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Heron Expedition Reviews
This is an awesome boat,…
The Heron is very stable, it can feel a little tippy without much primary stability which you don't want anyway. The secondary stability is very definite and it would very difficult to flip the boat over by accident. Of course you should always dress for water temps but with a boat like this I feel very confident in challenging conditions without a bomb proof roll. Again my experience is with inflatables which are always very stable and I don't feel any less safe in this boat due to stability.
Everything else about it is what you should expect from a high end ocean touring kayak, the rudder works very well and with the length it's hard to steer without it. Cargo capacity is impressive and there's plenty of deck space if you manage to fill up the under deck areas. It seems fast enough, it's noticeably faster unloaded but you'll never notice if you only use on expeditions I suspect some of these fancy composites would feel much faster but they probably aren't as forgiving around rocks. The skin is very durable and that and the whole frame make it very shock absorbent, only very sharp objects can sink it. It looks really cool too and I've gotten many comments from 'that's a bad a$$ boat' to 'e una canoaseria!'
The only cons are just with the whole Feathercraft approach that applies to all their boats. The engineering that went into the aluminum frame is very impressive but it's a high maintenance contraption that can and will corrode in salt water. They provide a sea sock that they highly recommend using but I could never get myself to actually use it. The idea of sitting in a bag just seems unnatural and I wouldn't feel comfortable with that for a wet exit though I've never had to do one in this boat, never rolled it either. You can preserve the tubing by always keeping the frame well maintained taking it apart regularly, rinsing with fresh water and applying Boeshield to the joints, a somewhat involved process.
There are some people who will use this boat for day trips, putting together and taking it down the same day but I don't have the courage for that kind of ordeal For me it's great to put it together and leave it assembled for a week or two or more. The corrosion mainly effects the middle part of the keel tube at the lowest part of the frame right underneath you and the 2 tubes on either side of it, the rest of the joints easily clean up like new, and the most susceptible spreader bars can be easily replaced as can all the parts, I'm guessing they're not cheap. I think corrosion would be a non issue in fresh water.
The skin is relatively easy to clean out: when fully assembled just take the empty boat into knee deep water, flood it a little, flip it and swish it back and forth with all hatches open, roll it over, repeat a couple times and then drain as you would normally. When dis-assembled you can turn the whole skin inside out and hose it down to remove every last speck of sand that may have entered during your travels, though I always try to be very careful to rinse sand off all my gear and myself before getting into it but as you may already know sand gets into everything...
Basically if you don't mind dealing with Feathercraft maintenance and want their top of the line boat for fully loaded extended touring in challenging ocean conditions then this is what you want, it's a no brainer, probably why it hasn't been reviewed before, it's pretty obvious what you're getting with this price tag and I can confirm it delivers all it promises. If you're not going to do serious multi day camping expeditions then this might be a lot more boat than you need. There are other manufacturers of folding skin on aluminum frame kayaks but I don't think any of them have a model that is nearly as impressive as this in terms of capacity and quality.