Wilderness Systems Zephyr 160 Kayak Review
The Zephyr kayak series was introduced to compliment Wildy’s hugely successful Tempest kayak family. The Zephyr models offer paddlers more rocker than the Tempest series to optimize its maneuverability. The additional rocker on the Zephyr’s hull combine with aggressive soft chinned sides to increase the kayak’s maneuverability and playfulness.
Wilderness Systems Zephyr 160 is designed for ‘large paddlers’ with intermediate skills seeking a quality “all round” agile kayak for skills progression, and those who want to learn.
Wilderness Systems has improved their already amazingly comfortable seating system! The Phase 3 AirPro seating system features a user-friendly design with ergonomic elements to increase comfort, add adjustability, and provide additional support.
Wilderness Systems Zephyr 160 Kayak is equipped with ‘Phase 3 AirPro XP’ outfitting originally introduced in their Tempest series kayaks. Phase 3 AirPro XP is widely recognized as the kayak industries most precise; 5- easy adjust straps custom fit the back band, hip pads can be added to / removed or adjusted, thigh supports can be moved forward or aft, the padded seat can be adjusted up or down, SlideLock XL Footbraces are easily adjustable on the water, and its deck rigging is well thought and robust. The Zephyr 160’s cockpit is 1.5 inches longer and wider than the Tempest Series, thus it best suits paddlers who carry their weight lower or have wider hips.
Kayak Efficiency & Maneuverability
The Zephyr 160 Kayaks more fully rockered hull decreases the hulls wet-surface so speed & acceleration are considered ‘average’. The great news is it’s the same rockered hull which make the kayak so nimble & quick to respond to subtle course corrections by paddler edging and leaned turns. The Zephyr holds course well with the skeg up, while lowering the skeg increases tracking in adverse conditions.
Wilderness Systems Zephyr 160’s initial stability was rated as ‘high’ due to its wider beam. Secondary stability was rated as ‘medium’ due to more aggressive soft chined sides for responsive but less defined edging.
Stability Note: Due to its aggressive soft chine and rockered hull, the Zephyr 160’s stability is highly affected by paddler weight. I.e. a heavier paddler will lower the amount of rocker and increase the waterline thus improving stability, whereas a lighter paddler will minimize stability as they will not increase the waterline.
Kayak Roll & Rescue
Wilderness Systems Zephyr 160 comes with Phase 3 AirPro XP outfitting is comfortably customized to fit a wide range of paddlers to enhance rolling. More novice level paddlers will love the Zephyr’s larger cockpit and its comfy, roomy fit, while most smaller paddlers can still get solid bracing due to an exceptional Phase 3 AirPro XP seat system. The kayaks rear deck is low enough so as not to interfere with lay back rolls. To make paddle float re-entries far simpler we suggest we install self-rescue straps @ $60 a pair.
Cruising speed was ‘average’ for a sea/ Performance kayak of its length and we found no loss of efficiency even when fully loaded. The Zephyr 160’s upswept bow resurfaced well in big water conditions and added to its overall lively and responsive nature. Gear capacity is rated as ‘med/high’ though the internal skeg box does inhibit the storage of longer items in the rear hatch. VCP style hatches provide virtually watertight seals.
“Wilderness Systems Zephyr 160 Kayak is a highly rockered British style sea kayak which best suits skills oriented paddlers seeking a shorter, playful and responsive ride“
Material: Economical, robust Gen2 Polyethylene.
Hatches: Wilderness Systems Zephyr 160 Poly Series Kayaks come with 3- foam bulkheads and 3- easy to use push on VCP style rubber hatch covers: bow 10″ Domed Bow Hatch / 24 cm, stern Oval Domed Stern Hatch– 19″ x 13″ / 47 x 32 cm, day – 8-inch Domed Midship Hatch / 20 cm.
Outfitting: Wilderness Systems Zephyr 160 includes New Phase 3 AirPro XP Seating System that is widely recognized as the World’s most adjustable and includes a multi-adjustable back band and a padded seat pan that adjusts up and down.
Additional Features Include:
- SlideLock XL Foot Brace System
- Adjustable Padded Thigh Braces
- Recessed Expedition Quality Deck Rigging
- Reflective Static Perimeter Safety Lines
- ‘TruTrak Skeg’ System
- Nexus 70P Recessed Compass Mount
- Soft Touch Handles
- Proudly made in North America
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