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Old Town Heron 9XT Sit-In Kayak Review

Mark Armstrong
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The Old Town Heron 9XT is a recreational sit-inside kayak designed for solo paddlers. It is the smaller of the two models in the Heron range, with the larger one being the 11 foot version.

  • ​Length: 9 foot 6 inches
  • ​Width: 28.5 inches
  • ​Weight: 37 pounds
  • ​Weight Capacity: 300 pounds

This 9 foot 6 inch yak can be great for beginners because of its maneuverability. It can also be an ideal boat for both recreational paddling and fishing. It comes with a comfortable seat, a spacious cockpit and a storage hatch.

It can also be an upgrade from the non-XT version, which lacks the storage hatch which can be found on the 9XT.

Video: Heron 9 Kayaks (includes XT and Angler)

​Before You Buy A Heron 9XT Sit-In Kayak

The Heron 9XT is built to offer value and affordability. It has great features that can be ideal if you’re looking for your first sit-inside yak.

Being just 9 foot 6 inches long, it can be a convenient length for storage and transportation. It could be easily transported in the bed of a pickup truck or car topped on most cars with the right roof rack.

Its short length can also make it easy to maneuver on smaller bodies of water, as well as being easy to paddle if you’re new to kayaking.

The Heron 9XT is a sit-inside boat that can be great for year-round paddling, which could make it useful even in cold climates.

Whether you’re looking to explore your local lakes or rivers, or head out for a short fishing trip, this could be the ideal vessel.

However, if you’re looking for something with a little more in the way of space (both in terms of gear storage and leg room), you may find that a larger boat might be more suitable.

​Top Features Of The Old Town Heron 9XT

​Easy To Maneuver

 The short hull of the Heron 9XT helps to make it easy to maneuver both on and off the water. As well as being lightweight and easy to carry, it is designed to turn easily on the water, which could make it great for narrower rivers or smaller lakes and ponds.

The maneuverability also means it could be easier for smaller paddlers to use, such as older kids, or beginners of any age.

​Compact Design

The Heron is a lightweight, compact vessel. It features a spacious cockpit for the size of the boat. This means it could feel a little roomier compared to the enclosed nature of some narrower touring yaks.

The rim of the cockpit is just under 40 inches long and 19 inches wide, which can make getting in and out a little easier, especially if you’re new to sit-in yaks.

There are also adjustable footrests inside the cockpit for different sizes of paddlers. But if you’re larger or taller, you may find the length isn’t quite as suitable for you as a longer yak might be.

​Dry Storage

One of the handy features of this boat is the storage hatch in the stern. This rear hatch has a Click Seal lid that is designed to keep water out. This means it can be great for storing gear that you want to keep dry.

It’s not an overly large hatch but it should be big enough to store a dry bag or some gear for a short day on the water.

​Comfortable Paddling

As well as having a relatively large cockpit for the size of the craft, the Heron 9XT also benefits from having a Comfort Flex seat. This features a padded seat bottom and a padded adjustable seat back for added lumbar support while paddling.

Just in front of the seat, you’ll find a built-in cupholder so you can keep your favorite beverage within arm’s reach.

For additional comfort, there are also thigh pads on the rim of the cockpit.

​Go Fishing

The Heron yak has the convenient addition of built-in rod holders behind the seat. This means you can bring along a couple of rods for some fishing action while you’re out exploring your local lake.

There’s also a paddle holder bungee at the side where you can keep your paddle while you’re tackling your catch.

The two flush mounted rod holders improve this yak’s versatility, as it means it’s not just a standard recreational vessel and can also be used for casual fishing trips.

​Heron 9XT Alternatives

​Old Town Dirigo 106

Old Town Dirigo 106Pin

If you’re looking for something a little longer, with some more room for your legs and your gear, the Old Town Dirigo 106 could be a good alternative. It has a comfortable open cockpit with an adjustable seat but comes in a little higher in price.

It also benefits from a spacious rear hatch to keep your gear safe and dry. Additionally, there is bungee storage at both the bow and stern, as well as a dashboard at the cockpit for accessories.

​Perception Sound 10.5

Perception Sound 10.5Pin

The Perception Sound 10.5 is a foot longer than the Heron and also features a spacious open cockpit that can feel comfortable for both beginners and larger paddlers.

It has a large rear tank well with added bungee cords, as well as a dashboard for holding smaller items. It also benefits from being stable, easy to transport and has built-in rod holders.

It has a 335 pound capacity and comes in around the same price as the Heron.

​Sun Dolphin Excursion 10

Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 KayakPin

The Sun Dolphin Excursion is the same length as the Heron 9XT and has similar features, such as the rod holders. It also has an open cockpit for added comfort and a sealed storage compartment.

It has additional but limited bungee storage options on deck but it does have a lower weight capacity than the Heron. It’s also a little lower in price range.

​Final Verdict


  • ​Affordable
  • ​Stable
  • ​Easy to maneuver
  • ​Great for beginners
  • ​Lightweight


  • ​Not ideal for larger/taller paddlers
  • ​Minimal fishing features
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