Recreational kayaks are great for paddling calm waters or a lazy float down a slow moving river. Many can be adapted for fishing or wildlife photography.
Old Town makes a number of great kayak products and the 12 foot Dirigo is no different. This is a quality kayak at a reasonable price.
There are many on the market to choose from, but the Old Town 12 Foot Dirigo 120 is arguably the best one available. Here are a few of the pros and cons of this boat to help you decide for yourself.
Old Town 12 Foot Dirigo Pros:
Durability: The Dirigo 120 is made using Old Town’s proprietary Stabil-form hull design. The hull and deck are made from three layers of heavy duty linear polyethylene to keep the ‘yak both lightweight and damage resistant. It takes quite an impact to dent the hull, but if one occurs, it can be easily removed once you are off the water.
Load Bearing and Storage: The Dirigo 120 is capable of holding up to 350 lbs, so it can easily handle any body frame. There is ample storage space in the covered stern bulkhead. In the cockpit area there is a small covered storage area for small items such as your car keys. Additional gear can be placed under the deck bungee system.
Easy to Transport: The 12 foot Dirigo weighs in at a scant 49 lbs, making it easy to load onto a car-top carrier or into the bed of a truck. The lightweight design and retractable carry handles make it easy for one person to move it to the water’s edge.
Stability: Stability is gained through a boat’s measurements from its centerline. At 12 feet long and 27.75” wide, the Dirigo 120 is difficult to roll no matter your skill level.
Tracking: The Dirigo 120 is designed with a narrow bow and stern in order to cut the water more efficiently. The low weight of the craft adds to its ability to track true.
Comfort: This model features a blow-molded seat that is cushioned and contoured to fit most body frames. The 18.5” wide cockpit features foot braces, thigh pads, and a paddle keeper.
Before we get into the cons, let’s take a look at a brief video breakdown of the Old Town 12.
Old Town 12 Foot Dirigo Cons:
Speed: Most recreational ‘yaks are slow because of their width. The Dirigo 120 is no exception. It is quick on take off, but it has a noticeably slower cruise speed than more expensive, narrow hulled boats.
Seat: Several reviewers have noted that the contoured set can be a bit uncomfortable in the crouch area. Others have noted that the padding is insufficient on long tours, saying that more than a few hours in the seat can be painful. The seat can easily be replaced or you can add a water proof camp seat to solve either issue.
Not a Twin Kayak: unfortunately this model can only seat one person which is fine if that’s what you have planned out.
The Old Town 12 Foot Dirigo 120 Kayak is exactly what it is meant to be: a low cost, entry level recreational boat. It is very stable in calm waters or light chop, tracks true, and is one of the most durable 12 foot boats available. All-in-all, it is most likely the best boat for the buck that you will ever find.