Submitted: 07-22-2009 by Printingchick
I purchased two Old Town Vapor 10XT kayaks a few weeks ago.
We selected the Vapors because my 6' tall son could fit comfortably in the 10' boat. Many 10' kayaks do not have sufficient leg room for long-legged paddlers, making it necessary to move up to a 12' boat. We were looking for something with a little storage room - something in-between strictly recreational and light touring. The Vapor has a hinged storage compartment that is easily reachable while paddling - a great feature. The hatch is molded into the top of the boat, meaning it is a separate well, not just a hole to the inside of the boat. Unless the kayak capsizes, the stuff in the hatch will not come in contact with water from paddle drips in the bottom of the boat. Most of the hatches we saw were only openings to the floor of the boat and they could not be opened and closed while paddling.
A word of warning...buy LONG paddles with this boat. Not only is it a typically wide recreational boat (28.5"), it's higher in the front. We're used to the Otters we've typically rented, which have no rise to the front of the boat. I bought two 220cm paddles and regretted it. We kept bumping the sides of the boat while paddling. I've since bought longer paddles. We'll use the 220cc's as back-up paddles.
The reason the boats are taller in front is the pointed shape of the boat allows it to really slice through the water, providing truer tracking. We like that. The cockpits are more open than we're used to. I bought a couple of half-skirts/splash decks to close up some of the front of the cockpit to keep us a little more dry. We haven't tried them out yet. If you like a very open cockpit, you'll love this boat. We're used to a more enclosed cockpit, so these will take a little adjusting to.
The seat is very comfortable. I did purchase an extra seat cushion, but haven't felt the need to use it yet. The basic model has a lesser seat. It was worth it to us to upgrade to the XT model to get the better seat and hinged hatch.
The paddle rests are terrific. I like to take photos while paddling and it's great to have a place to quickly rest the paddles to get the shot. The food pegs adjust easily and have sufficient settings for the tallest of paddlers. The carry handles are great for attaching the bow and stern lines when the kayaks are in the roof carrier, but we found them rough on the hands when carrying the boat. I wish they were padded or made of a softer plastic.
I can't imagine carrying my IPod or GPS out in my kayak, but we still found the bungie supplied for this purpose to be very useful. I clipped my keys there. You could also attach your paddle leash to that loop. I'm sure we'll discover even more uses as we take the boats out more. The thigh pads are great, but really tall paddlers may not benefit because their legs are likely to hit too far forward. If that's a major issue, the XT comes in a 12' size. It wasn't a big deal to us.
Color selection is limited on this boat. We ended up with two lime green boats. We like the color (don't see too many lime green kayaks out there), but it would have been nice to get two different colors. We just didn't like the other colors available.
For the money, these are great boats. We've always rented Old Town Otters, so I had in mind that Old Town made durable boats. If they can stand up to beginners in rivers, hitting rocks and getting caught in downed trees, they must be mighty forgiving!
At 48 pounds, my 16-year-old son and I can load and unload the kayaks from the roof of my SUV. We purchased a Thule Stacker system, which was significantly less expensive than purchasing separate carriers for the two boats.
We're happy with our decision and would recommend these kayaks.