Rumor has it that Spring has sprung here in New York, although I’d be hard pressed to believe it today as I sit here in jeans and a sweatshirt. The mercury hovers at a brisk 47 degrees with 15MPH winds, a far cry from yesterday’s 70 degrees and the mid 80’s the previous days.
With that said I was off to Eureka Camping Center in Binghamton to reserve my new Old Town “Next” hybrid canoe/kayak. This past Fall and throughout the winter I had been thinking of buying a solo canoe for tripping/camping. I was looking into the very light and expensive kevlar Hornbeck canoes amongst others from Wenonah and Swift. The weight of these boats is utterly amazing with most of them hovering around the 20 lb. mark. However durability was high on my list as well and quite honestly I’m not sure about hitting some rocks with one of these boats.
At 13 feet long, what drew me to the “Next” is versatility, comfort, color choice and brand name. The “Next” is available in four bright colors. Orange, Lemon Grass, Blue & Purple. I opted for orange! Yes the “Next” is a heavier boat with a hull weight of 53 lbs but in my opinion its indestructible. The seat in the “Next” is super comfortable, removable and best of all the “Next” you can paddle with either a double bladed kayak paddle or a single blade canoe paddle. You can also remove the seat and kneel in the boat. Dubbed a hybrid by Old Town, a mix between the canoe and the kayak, this boat has the open hull combined with the carry capacity of a canoe. The kayak portion is in the seating, type of paddle and its tracking in the water. For me the positives out weigh the negatives.
There is no perfect boat for every scenario but I feel the “Next” comes close to what I hope to be a great paddling experience whether locally or on some paddling/camping trip somewhere in the Adirondack’s or New England. No matter the activity you enjoy get out there and do what you love.