Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 – Review

This is one of my kayaks, the Tarpon 100 made by Wilderness Systems. The Tarpon is made in several different sizes the 100, 120, 140 and 160, the Tarpon 100 is the smallest of the pack but is still a decent 10 foot / 305cm.

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The Tarpon 100 is at the top-end of the small sit on top kayaks market. As you can see from the picture above, it is kitted out with all manner of additional extras. It’s a high quality kayak with many features you normally only find on longer, touring kayaks.

The hull uses all the available length to improve tracking, this makes the Tarpon very easy to paddle in a straight line. It was originally designed for the American market of big lake paddlers who don’t encounter rough water or surf, this means the design is fantastic for longer distance trips and fishing but it’s not very good in the surf, nor is it as agile as some other kayaks. If you want a kayak for playing in the surf, this one probably isn’t for you. If you want one for fishing on the other hand – the Tarpon is perfect.


Fishing is the reason why I bought this kayak, it’s got so much space and area to work on. It’s got two hatches which are brilliant for storing gear, I regularly fill this up with snorkeling gear and dry bags (with lunch and supplies stashed inside). One of these hatches is right in front of you, between your legs which makes it great for putting extra fishing gear and stuff you might want to get your hands on in a hurry. To the left and right of this hatch are pockets which I normally use for storing snacks, knives or sunglasses.

As you can see from the photo below, rather than having moulded in foot rests, the Tarpon has adjustable rails on the side, which although are very sturdy can be easy adjusted to suit all heights, my 5 foot girlfriend paddles it comfortably and so does my 6’4” friend. This type of foot support means that the deck is clear to use.


A feature which I’ve not seen matched on a kayak of a similar length, is the seat, it’s the sort of thing you normally see in much larger touring kayaks. The seat is built in and built well. It is raised several inches off the deck which means that even if water splashes into the yak that your bum stays nice and dry. Priceless. It is also adjustable in several different ways: you can raise and lower the back support, recline the back support and adjust the angle that your legs are positioned in. I’ve paddled this kayak for long days, not suffering any discomfort.


Behind the seat is a massive storage well. As you can see, you need to catch a hell of a lot of fish to fill this up. I regularly use it to transport a 60 litre waterproof bag, which I fill with food and anything else we made need when we arrive at our location. You literally have enough space to take a camping stove or smoker and cook your catch when you arrive at your own secret beach.


I fitted two rod holders in behind the seat, one on either side, these are great for trolling and were easy to fit. There are lots of blank areas, which have been purposefully placed to take any extras you might want to throw at it, like rod holders or fish finders.

In summary, the Tarpon is an absolutely brilliant kayak, it’s got so much to give. It’s a bit more cheddar (money if you’re not as gangster as me) than some of the other kayaks on the market, but for that, you get added versatility and fantastic quality.

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