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Choosing first family canoe

Hi paddlers. My first post here. I'm a rafter who is adding canoeing to our family. We were gifted a 17' Grumman aluminum and I enjoyed being it in but dang it was heavy. Given the used options in our area we've narrowed it down to a 16' OT Camper and a 17' OT Penobscot. I've read that the Camper is the super stable, pack-a-lot, family boat and the Penobscot is the essentially stable but less so. Two questions:
1. What is a fair price for both. The Camper is selling for $750 no paddles. It's in really good shape. The Penobscot is selling for $650 but needs some paint in a couple spots and comes with two paddles. The Penobscot is appealing to me for the few times we would go to a river where there may be some class I and II but primarily we'd be on lakes. And "we" is my wife and 3 kids (9,6,3).
2. When people say the Penobscot feels "tippy" does that mean it actually tips over easily or just has more range of movement?

Thanks so much!
Justin

Comments

  • It just has move movement initially. It has better final stability than the camper. Go for the Penobscot.

    1. If they are in really good shape those are great prices. I see them sell in the northeast for a lot more. At that price there's usually a good bit of wear and tear.
    2. You eventually get used to the tippy feeling of the Penobscot.

    I've had both of these models and both are very good, but different from each other. The Penobscot is more versatile for river running. With small children and primarily using on lakes, the Camper is perfect for that.

    We got rid of the Pscot17 because of the weight. It's like 70 pounds. Got tired of lugging it around. If you want a Pscot, get a 16. The extra 10 pounds makes a huge difference.

  • We have a 16 foot Penobscot and like it. I would go for the Penobscot

  • The Camper has a flatter bottom, so it will feel more tender ("tippier") to the uninitiated. Any canoe can capsize. It is the paddlers that keep it upright. I would go with the Penobscot without giving it a second thought.

  • Think 5 people would require at least a 17’ canoe. And kids get bigger.

  • @stevet said:
    Think 5 people would require at least a 17’ canoe. And kids get bigger.

    I sort of agree; Buy them both. That 9 year old will soon be full size and the whole family can go out without overloading a single canoe. I'd pick the Penobscot if limited to one choice between those two

  • edited August 12

    A family of five, in my $.01 opinion, begs for something at 18' Minimum! I'd be thinking one of the 20'+ tandems. Wenonah makes a couple I believe, Northstar has one or two and their predecessor, Bell, had their Northwoods(18'). Also with that much weight in the canoe...I, personally, would want to go with the mid-weight [carbon-]kevlar models, not their ultralight layup. A kevlar 20'[+] boat won't be heavy for one to portage with a good yoke & pads and will be a FUN boat, not something that might tip at any moment in the heavy wind/chop....
    $.01

  • We went with a 16' Penobscot. We will have all of us in it some times but the plan is to actually take 2-3 people in the canoe plus gear and 2 people in an IK. I'm excited about our newest member of the family. The seller said he wasn't sure if it was Royalex or not. It's a 2001. Here's some pics.






  • Also anyone got a recommended skid plate?

  • The canoe is Royalex.

    Dynel or S fiberglass both make for good abrasion plates. Don't use aramid on the exterior and especially avoid Kevlar felt. I have used both 5 ounce/square yard plain weave Dynel and 6 ounce/square yard S fiberglass. You want to use West System G Flex epoxy to bond to Royalex.

    This thread contains quite a bit of information on how to go about constructing abrasion plates:

    http://www.canoetripping.net/forums/forum/general-paddling-discussions/diy/17299-​skid-plates-an-evolution

  • Awesome. Thanks for the skid plate tip. Ever use Keeleazy? I'll check out S fiberglass and Dynel. The canoe is close to the max for me to load/unload by myself weight wise so the lighter the better.

    And thanks for all the input about our first canoe! I've been a boat person my whole life but never really got into canoes so I'm looking forward to our first trip this weekend.

  • I have never used the Keel Eazy product. Some people really seem to like it. Obviously, the installation is easier than bonding fabric. But that product basically requires achieving a bond with heat-activated contact cement, not as durable as an epoxy bond but perhaps strong enough for some uses.

    I have friends who have tried Keel Eazy on whitewater boats and have had terrible results. It did not stand up to strong impacts against rocks and tended to break off in chunks. To protect against stem damage from abrasion during less vigorous uses, it may be OK.

    I will never use it because the edges stand well proud of the hull.

  • Yeah I've read that too about the whitewater application. I don't intend to do that, at least not yet. I'll probably go the epoxy route cause I prefer not to do things twice but for now I'll just be careful until I get it applied.

  • I use Keel Easy on my thermoformed kayak. It does a great job of protecting against boat ramp abrasion but sliding the boat onto my back yard rack caused some of it to peel off.

  • Just my own .02 on canoe tippiness, with the younger ones in particular, going with a "tippier" canoe may require a certain amount of discipline depending on what they're used to. My kids got used to a flatter bottomed aluminum boat, and then when we jump into a prospector-style boat it causes a little drama (the 6-year-old keeps trying to hang off the sides, causing the 4 year old to get terrified that we're going over). It can be worked through pretty easily, and the more time they spend in it the more they get used to the way the boat moves, but the first few times caused a lot of anxiety for the younger one. Still worth it (a lighter, more maneuverable canoe really does make the time on the water more fun), but something to watch out for.

  • @peter.boysen@gmail.com said:
    Just my own .02 on canoe tippiness, with the younger ones in particular, going with a "tippier" canoe may require a certain amount of discipline depending on what they're used to. My kids got used to a flatter bottomed aluminum boat, and then when we jump into a prospector-style boat it causes a little drama (the 6-year-old keeps trying to hang off the sides, causing the 4 year old to get terrified that we're going over). It can be worked through pretty easily, and the more time they spend in it the more they get used to the way the boat moves, but the first few times caused a lot of anxiety for the younger one. Still worth it (a lighter, more maneuverable canoe really does make the time on the water more fun), but something to watch out for.

    My family is going through this right now. We just picked up a Panobscot 17 and went on the maiden voyage this weekend. Any time the 5 years old would lean for the water the canoe would wobble and make me and Mrs pretty nervous. We have not had the opportunity to take it out just me and Mrs so we can see just how much wobble happens before is capsizes. We were both really surprised on how great it went through the water though!

  • Yes, go out with your wife and get used to how the boat handles before you take your kid, if possible. A team of tandem canoe paddlers also has to get used to each other. If you are in the stern, you will be able to see when someone in front moves suddenly, but the bow paddler does not have that luxury. In time, you will learn to react instinctively to sudden weight shifts. The key is to always keep the upper body upright relative to the water, with your head somewhere above the space between the gunwales, and let your lower body rock independently of your upper body.

  • Quick update. Took it out for our maiden voyage to Waldo Lake in Oregon. I am so glad I got this canoe! Thank you all for the advice and tips. The initial stability was so much less of an issue than I thought it would be. We had two adults and two kids and enough gear/food for a two night trip. I'm still a complete canoe novice and have to get out of the "oarlock" mentality but I practiced some J-strokes, feathering, and posture and it was a dream. I also took it out solo and tried some edging as well. Much to learn but overall so grateful for all your help picking out the right boat.

    Happy paddling!

  • Great!

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