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Wilderness Systems Tsunami Review: The Swiss Army Knife of Touring Kayaks

I work as a professional Kayak Guide in Finland and the Wilderness Systems Tsunami 145 was a kayak I would use myself if I was doing longer trips with bulky items for camping and I would usually suggest this kayak to beginner paddlers who just wanted to try something a little faster. It was also a great choice for bigger customers who were maybe nervous about being in a more “tippy” boat.

Wilderness Systems is a US based Kayak Company based in South Carolina. They have made quality, thermoplastic kayaks since 1985 and are widely considered among the best Kayaks you can spend your money on. They are a terrific company with excellent B2B service and with so many different models of kayaks, you are sure to find the one that is perfect for you. As a company, I really cannot recommend them enough.

Wilderness Systems Tsunami 145: A very Versatile Kayak

Wilderness Systems describes the Tsunami 145 as “The Swiss Army Knife of Touring Kayaks“, I actually find this to be a perfect description of this boat. It is really like the Swiss Army Knife, it does many things pretty well but not amazingly well, and it is a boat that is a “jack of all trades but a master of none” so to speak. There is nothing wrong with that at all, providing that is what you are looking for in a kayak.

The Tsunami 145 is a rigid, thermoplastic kayak that measures 14’6” long, is 25.5” wide and is only 56 lbs.  Like all of Wilderness Systems’ boats, it is super durable and super comfortable. The Tsunami uses the same Phase 3 AirPro seating system and padded thigh braces that make Wilderness Systems Kayaks just so freaking comfortable to sit in. It also has Wilderness Systems’ TruTrak adjustable skeg system, which is super easy to adjust, even while paddling. All of these features combine to make a great all around kayak, for just about any new paddler.

Tsunami 145 vs 165 vs 175

While most people probably will find the kayak comfortable, Wilderness Systems also makes a Tsunami 165 and Tsunami 175 model for bigger paddlers, or those who want even more storage space.

The Wilderness Systems Tsunami is available is 6 colors and 3 sizes: 145, 165 and 175

What Are The Best Things About The Tsunami kayak?

Well, this is an exceptionally durable and stable kayak, it would be a great boat for a beginner to intermediate paddler who just wants an easy kayak to learn and paddle with. The fantastic primary stability allows you to relax and really enjoy being out on the water without any wobbling as you adjust your weight and look around. It is also surprisingly fast in calm water. With domed, spacious stern and bow bulkheads, it has an enormous amount of storage space you would honestly be hard pressed to fill it. However if you really needed even more space, there is a 165 and a 170 model available as well. I would sometimes take a Tsunami if I just could not be hassled about trying to pack things into another, quicker kayak and was headed camping for a few days with my dog.

The Disadvantages Of The Tsunami 145

I would argue that this kayak really does not offer you much in the way to develop as a paddler. It does not turn very well and although it tracks straight, it does not have a drop down skeg to make adjustments with the wind. I would say this is a great boat for sheltered water, rivers and bays, but not for more demanding weather or playing in the rocks and surf. It is easy enough to roll, but there are better options available for a paddler who wants a more playful kayak. At $1300, it is not overly priced…but if you spend a little more money you could get a kayak that you could really develop and improve as a paddler with.

If you are a newer paddler, or just want a VERY stable kayak, I would suggest this kayak for you. If you are an intermediate to advanced kayaker, I would say that this boat will probably bore you after a while. I think larger paddlers would definitely appreciate the legroom and wide cockpit as well. It is definitely a great kayak, but not right for everyone. I would advise someone to maybe try it out in person if it was at all possible.

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