Article Submitted by: Ben Hodgin ben@dynamicearthdotnet
Recently I was given the difficult task of picking between Wilderness Systems Commander 120 and their Ride 115. I paddled both kayaks extensively.
First, let me tell you about the Ride 115. This SOT (Sit On Top) kayak has a whoppin’ 500 lb. capacity. It also has two large Orbix storage hatches making getting to your gear a breeze. To accompany this huge storage capacity the Ride 115 also offers a pontoon style hull that makes standing in it to fly fish a very real possibility. The Slide Trax rail comes standard, so if you are a geek like me you can deck these kayaks out from mild to wild to suit your needs. If fishing is not your thing then use this stable SOT as a gear hauling machine for those multi-day expeditions, or throw your scuba gear in it and take off. A quick note about me, I am 6′ 1″ and the Ride has ample leg room for a guy my height, so all of you tall guys out there that can’t get comfortable on the river need to come sit in this beast. The seat you would be climbing into can be moved forward and back in the kayak to adjust trim, but when you set up camp or stop for lunch you can pull the seat out and stay comfy out on the gravel bar.
Last but surely not least, the Commander 120. Boast a 400 lb. capacity. This pontoon style kayak gives you a few seating options. Up high in the Captains seat so you can fish, or down low in the big removable seat for great back support. Like the Ride it has the pontoon hull, and the seat moves to adjust trim. While sitting in the higher seat I was reminded of sitting in a canoe. Then I paddled it. This canoe/kayak hybrid offers you the huge storage potential of a canoe with the comfort and performance of a kayak. From the high seat, transitioning to standing is a dream. So if you are looking to fly fish this is the kayak for you. It also supports the Slide Trax rail to deck this kayak out with fishing accessories.
So now, I guess I have to pick one. It has to be the Ride for me. The SOT offers some pretty sweet features. I love the ability to swing my legs over the side and split the distance between me and the stern, so fishing 360 degrees is easy to do. This is just the one that I would pick, but I would be tempted to own both kayaks.
If you are looking for those epic overnight fishing trips, a great lake or river day tripper, or you just want to pack some malty beverages in your kayak and be comfy at the same time. Come look at these kayaks. Sit in one. You won’t want to get out.