Wilderness Systems Tarpon 105
Sea, lake, river or pond, the Tarpon models from Wilderness Systems are sit-on-top versatility recreational standards. In 2019, a new and improved version of their award-winning Tarpon 100 was unveiled- the Tarpon 105. The newly designed Tarpon 105 is a nostalgic mix of superior performance and modern comfort that continues the Tarpon legacy.
- Comfortable seat
- Dry storage
- Accessory rails
- Not very fast
Size and Weight
The Tarpon 105 weighs in at 55 lbs (25 kg). It is 10’6” (320 cm) long by 32” (81 cm) wide with a deck height of 15.25” (39 cm). With carrying handles not only on the bow and stern but also on either side of the gunnels, you won’t have too much trouble handling and transporting this boat. The super-beefy handles also provide safe strapping locations for transport.
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Paddlers looking for better tracking in fast-moving waters can check out its bigger brother, the Tarpon 120. It is a 12’ 3” kayak with identical features.
Tarpon 105’s max capacity is 325 lbs (147 kg). It is more than enough for an average-sized adult with a day’s worth of fishing gear or even some camping gear.
For bigger guys and gals, or those that don’t want to pack light, the Tarpon 120 is capable of holding 350 lbs (158 kg). Not a huge difference but something to consider.
Wilderness Systems knows how to build a durable boat. The one-piece polyethylene hull is made using the rotational molding process. To make the boat easier to transport and handle, they thoughtfully added 4 soft-grip haul handles on the bow, stern, and either side of the cockpit. A replaceable skid plate protects the hull when you just have to drag it across bumpy surfaces. Scupper holes remove any water that gets into the cockpit to ensure a drier ride. Unfortunately, scupper plugs are not included.
Compared with the previous model, the Tarpon 100, this kayak is 6” (15 cm) longer, which should improve tracking and speed. The bow and stern feature a deep keel. The kayak is also pre-plumbed for Wilderness Systems’ XL Rudder Kit (sold separately) to further improve performance in windy conditions and choppy waters.
The kayak’s seat is currently rated among the most comfortable seat on the market. The new Phase 3 Airpro model consists of ergonomic mesh-covered molded foam that drains well and is highly breathable. New for 2020 is the plush honeycomb vented fabric trademarked as ‘CoolTouch’. Leg raisers are included in the bottom cushion, and the backrest raises, lowers, and adjusts for tilt.
A couple of useful storage amenities are offered on the updated Tarpon. Starting at the bow, there is a small hatch for dry storage. Thankfully, Wilderness Systems have done away with the ‘Orbix’ flimsy plastic levers and the new container latching mechanism seems much more sturdy. Depending on your Tetris abilities, you could stuff a small sleeping bag and a one-person tent or easily stow away some dry clothes (in a dry bag, of course).
A simple bungee paddle holder at the bow allows you to free your hands while keeping your paddle secure. The water bottle holder is a magnetic strap that wraps around your bottle and connects to the boat conveniently between your feet. Just fore of the cockpit is a DryTec dry box that slides into a track on the kayak floor. It can hold your phone, camera, or car keys. On either side, molded into the floor, are small storage trays for lures, chapstick, or smaller items. A sizeable tank well at the stern comes with a removable mesh cover.
Large padded footrests are adjustable. SlideTrax accessory rails on the gunwales let you deck out your ride for fishing, photography, filming, or any other activity.
The Tarpon 105 has excellent primary and secondary stability. While it’s not the fastest boat on the water, the Tarpon makes up for it with decent tracking and operation in a variety of waters.
First Thoughts on the 2020 Wilderness Systems Tarpon 105
Unwrapping the 2020 Wilderness Systems Tarpon 105 & 120 Kayaks
2020 Wilderness Systems Tarpon
Specification: Wilderness Systems Tarpon 105