I bought my Expedition used, and as such it is in a very used condition. The two side handles rusted, frayed, and fell off and I've found the the seals around the hatches are poor to non-existent, resulting in the kayak taking on a LOT of water whenever it rains (I have no garage so my yard is the only option I have for storing a 17 foot kayak). This is further complicated by the fact that the kayak has no forward or aft drain. There is a drain in the console area, however it is stuck in place and not exactly ideally placed to begin with. So I am left with a cup and sponge trying to remove moldy water from the interior of the kayak.
The kayak is also extremely heavy and the length, as stated above, makes storage and transportation a chore.
I have about a 1998 plastic Heritage Expedition (SOT), bought used (3 years old) this summer. I paddled it about 50 hours this summer, its my first kayak. The boat has two large 'oil-can' dents in the bottom from being tied to a roof rack in hot weather. I am going to try and push them out next spring. I am a rookie paddler, so take my input as such.
Had I known about all of these inconveniences ahead of time, I probably would have purchased a different model. However, the kayak does serve it's purpose quite well in terms of actual functioning in water. I have a rudder so steering is not a problem for me at all. And though the primary stability is a bit shaky, the secondary stability is rock solid. I have never tipped my kayak and I have been out in some fairly rough conditions. I have had this kayak for over a year now, and though it can be a pain in the neck as far as upkeep and storage are concerned, I have definitely gotten plenty of use out of it.
I use the boat mostly on flat inland lakes in Mich. I'm 5'8 and 185 pounds. I find the boat tracks like an arrow, it has no rudder, it doesn't need one to go straight, and only in stiff winds does it tend to turn into the wind. Itís actually pretty hard for a rookie to turn, but that might be my skill level, you have to concentrate and 'execute' if you want to turn quickly. (the dents in the bottom may make mine worse than without)
I find it roomy and very comfortable, I never get sore or numb spots, and I have paddled it for 4 hours at a time with no stopping/stretching. It has a large broad adjustable back-band that supports your back very well. Itís also a nice dry ride, only in choppy wavy conditions are you sitting in a puddle, which then drains out the scupper hole quickly.
It is heavy (near 80#), unless you are big and strong, you will need a wheel set to move it very far. The boat sits high on the water, and so does the paddler, (I have never paddled it 'loaded'). Its very stable, I have never come close to 'falling out'. In fact I never fell-out on purpose to try the 'ease of getting back in'.
My impression is that the boat is not that 'efficient' .. it seems other boats I paddled would glide longer than this one after stopping paddling. But I can still do 12 miles in less than 3 hours (as a 'not-in-great-shape' rookie).
Drawbacks > weight, dents, slow turning, not super fast or efficient. Itís my first boat, I can't complain for $600 (with paddle).