I've had mine going on 4yrs..I bought it mainly for the opportunity to take my Furry Family! We Have a Blast...I take out the front seat. I have a nice thick pad I place inside so they are stable and sure footed..I added decking and padding to the bow so they can layout if they wish.. Plenty of room for gear when we do an overnighter..Stable and manuverable with no Bow lift when I'm in the back... Now I looking at Old Town's new line of Touring kayaks for me... Just don't tell these guys!
We picked up our Twin Heron at the Old Town factory in Maine and couldn't wait to get it on the water! The Twin Heron is a great choice for a couple wanting to spend time together in nature. The kayak handles easily on lakes and quiet streams. At 60 some pounds it is easy to handle getting to the water and travels well on top of an SUV. Once in the water the Twin Heron tracks very well and is exceptionally stable (a real plus if you are interested in photography or fishing.) The seats are comfortable for longer trips and plenty of storage space. The only drawbacks I've found are the lack of any built in dry storage or tiedowns in the cockpit. Both can be easily remedied with a dry bag and stick on anchor points. The Twin Heron handles my wife and I along with our 2 dogs no problem. An added advantage is the ability to remove the front seat and paddle solo. Old Town designed the kayak trim well with only one paddler. The Twin Heron is an excellent choice for a family recreational kayak.
We picked up our Twin Heron at the Old Town factory on a trip to Maine in October 2015. Didn't have a chance to use it much on that trip but have put it into many lakes and streams here in Tennessee since. This October we returned to Maine and explored several of the lakes in Acadia. My wife and I are in our 60's and really enjoy the stability and comfort of the Twin Heron. I have no problem loading it on top of the Pathfinder and paddling with my wife and our 2 dogs is exceptionally easy. I take photos on our trips and found that with a little effort (and peaceful dogs) the majority of my pictures are usable. Seating is comfortable, kayak tracks well, and there is adequate room even with the dogs. A dry hatch would be nice but dry bags and boxes for the camera take care of the problem. After 2 years with the Twin Heron my biggest regret is not getting one sooner!
The Twin Heron at 60lbs is very easy for me to move on my own, and the 13.5' length tracks great, but doesn't feel cumbersome in the slightest. The only thing you give up with this kayak is dry storage hatches/bulkheads. There aren't any. That said, if you're going solo and have some dry bags, the front storage is more than adequate in the cockpit and it does handle even better with front weight.
I'm marking it down 1 point for the lack of sealed storage, and the lack of a drain which I will be adding using the OT drain kit in the near future. Overall, for the price, the quality, construction and handling is hard to beat.
I highly recommend this kayak if you want a good tracking, steady, dog-friendly, plenty-of-room kayak.
At 60 lbs it's easy enough to heft onto a roof rack. My wife isn't real comfortable on the water (poor swimmer) yet she likes how it handles and feels safe in it. Maybe after we use it more I'll think to give it a 10
I took the Twin Heron out a half dozen times on a few local lakes and it did well. Well enough for me to take it to the BWCAW for a week. I paddled the BWCAW solo, but traveled in a pair. My travel partner was in a Kevlar prism. The Twin Heron performed flawlessly!
I chose the Twin Heron, as my first kayak, because I wanted something that had cargo capacity for a weeklong wilderness trip, yet was stable for me to take my four year old daughter out locally, AND sturdy enough to use for float trips on Missouri rivers and streams. Those requirements, in my mind, ruled out anything Kevlar. With my previous Minnesota II, it was not designed for, and I was unable to use put it to the abuse that comes with floating rivers around here. Coming in at 49 lbs (with front seat) the Twin Heron seemed manageable enough to portage, is made of poly so it is durable for float trips, and has a 500lb capacity.
As far as performance, it glided smoothly through the water and tracked very well. I removed the front seat, for space, but I did find it necessary to stow one of my bags as far forward in the bow as possible for weight distribution. Without that forward stowage, it seemed the trim was off and it did feel a little like I was paddling a barge when I encountered any chop.
For stability, there were never any waves or chop that even slightly created a feeling of instability. Even when on the entry point lake, where there were motors, the wake from the motorboats had little effect. However, it goes without saying that I did quarter into the wake.
With regard to comfort, we traveled an estimated 36 miles during the week, and there were no issues. The padded seat was comfortable and the adjustable foot rests allowed me to change positions as needed.
The big question in my mind was going to be portaging. For frame of reference, I am 44 y.o. and in decent shape. Our trip included three meaningful portgages. 75 rods, 180 rods, and 200 rods. there were a number of short 25 to 35 rod portages. The prototypical kayak portage is over one shoulder. I was able to portage fine, but I have a few comments:
i) I used a short piece of swim noodle on the gunwale to pad my shoulder;
ii) the lower gunwale cut across my hip quite uncomfortably- at first I used my rain gear as a pad to protect my hip, but that was cumbersome. After some trial and error, I figured out that if I placed my rain pants over my belt that the lower gunwale would rest perfectly on my belt resulting in a good weight distribution between my hips and shoulder. However, this only worked on my right side and not left (not sure why). Of course, each person's physical build, and therefore comfort, will be different so it will require trial and error. Once I got it figured out, it was no problem.
I will not hesitate to take the Twin Heron to the BWCAW again. Two things I will try though, between now and then: First, I will try to use a portaging yoke for over the head portaging and see how that works; and second, I will find an actual belt hook/clip to support the lower gunwale.
Overall, it was a great craft for me because of the flexibility I want for the once or year wilderness trip, and the more frequent local use. Large capacity and stability mean more to me that the infrequent portaging use.