Which Kilroy For Me?


There is no doubt since it first hit the market the Jackson Kayak Kilroy is one awesome piece of floating plastic. It is by far my simplest kayak and the one I grab when I need to get on the water fast. The open hull is very gear friendly and it has been a clear choice to take on many trips for my crew. This year, Jackson “muddied up” the water and has made the choice more difficult with the introduction of the Kilroy Delta Tango or “DT.”
So what is the difference? If you are interested in a Kilroy, how do you know which one is right for you? First and foremost the DT is capable of paddling in a tandem configuration. The standard Kilroy has often had 2 passengers with the second being a smaller child or 4 legged friend but the DT can handle 2 full grown folks; up to 550 pounds worth! If you are in need of a boat that can grow with you as a child grows or one for you and your significant other; the DT would be a great one to consider. The other strong call for the DT is if you need a pure, heavy hauling pack mule. The ability to trim the seat to fine tune the center of gravity is awesome for hauling heavy loads like camping gear, big game animals or a big boned Labrador retriever!

If you are a solo only paddler, you may need to consider your needs a little more. If you won’t be hauling enormous weight or big critters, the standard Kilroy may be just exactly what you need. Also if you are portaging longer distances, the reduced weight of the standard will be a benefit. I am a “robust” person and have been able to haul plenty of gear and paddle long distances without feeling like I overloaded it. The standard Kilroy is light enough that I leave the seat in it full time, throw it on my shoulder and go. Don’t expect that in the Delta Tango! It is a longer, wider boat and that is reflected in the weight as well. I don’t have trouble putting it on top of my truck but empty it is about 15lbs heavier than its little sister.
Okay, we established gear hauling capabilities and weight issues, what about fishability? Both are excellent fishing platforms and are very stable due to the center of gravity below the waterline but the supreme stability winner goes to the DT. Those four extra inches of width really make a platform you can be comfortable standing in. The big Kilroy DT will be a sight fishing dream boat as well as awesome for bowfishing. The standard Kilroy has long been thought of as a top contender for fly fisherfolks and the DT just adds to that. A huge cockpit with flat floor is already nice but with a small amount of ingenuity a stripping basket could be affixed between the thwarts. This would allow for serious line shooting while you are stalking critters with the long rod! Either kayak leaves more than enough room for gear behind and in front of the angler so it is a draw as far as that goes. The extra width of the DT allows a little easier access to the interior rod holders while you are seated but I rarely use mine so that isn’t a factor to me.

Both the big and little Kilroy’s paddle well with the speed probably going to the smaller of the two. I haven’t GPS checked them but just due to my perception (often skewed, I understand) I believe the smaller is faster. The larger has a hidden talent though, by trimming the seat back and raising the bow I can increase maneuverability and by sliding it forward I can drop the bow down and straighten it out. I did this on a recent trip with short swift spots of a river separated by long slow areas. I was able to swap on a whim and “tune” the boat to my needs on the fly. They are both outstanding kayaks and each shines in one way or the other. I hope this helps explain a little about each one if you are interested in these versatile kayaks. If we can be of any help or answer any more questions, look up the “Ask a Pro” tab on the top of the Jackson Kayak site and we will do our best!

Comments on “Which Kilroy For Me?”

  1. Brandon
    March 5, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    I know this is a few years old but can you talk about how you set up for use with a small child in the standard Kilroy? I have one and love it but usually opt for the canoe with my young son. Would love to try the Kilroy with him just to cruise the local pond. Thanks

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