Prijon Kodiak Kayak Review

On January 25, 2011, in Kayaks, by Jack Ingram

I recently had the chance to load up and paddle a new Prijon Kodiak for an week long camping trip down the lower Columbia River between Oregon and Washington. Read on to find out what worked and didn’t work as we explored the backwater sloughs of this great river!

As others have noted the Kodiak is a relatively fast kayak with a great deal of storage that really does well in rough water. I had the Kodiak in 5-6 foot surf in the Columbia River Gorge and it broached only slightly. It weathercocks slightly, but only in very stiff winds. After deploying the rudder in the down position the Kodiak is unshakeable, it slides effortlessly over the face of almost any wave. In confused water, when other boats tend to bob, the Kodiak cuts right through, as if it is unconcerned with either chop or current.

While it is a bit on the heavy side, the Prijon Kodiak proved to be very durable, landing on rocky shores and sandy beaches with minimal impact on the hull, unlike rotomolded pastic kayaks. This is attributed to the unique HTP blow molding process which makes for a very stiff, tough plastic kayak.

Cargo capacity is excellent with high volume hatches that can swallow up gear for that long river tour or that serious multi-month expedition around Greenland. I found that the Kodiak gains a great deal of initial and final stability as the weight sinks it into the water. The Kodiak is easy to maneuver for a kayak of its length, and can be held on edge, while standing still, quite easily.

On the down side – I will start with the day hatch in front of the cockpit. We took in water from this hatch several times. Thinking it was a bad seal, I called Prijon and was told that it wasn’t mean to be a water tight hatch. This seems a bit ridiculous to me, especially considering its position. That being said, water intrusion was minimal. The second issue with the day hatch is its location. Typically this is right where a deck bag would go, if you carry one. However, because of the day hatches location, your rigging doesn’t start until well forward of this hatch, which makes any kind usage nearly impossible since the location of the day hatch is at the extent of most folks’ normal reach. is, as stated, now beyond normal reach. One could add some additional rigging to the Kodiak and many have, but this should be addressed better from the factory.

The seat is average at best. I don’t care for how it adjusts and they have been known to slip off its track system. It can also be cumbersome to re-attach if this happens.

While the hatchcovers themselves are well made and form to the hull nicely, Prijon uses plastic clips to manage excess strap after tightening. This clip is poorly designed and does not belong on an expedition sea kayak of this caliber. The clip actually falls off the strap when moved aggressively and they are known to break or be lost with alarming regularity.

Other common complaints are buckles failing and deck nets needing replacement due to loss of elasticity.

Prijion customer service is known to be excellent. My test calls were met with prompt and courteous customer service reps who knew their product and were ready to back it.


Make no mistake, this is  a big kayak designed to pack a substantial amount of gear on tough expedition duty. It is big paddler friendly and my guess is Prijon makes a lot of sales to that market. The Kodiak is fast and safe, and has proven itself as one of the best expedition kayaks anywhere in the world. It has a voluminous storage and spacious seating.  There is a reason it has been chosen by paddlers who have circumnavigated North America, traveled along the entire coasts of Norway and Siberia, and pioneered Greenland expeditions.

This is a kayak I wouldn’t hesitate to take anywhere. Like the venerable Leatherman Tool, it may not always be the best kayak for the job, but surely it must be one of the most well rounded kayaks out there in the expedition arena, especially for bigger paddlers.

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2 Responses to Prijon Kodiak Kayak Review

  1. Ruben says:

    What part of the Columbia River did you paddle?

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