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Reviews for Adventure XL 125 Kayak by Old Town Canoe

Rated: 7.5/10 Based On: 14 Reviews

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Submitted by: EricSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have had this boat since 2006 and have taken it on many adventures. This kayak has gone with me on several rivers in Louisiana, the Gulf of Mexico (Holly Beach, Louisiana), Lake Michigan (Wisconsin), Lake Winnebago, and a variety of smaller lakes and rivers throughout Wisconsin.

I have a wide variety of experience with water sports including whitewater kayaking so I don't have the fear of tipping over. I have never tipped this kayak even in 5 foot swells on the gulf. I have a rudder on it and have added Rod holders. I hooked into a tuna and the stability of this kayak during the fight. This fish pulled me five miles through big waves and wind. Point is, this boat can handle a lot more than I ever expected out of it and would highly recommend it to people to give it a try. Always try before you buy though.

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Submitted by: Spencer JonesSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have paddled the adventure 125xl for two years. I slowly converted it into a fishing kayak by adding flush rod mounts, an anchor trolley, and a fish finder mount. This is a super stable, straight tracking kayak that paddles fast and easy. I had no issues twisting around and getting items from the back hatch.

My one complaint is that the seat is not comfortable for long periods of time. After 2-3 hours my lower back was sore and I had to go ashore and stand up stretch. Other than that, this is a great kayak!

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Submitted by: DRSend Email
Rating: 3 of 10

     Me: 6'3" 240lbs.
I'm only posting this review just in case there is a large guy out there who for some reason (a great deal perhaps, maybe ease of transport) that thinks this is the one for him. DON'T DO IT!

Yes, the stated capacity is 280lbs or so but if someone that large were to use this kayak they would probably be capsized by a passing mallard! At 240lbs. I can technically fit in it but it is so unstable and slow that I just couldn't bring it back to the dock fast enough. What I've figured out is that manufacturer's weight capacity guidelines are usually on the generous side (expanding their potential customer base).

If you are a big guy, you are going to be happiest in a big boat. Buying a Kayak that is too small because it is cheaper or easier to move of the water is like cramming yourself into a pair of jeans that haven't fit you since college.

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Submitted by: 1tillie1Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Update to my review of 10/5/07
I continue to be very pleased with my Adventure 125XL she remains a good choice for me. Here are some follow-up observations:
  • In light air, the bow wanders if you paddle too strongly - take it easy!
  • With a quartering wind/sea she will weathercock, so you have to work a little harder. I am experimenting with weight fore & aft to see if it helps.
  • Like JRS, I have trouble putting & keeping my sprayskirt on the cockpit rim.
  • The cockpit is too wide for me to comfortably hook my knees/thighs inside & under the rim. I find it more comfortable to wedge against the inner edge of the rim, especially now that I have velcroed minicell foam pads there. (In addition, I can reposition the velcro if necessary.)
  • She is super stable & solid. When caught in a mid-lake squall, I had no problems except that I was forced to stop paddling & hold her stern to the wind in the strongest gusts. I was never worried about stability. She stayed bone dry under the sprayskirt & inside the hatches.
  • It is still a struggle to load her onto the J's on my Forester by myself. Piece of cake with two people.
Hope this helps. Remember-PADDLE B4 YOU BUY! It also makes sense to look for used kayaks once you know what you want. If you use them, they won't look new for long!

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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I bought the last Adventure XL 125 at the Old Town Outlet sale after doing a lot of online, & some on-water(demos)research.

I am 5'6" and 160 lbs. The Adventure XL 125 felt great from the first time I tried it, and I continue to be delighted with it. I have paddled every weekend in conditions ranging from windy chop to strong current to calm. I found it to be very stable in all conditions. This kayak handles, tracks and glides nicely, although it does "wander" in a breeze when you stop paddling.

The boat is well built. At 50 lbs., I struggle loading it on and off my Forester. Once I dropped it badly enough that it bounced, but it suffered no damage. Both bow & stern compartments remain dry. The twist locks on the hatches work well. I find the seat to be just as comfortable as my friend's Phase 3. I do plan to add knee pads to the cockpit coaming. This is why I gave it a 9 and not a 10.

I recommend using these valuable reviews for reference, but you must try before you buy. Enjoy!

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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 1 of 10

     Must admit, she sure is kind of sweet looking little boat huh? Looks arenít everything though. The tracking ability of this boat just isnít there. The boat will pretty much track straight if your going along a >decent< clip. But, slow down or back off a bit to take in the sights and youíll find sheíll veer off to one direction or the other (more often to the left for us). Even in calm, quite flat water, without a hint of a breeze itíll still do this, even pull just short of a 90-degree turn (wow!). I checked the hull with string line and found that she was straight as an arrow. So I went and put a rudder on ours, hoping it would fix things, well not quite. Seems this 12í foot boat is just too short to have a rudder on it. You can feel the resistance and loss of efficiency with the rudder with each paddle stroke; hear that obnoxious click-clack noise in the rudder pivot pin too. And that Extra-Sport seat looks so much better than it really is. You soon find yourself shifting your butt around to try and get comfortable, but never do. I was amazed on just how much noise this boat made cutting through the water. Found myself constantly looking back at my wife, hearing the water breaking of the bow of her boat and thinking she was going to run me down. This boat feels and acts like itís nose heavy, itís definitely has got some serious hull design issues. Why Old Town canned the Castine and the old Castaway, I guess weíll never know (maybe they just didnít look as pretty, huh?). Well, ours is gone now. Felt a tad dishonest selling it and knowing what piece of wonderment it never was. Donít go and give me any lip for doing it, least Iím spreading the word about it.
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Submitted by: David GreerSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Hey I just purchased a new XL 125 after paddling a Loon 138 for 5 years. Love every thing about the boat. Easy to load, tracks nicely for me. Just spent the entire weekend on the Current river in Mo. Had plenty of room for my share of the gear (group campout). It's just a smidge narrower than the Loon but took little if any getting used to. Like the high rocker feature, makes beaching and crossing obstacles easy. For someone considering a good cross between flatwater and class I water, this is the boat for you.
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Submitted by: JRSSend Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     I have owned the XL 125 for 3 years now and have found the kayak to track very poorly and in anything above class 1 to be unstable. Also, the spray skirt does not remain down on either side.
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Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The XL125 is one of 8 Old Town boats we have for our family and handles very nicely. Some have noted in these reviews it is tippy, but we've not found that a problem with us. Most likely any 'tippiness' could come with a persons specific height or style of paddling. As with any boat, try before you buy. I've found Old Town quality to be great.
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Submitted by: DGW
Rating: 9 of 10

     I had purchase my Adventure XL 125, Old Town two years ago and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I am 6' 2" and 230 lbs, and I have not experience the problems that others seem to have getting in and out of the large cockpit. I often paddle in Wisconsin's Castle Rock Lake. The least amount of wind can create some respectable wave action, and the XL 125 handles it fairly well. However, I have also experience water getting into the front and rear compartment. The handling of the kayak is not a problem as far as I am concerned. It's very stable, and maneuverable. Exploring creeks and small rivers of the area or out in open water this little kayak does a good job. It may not be as fast as some of the more sleek kayaks. But it does the job for the intend use that I wanted it for. The poly link material seems to be very durable. I haven't seen any denting or warping due to being in the sun. The material insulates well too. I didn't feel the cold through the hull when out on the water just a week after the ice left the lakes. So over all, if you want a kayak that can handle the back waters or open waters this kayak is up to the task.
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Submitted by: BBCSend Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     I just bought this Kayak this summer and have been disappointed with it. The tracking is not good. When you stop paddling the Kayak tends to go one way or another. Also the compartments leak so I must reseal them. I also own a Castine it is a much better Kayak for the money. It tracks 10 times better than the XL125. The larger cockpit is nice but the tracking of the Castine is far superior.
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Submitted by: ValSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The Adventure XL125 is a stable boat with great tracking. Bought one for my son who is 16 and is 5-8 160 and it is pertect for him. He has paddled an Otter, a Loon and also an Ocean Kayak for the past few years but the Adventure 125 is a total differant feel he says. He uses the Kayak as part of his baseball workout to work on his wrist and forearm strength and is on the river almost everyday. We live by the Swimming River in New Jersey which is a tidal river that flows in from the Navesink River off of Sandy Hook and the current is strong in the narrow areas. The 125 cuts it like a knife and with the high bow, boat traffic is no problem. I was going to buy the XL 139 but the 125 handled better when we test paddled them. We both liked the way the boat tracks and the stability was a must in the rivers that we paddle due to the boat traffic, tides and wind by the beach. I like Old Town kayaks, they seem to be built stronger and the seat is more padded than other boats we paddled. I have been kayaking for 10 years and have paddled OT Loons, Perceptions, Dementions and Ocean Kayaks,and I can ay that the The Adventure XL 125 is a great boat. - - The Jersey Paddler in Brick Township, New Jersey is a GREAT PLACE to shop and purchase a kayak or canoe, they have 2,000 boats in stock and the staff is great!!
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Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I bought this kayak in April from Spring River Outfitters in Rockville MD, and am very pleased with the boat. It's a nifty cross between a rec boat and a small touring kayak. Its 12'5" length gives you reasonable speed, and its 27.5" beam makes it pretty stable (not sure why the previous poster had such difficulty in that regard, unless he was much bigger than my 5'9 165 lbs). Moreover, the boat's high bow and raised cockpit rim keeps it quite dry. I paddled around Annapolis last weekend, and although there was some wind and chop out by the Naval Academy, the boat rode through it quite well (however, in such windy, 2-3 foot wave conditions it would be smart to wear a spray skirt and know how to roll; I'll take some lessons). Also, the sealed bulkheads in the bow and stern provide good built-in flotation, and the kayak floats high in the water when swamped. The previous weekend I intentionally capsized in a quiet tributary of the upper Potomac, and was able to climb back in (after a couple tries) and bail it out. However, I'll get a paddle float and practice re-entry to make self-rescure easier in the future. The boat has hatches over each bulkhead, with a cool "twist-lock" feature, so they're easy to open but also close securely. The storage compartments are pretty roomy, which would be great should I ever go kayak-camping. There's also a thin rubber gasket under the hatches, which hopefully minimizes water leakage (although a little water seeped in when I capsized). Old Town's "poly-link 3" material is a bit heavy, and the boat weighs about 50+ lbs. Still, it's relatively easy to pick up and manuever once you get the hang of it. I developed a system for swinging the boat off the wall of my storage room into an easy low-arm carry, and sliding it up the back of my car to the roof rack. Once I arrive I slide it backwards off the rack and heft it onto my shoulder to carry to the water (although the boat gets heavy pretty fast!) Overall, I think the Adventure XL 125 is a great boat. It has the sleek look and some capability of a small sea kayak but is small enough to be manageable. With a spray skirt, I'd feel confident taking this boat onto protected parts of Chesapeake Bay or other close-in coastal areas when the water warms up. I'd also give high marks to the folks at Spring River. They were extremely helpful and knowledgeable about the boats, and clearly wanted to help me find the right kayak for my needs. I'd recommend them for anyone looking to buy a boat.
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Submitted by: ---
Rating: 4 of 10

     When I bought my XL 125, the description said for the smaller paddler, but the weight limit was 300 lbs. Now I don't consider myself a smaller paddler, but I am no where near 300 lbs! I found this boat to be very tippy and difficult to maneuver, especially on lakes. In fact, my first time out, in April I tipped over is a slow running river, trying to maneuver to the shore. I tipped again on my second time out, just entering the darn thing! It was my third year of kayaking, and I had never tipped before! I tell you, April waters in NH will take your breath away! To be fair, my teen daughter now uses the 125, and doesn't seem to have a problem. Tracking is still a bit difficult, though. This year I am going to buy the 139 and let her have the 125!
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