Reviews Sea Kayaking

Wilderness Systems Tempest 170 Plastic Sea Kayak Review

RRP: £1299


Length: 518cm
Max Load: 


  • Phase 3 AirPro XP
  • Adjustable Padded Thigh Braces
  • SlideLock Foot Brace System
  • Domed Bow, Midship and Stern Hatches
  • Bow, Midship and Stern Bulkheads
  • Bungee Deck Rigging w/ Reflective Static Perimeter Safety Line
  • Soft Touch Handles
  • TruTrak Skeg System
  • Bow Compass Recess

Paddler Verdict

As with the Zephyr the cockpit outfitting on the Tempest was really good. It allowed for loads of comfortable support and produced a very positive fit. Foam sealed bulkheads supply storage front and back and large bow and stern hatches, with dual-density covers. There’s a rear day hatch too for easy access to items you might need while afloat.

Out on the sea the Tempest really came into its own, it’s very nimble, but still managed to deliver on the stability front. It is extremely well mannered and we definitely enjoyed paddling it a lot. When we tested plastic sea kayaks a few years ago the Tempest stood out as the most playful boat in that test. Things have moved on a bit now and newer designs have surpassed or equalled it in this respect, but the Tempest is still a great sea kayak for dealing with the rough stuff, punching out through shore breaks, surfing waves and shooting through a few exciting rock gaps between the swell.

It had a good amount of forward speed and it’s positive fit and good initial and excellent secondary stability made it a popular boat with our less experienced testers. When things got a bit wilder though they weren’t so keen and it struggled with getting pushed around a bit in stronger wind and bigger waves. However, more experienced paddlers will enjoy playing in the Tempest in more challenging conditions.

If you want a boat to have some fun in on day trips or one-night camping trips, playing in waves, tidal races and rock hopping then it certainly delivers performance in a user-friendly form, but if you aspire to longer multi-day trips and more challenging crossings then it’s probably not for you.

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