Otter kayak Description

The Otter kayak is a kayak brought to you by Old Town Canoe and Kayak. Read Otter kayak reviews or submit your own review to share with the paddling community. Check out a few other kayak recommendations below or explore all kayaks to find the perfect one for you!

Old Town Canoe and Kayak
Otter kayak Reviews

Read reviews for the Otter kayak by Old Town Canoe and Kayak as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

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had my double over 25 year-…

Submitted by: paddler2502999 on 12/27/2023

had my double over 25 year- it is what it is - just the perfect boat for recreational paddling. I like its durability. As someone mentioned the open cockpit makes it unsuitable for rough conditions- something to keep in mind but still a very sea kindly vessel


Having founded one of the…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/2/2020
Having founded one of the first sea kayak guiding companies in Maine in the mid-1970s I ultimately paddled many different designs of sea kayaks many thousands of miles. Compared against those rather specialized and very expensive kayaks the Otter leaves much to be desired. That said with the exception of it being rather heavy and awkward to carry for a boat of this size I would rate this little kayak as a great way to navigate calm ponds and out of the way meadering streams and backwaters. Although a bit slow in comparison to more sleek and lengthy designs the Otter moves easily through the water. Those with at least a rudimentary grasp of paddle technique will also find that it has good initial stability and tracks very well while at the same time being quite maneuverable. Add a bit of padding for your back and the moulded plastic seat is also quite comfortable. While the lack of foot braces does somewhat inhibit your ability to maximise the power of your paddle stroke for casual paddles it's not a problem. Should you want to add foot braces there are inexpensive, easy to install kits readily available. The Otter is not, however, a boat that should be used on large bodies of water in anything other than flat calm conditions. The large cockpit opening and dismal spray skirt would make you dangerously vulnerable should wind and seas increase. Additonally the hull shape while well suited for flat water oaddling is simply not suited to rougher conditions with steep head, beam, or following waves!

I've had mine for around 10…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/30/2020
I've had mine for around 10 years and I absolutely love this kayak for white water, rivers and lakes.

This little boat was my high…

Submitted by: paddler797935 on 6/14/2020
This little boat was my high school graduation gift back in 2003. It’s now halfway through 2020 and still going strong, and I sure haven’t ever been nice to this thing. In that time the only thing I replaced was the nylon strap that was used for seat adjustments, and that’s because the damn squirrels decided it might be a tasty treat. As others have said, it’s not very longitudinally stable. Exhaling in the wrong direction will make the boat change course, but laterally it’s never once came close to tipping. The other plus is that at 9’6” it’s about the maximum length for a short bed pickup truck, if your portage doesn’t go any further than throwing it in the bed. If you can find one of these for under two hundred bucks, it’s a great deal on a nearly indestructible kayak.

It's not a bad starter boat.…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/5/2019

It's not a bad starter boat. Great primary stability, not the best secondary. Seat is surprisingly comfortable for a plastic one. It's a wide 9' boat, so it's not fast compared to most other kayaks. Tracks not too bad. The cupholder between the legs is nice.

Pretty tough, but has a weakness: the attachments for the handles can break with impact because they're at the tips of the boat and not overly thick. Otherwise, takes a lot of punishment.


I bought two of these 20…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 2/27/2019

I bought two of these 20 years ago, and have beat them to death on hundreds of river runs... They must be indestructible. It seems like most new kayaks only have a life span of five or ten years.


i bought the otter kayak aka…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/5/2018

i bought the otter kayak aka as the angler edition - with padded seat and foot rests. at 5ft 11 and 240 lbs when i first got in this thing i thought i was doomed for tipping it over after a minute or two , no problem it was a state of the art affair . i got use to to it and i was out for 2 hours and could have stayed out for an another hour or two. Im 55 and this is my first kayak I dont have any other kayak to compare it to so i just wish i had more room up front but the space is adequate . i bought the kayak second hand and no regrets . i was fishing in it with no issues of stability .


We have had an Otter Kayak…

Submitted by: paddler436318 on 5/31/2018

We have had an Otter Kayak now for a year and it is our first kayak. The whole family loves it and it fits our needs perfectly. We have to kids 8 and 12 years old and they both learned to kayak in this boat. Not tippy at all and my kids spend hours in this kayak. I am sure there are faster models but for casual lake kayaking, we love this Kayak!


I'm giving this kayak 4…

Submitted by: flxpain on 2/15/2018

I'm giving this kayak 4 stars, because for what it is meant for it does really well. This is an over-stable, short, easy to use kayak. Because of the length and hull design it turns on a dime. This is a benefit when kayaking a narrow river, and a curse when trying to kayak a long distance on an open lake. This kayak does not track well at all, meaning you will constantly be correcting your course as it wants to turn with every paddle stroke. A seasoned paddler will know the strokes to counteract that, new kayakers may get frustrated. But, this kayak wasn't made or sold to do long lake/ocean crossings. This kayak was made for new kayakers to get in, have fun, and learn some of the basics of kayaking and this kayak does those tasks excellently. I have taught at least a dozen children how to kayak and probably close to as many adults and I almost always throw them in the Otter first. It's a great kayak to get rid of the "tipping" fear as it is extremely stable. The new kayaker can really focus on paddle strokes etc without worry about tipping. Overall I would certainly recommend this to young paddlers and any new kayaker that just wants to try kayaking. It is typically inexpensive and it is always great for a spare around the cabin when guests visit and want to try kayaking. If you are a larger person you will want to look elsewhere. If you have a larger budget and are a bigger person, or plan on kayaking only on lakes, I would suggest looking toward the Old Town Loon or something similar that has a larger weight capacity, a little more room, and tracks better.


The Old Town Otter is short…

Submitted by: paddler236310 on 9/8/2015
The Old Town Otter is short and light weight. Very easy to store and transport to a river and/or lake. I use it for fishing and just for the pleasure of padding. Great Kayak!

The Otter is another boat…

Submitted by: paddler236441 on 8/19/2015
The Otter is another boat I've owned for better than fifteen years - it's old enough it's one with the brace bar down the middle. It's the workhorse of kayaks - a lot of the liveries around here have used them for years - and they survive. It's not a speed boat, but it's a great kids/starter/tight quarters boat that's practically indestructible, quick, and easy to maneuver. I wouldn't recommend to a very tall person (my late husband dumped it once, because his legs were so long he got his feet hung up), but for what it's for, it's a great, practically indestructible little trooper.

This is a rather basic kayak…

Submitted by: jamoaque on 8/6/2015
This is a rather basic kayak that handles OK. We know that Old Town is a quality name, but I was surprised how minimal the features are included on this kayak. So in its price range, I may be inclined to select another 10-footer. I believe though that it has been discontinued and the other models have more features. I would probably rate it a 6, but am giving it the benefit of doubt due to the quality of manufacturer behind it.

I purchased this kayak for…

Submitted by: lmhernandez78 on 7/10/2015
I purchased this kayak for lakes and slow rivers. I LOVE this kayak! It's is perfect for a beginner or advanced. It is very stable and comfortable. I enjoy wildlife watching as I paddle so stability is a must. It is fairly easy to maneuver, but quick if you want it to be. This is also a great boat at an awesome price. Old Town is a great company with a great product! They have a customer in life with me!!!

Love the shorter size of the…

Submitted by: paddler236310 on 7/1/2015
Love the shorter size of the Otter. Easy to store and transport in my truck. I added foot pegs and bungy cord to attach gear. Seat becomes uncomfortable after a few hours on the water since I use a PFD.

We got a used Otter for my…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/6/2015
We got a used Otter for my girlfriend to introduce her to moving and mild whitewater. The outfitting is spartan, but she added some foam cushioning. The Otter, like many near identical clones, is a rugged, sturdy boat, maneuverable, yet rock stable. the sharp bow and stern help keep it on a line so it tracks well. A skirt enables it to be used in class 2 rapids. When ready, she will graduate to a WW boat with rounded bow and stern such as the excellent Liquidlogic XP-9.

Living in Michigan and being…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/18/2014
Living in Michigan and being a novice kayaker, I was looking for a kayak that I could explore all the diverse waterways that the Great Lake State had to offer. The Otter fit the bill. It was small enough for narrow rivers and creeks. It also light enough to be carried by one person for those tricky beaver dam portages. When it came to the Great Lakes, I found it to be very safe and extremely capable of handling the smaller bays and inlets. The Old Town Otter has become my ticket to explore the great out of doors.

This was my families first…

Submitted by: farley2303 on 8/20/2014
This was my families first kayak when I was about 10 years old. It is what I first learned to paddle on. My family now owns 5-6 kayaks but we still have the Otter (20 years later). It has taken everything we have put it through and has the battle scars to prove it. Great little boat. Make sure you find some cushioning to throw on the seat.

Actually have an Otter Sport…

Submitted by: paddler235823 on 8/10/2014
Actually have an Otter Sport that I think was made exclusively for Dick's Sporting Goods. Well made and sturdy Kayak. Small enough to easily fit inside a full size van. Added two flush mounted rod holders just behind the cockpit, however the bottom of the hull is rounded and not the most stable platform for fishing. Seat and Seatback are well padded. Overall nice little recreational kayak.

Not a fan of this little…

Submitted by: paddler235769 on 7/22/2014
Not a fan of this little Otter at all! My wife and I purchased a couple of real budget kayaks from Walmart (Sun Dolphin Aruba 10') and fell in love with kayaking. As we meet more people we try out their kayaks and vice-versa. For a kayak that cost about double what we own I was excited to try out a "real" kayak.

First, the good... the seat seems decently comfy, the footrests and hull in general seem good and sturdy. The bad, no one can get this thing to track straight! It will wander all over the lake without any wind, add wind and it's another story! It's relatively unstable as far as rolling is concerned. Her first time out our friend dumped herself just making a minor seat adjustment (wedgie). Later on I offered to swap kayaks for the rest of our paddle about an hour or so and she couldn't believe how stable they were while I paddled her kayak around in circles (not quite)!

This may make this a better whitewater boat but I wouldn't recommend this to beginners!


Very nice recreational kayak.…

Submitted by: paddler235682 on 7/3/2014
Very nice recreational kayak. Tracks decent, great on the river. The cockpit is a bit crowded, great for younger/smaller paddlers. Excellent materials and very high quality.

I bought my kayak in 2006 and…

Submitted by: rjcssn on 7/2/2014
I bought my kayak in 2006 and still use it today. This has been a very good kayak for fishing and leisure paddling around our local lake, creeks and river. During my heavier days, the cockpit was pretty tight to get in and out but since I've lost weight it's been easier to get in and out. My next kayak will have a larger cockpit or be a sit on top.

Purchased two. One is an inch…

Submitted by: paddler234718 on 7/24/2013
Purchased two. One is an inch longer than the other. One has a really bad case of oil canning. Unfortunately the oil canning is asymmetrical which leads to poor handling. Positive, they were cheap (two for cost of one higher quality). Great kids boat. or for playing around on a lake or flat-water. If you paddle often, you will quickly surpass the capability of this kayak.

Old Town Otter meets my…

Submitted by: sandycarnahan on 7/19/2013
Old Town Otter meets my needs. It is a light-weight kayak, which was important for me so I could lift it easily. It isn't ideal for someone tall due to the lack of leg room. I am 5'1" and am able to easily prop my legs on the top of the kayak, if I wish. It is easy to maneuver and handle. I can easily put a small cooler behind the seat and store some items at my feet.

I love the Otter! I have had…

Submitted by: lukethedrifter on 7/17/2013
I love the Otter! I have had several different boats since I started kayak. I found this Otter used for $200, it has been my favorite boat since the first time I got it on the water. Handles great can hold a line and is very comfortable. The only set back to The Otter is the lack of foot peddles (can be easily installed) and the behind the seat storage compartment is can be hard to access.
All things considered: I don't head towards the water, without the Otter.

I see this has lots of…

Submitted by: paddler234994 on 5/8/2013
I see this has lots of reviews so I'll just say that I bought this new a couple years ago at a local sporting goods store for $150. It is super easy to paddle, stable and turns every which way when you try and coast. Seriously this thing has no directional stability at all, but I'll never get rid of it because it is so tough, light and easy to throw around, anyone can stay upright in it and paddle around with little or no experience. I still use it for paddling creeks, rivers and small lakes mainly for exercise and some exploring, I don't mind bumping into rocks or dragging it on the gravel cause it's so indestructible. The seat in mine is a rigid plastic with a high solid back and I love it, just have to sit on a cushion but if you have ever paddled one with a soft low back you will understand what I mean. I like the foot room in this better than some of the newer design kayaks.

Bought an Otter in "Cloud"…

Submitted by: paddler234728 on 8/22/2012
Bought an Otter in "Cloud" for 229+tax from Dicks in 2007. Bulletproof little boat! A little more tippy than my Mainstream Cruiser, but very fun for short trips; spray skirt helps in 3 foot lake waves!

I have taken this on Eagle Mountain Lake Near Ft. Worth TX numerous times. It performs fine for what it is. Please do not expect 12' performance.


I picked up this boat from…

Submitted by: paddler234545 on 5/26/2012
I picked up this boat from Craigslist as a boat as a friend boat for when I went paddling with people that didn't have a boat. I decided to try it out and make sure it was OK for that purpose. I'm almost 6'4" and vary between 210-240lbs., currently closer to 240lbs. and I couldn't believe this boat. It held me, was fine on small lake, mild river, and light surf is still a question. I threw on a spray skirt and throw it in my pickup and go. From a BS friend/backup boat I find I use it all the time. It's just fun and easy to move, although not a lightweight.

I got my Otter at a yard sale…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/9/2012
I got my Otter at a yard sale for $50, it is worth way more than that to me! I have used it for everything from short jaunts to overnighters and no matter what the Otter handles me, gear, and whatever punishment comes its way. My favorite thing to do is hook up with a 3-5 ft long muskie and use the awesome stability of the kayak to wear out the fish. There is nothing that compares to having a fish the size of your leg pull you up and down the creek, over logs, and up whitecaps. No matter what I'm getting into the Otter is up to the challenge. Awesome little kayak!

I have had my Otter for over…

Submitted by: paddler234418 on 1/24/2012
I have had my Otter for over 10 yrs its great for me to throw on top of my car just the right size an maneuvers easy an has been to Fla. keys several times and gets me to places that longer kayaks go it is just great will never get rid of it

I bought an Old Town Otter…

Submitted by: paddler234413 on 1/18/2012
I bought an Old Town Otter Sport 4 or 5 years ago from Dick's Sporting Goods. Getting in to kayaking and running some rivers with friends. I am 6'2' and around 215#. My Sport came with a padded seat, foot braces, and bungee cord on the front deck.

I have never paddled anything else so I can't compare it to another kayak. It does get water inside when I'm in small rapids without a skirt, but with the skirt on I have run class II and mild class III with no problem. I have to say it is pretty comfortable. My back and legs do begin to tire after a while...but when you are sitting in one position for over an hour or so, what can you expect?

I recently bought a WW kayak and now realize just how stable the Otter Sport is. My Otter is tough fell out of the back of a pickup truck, slid down the highway, and barely had any damage. Just a small flat spot near the nose. She's been good to me for many years, so I'm going to keep her around as long as she'll stay.


This classic little boat is…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/2/2012
This classic little boat is favored by outfitters for slow water, so you know it is tough and can handle most body types. I've paddled rental Otters several times on various rivers & lakes. On these occasions I'm usually with a beginner and we take it slow. On Class II water (a slow stretch of the Cumberland river) it was not hard to swamp the Otter. It is almost identical to the Perception Swifty in its construction and handling. Don't pay full price for either- buy used and have it on hand for easy cartopping and slow water. Will last a LONG time, and anyone can paddle it.

Bought a "very much-used" Old…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/6/2011
Bought a "very much-used" Old Town Otter kayak; as evidenced by the zillions of scratches on it. A short kayak like the Otter was wanted strictly for its "maneuverability" and "light weight". Let's face it, if I want to get anywhere in a bee-line, fast; I'll take a commercial airliner. On a river, control and quick turns is what's called for.

Being 6'4" and 230 lbs, the cockpit of the Old Town Otter was initially hard to get into; although, the leg room was fine. So, the seat assembly was unbolted so it would slide wherever it was needed. When pushed way back, climbing in and out is a breeze. On calm water I use my body weight to shift the seat forward so the back slants to 45 degrees; stretch my legs out-forward all the way; and totally relax. It's way cool.

During times of hard, fast paddling, the seat is shifted/slid backwards in the kayak; so that the back-of-the-seat angle is about 90 degrees; like a regular chair.

It has been found that bolting the seat in one stationary position in the Old Town Otter is not necessary. To get out of the kayak when it is beached, the seat is just slid partially under the back deck so a guy has room to roll over on hands and knees where he can then easily stand up; even when on a steeply-inclined, uphill beach or mudbank.

It's totally "in-the-zone".

Next, carrier strap anchors were installed via pop-rivets to the front and back decks in order to load the kayak down with gear. In that regard: 1.) a dufflebag with water-proofed-bagged clothing and extra food for a day trip (including thermos' of hot soup and coffee) was placed under the back deck behind the seat; 2.) two folding lawn chairs that fit into the "long" bags were strapped on top of the back deck; and, 3.) a large knapsack with water, snacks, binocs, camera and notions was strapped to the front deck.

When stopping for a break at a beautiful spot along the river; why not be comfortable? After all, it is an "off-road" vehicle; able to get away from the destinations of mass-transit; in all forms.

Loaded down with me and all the gear above and below decks it handles like a leopard through the jungle; agile and fast. It tracks great, too; but that may be attributed to the ability and finesse of someone who has been dipping paddles for 54 years. And, in having acquired that ability to track a short kayak, a "long" kayak just isn't needed merely for "trackings" sake.

Sure, a longer Kayak will go "proportionally" faster; but why go even one mile an hour faster on a river? If a guy is in that big a hurry, why be on the river at all.

The thrill of kayaking rivers is in taking the narrows and rapids with control and confidence; and, in watching carefully for the easily-missed wildlife. And, when "beaching" to stretch-out and relax; why stand around on the sand or in the grass with a cold sandwich and a cookie in one hand and a luke-warm bottle of water in the other? Why not pull up a chair and have some hot soup with a garnish; and, top it off with pudding? Why let our complex, third-millennial, hurried-life-style take over our "wilderness" time, too?

I throw the Old Town Otter kayak on the dinette table inside my camper van and just take off whenever the Kayak Klub has a get-together at some river every week or two. It works perfect. Great on the river and great for hauling the gear I need to have a super-mini-vacation on some remote riverside paradise.

At 39 pounds, it's terrific. It does everything I need.


I have two Otters for my…

Submitted by: paddler234244 on 8/24/2011
I have two Otters for my kids; the models I have include footpegs, bungees, padded seats and one has a well for easy access behind the seat. These are great kayaks for beginning paddlers. They are short and wide, which gives them great stability, especially for paddlers who are uneasy with the idea of kayaking. This kayak comes with footpegs, which is an added bonus.

The cockpit is wide and comfortable, which gives the paddler plenty of room for water bottles or a stuffpack behind the seat (some have wells). However, the width can be frustrating if the person is somewhat short in stature (kids), because they have to hold the paddle higher than is comfortable in order get it over the gunwales of the craft and into the water. There is not a defined keel, so it does wander a bit, especially with beginners.

On the whole, this is an excellent kayak for the price, and my kids (both were around 8 when they got their kayaks) love going out in them (now 10 and 13). I'm writing this review based on observations of my children - at 6'3" and 200 pounds, I've not squeezed into one myself.


I picked up my Otter at a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/25/2011
I picked up my Otter at a yard sale last fall for $150 (along with a tandem Otter for $250). These is my first kayak and I have gotten a lot of use out of it on lakes and smaller bodies of water. I am 6' 209# and it still works for me.

Reading the other reviews I see that most of the Otters that others have are bare bones kayaks. Mine has foot pegs and bungee cords. Don't know if my Otter came with them or if the previous owner added them.

My first time out I got out after an hour of paddling and my legs collapsed under me. Short posterior leg syndrome (tight hamstrings). Stretching helped. Don't know if this is the result of the hard seat. One review recommend the Harmony seat pad. Sounds like a good investment.

I admit to being envious of the longer, sleeker, prettier touring kayaks and may get one for other types of paddling but will probably hang on to this one for its maneuverability and convenience of throwing it in the back of my short box pickup and heading out. You sure seem to see more touring kayaks on Craig's list then smaller kayaks. There must be a reason for that.


I rented one of these otters…

Submitted by: paddler234130 on 7/12/2011
I rented one of these otters this weekend and went for an 11-mile run down the Rappahannock River in Kellys Ford. Good kayak; lightweight; turned well; not very fast, and the seat was extremely hard. My feet fell asleep about two minutes into the run, but other than the seat, this was an awesome boat.
PS: this was my first experience kayaking

This is a great little boat…

Submitted by: paddler234087 on 6/28/2011
This is a great little boat for the price. I shopped around for months before settling on the Otter. It comes "plain," but there are many options that you can upgrade to. This makes the Otter an affordable option for someone that is new to the sport with the flexibility to upgrade if desired. The Otter does not track as well as some other kayaks that I have been in, but this is only a problem if you are in open water.

I would highly recommend this to any newcomer or someone that is looking for a bargain!


Just got back from a trip to…

Submitted by: paddler234056 on 6/13/2011
Just got back from a trip to a county park here in Savannah with our two Otters and I got to say I am very pleased with the weight, tracking, and turn ability with this little guy.My wife and I are not little people but it still handled very well---well worth the money

We purchased 2 old town otter…

Submitted by: paddler234030 on 6/1/2011
We purchased 2 old town otter sport, these are great easy to paddle. My boys are 8 and 10 yo my husband and I have paddled these a ton and think they are a great introduction to the sport o kayaking

I purchased the Otter for my…

Submitted by: paddler233944 on 4/14/2011
I purchased the Otter for my 8 year old daughter 2 years ago; she's 10 now. I found it on sale at Bass Pro Shop for $200. A pretty good deal if you ask me. I paddle with a Perception America 13.5 and my daughter wanted to join me. The performance of the Otter is typical for a short wide kayak...slow and doesn't track very well but that's what these little boats do. However, maneuverability and stability are terrific. In tight areas it is awesome. In fact once up to speed you can almost spin it 180 or stuff! The seat is nice and together with a folded towel to sit on, you'll be comfortable for miles of paddling.

In summary, I wanted to introduce my daughter to kayaking and give her a positive experience. She has been enjoying her little Otter for two years now. The Otter is perfect for young paddlers. Safe, fun, and durable. The reasonable price makes it a 10 out of 10!


We bought two of these at a…

Submitted by: Michaelburwell on 8/25/2010
We bought two of these at a year end closeout at Cabelas for $180 each just to keep at our Pennsylvania camp. We didn't get to use them for over a year and when I did I noticed the seat on mine was crooked. I thought I could just remove the one screw and realign the seat but couldn't budge it. Old Town would not answer my emails for advice. I later noticed there were two additional screws under the skirt lip and removal of all four let me move the seat back.

These are good little boats but do check them out thoroughly before you take them home. Access to the rear compartment by folding the seatback forward is very small. For their length they paddle respectably but no sub-10' boat's going to be fast. If you will be traveling in company with longer boats you may be frustrated until the going gets twisty. Tracking and stability are good for the length. You can take pictures and shift around without fear of toppling over (unlike some of my boats.) The foot braces and padding of the XT model are probably worth it, I added both to mine from stuff I had. We just got back from a week in the Adirondacks, using them every day. Only complaint was the hard seat.


I love this kayak me and my…

Submitted by: oldtownpaddler on 4/5/2010
I love this kayak me and my dad both have it and run it up to class three rapids.

I purchased my Otter in the…

Submitted by: paddler232999 on 1/20/2009
I purchased my Otter in the Spring of '05, back in Northeast PA. After one outing on a small lake, I immediately started outfitting it with foot braces (I'm only 5'7"), paddle bungie, deck bungie (front and rear), and a padded seat. I wish Old Town had chosen to include those extras as standard equipment. Altogether it raised my price from $230.00 to $350.00. I have used this boat for boat-in camping (2 miles in, 3 miles out. Should have had a map of the lake... lots of fingers). Fully loaded with camping and fishing gear, everything except firewood, it handled like a dream. There happened to be a fishing tournament that weekend so I had to deal with wakes. No problems. The Otter doesn't track during hard paddling as well as I had hoped. An add-on rudder may be the answer to that. Overall, this boat is very versatile and tough as nails.

This is my first kayak. I…

Submitted by: dregsfan on 1/19/2009
This is my first kayak. I bought it at a Sportsman's Warehouse 2008 closeout sale. The price seemed too good to be true, then I noticed that the seat was not centered in the boat. It was offset by 2-3". I pointed that out to the salesman and he knocked off a little more cash. Thinking I could fix it myself, I bought it. When I got it home, I noticed the holes for the seat mounts were about 1.5" lower on one side than the other. That shifted the whole seat over. No way to fix it, other than patching the old holes and drilling new ones. I called Old Town customer service. They said the boat was defective, to take it back to SW and they would replace it under warranty. I did so, but the SW salesman called their other store across town and they had another in stock. They checked the seat over the phone and it seemed OK. I picked up that one and the seat bracket holes are aligned perfectly.

I can’t believe Old Town let that first boat pass quality control. Another SW salesman said that that was the second one he’s seen like that. If this was a factory second, Old Town and SW should have labeled it as such. Old Town is now owned by Johnson Outdoors. They are a conglomerate who bought out many small sailboat manufacturers in the 1980-90’s (Sunfish, Vanguard, etc.). They have a reputation for "cheapening" the products to increase profit. Maybe this boat was just a fluke or maybe it wasn’t. Just a word of warning to check EVERYTHING before handing over your cash.


Love the Otter! It's my first…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/27/2008
Love the Otter! It's my first kayak but not my first time kayaking. I'm 5'11" and 125 pounds and can easily carry it to the water. It's not very fast [already stated in other reviews] but the most stable kayak I've used so far. The only disadvantage is the lack of foot pegs. My legs aren't long enough to reach the foam. Absolutely worth the money!

I cant say enough about the…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/22/2008
I cant say enough about the Old Town Otter. Outstanding entry level boat. I got an excellent deal at Bass Pro, $198.00. The longest trip I have made was a 12 mile float down the West Fork of the Trinity River in Arlington Texas, moving speed average from my GPS was 4.6 mph, the river was barely flowing (lots of paddling). The sweet spot for speed on this boat is about 5 mph. Any faster and tracking gets squirrely. I am 6'2, 230 lbs and this boat performs very well. Plenty of room and stable enough to fish from. Just don't expect a perfect boat for $200.

I have owned my Otter for…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/16/2008
I have owned my Otter for about 3 years now. During this time I have paddled over 300 miles in the state of Indiana. I purchased this kayak for around $250.00, it's all my wife would let me spend.

I have paddled a few other kayaks but I still think the OT Otter is one of my favorites, it tracks well for a short boat if paddled correctly, and it turns very quickly when needed. Indiana is known for downed trees and strainers in the rivers so quick turns are important. After the first 2 years I made some modifications to the Otter after paddling some other kayaks. I added footbraces which made a huge difference, also added a Harmony 1" closed cell foam seat pad. The seat pad was "self stick" but the Otter seat is rough so I used plastic automobile rivets to secure the seat in about 5 places. This helped prevent my legs and rear end from getting numb so quickly.

The rounded deck on the Otter makes it difficult for a smaller person to roll efficiently so I added some PVC tubing to the inside of the rim to act as knee braces and rolling is very easy now.

Overall the Otter is very versatile and I would recommend it as a good value. The only drawback is if you are paddling with touring kayaks on larger lakes you may get worn out as speed is not one of the attributes of this kayak. (I paddle it about 4 MPH)


As others have said it's a…

Submitted by: paddler232456 on 2/23/2008
As others have said it's a great boat for the price. Fun on rivers and lakes in good weather, not as fun on open water in bad weather. I wouldn't really recommend this boat for anyone over 200 lbs. I weigh about 175, and even I found the boat slow. Whenever I'd add any weight to the boat (like beer or fishing gear), it would ride considerably lower in the water and become a pain in rough water.

It's good for fooling around for a few hours, and a great starter boat, but if you want to go on day trips, are bigger than 6', weigh more than 200 lbs., want to go out in bad weather, and don't want to be the slowest boat on the river/lake you might want to look at another boat.


I recently purchased the…

Submitted by: paddler232338 on 9/27/2007
I recently purchased the regular Otter as a first kayak and am a complete novice. Definitely is not as stable as I thought it would be from reading the reviews.

I am 6'2" and around 215... so it may just be too small for my frame. Anyone purchasing should either upgrade to the XT or at least plan on installing some sort of foot rest. It would definitely make the boat more stable (by making you more stable) and give you something to push against while paddling. I don't find the seat to be too uncomfortable without padding -- but for longer trips the padded seat on the XT would be a plus... but again you could install something yourself probably for less than the price difference in the kayaks. Each time I paddle the boat turns a little in the direction opposite... which is kind-of annoying--constantly correcting course. Maybe this is the way all kayaks are?

Overall, I would like to try a nicer kayak--if this is as stable as they come--then I probably won't continue with this endeavor for long. For the money, it was a good experiment... and I do plan to use it a few more times with installed foot rests before passing final judgment.


Well, I've taken the Otter…

Submitted by: paddler232201 on 7/23/2007
Well, I've taken the Otter Sport on flat water..slow rivers..and even in 5-8ft waves on Lake Erie. And no, I'm not lying. I surfed amazingly well...I mean..It is a slow boat but you can do alot with any type. I learned to roll this thing easily which was a task in itself. I'd recommend anyone starting out kayaking to learn some type of rescue, especially rolling. Thanks

The Otter Sport is great.…

Submitted by: paddler232096 on 6/12/2007
The Otter Sport is great. Took it out a few days after picking it up at Dick's sporting goods. Got it for $279.00 on sale and am very glad to have it. Took it down the Brandywine river (actually more like a large creek) and had loads of fun. Tracking is a little weak, and the boat is a little slow (to keep up with canoes). Haven't taken it on the lake yet but it was fine on still water going down the river. Turns well, my only complaint would be the speed and tracking, but for beginners... it's perfect.

Very basic boat. I got an…

Submitted by: APrice on 4/9/2007
Very basic boat. I got an Otter for Mother's Day because the price was incredible. I bought my husband one for Father's Day. That was two years ago and we've had a blast with them on rivers with class II rapids, lakes, and bays. One major problem was the lack of a drain hole and foot pegs which we quickly added to both Otters and have enjoyed them more since. Another problem is that the seat doesn't allow you to put much behind it. The seat is more comfortable than a lot of kayaks (we've added cushions also). This is a great boat for the cost. Even after adding foot pegs, seat cushions, and drain plugs, it is still among the least expensive boats on the market.

Bought one of these when my…

Submitted by: leaf-peeper on 1/22/2007
Bought one of these when my daughter saw one at a nearby dealer. She liked the color (blue/green swirl), I liked the price. She could make the boat turn, but had to work to keep it going straight. Tracking on this wide, 9-1/2’ isn’t the greatest trait of this boat. Not the quickest boat going through the water either. Okay for a short 20 or 30 minutes, but that’s about it. If you’re thinking about getting a kayak for your kids, look at Perception’s Carolina 12 (formally called the Umiak), or a used Wilderness Systems Piccolo (no longer in production).

I bought the otter sport for…

Submitted by: paddler231707 on 10/16/2006
I bought the otter sport for my wife from dick's sporting because of the premium seat and pegs also a little higher deck than the regular otter.i have not been disappointed !it tracks well and is very stable ,just what you need for a beginning kayaker.she just loves to go out paddling,hey it does't get any it was less than $230 a bargin to say the least.

I bought my otter when they…

Submitted by: JeepGirl on 10/4/2006
I bought my otter when they first came out. It was the cheapest kayak out there. I was a very comfortable in a canoe but kayaking was foreign to me. The otter was the boat that got me hooked on kayaking. It was easy to handle and very stable. It was the boat that got my friends out on the water also. They all wanted to out my little gray otter. I have since graduated to sea kayaks but I miss the simplicity of the otter.

I bought the Otter Sport (a…

Submitted by: paddler231815 on 9/25/2006
I bought the Otter Sport (a step up from the Otter) and I am very pleased with it. I feel comfortable and it is stable, not the fastest out there but nice overall, great purchase !

This boat is great for what…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/15/2006
This boat is great for what it is. I am 6' and 195# and the boat is a bit snug for me though... my legs get a bit cramped after being on the water for any longer than an hour or two. If you are a smaller individual or are buying it for the kids it would be a spectacular boat for getting out on lakes. For you folks like me who are large I would recommend upgrading into at least a 12' boat, your legs and booty will thank you!

I am new to kayaks but have…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/11/2006
I am new to kayaks but have quite alot of canoe paddling under my belt. I bought a bare bones otter about two months ago and over-all am very impressed. You cannot beat the price. After learning a bit though I think you would be better buying the XL as it has a padded seat and foot pegs, it is only 50.00 more at most outlets and you will spend that plus, retrofiting the basic boat. I am not a big person, 150lbs. and I think it runs a little heavy at the stern. This boat is also very slow, I did not realize how slow until I got together with some local folks and paddled a fast boat. To me the best thing about the otter is it is very stable, and great for fishing.

I can only rate the kayak…

Submitted by: paddler231612 on 6/9/2006
I can only rate the kayak that I have have and that is the Otter Sport, my boyfriend has the XT and we love them. When I was looking I noticed that the cheaper ones didnt have the foot pegs or a padded seat, I consider both of these very important in the satisifaction of your kayak. Personally I rate this kayak a 10 for recreational use.... its great for getting out in the lake or river and having fun.

I LOVE my otter. My son…

Submitted by: bigmamamoo on 3/16/2006
I LOVE my otter. My son bought it (with his own money) 2 years ago when he was 13, and then outgrew it. Last summer he purchased his own Tsumani so I got handed down the otter! I spent all summer in it - every day (we live on Lake Ontario) It's a great little boat. I like it because I can put it in myself w/o any help (I am 5'5, 135 lbs.) I'm looking to "graduate" into a tandem, but, I really love my otter!

When I bought my otter I…

Submitted by: Tangomike on 10/15/2005
When I bought my otter I wanted a boat that would fit in the back of my 8' bed truck with the gate closed. The first otter had a thin spot in the hull which kept popping inward. REI replaced it with no questions asked. Since I have purchased a Dirigo 12 and take the two of them all over New England and upstate NY behind my Honda Goldwing motorcycle. Get a few strange looks. The otter is better in the white water because it turns faster and I have a skirt for it so I stay dry.

Bought the otter from Dicks…

Submitted by: Rfree on 9/6/2005
Bought the otter from Dicks for 200 dollars on sale with coupons. My wife and 8 year old son absolutely love it. Now my kayak trips can be solo or family outings. I puttered around with the otter too and it is very quick to turn and fun to play on. Added a spray skirt and foot pegs. My wife likes using the skirt to keep the sun off her legs (keeps her dry too). Perfect, fun, lightweight kayak for playing around on flatwater and mild rivers.

Nice boat for money. Good on…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/6/2005
Nice boat for money. Good on smooth surfaces and slower moving rivers.

I've had my Old Town Otter…

Submitted by: paddler231277 on 8/24/2005
I've had my Old Town Otter for about 5 years. When I got it, I also bought footpegs, a skirt, a paddle holder, and deck rigging. It was a replacement for my old fiberglass Phoenix.

All I can say is that this boat has got to be one of the best values for the money I've ever had. I've probably paddled it more than 200 miles on flatwater to Class II rivers. A couple of years ago, I upgraded the seat to the new version that folds down, so I could have some storage behind me. My guess is that I've got about $350 in it.

Whenever anyone asks me what kind of first kayak to purchase, I always tell them to buy an Otter to get their feet wet. There are quite a few competitors these days, but I'll take my Otter over any of them.

If I ever upgrade, I'll probably buy an Old Town Otter Sport -- available thru Dick's Sporting Goods only. It has a high cockpit that'll keep waves out, and has a little more maneuverability.

You can take my original Otter when you pry my wrinkled wet fingers off of it!


Stopped at Cabella's to look…

Submitted by: paddler231256 on 8/22/2005
Stopped at Cabella's to look at the otter kayaks...almost bought an otter until I took a closer look. A lot of the seats were not fastened correctly. Somebody can get hurt by the screws protruding in the kayak. They missed the seat totally.

I recently purchased an Old…

Submitted by: paddler230450 on 4/19/2005
I recently purchased an Old Town Otter Sport. This is a VERY comfortable boat. I am used to a longer 12 foot boat, but this feels perfectly natural. The boat handles well on the local lake, I have not had a chance to put it down the river yet. In rougher water the Otter Sport cuts right through the waves. I feel that this is an excellent step up from the original. The flattened top deck is both good looking and convenient. I would recommend this boat to nearly anyone.

I bought a red Otter for my 9…

Submitted by: wb1dby on 3/17/2005
I bought a red Otter for my 9 year old son and he loves it. It's easy for him to paddle and maneuver in. This spring we plan on adding the leg thingy's and he wants a fishing pole holder too.

I'll have to second clydeo's…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/20/2005
I'll have to second clydeo's comments. As a 63 year old, 6', 170 pound guy who's canoed for 50 years, I bought an Otter a year ago. Added foot pegs and deck cords to upgrade the boat and have used it on flatwater and class II streams. For what I want to do and my ability, this is a great boat at a great price.

After 40 years of canoeing, I…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/4/2004
After 40 years of canoeing, I finally broke down and bought a kayak, an Old Town Otter. I have been taking groups of 8-12 people down the local rivers (Susquehanna and Juniata). Most of these people have never been out on the river before, and need easy, stable boats. The rivers themselves move along at a pretty good clip (about 3 mph), so we just generally float along, enjoying the scenery. I have been using 17 and 15 foot Grumman canoes on these trips, but I have discovered that teens don't want to paddle with their siblings or their parents; they really want their own boat. The Old Town Otter seemed to offer the same simplicity, stability, and durability of my Grummies, so I picked one up to see how well it would work. I have to admit that I was a bit surprised by the little yak: it delivered far more than I was expecting.

First of all, it tracks amazingly well (for a 9 foot boat). Even though I had never paddled a yak before, I had no trouble whatsoever keeping the thing on course. The slight "V" in the bottom seems to do the trick, keeping the boat straight without the need for constant corrections. Even in a 10-20 mph breeze, the boat stayed on course, and went where I told it to go.

Secondly, it handled moving water just as well as the slower stuff. Just playing around, I stuffed the bow into an eddy to see how well it would "eddy turn", and the boat ending up turning so fast that it almost tossed me out into the river (my fault, not the boat's; I was expecting a much slower response. After all, my Grummies never turned like that!).

Thirdly, the boat was very stable. I leaned it over to the edge of the cockpit, and it came right back up when I wanted it to. I was easily able to do some fishing and some bird watching, without having to worry about flipping.

All in all, it was a very fun first ride. Even the seat was comfortable (especially when compared to the solid aluminum seats that I am used to).

Is the boat perfect? Of course not; No boat is! I am not overly large, just 175 or so, but the boat felt a bit crowded. I have read the other reviews, and have noted the many references to foot braces, but I don't think that there would be enough room for them in the bow in my case. The bow seems to plow through the water more than I am used to, and the boat truly is slow. The most serious fault, from an open boater perspective, is that the boat doesn't have any storage capacity. There’s hardly enough room for a lunch and a change of clothes. This is not the boat to take on a week end camping trip (unless you have some canoes along to carry all of your stuff, like I do).

But all in all, the yak IS absolutely perfect for what I need. I am thinking that I just might need to get three more of them in the near future. It sure is a lot of boat for a very a small amount of money.


I recently purchased an Otter…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/8/2004
I recently purchased an Otter without really looking into my options. The price really took over and I felt as though this would be the best thing for me. It really doesn't come with much. No footpegs or space. Now that I have one I really like it. I even took it through Class III rapids and didn't tip. However, I wouldn't push it beyond that. For what you pay this boat is great.

This is a great boat for the…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/17/2004
This is a great boat for the beginner or for the lake/slow moving river paddler. I have this kayak for about two years now and have invested in a pair of foot braces (which were very simple to install). I can load it inless than 5 minutes and get it in the water in about the same. If you're looking for a great boat at a great price this is the one!

For an inexpensive kayak to…

Submitted by: paddler230442 on 1/5/2004
For an inexpensive kayak to putter around with on flat water, this is a fine boat. We bought one for our 9 year old daughter to tag along with us while we were out in our Perception Acadias - she wanted a shorter boat than those 12+ footers.

Now you must understand: this is a really basic boat - there are no bungee cords on the deck, no storage hatch, no foot pegs...just a hull and a seat. Personally I don't like paddling it - it doesn't track as well as my Acadia and I really miss having those foot braces. Our daughter loves her little boat though, and can keep up with Mom and Dad pretty well in it. So for now this is the perfect kayak for her - it's small and easy for us to put on the car, it fits in the garage well (we can just stand it on its end in a corner), it seems to resist dirt better than the Acadias with their somewhat textured finish, its price was certainly friendly, and it came in a pretty color (hey, for a 9 year old girl this is an important feature!).

You can add footpegs to this boat, by the way; I priced them at around $25 at the local store. If I were going to be paddling this kayak much, I'd definitely install them.

All in all, if you're looking for a small inexpensive first-time kayak that's strictly for flatwater use, and you're not too concerned about speed or tracking ability, this is a fine choice. You may eventually want to move up to something with a few more features and better performance though.


Why are you looking at an…

Submitted by: rionido on 12/4/2003
Why are you looking at an Otter?, If you are looking for a beginner, everyday kayak that you can throw on the roof of your car at a moments notice.. you are in the right place. I bought a pair of these little critters with paddles for under $600.00 (new), with the intent of introducing my 11 yr old daughter to kayaking. It was (by far) the best $600.00 I have ever spent. My daughter is on the small side ( 4'5" @ 58 lbs), she took to it like she was born to kayak. Our first trip ended up being all day and covering about 7 miles, she was a littl tried, but the ear to ear smile she had went on for days. That smile comes back every time we go out (2-10 times a month). Sure, its a little Yak, buts its got heart. Stable and easy to turn while drawing very little water you can't go wrong for a play boat. I have four kayaks, but the Otters see the most use, they have held up very well for 3 years now and arre available in a variety of "kid friendly" colors (ours are a matched pair in a blue, green and purple tye dyed kind of finish. Its a 9' kayak not meant for huge water, surf or whitewater. For its intended purpose its great.

I've been wanting a kayak for…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/13/2003
I've been wanting a kayak for years. Trouble was, every time I brought the subject up, the wife and kid would say "we want one, too." Just about any kayak price times three was beyond my budget, but I finally managed to find three used Otters at a canoe/kayak livery and snapped them up. It was money well spent. Of course the Otter doesn't have the speed or energy efficiency of larger boats, and when I'm far away on vacation and rent a longer boat, I begin to crave something longer for myself. But here are some reasons I think make the Otter not a mere compromise, but the BEST choice for families:

1)Affordable! Don't let kayak snobs keep you one more minute from becoming a kayaker by trying to convince you that you must have something more expensive (which you can't afford). You will get your money's worth ten times over with this boat!

2)Size. Short and wide has many advantages beyond stability. It easily cartops and fits folks of all shapes and sizes. You will use this boat much more frequently than you would a larger boat because it is SO EASY to throw it on top of your car and head out for a quick paddle after work! Go on E-bay and look at how many really big used yaks are for sale that say something like "only used four times!" Why? Because they are a pain-in-the-neck to transport. People don't use them on the spur of the moment! You won't find this description for a used Otter, because it will get used all of the time. My wife and son are interested in kayaking only about once a week, but my Otter is pretty much a permanent fixture on my car top--I use it after work or early in the morning four, five, even six times a week.

3) Size. Okay, more on size. This short, squat boat goes where few other boats will go. If you're a nature lover, this boat will take you places only you and your Otter can get to--in water just a few inches deep! Glide up to deer, chase beaver around the shallows, get closer to bird nesting areas. Explore tiny creeks with bends and twists. Cant' do that in a 16 foot boat.

4) Durabilty. These boats are basic, but indestructible. My three Otters, veterans of several seasons as rentals, are not dented, warped, or misshapen. They take lots of unintended hits from sharp submerged rocks and stumps, but nothing is going to pierce this shell.

In sum, the Otter will give you the pleasures of kayaking at a per-hour cost infintessimally smaller than any bigger more expenisve boat. Because you will pay less in the first place, and I guarantee you will use it more. Everyone in the world should own an Otter.


This is a great little kayak…

Submitted by: schneidler on 8/11/2003
This is a great little kayak for a beginner on flat water. My wife and I recently moved to the Yukon/Kuskokwim river delta area of Western Alaska. We picked up 2 Otters at REI for $279 each (at least $100 less than anything else) about 2 weeks ago. Since then they have been used about 10 hours per day by us and the local kids. They are very STABLE boats. One kid came back soaked and said he flipped it, but I bet he was trying to, because I have purposely tipped back and forth really vigorously and have had boats speed past at close distance and haven't come close to going into the water.

They are SLOW though, especially if you're going against any wind. But they are DURABLE and CHEAP and EASY to use, so I have to say that we are thrilled with it so far and plan on upgrading later when we get better at the sport. Another nice feature is they draw so little water. I can float anywhere with about 2.5 inches or more water! The kids love them and the boats are hard to damage, so if you have kids this is definitely the way to go. I'm trying to think of something negative...I guess the main thing is the lack of foot pegs, which we heard could tire your back after a lot of paddling. We plan on stuffing some styrofoam into the front of the boat until our legs can comfortably push against it while paddling. Anyway, if you want a quality, cheap boat for a beginner, you can't go wrong with the Otter.


Well, I haven't actually put…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/2/2003
Well, I haven't actually put it in the water yet. My complaints are with regards to the delay (2 months)of delivery from Old Town, and the construction of the kayak itself. I was ordering it in plenty of time I thought for my son's B-day but kept getting lame excuses for the delay. The seat is off to one side of the boat and the left screw that holds it is stripped out. The foam used in the bow and stern look like they were cut out with a butcher knife. I wouldn't dare to send it back for fear it would take months to return not to mention the repacking and shipping fees...but needless to say...I'm disappointed in Old Town.

I get a chuckle out of…

Submitted by: paddler230164 on 6/4/2003
I get a chuckle out of reading some of these reviews where someone is comparing these Otters to boats costing 3 or 4 times as much.....C'mon folks, lets come to grips with reality.

We have 2 Otters, for our 2 girls, aged 8 and 15. We get out fairly often and paddle for hours on end enjoying the many lakes, ponds, and flatwater rivers of Maine. The Otters are recreational boats....which is exactly what we bought them for. For the price, its a great little boat.

I offered the 15 year old a choice of any boat she wanted (she's been paddling for several years) and she decided on a new Otter. The boats are light in weight, tough as nails, and came in "girl friendly" colors...LOL...we have a pink one and a purple one....the girls each picked theirs out!!! We bought them at the Old Town spring sale, and both are "regrind" colors which mean they are "seconds" and not sold in regular retail outlets.

Sure at some point they may want to try whitewater or sea touring, but for now, the kids are superbly happy with their Otters. Thanks Old Town !!!!


For newbies this is a really…

Submitted by: shirlann on 2/3/2003
For newbies this is a really good boat to get started in. We now have 2 Otters and 2 Loon 111. We've had the Otters on the Pere Marquette River in Northern Michigan. The PM is somewhat fast and hairpinned. This boat manuevered much better than the long ones used. Granted it's not made for the Great Lakes, but we didn't buy them for that. Foot pegs were added, which helps. We bought them for fun here at home (we live on the Thornapple outside of Grand Rapids). As others have noted they're a fun boat. We're not into speed. They were bought for the family. The grandkids (3, 6, & 9.Next year a 2 year old) love them. The 6 and 9 year old paddle by themselves, with adults nearby of course. We did buy lighter weight kid paddles.

I am now looking to add a sea kayak to our inventory (I'm ready for overnighter/extended camping trips), but for overall family fun, short 1-2 hours trips or day trips and the price, these are very good.


I'm 15 years old, and Ive…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/13/2003
I'm 15 years old, and Ive been paddling in my otter for 2 years now, at first I thought it was great, but I had nothing to compare it too. Now that Ive been in other boats the Otter pales in comparison. If you're a begginer who's looking to do some lake paddling and dont want to spend much money, this is the boat for you. If you have another hundred or so dollars and want to do everything else, and lake paddling, I would reccomend another boat.

If you are looking for a fun,…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/13/2003
If you are looking for a fun, cheap, nearly indestructable boat for floating rivers and goofing off around the beach the Otter is a 10. If you are trying to go some distance with anything more than 6 pack it is a poor choice. Short and fat makes it a poor tracker which takes a lot of work to keep going. Overall a good boat for the money but only for kids or beginners.

I bought my first OTC 'yak 4…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/7/2002
I bought my first OTC 'yak 4 years ago and it was the Standard Otter (comes w/o footpegs). Having never been in a kayak before it was kind of awkward but I "made friends with it."

It took only a couple of times out to realize I should have invested a couple bucks more and gotten the Otter with 'pegs so I ordered a set and installed them along with a paddle hold and bow deck cords. Ah, like was grand after.

Since then I've owed a Castine and now have an Adventure XL. However, the Otter is still in my possession and several friends have borrowed it for their "first time out". In all cases they enjoyed how it was "user friendly" with the last two borrowers buying their on 'yaks.


The little Otter is my very…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/4/2002
The little Otter is my very first kayak, so I was very careful the first time I got into it and paddled about cautiously around the boat landing at a nearby reservoir a little before dawn on Wednesday. I loved it within the minute. It was like I was born to kayak and the little Otter brought that out. The little blue Otter was more responsive than I expected to light pushes with the kayak paddle and I quickly crossed the quiet water without much effort. At a 170 pounds, that's quite a feat. By the time the sun had fully risen, I was on my way out into main body of water(staying near the shore though). As out of shape that I am, I managed to go two miles before getting too tired.

See now why foot pegs are so important. The small of the back takes the strain where the foot pegs would let the entire muscle system in the legs take it. I recommend a seat cushion, too, if you have arthritus in your hips like I do. Foot pegs and a couple of paddle hooks to hold the paddle while I fish are my next purchases from Old Town.

For a first time purchase of a small kayak (9' 4") for getting into back waters where low tree limbs and thick overgrowth occurs, I recommend the little Otter. I took the Otter below the spillway and was soon manuevering between the half submerged willows and cypresses like a pro. Did some fishing and the Otter remained balanced as I cast the line.

For the price, I bought a good little kayak that I hope lasts for years.


Bought this boat for my…

Submitted by: reseny on 10/4/2002
Bought this boat for my 14-year old son as a first-time kayak for his birthday last June. Can't beat the value of the Otter for $250.00 including a paddle. We have been using it on the admittedly lazy Comal river here in New Braunfels, Texas, but we plan to day-trip part of the Guadalupe River in the Hill Country as soon as the flood debris is cleared this fall. Our main observation is the lack of footbraces, we plan to retrofit a set in as soon as possible. Its not a whitewater boat, but we've been pushing the little boats limits in some hydraulics and standing waves below chutes and low-head dams here in town. Bad idea, now he wants a whitewater/playboat for more adventurous outings. We'll still keep and use the Otter though, great little boat.

As a boat that hits a price…

Submitted by: paddler229895 on 8/26/2002
As a boat that hits a price point well this one does that, but thats about all. Frankly the otter while cheap acts pretty much the same as its price would suggest, its tracking is poor at best and without the foot pegs you lose quite a bit of boat control and paddling efficiency, do yourselves a favor and if your thinking about getting this boat spend an extra hundred dollars or so and get a Perception Swifty, it will track much better and at least has foot pegs.

Bought a used Otter in…

Submitted by: tapelgan on 8/19/2002
Bought a used Otter in excellent shape, primarily for my wife, secondarily for 8-year-old grandson. We have a tandem, but weren't going out much, so I bought a solo Old Town Pack canoe, which I love & use lots. My wife loves the Otter, and I think we'll go out more together now. She likes the independence, the stability, and the ease of handling, compared to the bow seat of our tandem. The grandson loves it too, although he managed to tip it. I find the Otter a little confining and feel it needs footpegs, but I sure enjoy the weight, speed, and stability.

After much research I decided…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/15/2002
After much research I decided on the otter and am very happy with my purchase. Please be advised that this is my first kayak and am rating this for anyone else out there looking for a first kayak. Down to the review: stable, tracks pretty well, comfortable seat, fairly light, fits in my short-bed truck, storage for small pack, and a whole lot of fun. Thanks to reviewers for the practical and thoughtful reviews.

I have owned an Old Town…

Submitted by: paddler229741 on 6/17/2002
I have owned an Old Town Otter for about 3 years now. I have to agree with all the other reviews I've read. There simply isn't a better starting kayak than the otter. I've had a wonderful time with this boat and it has hooked my brother, mother, and aunt on kayaking as well after only one trip each. I've had no problems and haven't experienced the leaking rear hole that others have mentioned. I just went out and bought a Loon 111 because I felt it was time that I moved up since I am a more experienced paddler. However, I still plan to hold onto the otter to use when i have guests or if I just feel like exploring. Best thing about this kayak is its ability to fit into the smallest, shallowest nooks of any lake. I shopped every brand I could find when I went for my second kayak, quite simply, Old Town just out classes the other brands in my opinion. Two thumbs up for the people in Maine creating great canoes and kayaks.

I bought the Otter on a whim…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/29/2002
I bought the Otter on a whim this spring. I fell in love with kayaking from my first experience with it. Compared with the canoes I have paddled over the years it is fast and responsive. It seems to float my 200 pounds OK and my legs and feet (I am 6 foot and wear size 11) fit in well. I added foot pegs and a spray skirt.

I liked it so much that I went out and bought another kayak - a Perception Carolina - to be able to have company. Bad idea! Both my son and I like the Perception so much better, I am now building another touring kayak.

But this boat is everything it is designed to be. It fits inside the bed of my pickup truck with the gate closed. It is easy to carry to the river. It is fast enough to outpace canoes. Are there better kayaks out there? Sure! Most are better. But this little $250 gem got me started and will always hold one of my heartstrings.


I like some of the Old Town…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/8/2002
I like some of the Old Town kayaks, unfortunately the Otter is not one of them. The one I used was older so I don't know if newer models have different features but it was pretty bare bones. I suppose for the price one can't ask for much.
Pros: Great price, pretty maneuverable, very strong hull, pretty large cockpit - not confining the way some perceptions and others are. This is a pretty easy boat to car top.
Cons: There were no footpegs, the seat was brutally uncomfortable, I didn't find it to be that stable (keep in mind my paddling skills could be better), and talk about sloooooowwwww. I kept looking behind me to see if I was towing some barge and not realizing it.
Overall: For someone on a budget or a first boat it's ok, The price certainly couldn't be better. But if your looking for a boat to have for a while I suggest spending the extra $$$ for something else.

I purchased my Otter in March…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/2/2002
I purchased my Otter in March of 2001, paid $239. I also purchased a skirt not long after buying the boat as the water here in Wisconsin is cold when it drips in your lap. I really love this little boat. I can throw it on top of my Jeep and be ready to go in 5 minutes. It's stable, tracks well enough for how short it is and should last just about forever. I have fished out of it a little but mostly just go out for an hour or two to get some exercise and fresh air. The seat is comfortable although I found that without some sort of foot pegs I could not keep myself in a good position. Problem was solved by putting an old cushion under my knees. For the small investment this boat really delivers a decent product. I have a larger boat now but will keep the Otter for when I just have an hour and want to get out on the water.

My wife and I bought two…

Submitted by: paddler229556 on 1/2/2002
My wife and I bought two Otters with paddles for around $600 or so a couple of years back. We found them to be very stable, pretty maneuverable, their speed is adequate, and they track well, and are darn near impossible to tip. In short, the perfect beginner’s kayaks.

But a word of caution: we both outgrew these boats very quickly. After paddling a couple of "real" sea kayaks on a guided day trip (and realizing that they were not prohibitively difficult to control, etc.), we simply could not go back to the slow, calm, Otters. I now paddle an 18 footer and my wife a 16'. And our Otters sit unused (except by the occasional novice guest—and they always love them).

The long and the short of it is this: if you are the type of person who "gets the hang" of things pretty quickly, you might find yourself bored in this boat after a short time. I would recommend holding off, saving up, and buying a longer boat (at least 16'). You’ll enjoy the extra performance. Old Town sells several longer boats, and they are relatively affordable.

If you want to kayak once a month or so and don’t expect to go beyond your local lake for exercise/fishing/etc., you can get a lot of years of use out of the Otter.

=If kayaks scare the you-know-what out of you and you aren't sure you will be interested in continuing, an Otter will make you feel at home on the water. But in this case I would recommend renting before buying.

If you want to start kayaking today, and you are short on funds, an Otter is a fine choice.

This is a kayak that is very good at it's intended use, and not much else. I wouldn't dream of taking this boat on a rough river, or in open water, but it's not designed for that anyway.


I've recently bought an Old…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 12/26/2001
I've recently bought an Old town Otter and absolutely love it. I can finally go to all the great fishing spots around my area without having to hike for hours and hours on end to get to the best spots. Haven't done any modifications yet but will have to add a rod holder and some webbing to hold all the little nick nacks that will go on my day trips.For the size, weight and price you can't go wrong with the Otter. So there ya go.....even in New Zealand we love the Otter.

Great kayak for the money.…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/11/2001
Great kayak for the money. This is a good investment if you want a good all purpose boat or don't want to spend a lot of money. The boat tracks well, is very stable and the roomy cockpit is great. Good for adults and children.

With more than 20 years…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/21/2001
With more than 20 years experience paddling sea kayaks of every description I had my doubts about the Otter. Too short, too wide, to big a cockpit opening, etc. Alas after 15-20 miles of paddling I would have to rate this little boat quite high when it comes to fun delivered for the dollar. Although very heavy for a boat this size due to the materials used (polyethylene) this little boat brings to mind the old adage about "Nothing, simply nothing, beats messing, simply messing about in boats!"

Although unsuited for anything other than protected waters, the Otter tracks very well well, has very good initial stability, and will turn quite well if leaned to the outside of the turn. She also will cruise along at a good clip if paddled briskly. Keep in mind, however, that her short waterline causes her to squat at the stern when paddled hard and this is not the sort of boat you'd choose to set a new speed record getting from one end of your 3 mile long lake to the other.

Creature comfort wise, the molded seat is extremely comfortable, and paddling effort is quite modest unless you try keeping up with longer, sleaker boats. Unless you are going to limit your outings to a mile or two I would highly recommended purchasing the optional footrests however, as it is difficult to put much umph into your strokes unless you are able to brace your feet against something solid. Quality wise? Well poly boats just don't compare to fiberglass when it comes to construction details and the Otter is no exception. Fittings are so so, screws don't stay screwed for long, and the boat just screams Pop Out Mindset.

Still, if you'd like a handy little boat to be thrown on the roof or back of the pickup just in case you spot an intriguing gunkhole while on the way home from work, the Otter will definitely fill the bill.


I've never owned a kayak and…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/1/2001
I've never owned a kayak and wanted one to get on the water since moving to TN. I asked around and researched various types of rec kayaks and found an Otter for $250 plus PFD/paddle. It's easy to get in and out of and very stable even in choppy water. There's plenty of room behind the seat for supplies for a day trip. Also, there's plenty of room forward of your feet and to the side of the seat to put supplies. The Otter looks good too! It's my first kayak and I really like it. For the price and performance, I don't think you can beat it. It's light and easy to place on top of my SUV (solo). I recommend the Otter paddle made by Old Town. Overall, no problems and lots of fun! Buy it.

Every year my family and I go…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/23/2001
Every year my family and I go up to our cabin on the water in Canada. We have four kayaks up there two are otters and two are escapades. The kids always fight over the otters because the are the easiest and most stable; not to mention the nicest looking! The lake we are on is Huron and the water can be rough at times but in the otters we always feel safe! I was so pleased with them I just purchased another otter so now we have three of them!

I have three Old Town kayaks.…

Submitted by: paddler229342 on 7/16/2001
I have three Old Town kayaks. A Loon 111 (11'1"), a Castaway (12'9") and an Otter (9'6") The Loon & the Otter I can forget which one I'm in because they feel allot alike. The Otter however is about 1/2 the price. It is a great boat. Easy to paddle even for beginners. Keeps up with the two other kayaks I have. I recommend buying two for more family fun. Almost everything else out there is twice the price. I got my Otter at a big sporting goods store for $250 + paddles. Big enough cockpit to bend your legs a little so they don't get num during a long run. Just one word of caution; this is not a whitewater kayak! It is sometimes mistaken for one because of it's size. A tall person will find it a bit cramped. If you have never been in a kayak before you won't believe how far you can go with just a small amount of effort.

I've had an otter for about a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/4/2001
I've had an otter for about a year. I was a little alarmed by reading the reviews below about taking this boat in rough water-- it is definetly not set up for it. The boat does feel stable in choppy water, but like any wide beamed boat when it hits its limit it will go over all at once. Once it does, it's almost impossible to rescue once swamped, since it takes on tons of water. I would highly suggest adding front and rear float bags to this boat for anything other than flat water cruising.

Hello everyone. I am write…

Submitted by: paddler229265 on 6/4/2001
Hello everyone. I am write this for the experienced but cheap $$$ kayaker. My wife purchased my otter as an anniversary gift and I can't be happier. I wanted a boat that was well designed, small and light weight.To date I have kayaked in 3 marathon rivers races (30+ miles), I have surfed the waves of Lake Michigan, taken a 10 day trip in the Boundary Waters (with canoe support da..), paddled (class 3) rapids, and can be scene in the small creeks and streams of your backyard. For additions to the boat, I added foot braces, front and back deck ridging, fishing pole/paddle clips, cockpit bilge pump, a skag for tracking, and placed reflective tape on the front, back and sides of the boat. I strongly suggest that if you paddle in any heavily high usage area use reflective tape. This will provide a better chance of being seen by largeer boats and it can and will save your life. Overall the Otter and I have a tried, trusted, and true friendship. Buy it, paddle, be safe, and have fun.

The Otter is very inexpensive…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/22/2001
The Otter is very inexpensive & handles excellent. I'm very satisfied with mine. It's a great starter kayak.

Can't say enough good about…

Submitted by: paddler229244 on 5/22/2001
Can't say enough good about the Otter. Have used it on the Suwannee River and several Lake County Florida lakes. It is stable, comfortable and easily controlled. I have one rigged for fishing and we just purchased a second one for my wife. Recommend a spray skirt for lake cruising and adding foot pegs. Picked up a couple of 5" by 22" boat fenders for leg rests. Helps on the longer paddles.