Review of the Wilderness Systems Radar
Wilderness Systems has entered the pedal drive market by introducing the Radar. The Radar will be the first model to accept the Helix Pedal Drive, Helix PD, system from Wilderness Systems. The hull utilizes what Wilderness is calling S.M.A.R.T. Hull Technology that combines Stability, Maneuverability, Acceleration, Responsiveness and Tracking throughout the entire design for ultimate performance in multiple water environments. This kayak was designed to be extremely versatile with the ability to paddle, pedal or use a motor. With these two sizes, everyone is sure to find a model that will work for them.
The Radar will be available in two models, the 115 and 135. Radar 115 is 11’8”, 34.5” Wide, weighs 82 pounds and has a weight capacity of 450 pounds. Radar 135 is 13’6”, 34” Wide, Weighs 89 pounds and has a weight capacity of 475 pounds. The Radar will also be available in Desert Camo, Dusk, Mango, Midnight, Solar and Sonar. Pictured above is the Radar 115 in Sonar.
On the top deck of the Radar, Wilderness is utilizing a bungee style paddle park just before the Front Hatch. On the 115 there is an 8” Round Orbix Hatch and the 135 has a large Oval Orbix Hatch that will hold the oval hatch bin. A nice feature to keep small needed items handy inside the kayak. Underneath either of these hatches you will have ample inside the hull storage. The Radar has been fitted with a Flex Pod opening to accommodate the Flex Pod for mounting your fishfinder set up or for the new Helix Motor Drive unit. Install your fishfinder, battery, transducer and all the wiring inside the Flex Pod for an easy kayak rigging.
Just behind the Flex Pod location in the footwell area there is an additional opening that is designed to house the NEW Helix Pedal Drive System. This opening comes standard with an accessory plug console on both the 115 and 135 from the factory and is used in the paddling version of these kayaks. Remove this plug once you have purchased the Helix Pedal Drive to mount the mounting plate for this pedal system. This will allow you to pedal both of the Radar models as well as paddle them. If you also purchase the Helix Motor Drive, you will have three different propulsion methods for the same kayak, very nice feature. The Helix Motor Drive is a nice feature and if you choose to run the Helix MD and a fishfinder at the same time, the fishfinder will need to be mounted on either left or right side Slide Trax or a close by location and the transducer mounted to the kayak as the Flex Pod must be removed. The Radar utilizes the same adjustable foot pegs/tracks as other Wilderness models. The footwell is very flat and extends back towards the seat allowing for easy standing no matter what position the seat is in.
Radars’ are also rudder ready, which you can add whether you plan on using it as a paddle, pedal or motor propulsed kayak.
The rudder will come with the Helix PD. With the Helix PD you will get a rudder that is Hand Controlled steering and with the Helix MD you will need to purchase separately a Foot Controlled rudder. The Radar does have a mounting location on both left and right sides of the kayak to munt the hand steering control lever for the Helix PD. Towards the seat Wilderness has installed a rectangular hatch allowing quick access to the inside of the hull. Nice spot to put smaller items or a small dry bag. There are Slide Trax mounted on both left and right sides of the kayak for mounting any number accessories that you may want. Just behind the Slide Trax there are molded in spots for pliers on both sides. Wilderness has decided to forego traditional side carry handles and has molded in hand hold on the inside of the kayak near the seat. They are positioned well and do work.
With the new hull design of the Radar, able to be paddled or pedaled, Wilderness opted to use the AirPro MAX seat. This seat is extremely comfortable allowing you to stay out on the water longer. The AirPro MAX has a High and Low position and is mounted on a sliding track system to afford you the ability to trim the kayak forward and aft, very nice feature when using the Helix PD. This will also allow for more standing room and to balance the kayak when carrying extra gear.
Designed into the hull is a molded in area just behind the seat to stow the seat in. This is done by removing the seat from the tracks and sliding it into the molded slot. This is very nice allowing you to have lots of stand up fishing room and to stand up paddle with ease.
Behind the seat you will find additional storage options. The Radar has added a tackle box storage location with bungee behind the seat. Both sizes of the Radar have a tankwell with the same heavy duty gear attachment points as the Threshers including Slide Trax on either side. This gives you plenty of rigging options for rod holders, light poles, camera poles, and even a flag pole. The Radar will come with solid plastic carry handles on the bow and stern. These handles are solid and get the job done. The Stern Mounting Plate allows for mounting aftermarket accessories such as battery-operated stakeout poles, trolling motors, and more.
Now it's time to get it out on the water to see how the Radar performs. What Wilderness came up with in the S.M.A.R.T. Hull Technology is a kayak with very good Stability in both sizes, Maneuverability is very good in the 115 and slightly less in the 135, Acceleration is good in both models no matter your method of propulsion, Responsiveness to paddle or pedal input is good with good Tracking in both models. Pushing off from shore for the first time on the Radar was definitely exciting. You can feel the stability immediately and I felt very comfortable in this kayak in the High and Low seat position as well as standing. Paddling this kayak was easy from the seated and standing positions. The Radar has good tracking with a decent glide. Speed is pretty good for kayaks of this width. On our test model, 135, we do have a rudder installed that came with the also installed Helix Pedal Drive system which made tracking very good. The Adjustable AirPro MAX Seat and adjustable foot pegs made this cockpit very user friendly. You can "trim" the kayak depending on weight, conditions and if using the Helix PD very easily. The AirPro MAX Seat is very comfortable and roomy. I was able to sit normal and even sat up on my knees in the seat and it still worked well. The kayak when moving forward from the seat to the front hatch and access to the rear tankwell from the seated position was easy and felt pretty stable. Did not need to side straddle to get to either area and felt pretty comfortable while moving around the cockpit. With the wider design I did take that step, and stood up. The Radar is stable to me and the cockpit floor gives you room to stand. Everyone is different but I would say that the feel of this kayak would make it a good option as a stand up fishing kayak.
The Wilderness Systems Radar 115 and 135 are extremely versatile kayaks. They give you the ability to get into a kayak that can be paddled, pedaled and even use a motor all in the same hull. This will keep costs down and less storage space needed. These kayaks will fit a wide range of kayakers needs on all types of water. If you are looking for a stand up fishing platform with room to grow, this is definitely a kayak to look into!