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Jackson Tupelo 12.5 Kayak Review

Mark Armstrong
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The Jackson Tupelo 12.5 is a recreational sit-inside kayak. It’s built for larger solo paddlers and comes with a removable high-back seat with lumbar support, a good level of storage and mounting tracks for adding your own accessories.

Jackson Tupelo 12.5 KayakPin
  • Length: 12 foot 5 inches
  • Width: 29 inches
  • Weight: 55 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 300 pounds

This 12 foot 5 inch boat can be ideal for paddling in a range of waters, with a good combination of tracking and stability. The Tupelo also comes in a smaller 12.0 version.

The Jackson Tupelo Kayaks Are For…

The Tupelo is built for recreational paddling and can be a great boat if you’re looking to paddle in different locations with different water conditions. It can be just as good on Class 2 rapids as it is on flatwater. However, it may not be the easiest to maneuver in small areas, particularly for beginners.

It is a versatile, lightweight boat that can be ideal for a casual paddling trip, camping or even for fishing. Its built-in gear tracks and good level of storage means you can easily customize the yak to suit your activities and have enough room to hold your gear.

This is a sit-inside boat with a large cockpit, which can make it more suitable for larger paddlers or if you’re new to sit-inside kayaks, as this can be easier to get in and out of. However, if you’re an experienced paddler looking for a speedy craft for touring, this is probably not it.

Tupelo 12.0

The Tupelo 12.0 is a shorter 11 foot 10 inch boat that’s designed to provide a more comfortable fit for smaller paddlers. It’s also built to be easier to paddle for smaller framed kayakers. It has similar features to the 12.5 including gear tracks and a removable seat.

Jackson Tupelo 12Pin
  • Weighs 27 pounds
  • Max capacity of 250 pounds
  • Narrower cockpit
  • Removable seat
  • Storage hatch

Top Features Of The Jackson Tupelo 12.5

Built-In Gear Tracks

A great feature of the Jackson Tupelo 12.5 is the built-in gear tracks. This can let you mount your own accessories easily without having to drill into the hull of your boat. This means you can attach rod holders, a fish finder or any other gadgets and transform the kayak into a fishing vessel.

There are gear tracks located on both sides, both in front and behind the cockpit so you can mount your accessories within easy reach.

Large Cockpit

The Tupelo has a large cockpit, measuring 48.5 inches in length and 24.25 inches in width. This can make it easier to get in and out of, as well as being more comfortable and spacious to sit in, especially if you’re a larger or taller paddler.

The kayak also benefits from having adjustable foot pegs so that you can control your boat more easily and have a more suitable fit for improved paddling posture and comfort.

For added comfort in the cockpit, there is also a padded high-back seat with breathable fabric. The seat features lumbar support and a rigid frame, which can elevate you slightly off the floor for increased visibility. It can also be easily removed and used on the shore while you’re enjoying lunch or camping.

Storage Options

The Jackson Tupelo 12.5 can be a good choice if you’re looking for enough space to bring along camping or fishing gear. There are both bow and stern bungee cords that can be ideal for stowing dry bags.

The stern benefits from having a dry storage hatch which can be great for holding additional gear, including camping equipment. It’s also designed to keep water out, although you may want to make sure you use dry bags for anything you don’t want to get wet, just in case water does get in.

Video: Jackson Tupelo Overview

Versatile Paddling

The Tupelo features a tri-chine hull that is designed to combine stability with tracking performance. It has a good level of secondary stability which can make it great for paddling in moderate moving water, such as rivers and streams. However, it’s not designed for whitewater above a Class II rating.

The boat can perform well on lakes, bays and rivers. Being 12 foot 5 inches long, however, you may find it’s not as easy to maneuver in smaller bodies of water.

The Tupelo 12.5 is lightweight and can be easy to carry down to the water. It also features bow and stern carry handles that can give you a better grip.

Once you’ve paddled in a Jackson Tupelo you might find there’s not much that will come close to it in terms of features, ease of paddling and speed, like this user has found out:

Tupelo 12.5 Kayak Alternatives

Eddyline Sandpiper 130

If you’re looking for something with a little more weight capacity, the Eddyline Sandpiper 130 might be a good alternative. It has a 390 pound capacity and large cockpit that can be ideal for larger paddlers or if you want to bring along your dog.

It’s a little longer too, at 13 foot. It has two dry storage hatches for gear, as well as bungee rigging, and a framed removable seat that can double as a camping chair.

Wilderness Systems Atak 120

Wilderness Systems Atak 120Pin

The Wilderness Systems Atak 120 is a sit-on-top kayak that can be a good option if you paddle in warmer climates or mostly during the summer months. It has a high weight capacity of 400 pounds and is designed for maximum stability. It even has a standing platform.

There is lots of room for camping or fishing gear, with a large rear tank well and plenty of accessory mounting points. This fishing kayak weighs a little more, however, at 86 pounds.

Perception Joyride 10

Perception Joyride 10Pin

The Perception Joyride 10 can be a good alternative if you’re after increased maneuverability and a more compact size of boat. This lightweight 10 foot sit-inside kayak can be great for smaller bodies of water and features a stern storage hatch, a cockpit dashboard and mounting points.

It has a large easy-access cockpit and a two-way adjustable padded seat for comfort.

> Full Joyride 10 review

In Conclusion

Jackson Tupelo 12.5 KayakPin


  • Lightweight
  • Versatile
  • Ideal for larger paddlers
  • Large cockpit
  • Comfortable seat


  • Not recommended for whitewater above Class II

The Jackson Tupelo 12.5 kayak can be an ideal choice for weekend adventures and fishing trips. It has a stable hull that can handle both flatwater and mild rapids, making it a good option if you like to try out different bodies of water. It can also be easily customized using the included gear tracks.

If you think this might be the right kayak for you, check it out here. And let us know your thoughts on it in the comments. Feel free to share this to help out others.

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