Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140 Review

Bottom Line:

The Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140 is a feature-rich fishing kayak that’s stable, predictable, and offers a nice experience on calm to slightly choppy waters (though it won’t be a racing champion any time in the future).

This is a boat that benefits from an abundance of different storage options and rod holders, and its seat scores highly for lack of fatigue over time. However, some experts feel this isn’t the easiest kayak to handle or move, given the boat weight and slightly pointed design.

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based on 4 reviews

Performance Ratings:

  • Handling
  • Stability
  • Comfort
  • Onboard Storage
  • Portability
  • Durability


BrandWilderness Systems
Size (length x width)14' x 28"
Weight64 lbs
Capacity375 lbs

Comparison to Similar Kayaks:

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140 Ocean Kayak Malibu 9.5 Eddyline Caribbean 14FS Perception Hi-Life Feelfree Nomad
Expert Rating
Size14' x 28"9'5" x 33"14' x 29"11' x 34"9'6 x 29.25"
Weight64 lbs54 lbs50 lbs55 lbs46.2 lbs
Onboard Storage7.

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140 Review

Reasons to Buy:
  • Lots of scupper holes for a dry boat
  • Very comfy seat with lots of air flow
  • Super stable on choppy waters
  • Tons of storage
  • Nice and secure
Reasons Not to Buy:
  • Very heavy to carry alone
  • Fairly low top speed

Performance of the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140

The Tarpon 140 scores highly on stability and predictability. Experts state it’s easy to move on the water and is responsive for its size. It can handle some light touring. Users also claim it should keep you nice and balanced if you want to lay back and fish. It’s not the most portable kayak out there, despite handles receiving moderate praise, and there’s not much discussion regarding durability. That said, this Tarpon kayak still scores well on protection thanks to its innovative scupper system.

One of the highest praise points, however, is the comfort. The boat appears to benefit from the manufacturer’s celebrated seating technology, which allows air to flow freely, keeping paddlers cool and feeling sharp. That said, some experts feel it’s so laid-back, it’s hard to paddle sometimes!

Reviewers love this kayak for its storage options and gear capacity. It has some nice convenience features like gear storage pockets, sidetracks, and a cup holder. There’s also a removable dry box at the center and a rear tankwell that can fit camping equipment and larger items.

It does stumble a little on peak performance as it’s reportedly fairly slow to move on the water. However, this seems to be a trade-off for resilience in choppy waters and unpredictable weather.

While the weight of this boat doesn’t go down well with experts, it’s still a solid choice for those seeking a responsive kayak that’s both stable and predictable.

Expert Reviews of the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140

7.5Anglers AfloatThe Tarpon 140 is a nice fishing kayak with absolutely tons of storage and room to upgrade and accessorize. That said, while it's stable and nice and roomy all the same, it doesn't fare well in terms of acceleration and speed. It's resilient in lots of choppy waters, but isn't going to be winning any races. At least there's plenty of space for kayak fishing gear and other items.Read more
7.1Next AdventureThis is a kayak I got tons of use out of one summer season. It's a great overall performer, it tracks well, and it's easy enough to keep in position for fishing and other activities. I also find it travels well in waters up to Class II - I highly recommend this boat.Read more
6.8Cliff FawcettI really couldn't pass this up when I saw it come on sale! This is a surprisingly smooth performer on the water, and it's got tons of scuppers to add confidence in its stability. It's simple to get in and out of, too. There's stacks of storage, and while I love how comfortable the seat is - it's not always ideal for efficient paddling.Read more
7.9Bill SchultzI love the Tarpon kayak range for general fishing, and the 140 really is one of the best in the line. This is an extremely comfortable kayak for all-day fishing, and it's impressively stable when it gets up to speed. I like the fact it's easy to carry on and off the car, and the storage onboard puts many other kayaks to shame.Read more

Handling of the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140

Expert Rating: 6.8

6.5Anglers AfloatThis boat really does perform well up against the elements. It has a low bow and deep hull channels, which means it resists all kinds of wind and swell. That said, the hull channels do make the kayak stick a little to the water - that slows it down a tad. It really could be faster on the water. Read more
7.5Next AdventureThis boat will handle well through Class I and II waters without complaint, and it'll paddle nicely through many different techniques. It's a fairly short boat in the line, but it's still impressively fast. It also tracks straight and turns when needed.Read more
6.5Cliff FawcettThis kayak handles pretty well on the water, it tracks straight, and it doesn't lose any performance on the back of its stability. It does feel a little "pointy" when I'm paddling faster, however - not the best design! However, it doesn't feel as heavy as it is out of the water.Read more
6.5Bill SchultzWhile the boat copes well on its own in choppy waters, I like to add a rudder to the back for an extra bit of directional support when the weather's picking up. It performs well as a fishing kayak.Read more

Stability of the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140

Expert Rating: 7.3

7.0Anglers AfloatThere's not much need for corrective strokes with this kayak, it stays stable and steady under a variety of different pressures. The stability of this kayak may hold it back a little, as it really isn't very fast.Read more
7.5Next AdventureThis is a boat I found stable enough to swing my legs across for occasional fishing - there's next to no chance you're tipping here. It's great for day fishing and the stability doesn't take much away from performance.Read more
7.5Cliff FawcettThis is an amazingly stable boat - it's virtually impossible to sink. Its scuppers go right to the bottom, easily one of its best features. It paddles nice and freely.Read more
7.0Bill SchultzThe sleek hull design on the 140 helps me get from one position to the next without any kind of fuss. It's built for stability at speed, and it really shows once you're out on the water with it. It's got impressive stability even in seriously rough conditions.Read more

Comfort of the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140

Expert Rating: 8.3

8.5Anglers AfloatWhile this boat sits pretty low on the water, the scuppers onboard more than keep the water out. The seat's always nice and dry, and it stayed that way throughout my maiden voyage. Despite not being cushioned, the seat's surprisingly comfy over long trips.Read more
9.0Next AdventureThe Airpro seating onboard the Tarpon 140 makes for some seriously comfy kayaking. It's ideal for a long day's fishing, and the design helps to keep you cool with air circulating all around.Read more
7.0Cliff FawcettThis is one of the easiest kayaks to get in and out of. Just hop in and lock yourself into the foot pegs! The seat is really comfortable - it's almost like a Lay-Z-Boy! The back of the seat is highly adjustable, as is the seat itself. However, while the seat position is comfy, it's not always the best for paddling efficiently. I certainly feel unencumbered in this boat.Read more
8.5Bill SchultzThe seat on the 140 is absolutely tremendous. It's great for kayak fishing over long periods, meaning you're very unlikely to feel fatigued over time. The seat allows for lots of air flow, and it's extremely water resistant. It's also really easy to adjust up and down for security and to change your vantage point. There's some nice thigh support onboard, too.Read more

Onboard Storage of the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140

Expert Rating: 7.6

8.0Anglers AfloatThere's a handful of nice accessory features onboard the Tarpon 140, and the spinning rod holder is a nice touch - that said, it's not always going to be the best fit for standard rod sizes. There seems to be quite a few areas available for mounting compasses and GPS units. There's a nice tank well bungee onboard, too, if you want to bring a tackle box. It's nice and watertight thanks to the scuppers. Beyond this, there's even two hatches and more quick-release paddle parks. Hatches and storage generally are really easy to access.Read more
5.5Next AdventureWhile there are decent points of storage onboard the Tarpon 140, some of the fittings - such as the rigging and the rod keeper - are a little too short for some anglers. If you've got a rod measuring longer than 7'5, you're probably only going to use the holder to keep your paddle in place.Read more
8.0Cliff FawcettThere are big hatches all over this boat! The hatch at the front is ideal for dry storage, too, meaning you can bring sensitive gear with you if you so desire. Tracks on board are great for fishing gear and you can store your tacklebox at the back.Read more
9.0Bill SchultzThis boat's impressive tank well and room for rod holders make it one of the best for carrying a variety of different fishing gear out on the water. There's a stack of room behind me in the boat, too, for extra gear if I need it. The slide tracks are nice touches for adding camera and other kit, too. The front hatch can hold tons of space, meaning I really didn't want for much more - and let's add in the bungees, too!Read more

Portability of the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140

Expert Rating: 6.5

7.5Anglers AfloatThis kayak really benefits from molded handles, which makes it easier to carry it out of the water. There's two under the gunwales with one at bow and another at the stern.Read more
5.0Next AdventureThis is a pretty heavy boat, all told - which might make it difficult to carry. That said, this is always something you'll compromise with a sit-on-top.Read more
5.0Cliff FawcettThis is a really heavy boat! I wouldn't recommend trying to lift it onto a roof rack by yourself. It's not so bad if you have a trailer or a friend to help. It's also pretty pointy in places - it's really easy to catch yourself while moving it around.Read more
8.5Bill SchultzThe built-in handles make this a kayak that's always easy to carry to and from the car. It's a great addition that makes what would otherwise be a frustrating chore really simple.Read more

Durability of the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140

Expert Rating: 8.0

8.0Next AdventureThis is a solidly built kayak that earns a top mark from me in terms of quality manufacture. It easily handles obstacles and faster waters without complaint.Read more