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They are tough little boats and very stable. Mine has run over thousands of stumps, rocks and logs & the bottom is pretty scratched up but no leaks yet. The seat could use a little more cushion but I just throw a little hunting cushion on it. I'm gonna look into the high back seat like the new models have...
I just had mine out for a quick fishing float at a local lake. I float like a cork compared to my other boats. It had been several years since I had it out. Fun but small once you are used to larger boats.
I use mine mostly as a guest boat. Taking friends out on the water with me. Everybody has an easy time handling it and enjoys it. An excellent beginner boat. Easy to fish from.
Overall, I like it but I am looking to upgrade soon... Finding accessories can be a pain sometimes, but, I've found some nice deals to upgrade mine!
Very stable and lightweight, this kayak has served my family well. When my youngest was a toddler, he could fit between my legs on a cushion and still leave me (5'5") room to paddle comfortably -- both wearing PFDs of course.
Unlike some reviewers here, I've had no tracking problems. Mostly I use it on calm rivers and salt ponds, but this time I paddled in minimal surf at Scarborough Beach at the opening of Narragansett Bay, RI. It was very stable on low ocean swells, but capsized in surf (entering the Narrow River), filled with water and was too heavy for me to drain by myself when I towed it to shore.
Picked it up this morning and drove two miles down the road and launched off at a bridge on the Wood river. I went about 1 hr. up river. I felt the difference right away. Very stably getting in. It slid freely across the water. I got into a little current, and did not feel any resistance. The tracking was great. So easy to use. Passing turtles on logs, ducks in coves, and the leaves changing. We'll see how it handles on white water come spring.
Spend a little more than you planned, than less than you should. The list was $479. I picked it up after a tent sale and saved. This Heritage 9.5 and my Old Town canoe will both be around to give to my son someday. I really enjoyed it. Go get one!
Learning the limitations of the kayak is a must. You do need to take extra care maneuvering through the rapids. If you keep it straight through the rapids you will usually have no problems, I have only been dumped one time and that was on the New River in a strong rapid. I enjoy fishing in some strong currents and it works for me.
I personally also find more than enough storage, you have straps for a dry bag, and plenty of cabin space to stash items (just don't roll over)
However, on a local reservoir, I recently got caught in some pretty strong winds that came up unexpectedly. I had a about a half mile paddle in heavy, rolling water, and a good 20-25 mph steady wind in my back that would shift from S to SW with gusts recorded at 40+ mph. I'm still a newbie and I knew that I was in a bit of trouble.
I had heavy, rolling water outside of the main channel that was pushing me W, SW to shore, the wind pushing me S, SW and the main channel, that I had to get to to get back to the landing, pushing due south and white capping. To make matters worse, I had to go under a bridge which is a narrowing of the lake, funneling all of this water into an area like a spigot, due S. When the W, SW water hit shore, of course all of that energy would force the water back into the rolling water, making an area like a washing machine. I was forced right into the middle of it. I paddled like crazy, making adjustments to float over the bulge of water that erupted from the water reverberating from shore. There was a small island that broke up some of this violent water, but that would mean I would have to head E, putting me broadside to the rolls and and turning me in the direction the wind was forcing me. I knew that was not an option, so I angled as slight as possible SE, with my eye on the rocky shoreline of the upcoming bridge. Wind and water both conspired to shove me into the rocks the closer I got to the channel. Getting tipped over is one thing. Getting slammed into rocks is quite another. I paddled, paddled, paddled and made it to the main channel where the current had accelerated and the waves intensified. Into the channel I went, missing the rocks by a paddle stroke. My last stroke, clearing the narrowing, my paddle hit rock. Out I was shot, like a bullet, into calm water.
That was close. Closer than I ever want it again. But, I must say, at no time did I feel I was going to tip over as long as I maintained control of where I put the kayak. This little kayak performed wonderfully. I couldn't be happier with my choice. I'd recommend this little kayak to anyone new to the sport.
That same day, several boats had been reported capsized around the area. This little kayak got me back to shore safe. I can't say enough positive things about it.
The watertight compartment in the stern is a great feature and the boat is well made and of excellent quality.
My only gripe is that the hull bottom (just ahead of the cockpit) can be easily dented when transporting on roof racks. I have overcome this by fitting a 'cut to fit' piece of polystyrene foam as a temporary bulkhead when transporting or storing the boat.
The boat provides a nice warm and dry ride and is very stable and seaworthy.
All up, very impressed. Thanks Heritage.
The short yak weighs 40# and both fits and rides easily in the back of my small truck and maneuvers excellent in the water, tracks straight,goes anywhere,is stable,is fast,is comfortable and does not try to turn with the currents thus making this boat easy to paddle even for a weak paddler. I have been in 3-4 ft waves and swells and felt safe although I did get wet.
The seat is not the most comfortable that I've had but it's not bad and easily adjustable to support my back for a couple of hours before I need to get out and stretch.
I have heard complaints about storage problems but I have had no problem shoving a very large stuff sack under the stern and still have plenty of room for a good size bag behind the seat as well as bunging on waterproof duffel bags on the deck and stern thus giving much more cargo room than most people need.
I have also heard complaints about knee placement problems but with the adjustable backrest and footpegs I managed to place my knees pretty much wherever I wanted to and still remained comfortable.
I have enjoyed this boat by day touring, floating, relaxing and for paddling fast for a good upper body workout as well as catching a lot of fish. The stable 30" width allows for a small bag on each side of the seat between the sidewalls. I use one to carry a couple of water bottles and the other holds the anchor which holds the boat stable even in 30 mph winds.
These yaks are 07 models that came with 2 flush mounted rod holders in back but I aim to install a front mounted Scotty rod holder soon. The 08 models have these installed already.
I have spent well over 100 hours in this boat and I seem to like it better every time I go out and my wife likes it as much as I do. The plastic hull is heavy duty that holds up excellent after occasionally hitting rocks and stumps thus making these boats among my best investments.
In summary, I give the Featherlite 9'5" kayak a full 10 rating and I recommend it to anybody that wants a simple easy to carry boat that goes anywhere and does everything.
My only complaint is no access to storage behind the seat. It might be last years model - I think this years solved this problem, but I got this yak at a great price, only $240 but no seat, had to install a SOT backband and some cushioning for the bottom part of the seat. I had a Victory Blast and I find this to be far superior - thicker plastic, even more stable, better speed, and doesn't turn in the current when fishing like the Blast - fishermen take note. If you can find a good deal on one, take it home, you won't be disappointed.
I just cannot get over how stable, maneuverable, fast (for a small craft) and comfy. The seats on ours look really nice, but I find I get a bit sore. We added some Yak pads. We are old and bones are too. Best part is, this thing causes fish to bite. I swear it! Have caught more fish from this boat than any other. When we paddle by shore fishermen, at least half of them get a bite as we pass. Last week, I noticed HUGE schools of fish just two paddle lengths away, following us the exact speed. Speeded up and the fish still paced us. Same when we slowed. I think I need to place my lures straight off the side instead of 50 feet back. This thing attracts and triggers fish, no one will convince me different. Works on class 3 rivers too, but you might implode the skirt when submersing to your neck. Still, never sunk it yet. This boat goes more places more often than my other 6 boats put together. Both fit in the F-150 with tailgate down but no overhang.
Quickest, lightest, cheapest, fastest way to be on the water I have found yet. I offered to sell it last week for $10000 to any takers.
So, my wife and I headed out to Mountain Island Lake for our first kayak trip. She already had a 9 foot sit-on-top Ocean Kayak she used a couple of times in the back bays of Southern New Jersey last summer. Threw both kayaks into the back of my Ford Ranger and headed out. I loaded my Heritage up with a cooler, a dry bag filled with personals, tackle box, and an ultralight 5 foot rod in the built-in rodholder. We found this little cove where the water is only 6 inches deep and less in spots; a place where only kayaks and canoes could go. I can see the bass swimming around my kayak. I cast my line and WHAM a nice little bass on my first cast. Thanks to the Kayak getting me to where the fish are, I went from "fishing" to "catching".
I highly recommend the Heritage Angler Kayak to anyone looking for an inexpensive first kayak. Heck, I would recommend it to an experienced kayaker. It's a nice setup. Oh and Thanks to Dave at Old Town Outfitters in Rock Hill, SC who gave me all the information about kayaks and ultimately gave me a great deal on my kayak and all the accessories.
The lighter colors are much better for comfort here in Florida we chose the tan. Thus far the fishability of these boats has been fantastic with use in both salt and freshwater. They are light and can be shouldered with a full days gear for short walks to the water. We carry them in our small standard bed Ranger by just lowering the tailgate and straping them in, our gear is placed inside the boats.
I'll put in a plug for our dealer here as well. Salty Feather in Jacksonville Florida is wonderful. They got us fully equipped, answered any questions, and had me on fish the first time out. I'll be back to see them again for my next kayak.
All in all these are superb little boats for almost anyone. I'm 6'3" and my wife is only 5'3" both of us are very comfortable in the Featherlites.
CONS: This is a wet boat! The cockpit takes in water over the bow more than other boats. A skirt to keep water out tends to implode due its large, unsupported area. Being a low cost general rec boat, it does not handle WW as well as a real WW boat and it does not handle long flatwater as well as a real sea kayak but what the heck.
This is the kayak equivalent of a Toyota Corolla (ie: Competent but unexciting). It ain't a Hummer or a Ferrari but it isn't price like one either. A GREAT intro to kayaking boat!
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