After 10 years, Old Town returns to the touring kayak market with its new Castine series. The Old Town Castine 140 is a day touring kayak designed for comfort and performance. We took it out for a day trip on Falls Lake in North Carolina to see if it’s worth the hype.
Old Town built the Castine 140 to revolutionize the touring market. Meant for the open water, the Castine 140 carries cargo with ease and tracks at high cruising speeds. Bungees, hatches, and unique storage features ensure nothing gets left behind.
This kayak touts a large cockpit with creature comforts that make hours on the water fade away. The company paid serious attention to detail when designing the Castine 140. The result is a lightweight kayak with no shortage of features.
The Castine 140 retails for $1,349.99. That’s a lot for the recreational kayaker to spend, but if you’re an avid tourer, it’s worth the cost.
Old Town Castine 140 Review
The Castine 140 will carry all your gear — and then some. There are two quick seal hatches with cross-lock straps that provide for secure, dry storage. While you should always use a dry bag to store your gear, the sealable hatches reinforced with straps are pretty reassuring compared to other models on the market.
The dry storage area in the bow is exceptionally large for a kayak of this size. This also provides for added flotation in the event of a capsize. And tiedowns for extra gear run the entire length of the kayak.
The cockpit is huge, with comfort and adjustability features to rival a car’s. The ACS2 Seat is plush and comfy, including a low-profile backrest. Even while you’re on the move, the foot braces are easy to adjust with webbing handles. They’re also comfortable enough for barefoot paddling — if you’re into that.
A removable sliding compartment in the cockpit between your legs allows you to access essentials with ease. It was the perfect place to store my camera, sunglasses, and snacks. And the top of the compartment offers a flat surface for you to attach and use your phone, which came in handy during navigation stops.
The adjustable thigh braces are a welcome bonus, providing support for your core during swift paddling. It took me only a few minutes to adjust everything for my body, and there was plenty of customization to spare.
The toggle handle on the bow stays out of the way when it’s not needed. When I pulled on the shock cord, there was enough slack that I avoided banging my hands on the boat (an unexpected bonus).
On the Water: Old Town Castine 140
The Castine 140 glides effortlessly across the water and tracks better than other touring kayaks I’ve tested. Its 14-foot length makes it maneuverable enough for the open water, but its speed is the noticeable highlight. The Castine 140 handled well in the gentle currents of Falls Lake, and I expect it to perform well in the ocean.
There was plenty of stability while on the move, but it was slightly tippy while getting in and out, luckily mitigated by the large cockpit. After hours on the water, I experienced no back discomfort, attributed to the seat’s foam padding and backrest design. And I appreciated the flow-through seat ventilation in the hot, humid weather.
Transportation, loading, and unloading were a breeze thanks to the Castine’s light weight and convenient carry handles. At about 50 pounds, it’s light enough for one person to carry.
Old Town has revamped outdoor adventure with the Castine 140, made to go longer distances in style. It’s rudder-ready for river runs but not meant for powering through strong rapids.
While the Castine series caters to experienced adventurers, recreational kayakers with deep pockets will also enjoy the plethora of luxurious features.
The new touring series includes the Castine 135 and Castine 145 models for paddlers of different sizes. One thing is for certain: I plan on making the Castine 140 an integral part of these remaining summer months.