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buying advice


Author: Simon Coward

Ready to level up your outdoor adventures and invest in a recreational kayak? The Wilderness Systems Pungo Kayak is a fantastic option; they're versatile recreational kayaks designed specifically for having a blast on flatwater! Available in three different sizes 105, 120, and 125, these kayaks offer versatility and comfort for paddlers of all skill levels. It's no surprise then, that these kayaks have remained one of our bestsellers and fan favorite. Let's get into the why.

Sizing and Suitability

The Pungo comes in three different sizes and your choice will ultimately depend on your size and paddling needs. The model number (105, 120,125) refers to the length of the boat—10.5 feet, 12 feet, and 12.5 feet, with weight capacities ranging from about 300 pounds in the 105 to approximately 350 pounds in the 125.

Wilderness Systems Pungo 105

The Wilderness Systems Pungo 105 is the most compact option, making it easy to transport and store. It's best for paddling on smaller sheltered lakes where wind isn't much of a factor. It's also great for slow moving class one rivers where maneuverability is important.

Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 and 125

On the other hand, the Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 and 125, with their longer waterline, provide a more comfortable experience when covering greater distances. These larger models also perform better in windy conditions, although they sacrifice some maneuverability and are slightly heavier. The 125 is slightly larger, designed for larger paddlers, while the 120 suits smaller paddlers.

Comfort and Ease of Use

Now, let's talk about what makes the Pungo model everyone’s favorite kayak. For many paddlers, comfort is a top concern, and Wilderness Systems has perfected this over the years with its Phase 3 seat system. With its 3-way adjustability, you can tweak the camber to be as laid-back or as ready-for-action as you want. Plus, the adjustable-height seat back lets you find that sweet spot between pure comfort and paddling performance. Finally, you can raise the seat to support your hamstrings, alleviating pressure on your lower back during those long paddling days.

Also Read: How to fit a pfd >


Picture this: a built-in keel that's like your personal GPS, keeping you on track and saving you from that frustrating circular paddling dance. This makes them ideal for paddling on flat water, such as smaller sheltered lakes. But, get this, they're also nimble enough to tackle slow-moving rivers with ease. While the Pungo kayaks excel in flat water conditions, they offer enough maneuverability to make your paddling experience a little adventurous–if you’re that way inclined.


In addition to comfort and performance, the Pungo kayaks offer several practical features that enhance your overall paddling experience. The easily adjustable foot braces ensure proper leg positioning and can be customized for paddlers of different heights. There's also a convenient storage hatch at the back of the kayak, kept dry by a glued-in bulkhead. This feature not only provides secure storage but also acts as a safety measure. If you capsize, the buoyancy in the back compartment helps keep the kayak afloat, making a self-rescue easier.

Also Read: Recreational Kayak Gear checklist >


If you're looking for a boat that handles splashy class two river paddling, the Pungo's large cockpit and low rocker profile aren't ideal, especially for the 120 and 125, which lack maneuverability. The large cockpit is great for comfort and can even fit small dogs, but using a spray skirt can be awkward, though possible.

The Pungos are not entry-level price point boats, but you get a ton of value in performance and features for your money. They're hard to go wrong with for recreational lake paddlers. They're easy to paddle, super comfortable, and easy to adjust. That's it! Just some quick thoughts on the Pungo family of kayaks from our experience over the last 18 years.