Kayaking became a real family activity this year. Our canoe wasn’t cutting it any more so we went to a local outfitter and traded it in on a new kayak. We wanted a sit-in style boat this time, and the Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 got the nod to join the fleet. I hadn’t considered this kayak before but decided to buy it after my salesperson introduced me to it.
In my opinion, the standout feature of the Aspire 105 is the seat. This boat has a lot of qualities that I like, so the seat is really noteworthy. Wilderness Systems used the Phase 3 AirPro seat in this kayak. There is a lot to consider when you buy a kayak, but a comfortable seat has got to be pretty high on the list. Many paddlers of all sizes have taken a spin in our Aspire 105 and none have complained about an uncomfortable place to sit.
The Phase 3 AirPro seat uses a perforated foam core with a mesh covering. These parts let the seat dry quickly and give good breathability. The seat back height is adjustable and so is the seat back angle. Getting the right amount of support in the right spot is no problem. The seat bottom has a leg lifter which adds even more to the adjustability. The seat back is flexible so it cups to the back and the seat bottom is contoured to fit your legs. All of the adjustments for the seat are placed in front of the rider so you’ll have no problem tweaking the fit on the fly.
Adding to the comfort features are the SlideLock XL foot brace system and nice thigh and knee padding. To adjust the foot braces, just lift the locking slider and then push it forward or pull it back. Reaching the adjustment slider is a bit tricky and takes a bit of practice to do it easily, but the foot braces can be adjusted while you are sitting in the kayak.
The Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 has a stern bulkhead which gives you a dry space to store your stuff. The rear compartment is watertight so the kayak will have some flotation even if the cockpit is flooded. The Orbix Hatch locks down with two sliding levers. I am able to open the hatch from the seat of the kayak, but the rear compartment is pretty big and you can’t reach all of it easily while seated.
This kayak uses the TruTrak adjustable skeg system and this really adds to the versatility of the Aspire 105. The control for the skeg is at the right hip. Drop the skeg to make the kayak track straight on the lake and lift it up when turning quickly is needed. A skid plate is at the rear of the boat for those times when you need to drag it on the bank or through a shallow spot in the water.
The Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 is a 10 ½ foot kayak and it is 29 inches wide. The weight is 48 pounds so most people should be able to get it to the water. I can lift it onto the top of the car by myself but two people make the job so much easier. The kayak has a 400 pound weight limit which is fantastic and makes camping out of this kayak definitely possible. Spray skirts are available to give protection from cold water if needed.
My family had a ball with this kayak all summer. My teenager especially enjoys paddling and I find that it is great to build confidence. She has learned how to tie knots and lash the boat to the car. We check each other’s work and make sure the yaks are riding well to the water. She decides where she wants to paddle and she is learning proper safety on the rivers and lakes. One early morning trip we saw deer, geese, a blue heron, raccoons, and bass breaking water. Early mornings on the lake with glassy smooth water and a little fog drifting are almost magical. Life is good indeed.
The Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 has an MSRP of $779. Yes, you can get cheaper kayaks, but the features and quality of this one really deliver on the value. You can take this kayak out on flat water or cruise down the river on day floats. If camping is your thing, multi-day trips should be no problem. I really like this kayak so much that a second one might come home with us. Check out the Wilderness Systems website for more information and to see the wide variety of kayaks they offer.