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Old Town Dirigo 120 Review

Mark Armstrong
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Old Town Dirigo kayaks are sit-inside vessels designed for recreational paddling. They are built to be stable and easy to paddle, which can make them ideal if you’re new to kayaking.

Old Town Dirigo 120Pin
  • Length: 12 foot
  • Width: 27.75 inches
  • Weight: 50 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 350 pounds

The Dirigo 120 is a 12 foot yak, which is the middle size of the three Dirigo boats. It has a spacious cockpit that can be easy for getting in and out, and it features good storage options as well as a padded adjustable seat.

The Dirigo Kayaks Are For…

The Dirigo 120 can be a great choice of boat for beginners. It’s a 12 foot sit-inside that’s made primarily for recreational paddling on flatwater. This can make it an ideal boat for exploring calm lakes and slow moving rivers.

Being a sit-inside kayak you could paddle all year round, especially if you attach a spray skirt (sold separately) to help keep your cockpit dry. It has good storage options for a recreational vessel but it may require some aftermarket accessories if you want to use it for fishing.

There are a couple of other boats in the Dirigo range, including the Dirigo 106 and the Tandem. The Dirigo 106 is a 10 foot 6 inch boat that could be suitable for smaller paddlers or if you’re looking for a more maneuverable boat.

The Dirigo Tandem Plus is a 15 foot 3 inch tandem with dual cockpits and a removable jump seat for a child or smaller third passenger, making it a good choice for family paddling adventures.

Features Of The Old Town Dirigo 120

Easy To Paddle

One of the main features of this boat is its ease of use. It is built to be easy to paddle, even if you’re a beginner, which can make it a good boat to learn in.

It can also be easy to maneuver, making it ideal for smaller bodies of water, such as narrow rivers and ponds where you might need to navigate around rocks or tight bends.

The cockpit benefits from having easy-grip thigh pads which can help you to control your boat as well as help you stabilize yourself, particularly during turns.


The Dirigo is designed to offer optimum stability on flatwater conditions. This high initial stability can be more reassuring for beginners, as it can feel more comfortable and less tippy.

While it is designed for flatwater conditions, it should be able to handle very small to moderate waves, such as in calm bays or lakes.

Room For Gear

A great feature of the Dirigo 120 is that it has plenty of storage options, which may not always be found on other recreational boats.

There is a large ClickSeal hatch in the stern where you can store gear within the hull. It can offer dry storage but valuables should ideally be stored within a waterproof drybag, as some water may occasionally enter the hatch.

Video: Old Town Canoe Dirigo 120 Kayak

The bungee rigging on the deck at the bow and stern can be useful for storing and securing larger items.

You’ll also find a small cockpit hatch, like a glove box, which has a lid and can be great for keeping smaller items and valuables within easy reach. The built-in cupholder can come in handy for keeping your water bottle nearby.

Cockpit Comfort

The adjustable seat in the Dirigo cockpit features cushioning for improved comfort, however, for longer journeys you may want to increase the level of padding with some extra cushioning if you prefer a softer seat.

The cockpit is roomy enough that it shouldn’t feel restrictive, making it feel more comfortable if you’re new to sit-insides.

The foot braces can be easily adjusted to suit different leg lengths and give you more control over your vessel.

While the Dirigo 120 might not have any built-in rod holders, you can customize it by adding your own like this user did.

Dirigo Alternatives

Eddyline Sandpiper

The Eddyline Sandpiper can be a good alternative if you’re looking for a lighter weight boat. This 12 foot yak is 38 pounds and built for calm waters. It has an oversized cockpit that can be ideal for bringing along your dog or a small child. It also has two sealed hatches for gear.

Delta 12 AR

The Delta 12 AR is a 12 foot sit-inside that’s built for recreation. It has a narrower hull which could improve speed and performance. It’s lightweight with a large cockpit and multi-position seating system. It also benefits from having two sealed hatches and deck bungee rigging.

Pelican Premium Sprint 120XR

Pelican Premium Sprint 120XRPin

This Pelican Sprint 120XR can be a good choice if you’re after increased secondary stability for choppier waters. This 12 foot boat is stable with a deep V chine hull for improved performance and tracking. It also features good storage options.

Dirigo 120: FAQs

Is It Possible To Add A Rudder?

The Dirigo is not made to accommodate a rudder.

Can I Go Kayak Camping Using The Dirigo 120?

If you pack light you might find you have enough room to haul camping gear for a couple of nights away, especially if you use the space in the cockpit as well as the stern hatch and deck bungees.

Finishing Up

Old Town Dirigo 120Pin


  • Easy to paddle
  • Ideal starter kayak
  • Stable
  • Large cockpit


  • May not be ideal for larger paddlers
  • No rod holders

The Old Town Dirigo 120 can be a great entry level kayak for flatwater paddling. It has a stable hull and a large cockpit that can be more appealing to beginners. It also has a high level of storage.

If you want to check this boat out for yourself, click here. Maybe you’ve paddled a Dirigo? Leave us a comment to tell us about it and remember to share this if you think it might help out any of your buddies who are looking for an easy-to-use boat.

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