When trying for absolute top speed the Loon does kind of feel like a toad but I couldn't keep up paddling like that for more then 100 yards anyway. I have no problem moving it at a decent clip for long periods of time.
In the time I've had it the Loon has seen a little of everything. It spends some time on local lakes (all smaller) and a lot of time on our local river, which is usually on the smaller side and slow. My normal routine is to paddle upstream a few miles before turning around and coming back down. Even this spring when the river was well over flood stage I was able to do this; though it was quite workout.
Last fall I drove from Iowa out to Maine on a 2 week camping trip and strapped the Loon to the top of my car. It saw everything from deep clear rocky rivers to the ocean and handled them all with out problem. Since I was alone I had no one to drop a vehicle on the rivers so I was forced to paddle upstream and many times had to paddle up rapids (smaller ones); which the Loon was able to handle.
I can't really think of any downsides for the kayak, taking into consideration what it's designed to be. I think it does a great job filling double duty between a little puddle jumper and something that can handle bigger water. I've never been in any really rough water with it so I don't know how it would handle it for sure.
Today I entered my first kayak race on our local river and won the whole thing with the Loon. It was a fairly short run and many people weren't that serious about it. But there were a few other people in Prijons and Daggers that were going for the gold as well and the big fat heavy Loon beat the closest one by 3 1/2 minutes. Not that the kayak is what makes all the difference of course. Much of it was knowing the river better then anyone else there.
All that being said I'm thinking of getting rid of the Loon next season. I want something a little lighter for car topping it on trips and fishing gravel pits and what not. But I also want something a little faster and sleeker for when I just want to get out and cover a lot of water. The Loon does them both decent but I think I'll be replacing it with 2 more specialized kayaks. But who knows, maybe I'll end up keeping it and using it for double duty afterall.
I couldn't have asked for a better first kayak for me. I really didn't know what I wanted when I bought it but it hasn't disappointed. It's given me a lot of pleasure and helped me see what I want and don't want in a kayak.
Definitely a kayak worth considering and not to be sneezed at. I'm giving it a 10 rating but that's taking into consideration where it fits into the grand scheme of things. There are faster, smaller, lighter, and more manueverable kayaks; but I can't imagine one filling the middle of the road any better.
07-24-2006Submitted by: desertpaddler
- Rating: 9 of 10 Bought my Loon 138 about 3 years ago. The reviews in this forum were my inspiration for buying the OT 138 and I have never regreted the decision. Got a great deal from REI as it was the end of the summer, the last one they had, and it was a model that they were not going to carry any more.
My wife and I are both 50-something and she has a Current Designs Kestral and we do a lot of local stuff (Utah Lake, Deer Creek Reservoir, Silver Lake Flat, Huntington Reservoir, etc.). We also took them to the Tetons this summer where we kayaked Jackson Lake (had a great time in the rain) and Jenny Lake where we barely beat a microburst off of the lake. We then spent a few days at Green River Lakes down near Pinedale, Wyoming. One of our favorite evening activites is to run down to Utah Lake in evenings when there is a 10-15 mph breeze. This creates a 1-2 foot swell which is great fun to play in.
The 138 is great. It is very stable in the breezy conditions we have experienced and I have never felt even close to going over. It glides well, tracks well, and with a little practice I have found it very easy to turn. It is very stable for fishing and photography. We have practiced wet entries in a pool both with assistance from another boat and with a paddle float. The deck is a bit high and the high-back seat is a bit awkward to get over but it can be done fairly easily with a bit of practice. I needed a rope loop with the paddle float to keep the paddle in place but the foot loop made it easier to hoist myself onto the high deck.
It has been great fun customizing the boat over the past several years. I started by adding bungee cord triangles to both the bow and the stern. They are anchored on the very ends by looping them through the carrying handles. This gets the carrying handles on top top of the deck so they don't drag in the water but they still easily pull over the ends so they would be easy to hold onto if you were in the water. I can also slip the blade of my paddle under the bow bungee and it holds the paddle in place so I can land a fish. OT's paddle holder works fine but it takes two hands to operate which is a luxury that you don't have when a fish hits your line. Slipping the paddle under the bungee is very fast and simple and can be done with one hand.
I also added a bungee between the back of the cockpit and the hatch cover. I used a simple X pattern so it wouldn't conflict with the hatch cover. My hope was that it would work to facilitate a paddle float but there was too much flex in the bungee. However, it is great for holding small things like gloves and a rolled up paddle float.
I have added OT's clothesline anchor, hatch cover, and sprayskirt. The anchor is easy to deploy and works great for keeping me in place while fishing. The hatch cover is a bit on the expensive side but it was one of the better things that I added to the boat. I had to make my own bulkhead to go behind the seat but the hardest part was getting the shape right. It took several tries with cardboard but I finally got a template that fit and then cutting and installing was easy. I added foam moulding to the hatch cover to make it a bit more waterproof. It will not seal water out as delivered in the kit but the foam made it better. I am still experimenting trying to get a better seal on the hatch. I have mixed feelings about the sprayskirt. First, I love having a spray skirt, especially in the rain, and on cooler days. The problem is with the zipper that is necessary because of the large cockpit. The easiest approach is to put the cover on before you get in and then step through the zippered opening. OT has backed up the zipper with velcro but the zipper still leaks a bit of water and it all ends up in my lap. I am experimenting with an aluminum arch that goes across the cockpit to keep the water from pooling around the zipper. My first attempt worked great at keeping the water at bay but was high enough that I kept hitting my knuckles on it. Version 1.2 will not be as tall and is ready for the next outing. I have also finally figured out how to contort myself enough to get the spray skirt attached while I am wearing it. My boat trims best with the seat close to the most forward position so it is a bit of a reach behind me to hook the sprayskirt around the back, but once I have hooked the back curve, I can just reach the front and then it is easy to drop the sides in place. Being able to put the skirt on while I am wearing it negates the need for a zipper so I might consider sewing something waterproof over the zipper, although I do like being able to unzip the sprayskirt to get at things in the boat.
I am also experimenting with a small arrowhead shaped deck that fits into the front of the cockpit. 1/4 inch material (plywood, hardboard, etc.) fits neatly into the groove just below the top of the cockpit and the deck gives me a great place to put a small tackle box when I fish. OT makes a nylon work deck that accomplishes the same thing but it can't be used in conjunction with a sprayskirt. The sprayskirt won't go over the top of the nylon work deck and it would be dangerous to put the sprayskirt under the nylon work deck because you would not be able to get out of the boat in the event of a rollover. My goal is to be able to pop the sprayskirt off when I get to my fishing spot and have easy access to a spot for my tackle box. It is also easily removable for when I take one of the grandkids with me.
The 138 is heavy to load and carry but is great once you get it in the water. I am looking for a cart that will fit inside the back compartment so we can do the portage between String Lake and Leigh Lake when we go back to the Tetons. The ones I have tried so far will fit through the hatch without problems but won't fit in tapered end of the kayak behind the bulkhead. I could strap it on top behind the seat but that would make reentry after a spill very difficult so I am not willing to do that.
Sorry for the long review, but I thought it might be useful to share more than just my initial reaction to the boat. It has become a bit of an obsession, both to paddle (2-3 times a week in the summer) and to customize. I'm sure it is not as fast or as light as a touring kayak but I would wager that it is faster than any sit-on-top. It has been perfect for the kind of water (lakes of all sizes) that we paddle and the daytrips that we do so often.
06-28-2006Submitted by: Pamlico_140
- Rating: 10 of 10 I demoed this kayak several times. It went fast, while still able to be quite stable and manueverable. the hull design on this boat made the tracking nice. the seat didn't stay upright when I was trying to enter, so someone had ot help me by keeping the seat up until I got in. But old town has fixed this problem by making a better seat for this boat on all 2006 loon 138s. The loon 138 is a great kayak and I recomend it.
05-15-2006Submitted by: jerlfletcher
- Rating: 8 of 10 Bought my OT Loon 138 used. Its one of the older models with the 55" cockpit. While not all that tall, I'm a bit round these days. The Loon gives me plenty of room and is extremely stable. I bought it because I wanted more room than my Necky Sky had, and wanted to be able to fish bigger water, my primary use for a kayak.
I live in Southeast Texas, so most kayak fishermen here prefer sit-on-tops. But, i couldn't be happier with my Loon. The price was right, the boat was clean with one a few use scratches, and it was easy dealing with the seller.
My Loon tracks very true. Like some say, it doean't turn on a dime, but you learn to make allowances for that. Its not the speediest craft on the water, especially with that wide 29.5" beam, but it moves ok. Speed isn't my need, stability is, especially when fishing
The Loon is easy to get in and out of. Its quiet on the water, no hull slap or any sound other then that of the paddle or me grunting when tired. Its a smooth paddling craft and takes little effort to do so. For fishing, it can't be beat by any sit-inside, though don't know about sit on tops as I haven't paddled one.
To me, the Loon is more like a decked canoe, though with a bit lower profile. It offers me what I need in a fishing craft for now. I would rate the Loon higher, except that its a bit too heavy, manageable, but heavy, the speed is less than some would like, and, in my Loon's case, the seat is a bit hard after a few hours fishing. Still, I would recommend the Loon to anyone who fishes lakes, river, or bays. Its also a great boat for kayakers new to the sport and those who just want to cruise and to whom speed isn't importang.
10-13-2005Submitted by: MIKEY
- Rating: 9 of 10 I've had my OT LOON 138 for 4 years now. Very stable, tracks well, and easy entry and exits. I let my 4 kids paddle this kayak, they are ages 10-11-13-13. This is a great recreational kayak, not the fastest to turn initially but you get used to it. I highly recommend this boat.
09-19-2005Submitted by: Badbob
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have heard a lot of good things about the Old Town Loon 138 kayak. I couldn't wait to try one out on the water. I was able to find a place in Southern California that had one available to try out on the water. That place was Sunset Rentals in Sunset Beach. They are located on Huntington Harbor. I had never paddled a sit in kayak before. I currently own a Tarpon 140 sit on top that I use for fishing saltwater around San Diego California. It is a great kayak. However I am looking for a second kayak that I can use mostly on freshwater lakes for day touring, fishing, and waterfowl hunting.
The Loon 138 seemed like it would do all of these well. I liked the looks of the Loon 138 right from the start. It has a very large cockpit opening. It is pretty wide and looks stable. The built in seat is as comfortable as it looks. The construction is first rate. The plastic feels very solid and it doesn't "oil can" like some kayaks do. I was planning on doing some fishing in the loon today. I put my tackle box inside the hull in front of the seat and my 7 ft spinning rod along side of the seat. The cockpit was very roomy. I'm 6' 1" 250 lbs and was very comfortable all day long. I launched and the Loon felt very stable right away. I felt like I had been paddling it for years. It was pretty fast too. I think it would beat my Tarpon 140 in a drag race.
The hull was silent, with no "slap" at all. It has lots of "glide" after you stop paddling. It tracks like it is on rails. The turning was just fine for my needs. I paddled out to the main channel, about 3/4 of a mile, in no time! I was fishing with some plastics along the way and picked up a short halibut that I let go. The Loon 138 was very comfortable to fish from. I just wish the rental had a rod holder. I paddled about a mile and a half out to the mouth of the harbor. There was a considerable amount of boat traffic there. It was fairly choppy with a lot of boat wakes. The Loon 138 handled everything just fine. I fished for about 3 hours and decided to head back in. I stowed my gear and paddled hard and fast to see what the Loon 138 would do. I got back to Sunset Rentals in no time!
I was very impressed with the Loon 138! I think it would do everything that I would want it to do, and do it well. It looks like it will be my second kayak. Give the Loon 138 a try. You will like it.
09-07-2005Submitted by: Dale194
- Rating: 10 of 10 I was torn between two kayaks but after reading the reviews on here I decided to go with the Loon 138. LL Bean said 4 to 5 week shipping and 6 days later it was here. I've spent a few days on a slow moving river and I love this thing. It is comfortable and easy to get in and out of, which was an issue for my size, 6'6" 270. It tracks fairly well and had a descent glide. I can't fit the child seat in it with me but my wife can so the little guy can get some exposure to the water, and he loves it. The Polylink 3 hull is pretty much bulletproof and the cloud color just looks cool. After about 20 hours in the thing, I'm very happy with my purchase and would tell anyone looking for a rec-level kayak to get this one.
08-16-2005Submitted by: souhami
- Rating: 10 of 10 Loop T Loon. I had owned Loon 138 for years and loved it. I sold it for $100 less than I bought it for 8 yrs ago. I wanted to upgrade to a Dirigo 140, I got hooked on its neat new features. I purchased a demo at REI. Hated it. I reviewed the Dirigo here as well. I returned it and tried a WS Pungo 120, better but to tippy and cockpit not as comfortable as a loon 138. I like WS SOT's never a big fan of their SINK's. REI no longer sells Loon 138's. I was able to get one from LL Bean. A red one replaced my green one. It arrived 3 days ago. I was on the water today, how wonderful "like putting on an old shoe." I am happy again so is my dog hopefully for many years. I also own 2 SOT's, a WS Tarpon 100 and an Ocean Kayak Sidekick, both are fine summer boats. My grandson loves the OK Sidekick so does the dog. My old Loon 138 came with a hatch cover. I would like to install one.
06-15-2005Submitted by: George
- Rating: 9 of 10 Bought one used as an extra kayak. We have more expensive touring models but I find that this is one of the first ones folks want to use. For a multi-purpose rec kayak, this is the way to go. I prefer this one for fishing as it has a big cockpit, is very stable, and yet is easy to navigate.
07-12-2004Submitted by: kayakangler
- Rating: 10 of 10 This is my first sit inside kayak. I have owned several touring sit on tops. The Loon 138 is a great kayak for day touring/fishing. It's stable, reasonably fast, tracks well, manuevers easily and looks great. The cockpit is very comfortable and fits me at 6'2 and 220 lbs very well.
Stability: I was a bit nervous about using a sit inside for the first time, but found the boat as stable as any of the sit on tops I have used. I was soon cavorting in boats wakes, chop and had no problems. I think you would have to work to dump this boat.
Speed: At least as fast as my 15' Scupper Pro and close to my 16'Tarpon. It covers alot of water surprisingly quick. I would look at a point down the shore and just paddle along and the next thing I knew I was there. I doesn't require much effort to move this boat after you get to cruising speed.
Tracking: Tracks like it's on rails. Very few corrective strokes needed. Seemingly unaffected by winds or following seas. Glides quite well.
Manuevering: Turns easily with just a sweep stroke or two. Will do a 180 in tight creeks in a few strokes.
Fit and Finish: Comes rigged with a forward deck bungee. A rear deck bungee would be nice, but it doesn't have one, thoug one could certainly be added. There is a provision for a rear hatch if you want one. Seat is very comfortable. I've had problems with my right leg going numb without additional padding in my other boats not so with this seat. Just make sure you get your seat adjusted before you get on the water as you won't be adjusting it again until you hit dry land. Footpegs are super easy to adjust on the water. The Polylink 3 makes a nice finish on the boat. The skid plate on the stern is a nice touch!
Cargo Capacity: You can get alot of stuff under the forward and rear decks. I typically take a small cooler, dry bags, extra paddle, flyrod and tackle, picnic lunch, a hammock or small folding chair. There's plenty of room left over. I believe you could easily do an overnight with this boat.
Overall I'm very pleased with this kayak. I have been using it almost exclusively and am now considering selling my sit on tops because this kayak is such a pleasure to paddle. You get a lot of boat for the money.
07-09-2004Submitted by: Mountain Mermaid
- Rating: 10 of 10 I just bought my Loon 138 2 days ago have have already been in it for hours! The Walkill River and a park lake up here in the NJ Skylands in the northern appalachians of NJ.I LOVE THIS KAYAK. It's roomy enough for my son (10) and I or myself and the dogs. It tracks incredibly well in open water and wind. I am so happy with my purchase. A little heavy, but that's ok because it's an incredibly sturdy, safe, roomy and fun ride with fair speed. I recommend the Loon PFD or PFD with similar design for the seat's high back. Gorgeous craft!
02-23-2004Submitted by: TN-RiverRat
- Rating: 9 of 10 Just finished my first weekend lake/river trip in my new OT Loon 138. Overall I was very pleased with the craft's performance. The polylink 3 material does help insulate the colder water temperature. The stability was very high. Speed was adequate, especially for a boat this wide. Turning is slower than some other kayaks, but the boat isn't made to run whitewater.
A few same details. The rubber lining around the edge of the cockpit slides off easily. I don't know if its supposed do that. I plan to glue it on with scotchkote adhesive. Its no trouble to replace the liner strip, I just can't see any reason to have it slipping off whenever I rub against it getting in/out of the kayak. Secondly, I took off the nuts on the bolts securing the seat frame, used low-strength locktite and resecured them. OT places small protective rubber caps over the end of these bolts. They fall off easily. I removed them and coated the bolt ending in plastidip/plastisol. It will serve the same purpose and not fall off.
In summary, this is my first personal kayak after years in canoes. I think it is an excellent craft for beginners and people wanting a stable craft with the ability to carry a fair amount of gear. The construction is solid and well thought out. I wouldn't hesitate to by another, as it suits my needs. It is not a serious whitewater craft, not or a long distance touring vessel. But for what it is designed for, it does handily. Solid durable construction at a reasonable price (mine cost $589.00).
12-29-2003Submitted by: DCS
- Rating: 10 of 10 I've had my Loon 138 for 5 years and its a great boat. Its a great boat for rivers and and small streams. Its ok on lakes, but it a A-1 flat-water river boat. Stabilty is very good. Ive stood up in mine and paddled it. Its great boat for camping. Ive had gear packed in from fore to aft including a 5 man tent and a queen size air mattress, camping gear lashed to the decks, and the boat road like a Cadillac in the water.
10-27-2003Submitted by: Glenn
- Rating: 8 of 10 I'm new to kayaking, and still have not bought anything. The Loon was the first boat I rented for a day. The cockpit was easy to get in and out of, which is good for 50 year old joints that are not so limber any longer. Great initial stability.
When paddling against a current, in the N. Carolina intracoastal, I ended up standing still, or so it seemed. The extreme width comes at a price, in terms of speed and being able to push it through the water. Although I'm still a beginner, I suspect I'd outgrow this very quickly, especially if I used it in anything but very placid waters.
10-13-2003Submitted by: Jim
- Rating: 10 of 10 I recently moved into kayaks after 35 years in canoes. I've had my 138 for a full season now. I have used it steadily on weekends Lake Huron, Michigan rivers and local ponds after work for fishing. I moved up from a Loon 111 after using that boat for 3 seasons. The 111 was just a little small for my 210+ mass, sitting lower in the water than the 138. My wife now enjoys that boat very much. Both are great boats, stable, comfortable and solidly constructed. I have added the hatch (a bit pricey at $50), very handy, and also added a sail rig from Pacific Action out of New Zealand. I have been out on Lake Huron in 20 mph winds with 2-4 ft waves and stayed dry with no spray skirt. The boat is pretty much immune to winds as far as tracking, but it will turn on you if you coast very far. I am considering the optional rudder, especially for sailing. All in all, I couldn't ask for more versatility or performance for my uses. I would hesitate to take it down a class III river littered with obstacles, since the boat hasn’t got much rocker and can be a chore to turn quickly, but for anything else, I highly recommend it.
07-09-2003Submitted by: ohblackwater
- Rating: 10 of 10 I bought my boat (Loon 138) a few weeks ago. I've been out on it a couple of times one short "try-out" and one 12-mile river ride. I found the boat to be quite stable both primary and secondary. Tracking is good and so is turning ability. I appreciate the large cockpit. I bought the boat primarily because I want to use it on slow rivers, etc...the weight capacity is 380, and I'm a 190 lb 5'6" guy. I think that the boat is very comfortable although my seat back was initially leaning too far back. I'd rather sit a bit more upright, but I'm sure that's just a matter of my adjusting it to my preferences. I love the simplicity of the boat and the lack of hatches/bulkheads. I read that some of the other boats I considered would leak around the hatches and bulkheads regularly so I just decided it would be better to get a simple reliable boat that would fit my purposes. The first day I got it, I pulled it off the top of my van and dropped it on the concrete driveway. I still can't find any remnants of damage that occurred as a result of the drop. I got a few scratches on the bottom of it from the 12 miler, but those are just signs that I've had fun. Overall, I think the boat is excellent.
07-08-2003Submitted by: Jim Hennessy
- Rating: 8 of 10 I purchased a loon 138 this spring (my first kayak) life has not been the same. (My wife purchased a loon 120) we are doing about 15 to 20 miles a week. Just a great boat for rivers & lakes can take a ton of gear. I have also taken it out in a larger river that has fairly good tides as it is very close to the atlantic ocean the waves were fair and we had no problem however if I was going to do a lot of this type of paddeling i belive a smaller beam and a rudder would help. I would buy another in a second.
06-17-2003Submitted by: Taclien
- Rating: 10 of 10 The Old Town Loon 138 is a very stable, well constructed kayak. The Polylink 3 material is superb over polyethlene without adding much more weight. The adjustable seat is very comfortable. Consider adding the new seat padding that Old Town now offers. Makes a long trip more pleasant. If your new to kayaking seriously consider adding flotation bags as well (bow & stern). The Loon 138 tracks very well, has plenty of storage for day tripping & camping. Old Town has everyting you'll need to get going & custom fit add-ons for later. The Loon 138 retails for $450-$600. I'm 6'0", 235 lbs & it fits great. For a smaller person or female you might consider a shorter version like the Loon 111 or 120 or check out the OT Sport models. Overall I'm very well pleased with my purchase.
06-13-2003Submitted by: dunkel
- Rating: 10 of 10 Quality all-round boat, tracks very well and is also stable. Not real quick to turn, but not bad. Being a big guy at 6'2", 240, with size 15 feet, I have plenty of room. Only bought a week ago, but had it out on lakes almost every night, and nothing but positive to say. Nice level tracker and pretty quick for its size and weight. Not a first choice for performance and precision handling, but if your like me looking for a multi-purpose boat, that can be used in lakes, rivers, for fishing and chillin, it's a top choice! Very affordable also, $604 out the door, with mid grade paddle from Rockies Outdoors in Flint, Mi.
06-04-2003Submitted by: Barry
- Rating: 9 of 10 I bought a "second" at the OT spring sale, but honestly cant tell the difference between this "second" and a "first". I've got the Cloud color, which is attractive and will probably hide the scratches well. I had used a friends 138 last summer and after trying several other models and brands, decided this was the one for me.
Also purchased 2 Otters and a Stoker (OT Sport's model of the Otter) for the wife and 2 daughters (separate reviews). I'm only 5'7", have a 42" waist and weigh 255 and the 138 fits me great. I love the adjustable seat and can ride for hours without taking a break. Any extra gear we take along goes with me, so I like the weight cap of 380 also.
Overall its a perfect recreational/camping kayak for me. And since I live less than an hours drive from the factory store, I can help the local economy!!
05-30-2003Submitted by: tjohanss
- Rating: 10 of 10 Out of curiosity, I recently attended an REI kayak demo at Chatfield Res., in the Denver area. Since buying my Loon 138 in January, I've paddled her probably over a dozen times. After test driving a wide variey of craft from REI, short-fat, long-skinny, and doubles, I put the Loon in the water for a spin. It was a no brainer. The Loon is far more comfortable and stable that most of the pack. My primary use of her is fishing and day touring with my Brittany, who loves the water even more than me. I also paddled the Loon 160T with a friend and would certainly consider it first if I was in the market for a double. I'm happy to report that the grass is greener on this side of the fence. Fit data: Tall skinny guy with big feet.
02-04-2003Submitted by: sperduton
- Rating: 10 of 10 The wife and I bought 138's in Fall 2002. We've used them quite a bit and they are great for what they're designed for. They're not a sea kayak. They can handle waves, but swamping one would require getting to shore to empty it. We use ours for calm water paddling and river trips. I think they are extremely comfortable and very verrsatile. There are times I wish I had a shorter boat, but then again, when I get out in more open paddling, I'm having an easier time paddling than my friends in the short boat. So it's a trade off. I'm also starting to learn why kayak people always tend to own more than one boat. Different boats for different occasions.
If you looking for a calm water boat, flat/class I, then it's a great boat. My friends have one and they sit their 4 yeard old boy in the cockpit in front of them. He loves it.
11-27-2002Submitted by: Bill
- Rating: 10 of 10 Just thought I would update my original review. I have stared to fish with my 138 here in the flats of South Texas. The boat does everything I have asked of it. I lot of folks here use sit-on -tops to fish. I think my Loon does better because I sit lower in the boat "body profile out on wind as much as possible". I would recommend boat to anyone for fishing. Mounting fishing gear on the boat is easy because one can get to the back side unlike most sit-on-tops the eye-lets and rod holders are mounted with rivets only. It is a great all around boat.
09-03-2002Submitted by: skaters
- Rating: 5 of 10 As I loaned my Loon 120 to my daughter for the day, I paddled a rental 138. Large disappointment by comparison. Although it's longer, it doesn't track nearly as well as the 120, plus it is clearly slower, due to the added weight, I assume. Cockpit is huge so if that's a priority, there you go but all in all, I was unimpressed.
09-02-2002Submitted by: Jim
- Rating: 9 of 10 I live on the edge of the Pine Barrens in Southern New Jersey. We have some very beautiful and interesting areas to kayak and canoe. Water levels have been pretty tricky since we have been in pretty consant drought conditions this year. I bought my Loon 138 a couple of weeks ago as a left over from a very congenial and knowledgeable gentleman named "George" (I forget his two dogs names!) at the Paddle Shack in Mays Landing, NJ. I looked at several entry level boats and found that even though the Loon was not the flashiest or sleekest I kept coming back to it. I should mention that I am 5'11 and 275 lbs! Obviously ease of ingress and egress were of great importance followed closely by stability! During my first 3 days of ownership I took my yak out on Lake Lenape 2x and both up and down pretty long stretches of the Great Egg River. I was pretty fortunate in that we had a heavy rain 1 day before my adventures up and down the river. Those of you that have paddled in the Pine Barrens know that our rivers are clear and brown colored form all the tannin in the roots and soil-not to mention that our streams are probably the most winding that you will find anywhere! It may be 2 miles "as the crow flies" but it's double that following all the twists and turns! I had a few problems going up river with the Loon but I may be able to attribute that to my lack of experience with a kayak. I found my trips very enjoyable and the boat to handle well for me. I like the large cockpit and the ample areas for storage both front and back. The seat stops do seem a little "cheesy" but so far they have held for me. I do find that my PFD rides up from the high seat back, but this is a small price to pay for the comfort of the seat. The weight does make it a little cumbersome to lift up onto the car top (Jeep Grand Cherokee) but I find if I approach and mostly push it up onto the contoured foam blocks from the rear, that it goes pretty well.The Loon 138 has a few minuses but I feel they are far outweighed by the plusses at least for my specific needs. I would recommend it for anyone as a general recreatioin/touring kayak.
07-16-2002Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 I now own a Loon 138 and a Pungo, both very fine boats. The Loon is cheaper to buy, feels a little more stable, and has more stiffness in the hull. The Pungo is more maneuverable, has a slightly more comfortable seat, is lighter, and "may" track slightly better. Right now I'm leaning toward the Loon as being the better boat due to the hull construction, but this feeling may change once I'm in the Pungo again tracking straight as an arrow. Love both boats.
06-24-2002Submitted by: Bernie/CNY
- Rating: 7 of 10 Let me state right off I did not buy this boat. I tried it several times and while it has its good points its negs put me off. It's good points are it's value, it tracks exceptionally well, is very stable and has cavernous storage for gear. The seat is very comfortable second only to WS's new Phase 3 seat. What I didn't like was its lack of responsiveness for turning. One trial was in a stiff wind and turning was very difficult to say the least. Also paddling into the wind was a job and S-L-O-W going. The boat did handle the waves well and I never felt uneasy in it but...On calm waters the boat was just kind of boring. Speed was ok but nothing to get excited about. Real nice! The Loon 111 was much more to my liking. The 120 may be the best of the bunch but due to lack of sales the dealers in my area don't stock them so I wasn't able to try one. I think the reason that model doesn't sell is due to the smaller cockpit. A shame because your really better off with it and its still very easy in/out from others I tried with a cockpit of the same size.
06-11-2002Submitted by: CLM
- Rating: 10 of 10 I spent several weeks researching kayaks (the reviews posted here was the clincher) and the Loon 138 looked as though it would fit my needs ... and it does .... I really love the large cockpit with more than enough room to store gear for extended trips ... paddles like a dream and was very impressed with the distances I could cover with little effort ... plus a very stable fishing vessel ... all-in-all a great boat and I am very happy with my purchase.
05-28-2002Submitted by: b2paddler
- Rating: 9 of 10 The Loon is great at doing what it was designed for. It is tough as nails and tracks very well. The only complaint about the boat is that it does not turn quick enough, but it was not designed to.All in all, it is a very fine boat that I would purchase again.
04-22-2002Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 I recently restarted Kayaking after a long absence from the sport and purchased a Loon 138 It is a great Kayak for someone to start on as wellas relearn, and a fun boat to paddle. It tracks very well and plenty of room in which to get in and out. The seat is extremely comfortabl. i have taken it out on several trips over the last couple of weeks...lakes and calm rivers...the Loon handled wonderfully, I even drifted with a pair of loons in Freedom NH, what a wonderful experiance.
04-15-2002Submitted by: Steve
- Rating: 9 of 10 I recently purchased my Loon 138 at paddlesports show in NH. I've had it out number of times in the last two weeks and I must say this is a great yak. I had it out today on the Mystic River in Mass. where it was about 75 degrees with a decent SW wind and it handled extremely well. It tracked well in the wind and is very spacious. I am 6'1" 235 lbs and got lost in this boat. The cockpit is 18 X 55 and is easy to enter and exit. This yak will also allow for a child seat if your taking along a little one. The boat is platic (polylink 3) and weighs 54 lbs. I was surprised at how fast this boat was, although the wind was at my back. I did paddle it against the wind earlier in the week and did quite well on a local pond. The boat does take a little effort to car top, not so much the weight, but at 13'8" it is somewhat cumbersome. I do like this kayak very much, although turning on a dime is not a feature of this yak. Now that the warm weather is arriving. I will be taking out my Ocean Kayak SOT which is my personel fav!!! But for the 8 not so warm months in New England this boat will get most of my use.
04-01-2002Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have paddled my Old Town Loon 138 for about one year in lakes and down the Wisconsin River numerous times. It handles far better than I expected, paddles easily for such a wide kayak, and is an all around pleasure to use. Although I have car topped it many times, I have not had any denting. I added the hatchcover to the back and think it not only adds more storage space but a classy look as well.
I also modified my Loon by adding a removable decking in the front part of the cockpit that contains a depth finder, transducer, and battery. I made another removable deck that covers the two foot area in front of me, giving me a place to keep fishing equipment and a scale. The two pieces can be used indpendently of each other. They work great!
I like the Old Town product so much that I intend to "step up" to the new Adventure XL model (a new product for 2002) because of the latter's two installed bulkheads. Also, I don't use the space behind the seat in my 138 for much except storing clothing, and I would prefer to put clothes in dry storage.However, if I can't sell the Loon 138, I expect to get many years of fun out of it!
I would recommend it highly to anyone who wants a stable fun boat that offers a good fishing platform and a safe river kayak.
12-28-2001Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 My wife and I have a lot of canoeing experience but no Kayaking experience, the two Loon 138's are super they do everything folks said they would do. We live in South Texas on the Gulf , the wind rarely stops the boat tracks super and is surprisingly stable. We even took them out in the surf the other day 1 to 2 feet surf, they did really well. I would recommend the Loon to anyone and if you are a big person like me it is the perfect fit. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions.
12-06-2001Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 After paddling around most of the summer on an Ocean Kayak scupper pro, I wanted something that would keep me warmer and drier when I venture out in less than ideal weather. My wife and I purchased two 138s and we love them. I have taken mine out in colder weather and remained quite comfortable in it. It tracks wonderfully in slight to moderate winds with minor corrections. I love the large cockpit, it allows me to keep essential tackle close at hand when fishing from it. All in all, I would rate it a 10 for general purpose/ light touring/ recreation.
11-27-2001Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 After a fairly serious amount of research and test paddling I bought a Loon 138. I live in New England and have used it to fish trout streams, large ands small lakes. In saltwater it handles pretty much anything a rational person would car3e to subject himself to.I did add the rudder kit. With a large fish in the short of chop stripers and bluefish love it is nice to be able to keep the bow pointed into the waves. A six pound blue can pull you all over creation. If a fish that size can move you around obviously the boat is an easy paddle.Atwenty pound striper will take you for a wonderful ride. Great coastal boat. Besides it doesn't get squirrelly with my weight in it like the pongo did.
11-16-2001Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 I've been running rivers in Texas and Arkansas for 40 years, have had my Loon 138 for three years, and have sold several to my friends. It is rock stable for a beginner, responsive enough to stay out of trouble, and will haul more gear than required for camping. If anyone is a backpacker, you'll have NO problems. I spent 10 days solo on the Buffalo National River last summer and had lots of room left over.
I own three Old Towns...the Loon 138, 111, and 100. The price difference bewteen the 111 and the 138 is virtually nil, and both have the same oversized cockpit. Both make good, stable poke boats, are well made and easily repaired, take a beating with a smile, handle up to class 3 rapids easily, and offer the best value on the market.
09-24-2001Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 I have had my Loon 138 for about two months now. I choose the 138 based on my #1 requirement which was to be able to take one of my kids (ages 3 & 5) out with me when I went paddling around. After taking it out twice I felt comfortable enough with it to start taking my children with me. They love it and so do I. We usually take some lunch or dinner with us and eat on the lake while we watch the sailboats, Herons, Cranes, turtles, etc. They get to go outside and be around nature while Dad gets a workout.
The good points about the 138 are the stability, the ability to take my children, the amount of storage room for all the stuff they want to bring along and the quality construction by Old Town. The bad points are what you would expect; it's a little heavy and too stable for advanced moves. For what I'm using it for; paddling around the local lake and exploring nature with my children this boat can't be beat. And for me, spending some quality time with my kids is priceless.
09-19-2001Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 I purchased two Loon 138's in April of this year for our family. This has been a great Kayak- I have found the 138 to be very stable, easy to paddle & track. This boat is great for anyone who has any fear of kayaking. Don't just take my word, give one a try.
08-21-2001Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 I picked up a Loon 138 for my girlfriend who had never been out on the water before. It is an exeptional value considering the adjustable seat, Roomy cockpit that can easily fit a child or pet (a child seat is available for the loon) the boat tracks well and paddles fairly easy for almost 30" wide. It is the perfect boat to get you out on the water and be stable enough to fish out of admire wildlife or take a day trip. I wouldent recomend it for the ocean surf as a wave can colapse the spray skirt (downfall of the large cockpit)however this boat paddles easy and tracks well. It is a beautiful boat. I highly recomend it to anyone as a first Kayak.
08-17-2001Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 My wife gave me money for a kayak for my birthday last fall. Within the price range I was given, after extensive research on the Internet and talking to other people I settled on the Loon 138. I have not been disappointed. It handles well, is very stable and I have taken on calm lakes, choppy lakes, rivers, protected bays and harbors and a bit of the ocean. It handles well in all of the above. I like the large cockpit. This makes it very easy to enter and exit, plus to get at stowed gear. It also allows my retriever mix (75 lbs) to go with me on short trips (he gets a little restless after a while). I purchased the accessory skirt and have found that to be very handy. This is my first kayak and I am having a great time with it.
07-30-2001Submitted by: John C.
- Rating: 9 of 10 A previous reviewer stated, "The Loon can warp-mine has a 2' long slight indentation. I discovered the store where I bought it from didn't want anything to know about repair or replacement-I will never buy from them again."
All plastic boats will dent, warp, or oil can if improperly stored on the keel or tightened too tightly in the car especially on the foam blocks. Using saddles that only contact the hull at the chines allow stability on the rack and virtually eliminate the possibility of oil canning. Had my Loon 138 and Dagger Zydeco on top of my van for three weeks this winter during a Florida trip this year, without the evidence of any denting even though one boat or the other was often on the rack for several days at a time. Without having to over tighten the tie downs the boats were extremely stable even at 75MPH. The Loon is actually less prone to denting than other boats I have owned by Perception, Walden, Hydra, and Dagger. Always store the boats on their side or end and never on the keel. Check the keel line when accepting the boat from a dealer, get it out of the shipping bag. If they've stored the boats in a pile with the keel across another boat(I've seen this)a new boat may be warped or dented as you take it out the door. Over tightening on v foam blocks can cause dents before you even get home.
Now the reason for this review, if your boat is dented there are several possible cures, best results as soon as dent is found. Turn boat upside down on a warm sunny day, often minor dents that haven't been left to set will often cure them self. Stubborn dents can often be urged along with a hairdryer in cool weather. For real stubborn dents in the cockpit area you can use a firing strip (1X3) whose length is several inches wider than the cockpit rim. Measure the distance to the center of the keel, estimate the depth of the dent+1/2 inch and cut another piece to the total of the two measurements and wedge into the center of the dent at the keel line. This should cause the dent to bulge slightly and follow directions above for minor dents. Sorry for the long winded post, but this problem has been brought up several times. BYW the Loon is my favorite of the 4 boats I currently own, used for wildlife photography, camping, fishing, and just to get on the water to paddle. If they come out with a 138 Elite, like they have with the 111, at about 40 pounds I'll probably sell of a couple of my boats. At nearly 60#s with rudder and other rigging I've added, the weight of the 138 is my only real complaint that wouldn't allow a 10 rating.
07-10-2001Submitted by: Tom
- Rating: 7 of 10 I bought 138 in May, 2001 and I returned it recently to dealer after discovering that the hull has bad warp. Took a while to see it - at first I thought that boat was weathercocking and tried to move the seat around (BTW seat is mounted on aluminum rails and held in place by plastic screws - they do not work at all - I ended up buying some plumbing metal pipe joints and fitting them in). But 4th was fairly windless so after paddling on the right most of the day I gave the hull close inspection and it was asymmetric (!!)
Would I buy the boat again ? - it depends - after I returned it I bought Perception Carolina. Here is why - being a beginner I was looking for a boat that would allow me to graduate slowly from lake paddling to easier coastal touring (on the Gulf). Initially I wanted to do it in two steps - buy Loon - keep it until next Spring then get more advanced boat. Well soon I realized that Loon (being perfectly nice recreational kayak) will not allow me to learn quickly enough.
All that said I think that I would still recommend the boat for sbdy that does fishing, birding or wildlife photography. It is rock solid stable, very stiff (Polylink 3) and with roomy cockpit so it is easy to take a dog or a kid or fishing gears onboard. If you want to do a 2day trip then I guess it will still be alright - although you will need to add some floatation bags and some deck rigging (it does not have much of it).
I bought a half-sprayskirt for it and it was OK for keeping things but was not much of protection from waves. Seat is OK for fishing etc - rather high - I considered it pretty comfy altho after 7hrs my legs were going to sleep so I would probably have to invest in some seat padding.
If you are a beginner like me and want to eventually go to sea kayaking then I would advise you to look at Carolina. If you want a safe and stable boat for weekend cruising then Loon 138 maybe for you (but make sure you check the hull when you buy it).
04-26-2001Submitted by: Dave Desmond
- Rating: 8 of 10 I bought my Loon 138 a year ago and I have enjoyed it. I needed an especially stable boat as I sometimes go out on the Connecticut river alone and also go fishing. Brite yellow-I want to be seen by drunks in powerboats not runover. The Loon can warp-mine has a 2' long slight indentation. I discovered the store where I bought it from didn't want anything to know about repair or replacement-I will never buy from them again. It is a dissapointment! Recently purchased 2 Neckys and a Perception for wife and kids! Now it is a family activity!
02-12-2001Submitted by: Daniel Maxey
- Rating: 10 of 10 If you are interested in a stable and quick kayack, the loon 138 is the boat for you. I give it a 10/10 because it's never let me down even in the worst coditions. It tracks well and is quite responsive, the ajustable seat feels nice and comfortable while under way, but slides back when tring to brace yourself with the foot peddles. You get a great value for what you pay for (as with all Old Town products), and a great reputation too. All in all I think this is a wonderful craft that will bring you years of fun and enjoyment.
01-22-2001Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 Like many of the other reviewers, the Loon 138 was my first kayak. I have used it in the Pine Barrens, the Delaware River, Missouri River, Kansas River and countless lakes and streams. Its rugged construction and responsive handling make it a frequent choice for my outdoor adventures. I own a faster sea kayak but when it's comfort and portability I need-the Loon is my pick. I rate it very highly.
01-02-2001Submitted by: Ken Smith
- Rating: 10 of 10 Luv my Loon 138 by Old Town. After listening to so many say to get a narrow kayak for speed, I'm so glad I decided on the Loon 138. Can make 5 mph all day long. It is so stable for fishing and I like to take my movie camera along on a short tripod set up in the roomy cockpit! It doesn't need a rudder as it tracks very well on its own with minimal paddle adjustments even in rough, windy conditions. I've never regretted my decision. I get comments from others on the good looks of my Old Town Loon 138. Luv it.
11-01-2000Submitted by: BJM
- Rating: 10 of 10 The Loon 138 is a wonderful boat made by Old Town Canoe. It's sturdy, yet tracks nicely in any of the waters I've dropped in thus far. Although I grew up in Maine, I kept an open mind while trying out various vendor's kayaks. I must say after trying several brands, lengths, etc. the Loon138 was the right choice for me and I've never looked back (well, maybe to see the others I left in my wake). :) The portal in the back was only an additional $50 and a nice spot to store things (my wife wouldn't fit in it, so I got her a lovely Loon120... also a great boat), though the cockpit offers ample space for you and any gear. The seat supports well and the adjustable footholds gives you comfort and support for any paddling, relaxed or rigorous. Get one today and enjoy!
10-23-2000Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have owned my beautiful green Loon 138 since 10-4-00 and have had it on water 3 times. With 29 yrs canoeing experience I felt I could figure kayaking out on my own. I read one book on kayaking and left the rest up to the Loon and common sense...the Loon did its part but I still have a lot to learn about kayaking...the Loon seems to be the perfect teacher...easy to board, easy to paddle upstream or down. The wind doesn't seem to affect it at all. Roomy enough to store fishing tackle, ice cooler, extra pfd, etc. It is so sleek and quiet passing over the top of fish and they never move. Great stability for fishing. Seat is like sitting in a chair...great vessel, if I had bought a Loon 138, 29 years ago I doubt if I would have ever bought a canoe. Old Town makes great products. I own a Discovery 158 canoe that I have a feeling will be gathering a lot of dust since I got my Loon 138.
10-08-2000Submitted by: J.A.M.
- Rating: 10 of 10 When I went shopping for a kayak I went to every store in the phoenix valley that carried the boats. I got brochures, looked online, and asked the opinion of all the employees I came across. I had my mind made up and went to pick up the boat I thought I wanted. When I got to the store I felt the composition of that boat and it was flimsy like a child's toy. At that same moment I noticed the polylink 3 decal on the Old Town 138. The composition was much stiffer and the length was comparable but the price was lower. I purchased the 138 and took it out to the lake the next day. I let my friends try it and they are ready to go buy old town kayaks also. There really isn't a draw back to the 138 that i can see so far and I fully intend on letting others use it to see what I am so enthusiastic about.
09-25-2000Submitted by: Sam H.
- Rating: 10 of 10 I've owned canoes for over 25 years, but bought my first kayak - a Loon 138 - about 2 months ago, so that I could enjoy some solo paddling. I selected the Loon 138 after a rather rushed search made up of spec comparisons, a look at everything available locally, and some chats with salesmen. I wanted something small, maneuverable, and stable, with easy handling and reasonable tracking. I expected to use it primarily on a nearby reservoir, but also wanted to do some river runs, and even hoped to occasionally paddle along the shores of Lake Superior.
One major factor in favor of the Loon 138 was it's value. I bought it at Cabela's, and it was considerably less expensive per foot of length than anything else I saw or read about. I originally had a smaller boat in mind; but decided 13'-8" was a good compromise length for the multiple uses I had in store. I took it out on the reservoir as soon as I brought it home. Within just a few minutes, I was confident enough about paddling it (the first time I'd paddled a kayak) to invite my 12-year-old daughter. The large cockpit made things comfortable for both of us. I liked how well it tracked in some wind, and how easily I covered considerable distance.
Then, I read about the advantages of bulkheads for floatation, etc. So, I started to second-guess my purchase. Some more reading and shopping made it obvious that I would need to spend considerably more for any boat of comparable size with bulkheads and hatches. Still, I was most interested in getting the RIGHT kayak for me. Reading reviews of such kayaks, however, indicated that leaking is common with both bulkheads and hatches.
Ultimately, after more researching and MANY more paddles, I've come to appreciate my purchase more than ever. I think the Loon 138 is uniquely versatile, with virtues well beyond its entry-level price and catalog description. I'm completely sold on its laminated hull material for durability, rigidity, buoyancy, and insulation (water gets very cold here in Minnesota). The 138's design and dimensions render it roomy, comfortable, maneuverable, and easy paddling; and that's a good combination for the videography I like to do when paddling. I wish it weighed 20 lbs less; but it's no more than average compared to poly kayaks of similar dimensions. Tracking across water, the 138 seems to completely ignore the almost constantly windy conditions in this part of the Country. When I add the Loon 138's value, stability, comfort, capacity, tracking, and on-the-water confidence building, I come up with a 10.
09-18-2000Submitted by: RCK
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have been searching for a kayak that would fit my needs for awhile now. I rented a Wilderness System kayak (Cape Hatteras) and was severely disappointed. I emailed some of the owners of the loon and they still gave it high marks. I took a chance and I have never been so happy with a decision in my life. This boat is AWSOME . It turns on a dime. The loon is water tight four hours and the water inside couldn't be drained with an eyedropper.(with no spray skirt in medium choppy water) If you're reading the reviews and they don't sound great trust me this boat is not the fastest but you will not find a better ride anywhere. The wideth of this boat is good and bad. You will not win any races, but you will have no problem staying up with the high end boats.. I have paddled the Manteo and fine the loon to be a far superior ride . It tracks well, even in high winds. When I first saw the reviews I was planning to purchase the optional rudder, But not any more. This kayak tracks straight and true. I would recommend a 230 to 240 cm paddle . This is a wide boat,far from a skinny touring boat. Dollar for dollar this boat out shines the competition. If you want to see the world and stay dry , THIS IS YOUR BOAT.
08-22-2000Submitted by: Richard Agins
- Rating: 9 of 10 Having just returned from a five-day wilderness paddling trip in New York's Adirondack Mountains, I can only express delight with the Loon 138. Other than the fact that it's somewhat heavy, I found very little to complain about. I was able to easily maneuver through beaver meadows, marshes, channels only a few inches deep and also, to cover great expanses of open water under windy conditions with minimal drift and only moderate effort. I thought about retro-fitting the available rudder, but since it would be needed only a minimal percentage of the time, I ultimately decided against it. (A skeg would be nice, though.)
The generous size of the cockpit makes it easy to enter and exit, and leaves plenty of room for grabbing photo equipment and spreading out lunch on your lap. As is so often the case in life, when something is good at everything it may not be great at anything, but there are many specialist-type kayaks out there for those with narrowly-focused needs. The Loon 138 is a keeper!
07-18-2000Submitted by: Brad
- Rating: 9 of 10 First let me describe all the positives of this boat after two years of ownership - and they are numerous. I believe it tracks better than anything else in its class and probably has unmatched stability (I have paddled 8 other kayaks that would fall under the recreational class). It covers water quickly when under way and I have safely paddled through 3 foot waves without fear (maybe that says more about me than the boat). Plenty of room in the cockpit - I have taken my daughter out with me numerous times. With careful packing, I can fit two days worth of food and gear behind the seat. I use a double dry bag system as I do not believe their hatch installation system is worth the money. The foot braces are simple to adjust from the cockpit. Only two real negatives: first, the boat weighs quite a bit (54 pounds listed, feels like more) and at 13'8" can be a handful to flip on your vehicle after a day of paddling; second, the seat back is high and hits my Lotus PFD in a very awkward and uncomfortable manner (this is less of a problem for those who have a full length PFD or who frequently do not wear theirs). All in all, a very good investment.
06-22-2000Submitted by: Califf
- Rating: 10 of 10 Highly recommend the loon 138..very comfortable and stable..plenty of room for carrying fishing gear or camping supplies...throw away your waders and buy this boat...fashioned a homemade anchor(clipped onto paddle bungee) for the loon and can position the boat in ideal trout stream waters with ease....great for birding on lakes and rivers also....have fun.
06-04-2000Submitted by: A.O.
- Rating: 9 of 10 I am 6'5" / 240 lbs and was limited in the kayaks that fit both my budget and my size; the loon 138 fit both. i have only had my Loon for 3 weeks but have used it a lot on the local lake (Spruce Run, NJ). I have found the boat to be quite good and would recomend it for any 1st time buyers who are on the large size.
05-09-2000Submitted by: Dennis C
- Rating: 10 of 10 I just purchased my Loon 4 days ago and I love it. It beats my float tube and canoe for comfort, speed, tracking and stability. This is my first kayak, in fact the first time I've ever been in one, and I was fly fishing within minutes of having the boat in the water. Much more stable than a canoe and I found it easier to fish from than either a canoe or float tube. In fact the day I took it out for it's trial run was very windy, yet I had no problem keeping a track. Highly recommend it.
05-04-2000Submitted by: RBG
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have owned the 138 for 2 years. I have used it both on Lakes and Rivers. I have found it to be a very comfortable craft. I am able to store enough camping gear for a two night camp-out. The kayaking adventure is greatly inhanced when the water get's rougher, "I go out when the canoe's have to come in!" The 138 is an excellant kayak for all purposes. I would buy it again.
04-18-2000Submitted by: Doug R.
- Rating: 10 of 10 The loon 138 ,a great boat,I purchased a left over 138 this Febuary I have had it out 8 times this year already and I'am very pleased with all I have put it through.Large cockpit ,easy in and out,at 6'2 and 210 there is plenty of room to spare.i tried my friends Loon 120 before deciding on the 138. Old Town makes a great product.
03-16-2000Submitted by: John Glencoe
- Rating: 10 of 10 This is the first kayak I have owned in many, many years. I have easy access to a very nice mountain stream on which I planned to try out my "loon." The rating of the stream is a 2+ for most of the reach I was paddling. Rock gardens, standing waves, fast flowing ripples. Compared to the canoes I have owned over the years, the "loon" handled extremely well in this test. Very stable even when I took it straight into the large rolling waves. Splashback was more pronounced than with a traditional canoe, but when you ride so low in the water, what can you expect. Turning in fast water was not on the proverbial dime, but I had no problems making corrections. When I was in quiet water the "loon" drifted from the track easily and depending on the flow of the water required some power on the strokes to correct it. When I took it out on a nearby lake, the day was breezy, I had no problems going into or running with the wind. The low profile did catch the wind, but here is where I think the loon was terrific, with just minor stroking and paddling course corrections were easy. If you do go out onto a lake, be certain to fasten a skit onto the cockpit. I did take in a lot of water from several waves. I plan to take a river trip soon. Storage seems amble. However, I have two questions for the designer. Why did you not build in a rear hatch cover? Why is there no bulkhead kit available for behind the seat? Overall I am extremely satisfied. I have a friend with a similar model, but from a different company. His boat cannot compare to the overall quality of the "loon." His Montero does not track as well on windy lakes either.
03-06-2000Submitted by: MDL
- Rating: 9 of 10 As a follow-up to my previous review concerning the hatch kit that I was concerned about, it is now installed and looks like it will work OK. It required cutting out the section to be covered by the hatch and I find it always tough to cut into an otherwise good (and dry) boat, but my sabre saw made short work of creating the hole, and the hold-down straps installed OK, and, again, it appears to work. The hatch kit is still pretty pricey for the materials supplied, but that's my opinion. Still a pretty darned good boat, even with the new hole in it! Can't wait until the weather warms up.
03-02-2000Submitted by: MDL
- Rating: 9 of 10 A first kayak for me and it has been very satisfactory. However, the first Loon 138 I took home had a pronounced warp to it, apparently from being at the bottom of a stack or being stored improperly. I took it back to the dealer and insisted on an exchange which was accomplished. Have had no problems since. I was surprised at how easily it scuffed and scratched, but mostly cosmetic. I also ordered the hatch kit directly from Old Town and, for the $50 price, was not at all impressed with it. The hatch was pretty crude, and no gasketing or edging for the cutout was provided (I'll probably make my own if I install it), and I'm now trying to decide whether to install it or not. Other than that, a fun vehicle.
01-18-2000Submitted by: JOHN R.
- Rating: 9 of 10 The 138 loon single is a marvelous boat. I have come to prefer it over my more "serious" kayaks and canoes which require constant attention. Anyone who wishes to use a kayak as a means of transportation while thinking about or doing other things such as sightseeing, fishing, hunting, etc., should relax and enjoy the experience much better in the loon than in most other such boats. The boat can make good speed, much better than most other somewhat similar recreational boats in its price bracket. I paddle the fringes of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, large Maine lakes and flatwater rivers. This boat is infinitely superior to any canoe if there is any breeze at all. The only time I prefer a canoe is for the elevation when I need to see subsurface objects, such as rocks, sandbars, etc. Finally, the lack of the "keelson" which clutters the floor/bilge of some kayaks makes keeping the inside of the loon clean and dry much simpler. If the boat were a foot longer (for just a bit more speed), it would be perfect.
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