Wilderness Systems Tempest 170 Sea Touring Kayak Review

Wilderness Systems Tempest 170 Ocean Sea Touring KayakThe Wilderness Systems Tempest 170 Ocean Sea Touring Kayak is one of Wilderness Systems many award winning designs. The kayak won the Sea Kayaker Magazine Reader’s Choice Award for Best Day and Weekend Touring Kayak and does not disappoint. Out of my ten kayaks, it is the boat I always opt for when looking for an experience that requires speed and glide- which is often.

I bought this kayak as a replacement for my old Wilderness Systems Tempest 165 Pro and it simply translates everything in that boat into something a bigger paddler would need. The Tempest 170 is fully fitted with all the features you need for a full on weekend touring expedition and a fully redesigned TRU Track skeg system to help keep in control of the boat with ease.

Performance & Handling

This kayak measures 17 feet by 22 inches by 13.5 inches and weighs 27.5 kg. Its hull features high-density polyethylene construction that offers performance, affordability and rugged durability. It is high density, stiff, yet lightweight plastic; thin, yet durable and has a smooth finish with rich, long-lasting color. The bow features a recessed compass mount that fits most deck compass model.Wilderness Systems Tempest 170 Sea Touring Kayak

The kayak is very nimble, but still manages to deliver on the stability front.

The Tempest features British style hull lines that provide more chine area and deliver amazing secondary stability while improving turning ability. Its strong initial stability, combined with solid tracking even in high winds makes this kayak ideal for rough water paddling expeditions. The superior secondary stability allows skilled peddlers to confidently ride the boat on the edge. I found the cockpit controlled drop down skeg easy to deploy and is designed to resist weather cocking while providing superior tracking.


Comfort is a major concern for many kayakers, more so for those who love long expeditions in rough waters. But Wilderness Systems put a tremendous amount of work into the Tempest 170’s cockpit to ensure comfort. The Phase 3 Air Pro XP seat is adjustable and features a comfortably padded back that is both adjustable and supportive and stays out of the way when performing layback rolls and re-entries. Standard hip pads are provided are also provided and can be adjusted with foam shims.

The thigh braces are ergonomically shaped to provide best support, making aft and fore adjustments for custom fit only took a few minutes. The cockpit on this sit-in kayak also comes with a SlideLock Footbrace System which makes for easy adjustment of pedals even when the kayak is afloat.


The Tempest 170 was designed for long expeditions, and this is evident from the three storage hatches and amount of deck rigging on offer. You can easily stow one week’s worth of kayaking equipment, kayaking accessories, kayaking dry bags, kayaking clothing and food on this kayak. The 8” day hatch, 10” bow hatch and full-size stem hatch are all designed with double bulkheads to keep gear dry and increase buoyancy.

The hatch covers are domed to offer a rugged water tight seal as well as n easy to remove tab. Additional gear can be stowed on bungees and secured onto the boat with bungee deck rigging in both the bow and stern. The bungee cords also help you fold the seat-back down flat when transporting your boat bow-down on top of your car.

Wrapping up

If you are looking for a touring sea kayak to have some fun on one night camping trips or one day trips, playing in waves rock hopping or tidal races, then the tempest 170 will certainly deliver the performance in an easy to use form.

Wilderness Systems Tempest 170
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Where To Buy

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