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Old Town Loon 120 Review

A very comfortable kayak that moves well on the water and has ample dry storage space to support quite a range of adventures
Old Town Loon 120
Credit: Old Town
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Price:  $1,100 List | Check Price at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Great glide, quality construction, adjustable seat, ample storage
Cons:  Heavy to carry, seat can become stiff to adjust
Manufacturer:   Old Town
By Sara James ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 9, 2022
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 11
  • Glide and Tracking - 30% 8.0
  • Maneuverability - 20% 7.0
  • Stability - 20% 7.0
  • Comfort - 10% 8.0
  • Construction Quality - 10% 8.0
  • Portability - 10% 5.0

Our Verdict

The Old Town Loon 120 is a well-made touring kayak that excels in glide and comfort. It provides ample on-deck storage thanks to its bungee strips in addition to a very large rear dry hatch compartment. The Loon is not the most agile of top kayaks on the market, but with some gentle edging, kayakers are able to move it where they need. Kayakers looking for a highly comfortable and roomy ride along with decent performance and storage will enjoy this well-designed craft. The spacious Loon 120 is ready to support you on your next adventure.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Old Town Loon 120
This Product
Old Town Loon 120
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$1,079 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$750 List
$749.99 at Amazon
$479.99 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Great glide, quality construction, adjustable seat, ample storageVery stable, great glide, comfortable outfitting, roomy, lots of storageComfortable, easy to paddle, easy to climb in and out, great storageExtremely stable, great tracking, very durable, comfortable, stackableVery large cockpit, stable, easy-to-adjust seat, includes storage compartment
Cons Heavy to carry, seat can become stiff to adjustHeavy, hard to drain, removable deck pod a bit flimsyHeavy to carry, rudder for tracking has to be purchased as extraHeavy to carry, no internal dry storageSluggish, difficult to load, drink holder is far away from seat, no cover for storage
Bottom Line A very comfortable kayak that moves well on the water and has ample dry storage space to support quite a range of adventuresAn overall high-quality sit-in kayak that is comfortable, maneuverable, and accessible thanks to a wide-open cockpitThis well-outfitted kayak allows for many different paddling applications, all in one super comfortable sit-on-top modelA super solid and stable all-around kayak great for any age or ability level at a modestly affordable priceA comfortable and stable kayak ideal for casual days paddling on calm water that comes at a reasonable price
Rating Categories Old Town Loon 120 Wilderness Systems... Wilderness Systems... Ocean Kayak Malibu... Old Town Vapor 10
Glide and Tracking (30%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Maneuverability (20%)
7.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
6.0
Stability (20%)
7.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Comfort (10%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
7.0
Construction Quality (10%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Portability (10%)
5.0
6.0
5.0
4.0
7.0
Specs Old Town Loon 120 Wilderness Systems... Wilderness Systems... Ocean Kayak Malibu... Old Town Vapor 10
Length 12'-0" 12'-2" 10'-6" 11'-5" 10'-0"
Width 30" 29" 32" 32" 28.5"
Weight 54 lbs 49 lbs 57 lbs 59 lbs 47 lbs
Height 15.3" 14" 15.3" 12" 16.8"
Weight Capacity 375 lbs 325 lbs 325 lbs 360 lbs 325 lbs
Material/Construction Rotomolded polyethylene plastic Polyethylene Polyethylene Singler layer polyethylene Single Layer Polyethylene
Features Active Comfort System 2.0 (ACS2) Seat, Removable Workdeck with USB, Thigh Pads, Match ACS2 Padding, Support Track Foot Brace System, Quick Seal Hatch with Bulkhead, Bow and Stern Deck Bungees, Bow and Stern Carry Handles, Paddle Clip, Drain Plug, Sharp Keel Line for Performance Rigid handles, Replaceable skid plate, Orbix hatch with sealed bulkhead, thigh pads, XL foot braces, SlideTrax and 2 mounting platforms, removable dry box, 2 cup holders, lithium battery recess (battery not included), Phase 3 AirPro seating system Quick-park paddle holder, Rigid carry handles, SlideTrax accessory rails, magnetic water-bottle strap system, removable DryTec dry box, sectioned storage tray, Phase 3 AirPro seating system, Dog-friendly deck Tri-form hull with an integral keel and sponsons, AirGo molded in seat and seat pad with adjustable AirComfort backrest, molded-in foot wells and calf rest, paddle holders, side/stern/bow carrying handles, molded-in oversized bow and stern tank wells with bungees, Splash resistent QuickStash dry hatch, 2 molded in fishing rod holders, 3 water bottle holder, replaceable skid plate. Adjustable Comfort Flex seat, Glide Track foot brace system ,Stern day well, Molded-in cockpit tray with cup holder, Molded-in paddle rest, Built in carry handles, Thigh pads, Drain plug, Skid plate

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Old Town Loon 120 is a 12-foot long, 30-inch wide sit-inside-kayak. It has a large storage hatch with a removable plastic lid. The Loon comes with a removable deck pod with space to store your additional gadgets or gear.

Performance Comparison


Old Town Loon 120 kayak - overall we enjoyed our time paddling the loon, in particular we...
Overall we enjoyed our time paddling the Loon, in particular we appreciate the comfort and quality paddling performance it delivers.
Credit: Sara James

Glide and Tracking


Thanks to its length and v-shaped hull, the Old Town Loon 120 excels in gliding capacities, outperforming other kayaks of a similar length. The Loon does not have a skeg, but users did not complain that it was difficult to maintain tracking without this.

Old Town Loon 120 kayak - the old town loon delivers superior glide thanks to its length and...
The Old Town Loon delivers superior glide thanks to its length and hull shape.
Credit: Sara James

The Loon 120 was one of our top choices to enjoy glassy mornings or longer evening paddles. It provides a superior feel when cutting through the water when compared to other kayaks with less refined designs. The Loon is definitely a kayak to enjoy your time on the water in.

Maneuverability


The Old Town Loon 120 is easy to pivot but it does take quite a few hard paddle strokes to rotate it a full 360 degrees. This is predominately due to the extra length of this kayak, and also due to its v-shaped hull. Leaning in the opposite direction of your turn will help you turn quicker due to its hull shape.

Old Town Loon 120 kayak - the loon's hull shape requires a little more effort to make sharp...
The Loon's hull shape requires a little more effort to make sharp turns quick and maneuvers.
Credit: Sara James

In moving water, the Loon is able to maneuver adequately down class 2 rapids, however, it's not designed for any quick eddy turns, or navigating rocky rapids. If you do somehow capsize this kayak, it will likely fill with water quickly due to the large cockpit size. This makes it quick to become a large heavy object that is difficult to get to shore.

You could equip your Loon with floatation bags which would prevent it from filling with as much water if it did capsize. This will in turn make it easier to haul to shore and quicker to empty and reset. It has a drain plug on the nose of the kayak that can be removed to further help you empty out the last liter of water.

Stability


The Loon 120 is reasonably stable, even for beginner kayakers. It wasn't the most stable and testers didn't fancy jumping up and down inside this kayak, however, we felt comfortable on flat water and in gentle moving currents.

Old Town Loon 120 kayak - the old town loon is quite wide making it a relatively stable kayak...
The Old Town loon is quite wide making it a relatively stable kayak to enter and exit.
Credit: Sara James

The Loon has decent primary and secondary stability. That means it feels stable when on the flat, and when put on a gentle edge.

Comfort


The seat and foot beg adjustability help to keep you comfortable when sitting in the Old Town Loon, regardless of your leg length. The cockpit is 53 inches long, giving ample room to get inside without requiring agile legs.

Old Town Loon 120 kayak - you can raise or lower the front of the seat on the loon kayak...
You can raise or lower the front of the seat on the Loon kayak, personalizing it for comfort and paddling efficiently.
Credit: Sara James

The outfitting in the Loon 120 is among our favorites. Testers particularly appreciated the opportunity to raise the angle of your legs and the ventilation on the seat. The attachable paddle holder also helped deliver a comfortable adventure as paddlers can free their hands for other activities without having to worry about the security of their paddles.

The dry hatch on the Loon is one of the largest both in terms of space and access area. This makes the Loon a great choice if you want to overnight camp from your kayak. The dry hatch was easy to close, a quality we did not find in all the hatches we tested.

Construction Quality


The outfitting on the Old Town Loon stands out for its high quality. With multiple points of adjustability on the seat, you can pick your desired height and ensure decent lumber support. The foot pegs are also easy-to-adjust and can be altered from the security of your seat.

Old Town Loon 120 kayak - the orange kayak pictured is the older model. the newer model has a...
The orange kayak pictured is the older model. The newer model has a slightly more secure closure on the latch but we still did not find this to be 100% watertight.
Credit: Sara James

The removable workbench is surprisingly secure once locked down and is our favorite out of similarly designed work trays. It feels robust enough for the job and there are a number of compartments that you could use for storing different gear or gadgets. In addition, there is a mountain rail for you to attach equipment that you want to keep at hand. We wonder if the USB charger post is really a necessity or just an opportunity to try to sell users additional accessories.

The dry storage on the Loon was the easiest to access and close shut out of all the dry hatches we tested. However, when swamped by water (i.e. you capsize), this storage compartment was not as dry as some of the other options we tested.

Portability


The Loon 120 is not a light kayak and therefore most users won't find it easy to lift on their own. Even if you do have the strength to lift this kayak solo, the large cockpit length makes it hard to find a decent place to lift from.

Old Town Loon 120 kayak - the retractable, toggle t bars are relatively comfortable for...
The retractable, toggle T bars are relatively comfortable for carrying this kayak.
Credit: Sara James

The retractable toggle T handlebars were appreciated, with padding on their underside to deliver comfort. This kayak is best carried by a pair.

Value


The Old Town Loon 120 delivers a great performance all around. Although it was not an award-winner in the end, it does give some of the other kayaks a good run for their money, particularly with regard to comfort and tracking. This kayak is still well worth its price tag.

Conclusion


If you are looking for an exceptionally comfortable and well-made kayak that delivers superior performance in terms of glide and tracking, then maybe you have found your match. This kayak will take you where you need to go with grace.

Sara James
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