The NEXT canoe is the newest solo boat from Old Town, a company with a rich 100-year history in paddlesports. So I had pretty high expectations for this new canoe/kayak when I took it to Lake Springfield for a little test run.
I must say that I was very impressed with this new design that Old Town has produced. It has a great sleek look and comes in some pretty sharp colors. The NEXT has a length of 13′ and it weighs only 59 lbs, making it very easy to paddle and it was also very easy to carry it down to the water by myself. The NEXT had great speed and acceleration while out on the lake. I was also very impressed with it’s tracking capabilities while still staying highly maneuverable. This is thanks to it’s short 13′ length and the keel that runs the entire length of the boat. Even with the 15 mph winds that I had it was still easy to handle, which cannot be said for a typical canoe.
The NEXT can be paddled with ether a canoe or kayak paddle. When I went out I tried paddling with both types of paddles, and highly favored the kayak paddle. I am 5’10” and typically paddle with a 220 cm paddle in most kayaks, but with the NEXT I would have felt more comfortable with a 230 cm paddle. So I would suggest going with a bit longer paddle than you would normally go with.
The handing on the NEXT was responsive and quick. Although I was on Lake Springfield, I felt like it would have no problem on our narrow creeks and streams, where quick maneuvers might be required. With one hard forward or backward stroke I was able to turn the boat around with ease. Even when paddling less aggressively the NEXT kept it’s responsiveness and in general was very easy to paddle. Overall a very fun and responsive boat.
Another wonderful thing about the NEXT is the Element seating system that it comes with. This seating system was extremely comfortable and would keep you comfortable while out on extended trips. As a bonus this seat is completely removable, so you can take it out and relax on the gravel bar with ease. The seat is also equipped with a sliding track system that makes it easy to get the perfect balance when loading the boat for days on the river. Mix this with the adjustable foot braces and you have a super comfortable boat with the ability to fine tune the balance for optimal paddling.
At 29″ wide the NEXT was a bit on the unstable side, would require a fair about of balance to stand up in. While this does help with the overall maneuverability of the NEXT it makes it not as stable as a sit-on-top kayak. For me this is a small price to pay for a boat that is easy to paddle, maneuverable, quick, has great tracking, and a large storage capacity. The NEXT from Old Town makes a great canoe/kayak for any of the rivers or lakes in our area. Whether your going out for the day or looking to spend multiple days on the river, this boat would make and great choice.
Reviewed by: Aaron