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Old Town Heron 9XT Review

Updated On May 8, 2020


high performance great features

  • Price = 4.7/5
  • Design = 4.7/5
  • Stability = 3.5/5
  • Features = 4.5/5
  • Quality = 5/5

If you’re in the market for a new kayak, especially if you’re a novice paddler, things might seem a little tricky. There’s plenty of choice, and even though that might seem like a good thing in the beginning, you will soon find yourself lost in the sea of options. You will most likely not know what to go for and you might even make a mistake, often a costly one. However, there are some brands that make certain models which are a no-brainer for novice paddlers, especially for ones that go shopping with a tight budget.

They have models that offer plenty of kayak for the money, and come with increased stability and comfort which are some of the key factors if you’re a novice paddler who wants to get into the sport of kayaking. One such model is the Heron 9XT recreational kayak by Old Town Canoes & Kayaks. It’s primary made as a budget, entry-level kayak that will appeal most to people looking to get into the sport without spending too much on it, but it also offers plenty of things that you will otherwise only find with more expensive models. If you’re interested, read on for our full Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Heron 9XT recreational kayak review, and decide whether you should be ordering yours now.

So why the Old Town Heron 9XT?

As mentioned above, the Heron 9XT is primarily made as an entry level kayak, and excels at it. The construction of the hull is made with polyethylene, which is the best compromise between weight, strength and price. It’s a material that is very difficult to damage seriously, but using it results in a lightweight kayak that you can put on or off your vehicle with ease, and launch in the water without too much effort. The construction is made with performance in mind, and will both pick up and maintain speed with ease. Considering this is primarily a recreational kayak for the entry level paddler, the focus is primarily on tracking and stability. While you might notice a few quirks here and there with the tracking, it’s impossible to say the same about the stability. Even if it’s your first time in a kayak, you will feel stable and you won’t have to worry too much about tipping over.

The cockpit is another one of the best things about this kayak, as it is large enough for a person of any size to be able to enter and exit out of it with ease, which is fairly important. The cockpit rim is designed so you can use a spray skirt if you’d rather stay dry, or you’re intending to use this in colder climates where covering yourself up is important. Another important thing about beginners is comfort, and the Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Heron 9XT recreational kayak takes care of that too. There’s a ComfortFlex padded back and seat panel, with an easy-to-use adjustment system, which will make sure that every moment you spend in the Heron 9XT is comfortable and you don’t feel any sores or aches when you get home. There are also thigh pads for extra comfort, as well as adjustable foot braces that allow you to customize the kayak for yourself even further.

Storage is taken care of by a Click-Seal hatch cover in the stern, which ensures that your essentials remain dry and safe. It has a maximum load of 300lb which should be enough for you and your gear. There are also bow and stern carry handles to make the transition from land to water even easier, and you will undoubtedly appreciate them.


oldtown 9xt specifications

Final thoughts

Old Town Canoes & Kayaks have a pretty wide palette of options for any kayaker, but for the recreational paddler that wants to get into the sport, the Heron 9XT is tough to beat. It comes with many of the perks you’d come to expect from a kayak made for novice users, and at a price that puts many of the competitors’ models to shame. You will find that it’s a lot of kayak for a not-so-big investment, and it’s hard to go wrong with it.


Buyer Guide to best Fishing Kayaks - Here

Old Town Canoes and Kayaks


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About the author 

Andrew Bell

Andrew is a seasoned kayaker with 15 years of experience under his belt. He began kayaking as a way to reduce work stress but quickly became an avid kayak fisher and lure expert. He currently enjoys both lake and ocean kayaking and loves to write and share his experiences.

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