I just bought a used( hardly, once on the St Croix river) Adventure 160 XL. My rating is conditional in anticipation of putting the boat in the water. I have been paddling a Nantucket for 6 or seven years and the Adventure seems to be a longer version of that. The Nantucket has been great but was built in one of those years that the boats came out of the factory a bit heavier than advertised. The Adventure 160 I just bought is actually lighter than the Nantucket. My old boat has a rudder, the new one does not but I will probably add one.
I paddle almost exclusively long days on the coast of Maine and the rudder has come in handy. I have talked to some of the snobs who snicker at OT kayaks, but I have tried other brands and am happy to stick with OT. I even like the hard plastic seat in my Nantucket. The soft seat in the Adventure is liable to ruin me.This article is quite long but I feel it is worth reading. I have, since writing this, received the rivets mentioned in this email. But, I have not yet received a response to this feedback email, as I was told by the customer service department.
I have corrected all of the workmanship problems myself and now enjoy using my XL160 frequently.
The mail just came and I still have not received the parts, I had been told, would be sent to me ASAP, one week ago. I called the 207-827-5514 number and again asked for Brian, my original contact. I was connected to a message system and was asked to leave a message. Feeling I had waited long enough, I chose to speak to the operator again.The operator connected my to a woman who listened to the reason for my call. She disconnected from me for a short time and said she had spoken with Brian and he was still “waiting for parts” and he had not shipped them.
I explained to her that I felt waiting a week for ASAP was not reasonable and that I was now short on time to prepare for a 100+ mile river sojourn. I need to be prepared for the sojourn on Friday I felt as though I had done enough to get the parts I needed, to do the work my self, to be ready in plenty of time, keeping in mind the parts I needed were coming “As Soon As Possible”. This time I was told I would have the parts in a couple days. My first choice would have been to return the kayak to the dealer where I purchased it, but that would cost $50 in fuel and another $10 in tolls and from what was explained to me, I would be on-my-own to negotiate having a dealer closer to my home area perform the repairs.
The reason for the problem with my kayak is;
1) The pop-rivets were not properly ‘set’. Scrap plastic from drilling thru the boat was not removed before the flange was fastened in place. That plastic was pinched between the cockpit rim and the fixture when the rivets were ‘set’ in place.
2) The plastic ‘rim’ was not fully seated into position on the cockpit rim of the boat. I have not removed the cockpit rim yet, but from what I can see under the edge of the rim, at least one of the rivet holes has torn out of the edge of the boat.
3) The plastic rim fixture and the cockpit rim may not fit together well because they are not properly sized.
4) The pop-rivets did not perform properly. Of the three rivets that came apart, only one of them held the head of the pull pin in place. The inner part of the rivets did not expand enough to engage the outside sleeve.
Please feel free to use this information to improve your production process.
FYI I am a retired Industrial Maintenance Supervisor with 35 years experience in a production environment.
Please feel free to respond.
Below is the original email I wrote on 5/30/07.
I must say, after owning a 138 Loon for about 8 years, I was looking forward to upgrading kayaks, keeping in mind my Loon has been an excellent boat for me and has suited my needs very well over the years. My Loon has survived class three rapids and day after day of class two and class one rapids, loaded with a bunch of camping equipment and it never let me down anywhere along the 400+ miles of river that I enjoy each year.
If not for a tree falling on my kayak, when it was loaded on top of my truck and caused a crack across the inside of the front deck, I would not investigated a replacement.
I considered my most prudent course of action in seeking a replacement and did my homework on the internet to find out as much information as I could before I hit-the-road and added the cost of gas to the purchase price.
After doing all the investigative work and paddling a few for feel and fit, I decided to purchase the Adventure XL 160.
At about the 10th mile I noticed a rivet lying in the bottom of the boat, so I checked the remaining rivets and found another rivet had come apart and more were very loose.
Needless to say my pride of ownership was slipping badly, but it wasn’t a show stopper.
About mile 15 I felt a light pop at my feet and discovered I no longer had control of the rudder.
The cable had pulled out of the crimped sleeve and was not repairable on the water.
Was this kayak made in America?
I was connected with Brian when I called for help at the phone number listed in your literature. He assured me he would send the parts we agreed I needed ASAP.
I've been paddling this boat for a few months now and have fell in love with it. I usually paddle a large river for a few hours but have done some full days on larger lakes. I love the Loon-like stability but the additional speed and storage room is great. The new Extrasport seat is very comfortable once you get it set where you want it.
The hatches are completely waterproof and could not be easier to use. If you bend them to far back and they snap off, they snap back on just as easy.
It would appear the balance of ‘craftsmanship/business’ has shifted to far from center.
The Polylink 3 hull is almost indestructable. I have it on a couple of rough take outs and put ins and the hull barely got a mark.
The boat is fairly quick (it's wide) and tracks and glides quite well. It's also great for big guys, I'm 6'6" 270 and it's an easy fit and easy to get in and out of.
If you are looking for a longer touring boat on a budget then I would seriously consider this boat. I got it brand new for a little over $800.00I would like to amend my previous rating of the Old Town Adventure XL160. Give it a "10." Why? I just got back from a vacation in Bar Harbor, Maine. Since I did not have my own kayak, I decided to rent one. As I mentioned before, I'm a short fat man (230 lbs.). I tried a couple of rental places on the coast. Both offered Poly-material kayaks. I do not remember their brand names. What I do remember is trying to shoehorn myself into their cockpits (somewhat along the line of 10 lbs. of something into a 5 lb. bag). I didn't fit. I got into a couple, but was cramped to the point of being uncomfortable; uncomfortable, too, about my chances of getting out if the thing capsized. The building material of these poly-kayaks was thin and less than rigid -- nothing like the rock solid Polylink material used by Old Town. I gave up without renting one.
At a rental place in the National Park area, beside of Long Pond, I found an old Old Town Heron. I could fit in this one, though not nearly as well as in my XL160. The discontinued Heron's lines were not as visually or functionally pleasing as those of my XL, but the Heron tracked like a battleship on a mission (it paddled like one, too -- I expended about twice the energy as I use paddling the XL). My XL does not have a rudder system; the Heron did. The Heron's rudder was more trouble than it was worth; I had thought about adding a rudder to my XL, but the trip on Long Lake made me decide against it. The Heron weighed a ton, or at least it seemed heavier than my XL.
So, after careful consideration based on my recent experiences, I want to change my rating from an 8 to a 10, since what I most want in a kayak are stability, roomy cockpit, relatively good tracking and ease of paddling, and a functional and aesthetically pleasing design.I really like the Old Town Adventure XL160. But (ever notice that there always seems to be a "but")...it is heavy. I'm a short fat man, and getting that behemoth on and off the top of my full-size van is nothing short of strenuous. In the water, it is ponderous and less than speedy; it tracks o.k., but has a tendency to want to wander off course. And the foam bulkheads leak.
My old man once told me that if you are going to say something bad about someone (thing), always be able to say something good. Here goes: it's stable -- I doubt that you could capsize the thing; it's easy to get in and out of (with a little practice); it's safe -- if you did turn it over, you could exit easily and self-rescue without too much difficulty; it's roomy and easy to move around in (an especially good thing, since the seat is less than soft); it paddles easily for its weight (although, because of its width and design, I use a 240 paddle instead of a 230); it's virtually indestructible.
If you have to pay list price for it, don't buy it. Look around; you can find these in the $600 range, and at that price, it is a bargain.