Old Town Vapor 10 Review
Cons: Sluggish, difficult to load, drink holder is far away from seat, no cover for storage
Manufacturer: Old Town
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Old Town Vapor 10
|Price||$600 List||$750 List||$430 List|
Check Price at REI
|$789.00 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
|Pros||Very large cockpit, stable, easy-to-adjust seat, includes storage compartment||Extremely stable, great tracking, very durable, comfortable, stackable||Very lightweight, easy to paddle, comes with paddle, inexpensive as they come||Great tracking and glide, sheds waves easily, durable, fast and stable, great for any age or experience||Very light and portable, maneuvers well, stable, inexpensive, large open cockpit|
|Cons||Sluggish, difficult to load, drink holder is far away from seat, no cover for storage||Heavy to carry, no internal dry storage||Thin plastic, harder to drain, not enough leg room for tall paddlers||Stern storage well doesn’t drain, heavy and burdensome to transport, deck plate cockpit console sticks||No seat cushions, hard to reach and adjust foot braces, not a lot of weight capacity|
|Bottom Line||A comfortable and stable kayak ideal for casual days paddling on calm water that comes at a reasonable price||A super solid and stable all-around kayak great for any age or ability level at a modestly affordable price||This highly economical package will get you on the water having fun in calm waters, without breaking your bank to buy or breaking your back to carry||This kayak is an outstanding choice for any day on the water but it truly excels on long touring days, especially in heavier wind and waves||This is a dependable option for beginner paddlers who aren't ready to invest in a high-performance boat|
|Rating Categories||Old Town Vapor 10||Ocean Kayak Malibu...||Pelican Brume 100XP||Perception Tribe 11.5||Sun Dolphin Aruba 10|
|Glide and Tracking (30%)|
|Construction Quality (10%)|
|Specs||Old Town Vapor 10||Ocean Kayak Malibu...||Pelican Brume 100XP||Perception Tribe 11.5||Sun Dolphin Aruba 10|
|Weight||47 lbs||59 lbs||40 lbs||52 lbs||40 lbs|
|Weight Capacity||325 lbs||360 lbs||275 lbs||350 lbs||250 lbs|
|Material/Construction||Single Layer Polyethylene||Singler layer polyethylene||RAM-X Premium polyethylene plastic||UV, impact and abrasion resistant, high-density rotomolded polyethylene||UV-stabilized Fortiflex High Density Polyethylene|
|Features||Adjustable Comfort Flex seat, Glide Track foot brace system ,Stern day well, Molded-in cockpit tray with cup holder, Molded-in paddle rest, Built in carry handles, Thigh pads, Drain plug, Skid plate||Tri-form hull with an integral keel and sponsons, AirGo molded in seat and seat pad with adjustable AirComfort backrest, molded-in foot wells and calf rest, paddle holders, side/stern/bow carrying handles, molded-in oversized bow and stern tank wells with bungees, Splash resistent QuickStash dry hatch, 2 molded in fishing rod holders, 3 water bottle holder, replaceable skid plate.||2-piece Poseidon paddle, paddle tie-down, Twin-arched multi-chine hull with drain plug, cockpit table with a bungee cord, bottle holder, Molded footrests, knee pads and an adjustable ERGOLOUNGE padded backrest with ERGOFORM seat cushion.||Lightweight EVA foam seat pad and contoured, padded seat back with hieght-adjustable backrest, molded-in footbraces, molded-in bow and stern well with bungees, replaceable stern skid plate, 6" cockpit hatch with cat bag liner, 3 drink holders, molded-in side handles and soft touch bow and stern carrying handles.||Adjustable padded backrest, rear gear compartment with bungee shock cord, adjustable foot braces, water bottle storage, carrying handles, paddle holder, padded thigh braces.|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Old Town Vapor 10 is a 10-foot, 3-inch long, and 28.5-inch wide sit-inside kayak. It stands out for its high sides measuring 16.75 inches tall. The cockpit is 48 inches long and it has an open storage well in the rear of the kayak.
Gliding and Tracking
The Old Town Vapor 10 employs a hybrid hull design with a gentle V at the front and rear and a much flatter central hull. This combination enables the kayak to perform relatively well on flat water and skip through gentle rapids without too much concern.
The kayak isn’t very narrow or long, and doesn’t have a skeg, so it’s not winning any awards for its glide or tracking. It doesn’t cut through the water like some of the longer, sleeker models we tested. However, it does perform adequately and we didn’t feel like we held up the group in this kayak when out on short adventures. For longer trips (over 5 miles) we preferred to be in a more streamlined boat.
Easier to spin on a dime than many of the other kayaks tested, the flatter central part of the hull helps the Vapor 10 excel in some aspects of this metric. Moving through the slalom course was a little more stressful in this kayak, but the length does mean you have to intentionally avoid hitting things with your bow or stern.
If you were to capsize the Old Town Vapor, it will be a pain to haul back to shore, especially as it takes on more and more water. In addition, it takes some energy and time to completely empty it, although this is aided by a well-positioned drain plug on the nose.
You could use float bags in the empty space in the kayak to reduce the amount of water your kayak would take on in such a scenario or just stay seated and away from dynamic currents, and you should be able to stay upright in this stable beast.
The Vapor 10 kayak has great primary and secondary stability thanks to a wide hull, low-to-the-ground seat, and large rounded side walls. You wouldn’t expect to be tipping this kayak over, even if you are a bit wobbly on the water. However, if you do take it in splashy conditions or down rapids, a capsize could happen.
Due to the large open deck, if you do find yourself in splashy conditions (i.e unexpected winds and waves), this kayak quickly collects water and is not easy to keep dry. Once the kayak takes on water and it starts to move from side to side, the kayak will no longer feel stable to paddle. This kayak really is designed for sheltered conditions and flat water.
The Old Town Vapor is designed to deliver a cruisey ride. With plenty of room to stretch your legs, a padded reclining back seat, and easily-adjusted foot pegs, you really can stretch out and relax in this kayak. The outfitting is basic but perfectly sufficient for a comfortable experience.
The boat even includes a drink holder in case you get thirsty during your float, but some of our testers did complain that this holder was too far away to be of real use. The rear storage well is also somewhat awkward to access and is most safely accessed by a nearby floating friend.
The padded seat back is appreciated, yet overall, the seat outfitting is lacking compared to some of the other kayaks we tested. The Vapor has one point of adjustment for the seat, which will raise or lower the angle of the backrest. other kayaks allow you to raise the height of the backrest and/or adjust the angle of the bottom part of your seat. Since the Vapor doesn’t have these options, it means there are fewer things to break on the kayak, so this minimalism may actually benefit you in the long term.
Weighing in at 47 pounds, the Vapor was one of the lighter kayaks we tested, but still 7 pounds more than the lightest. Regardless of how strong you are, the exceptionally wide cockpit makes it difficult to find a convenient place to lift this kayak from if you are trying to solo load it onto your car roof bars.
The robust, thick handles make a paired carry a comfortable experience. Ultimately this kayak benefits from having two people to load it or a small trailer to carry it to and from the water.
Made of a durable roto-molded plastic polymer and with basic but well-designed robust features, we had no issues with the durability of any aspect of this kayak during testing. This kayak isn’t made of the absolute strongest plastic available, but it is plenty strong enough for the gentle environments for which it is designed.
The 16.5-inch by 10-inch storage well in the rear of the kayak is convenient and an obvious place for small bags, coolers, and drinks. However, without any decent attachment point, you run the risk of losing these items if you do happen to capsize. This kayak is designed to be kept upright.
With great comfort, decent performance, and a very competitive price, the Old Town Vapor 10 really stands out in terms of value. This is definitely not a cheaply-built kayak: it is far more durable than most of the other affordable models and delivers a solid score across all our testing metrics.
A great choice for those looking for comfort and affordability but don’t want to compromise performance or durability, the Old Town Vapor 10 is a good performer across all testing metrics and it is good enough for most kayakers to enjoy an afternoon on the water. It also costs considerably less than most of our other award winners.
— Sara James
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