Gear Review: Old Town Next Canoe
Gear Review: Old Town Next Canoe
Value Rating: 7
Durability Rating: 8
Overall Rating: 7
Location of Test: Scappoose Bay
Duration: 2 days
Product Name: Next 13'
Product Brand: Old Town
Best Use: Lakes, sloughs, and slow rivers
Sizes Available/ Specs: Comes in four colors: Blue, Orange, Green, and Purple. 13' long, 29" wide, 53 lbs, max weight 450 lbs
The Full Review
So a coworker and I here at the Scappoose Bay Paddling Center decided that we would do and overnight paddle from the bay to Bachelor Island. I originally opted for the Eddyline Denali, but I saw the Next and figured, eh why not. So I took the challenge, loaded it with enough gear and supplies to get me through a couple days on what could be one of the longest voyages one of these has seen. Well we made it. I love the Next, but my choice for a long trip like that may have not been the smartest but I wanted a challenge and I most definitely got what I had asked for, and then some.
The color: in orange the boat looks aggressive and stylish. The ample space for whatever gear and junk you're planning to haul is immense. The seat, I felt as if I was home on my sofa the entire trip. With a double bladed paddle this thing turns on a dime, no questions asked. It handles huge boat wakes like a beast and is extremely stable in any condition except wind. The adjustable seat allows you to shift some of your weight either to bow or stern, which in my case at 6'4 and 205 lbs is a really big deal. Then there's the price. I think its pretty decent for this boat and I have definitely recommended those I know to take one out and give it a chance.
Lets start off with my biggest complaint about this boat. It tracks so bad I found myself constantly paddling on one side just to keep it going straight, it was a nuisance... but with a lot of aggressive, brutal paddling it was becoming a bit more tame. I thought at first it was because of the weight distribution of myself and my gear, but after repeated changes that wasn't the case. Needless to say after four miles of this I was exhausted. Obviously most people probably wouldn't attempt what I did, but I felt it must be done. Flip this boat over and you notice right off there is no keel, no form of skeg, and yes most canoes don't, but upon looking at this boat I feel this is a hybrid attempt between kayak and canoe. A great concept, but lacking some crucial features that would make this thing an absolute monster to go paddle a long distance such as a keel, and either a dropdown or molded in skeg. The seat hangars, while fairly robust for now, I believe pose a breakage problem in the future.
The Bottom Line:
Overall, its not a bad boat, a few refinements could be made and Old Town would have a tough time keeping up with demand. The price is excellent for what you get. Plenty of gear space, room for passengers. A very sturdy design, striking colors. And that seat: I could sit in it for days. Well, I actually did. It can pull a 180° better that most 12' recs. Would I take it on another trip? Absolutely, because its comfortable and honestly, no one knew what to say. It was definitely a challenge and I highly encourage people to give this over-sized loon a shot.