Old Town Castine 145GET IT
In a lot of ways, the Old Town Castine 145 is like that plush SUV you take on long trips: it’s comfortable, has a lot of storage, is easy use, and has tricks that make time in driver’s (or paddler’s) seat enjoyable. While the boat isn’t exactly a floating La-Z-Boy—it’s a touring kayak that comes pretty damn close.
We spent the day exploring the north shore of Long Island in the largest of the three models that make up the Castine line (14.6-feet long, 26.5-inches wide, and 56 pounds), which is Old Town’s return to the touring market after about a decade. It’s the comfortable cockpit that kept us out for hours without complaining. The ACS2 seat has a low profile backrest that moves up and down, with a second adjustment that changes the angle of the support under your thighs. They’re joined by tweakable thigh and foot braces. All told, I had it dialed in, without a manual, in about 10 minutes—not easy for a sit-in build and my 6’3″ frame. While the seat is perforated foam, in the kayak world, this is as close as it gets to sitting in a Caddy.
And like a premium car there smart storage for your phone: a sliding day storage compartment pulls out from between your legs, locks in pace, and then retracts automatically. It’s big enough to stash your phone, wallet, keys, and a snack with a beefy rubber gasket to keep it all safe. Deck rigging bungees cover the boat, front and back, to stash gear that’ll survive getting wet. And for supplies that you need to keep dry, but not necessarily accessible while paddling, there are two, sealed hatches that shut with straps. The two bulkheads that create the storage also help with solid stability. On the water, the Castine really moves, given its size, and it tracks well too. Aside from taking on the wake of a passing ferry the wrong way, we felt very secure. And we were able to maneuver in and out of the nooks and crannies while exploring.
We kept finding little details the more time we spent with the boat, like the bow and stern toggle handle that spring back and out of the way when not in use, but extend out enough to clear your knuckles while hauling the boat. This new line also offers two smaller sizes, the Castine 135 and 140, so finding a size that fits should be easier. — Sal Vaglica, Senior Editor
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