Old Town Heron 9XT
Old Town Heron 9XT is a sensibly priced kayak designed to provide maximum comfort for new paddlers and experienced recreational boaters alike. It can become a great companion for any water-based adventure on your local lake or flat river or even an occasional fishing session.
Size and Weight
Old Town Heron 9XT is a modest 9’6” (2.9 m) long with a deck height of 13” (33 cm). It is a relatively short and highly maneuverable kayak for recreational use. The kayak weighs in at 37 lbs (16.8 kg), so it’s fairly lightweight for a rotomolded boat.
Thanks to this low weight and short length, the Heron 9XT is easy to store and transport, even if you need to lift it onto the top of an SUV. Old Town also built this kayak with molded carry handles at the bow and stern for added comfort as you carry it from the boat launch to your car.
This kayak has a maximum weight capacity of 300lbs (136.1 kg), which is about average for a boat this size. For reference, Perception Sound 9.5 and Perception Drift 9.5 both have the same maximum weight capacity, which is enough to accommodate most adults and their gear for the day.
Keep in mind that this weight capacity refers to both you and your gear. So, you’ll want to give yourself a buffer of about 20-40 lbs (9.1-18.1 kg) to accommodate your gear and to ensure you don’t overload your boat.
The value of any kayak is in its features, an area where the Heron 9XT doesn’t disappoint.
This boat was built with your paddling experience in mind, so Old Town outfitted it with their proprietary Adjustable Comfort Flex seat. Thanks to this well-padded seat, the Heron 9XT provides enough lower back support to keep you comfortable throughout a day on the water.
For added control and stability as you paddle, the boat has a Support Track foot brace system. Foot braces like these help you better engage your core as you paddle and make each stroke more efficient when it comes to propelling you through the water.
The Heron 9XT also features two flush-mount rod holders to help anglers that want to make the most of their time on the lake. Additionally, it even has a cup holder so you can stay hydrated on hot days.
As far as gear storage goes, this boat comes with a stern hatch with a click and seal cover. This hatch offers an adequate amount of storage space for your food, water, and fishing gear for a day outside. However, the boat doesn’t have any bungee cords on the deck, which would be nice for storing maps and other gear that needs to be accessible on the water.
At 9’6” (2.9 m), the Old Town Heron 9XT is fairly short in the world of kayaks. This shorter length and lack of a skeg or rudder mean that it’s not going to track as well as a longer boat. However, with practice and proper technique, it is possible to keep the kayak tracking decently well, particularly on flat water.
Stability-wise, the Heron 9XT offers excellent primary stability thanks to its flat hull design. However, this comes at the expense of secondary stability in rough conditions. Thus, this kayak is best used in calm conditions and sheltered environments where harsh weather is the exception, not the rule.
Old Town Heron 9XT Kayak Review and First Use
Specification: Old Town Heron 9XT