Sun Dolphin Journey 12 SS
Sun Dolphin’s Journey 12 SS is a sit-on-top recreational fishing kayak that retails for about $500. It is a great entry-level boat for budding anglers that paddle mainly around lakes and gentle rivers. It might feel tippy, especially for beginners, but the Journey 12 SS is a stable boat that takes quite a bit to capsize, especially in calm waters. Overall, the Journey 12 SS makes an excellent starter kayak if you are just getting into kayak fishing or if you want a reliable boat for some on-the-water exploration.
Sun Dolphin Journey 12 SS Prices
- Easily managed by one person
- Seat isn’t comfortable
- Doesn’t suit rough waters
- Can feel wobbly
Size and Weight
The Sun Dolphin Journey 12 SS measures 12 feet / 364 cm in length, 30.75 inches / 78 cm in width, and stands at 12.75 inches / 32 cm in height.
With a weight of 48 lbs / 22 kg, it is comparable to other Sun Dolphin’s 12-foot kayaks like the Bali 12 SS which is the same weight, or the Aruba 12 SS which is a pound lighter. However, it is significantly lighter than other fishing kayaks from competitors like the Pelican Covert 120 which weighs 55 lb / 24.9 kg
Its light weight makes it easy enough to transport and launch this kayak on your own, although it would be best to do it unloaded, especially since this kayak doesn’t have side carrying handles.
The Journey 12 SS has a maximum payload of 395 lbs / 179 kg, which is the same as the Aruba 12 SS and a tad more than the Pelican Covert 120 that can take only 350 lbs.
This is more than enough room for a medium to large paddler and some gear. However, loading it beyond 316 lbs / 144 kg can result in a noticeable decrease in the speed and performance of the kayak.
Like all the other Sun Dolphin kayaks, the Journey 12 SS is made of rugged UV-resistant HDPE (high-density polyethylene) designed and built for maximum durability.
However, if you are frequently dragging your kayak across rough surfaces like concrete and asphalt, you might want to think about a hull guard.
At the tip of the bow is a carrying t-handle. There isn’t a drain plug on the bow, unlike the Journey 12’s shorter counterpart, the Journey 10 which has a drain plug each at the bow and stern.
The bow storage compartment is an open area that can be secured by a bungee tie-down system. Right behind that towards the cockpit is a small, circular, water-resistant hatch. Note that this hatch is not waterproof and will fill up if you take in water.
At the front of the cockpit are two adjustable foot braces to suit kayakers of different heights. In the middle of the deck is an articulating rod holder that can swivel 360 degrees. Beside it, there are several small tray areas for you to store things like tackle.
On both sides of the gunnels are thigh pads for you to rest your knees or legs without hitting the sides of the kayak.
Both the seat backrest and bottom are padded, unlike other kayaks like the Journey 10 that only comes with a backrest. The adjustable straps on the backrest also allow you to tailor the angle to suit your personal preferences.
Right behind the seat are two flush-mounted rod holders that don’t have covers. However, they are not through-hulls, and any water going into the rod holders will stay there instead of going into the kayak. Nevertheless, you’ll still have to tip out the boat at the end of the day.
Behind the rod holders is a removable storage compartment with a waterproof hatch. Unlike the first hatch in front of the seat, this portable compartment is completely watertight. You can remove it with the rubber-lined handle and tow it behind the kayak or stash it somewhere else for more storage.
Once removed, you can use the tankwell to secure dry bags and other tents with the included bungee tie-down system.
At the very back, there is a second carrying t-handle and a drain plug for you to get rid of the excess water that found its way into the kayak throughout the course of the day.
Depending on the retailer, the Journey 12 SS might come with a basic two-piece aluminum paddle.
The Journey 12 SS is a fairly stable, reliable entry-level kayak that makes a good first boat for the aspiring angler. The light weight makes it easy to pop on your car and take it out regularly for short fishing trips in a lake or gentle river.
It doesn’t handle strong winds and waves very well, but the tracking is decent and it is relatively maneuverable for a kayak of this length.
The seat is the lowest point in the water and well below the waterline, so if you are paddling this kayak, prepare to get your butt wet.
In addition, while beginners might find this kayak a tad tippy and insecure, experienced paddlers have reported being able to stand up on calm waters. It DOES wobble a fair bit, but it will take quite a bit to capsize and tip over.
While the kayak is stable while paddling, when you stop paddling, it can start to spin to the left or right depending on the wind direction.
Overall, this kayak is easy to paddle and will make a great first kayak for the budding angler. However, more serious anglers will likely be happier on a more advanced and sea-worthy kayak with more features.
Sun Dolphin Journey 12 SS First Trip
Sundolphin Journey 12 SS 2nd Review
Specification: Sun Dolphin Journey 12 SS