Any opinion re. the Old Towne Pack Canoe

I’m thinking of buying a 13’ Old Towne Pack canoe to be used on flat water to paddle around with my 80 pound dog - on day trips only - with minimal gear aboard.

This canoe weighs 33 pounds and I can load it on the rack [on my car] solo. The low weight is the primary attraction.

The canoe is used and looks very sound/clean - $500

Any thoughts/experiences - Pro or Con??


Boat choice and loading weight

– Last Updated: Jun-24-11 1:03 PM EST –

We don't know enough about your type of use to know if some other boat might be better. The Pack is okay if you don't have much need to go far or fast. Even then, be aware that something that cruises a little nicer might please you more.

My main point is about loading on a roof rack. For that, technique is far more important than weight. It's not that weight doesn't matter though. I find that the farther I have to carry a boat, the more I like light weight. But for loading it on the roof, I really don't care what it weighs, because once I have it on my shoulders it's a simple matter to lean one end on the rack, drop the other end to the ground, and then slide it up there (lifting one end of the boat while it's leaning against a rack is never difficult, even for the heaviest canoes). That way there is never any need to "lift" the whole weight of the boat in some awkward manner. Positioning your rear cross bar far enough to the rear to make this possible is best. If you can't do that, building a lengthwise cross bar on one side (putting one on each side is better) that conntects the front and rear bars allows you to slide the boat up from one side of the car. If sliding the boat up from one side of the car, it's a simple matter to pivot it once it's up there.

Getting a canoe up onto your shoulders is a skill, and it's more difficult with a heavier boat, but for most people it's not too bad if the boat is less than 65 pounds or so. With the right technique, small and relatively weak people can get even heavier canoes on their shoulders. Someone might be able to post a link to describe how this is done.

Maybe after considering everything, the Pack turns out to be a good choice. I just wanted to point out that loading a canoe on the roof does not require any overhead lifting.

As long as your dog is willing to get
back in the car, I think the canoe will be no problem. I used to have a 13’ solo canoe that weighed closer to 50 pounds, and it was easy to load. Comments from Pack owners, mainly in England, indicate that it will do what you want it to do.

Waar o’ waar is MJFlores???

– Last Updated: Jun-24-11 2:16 PM EST –

waan yer want him...

Ah' had a OT Pack which ah' got rid of within a year - not ta say it be a bad boat fer it's poypose but we jus' didn't git along. 80 lb dawg... dat shood be a'mighty interestin'.


Fat and slow but still enjoyable
My first solo was a Pack that I bought for $300. It came with a lovely bent shaft paddle too. I used it for at least 5 years, and I kept it in the garage for another 3 years before I could sell it. It is fat and slow, but the weight and short length make it very easy to handle. It could go into little tiny creeks where the bigger boats couldn’t go. I loved only have 33 pounds too!

For the first 3 or 4 years, I paddled it mostly with a double bladed paddle. It behaves very well with one. Eventually I became more confident with my single blade skills (and I just have a person preference for a single blade) so the double blade paddle went on the shelf. My daughter would go with me from the time she was 4 or 5, and the main reason I kept it so long was that she just loved that boat. It was her first solo canoe too, and she could control it easily. I bought a longer, skinnier (and slightly heavier) boat that is easier to paddle, but sometimes I still miss the old Pack.

If you want to paddle in it with a 80 pound dog, I hope you aren’t very big. It handles best with a 200-250 pound load, max. It is also not very stable. I used to teach canoeing, and the only boat I’ve had students tip was the Pack! Lowering the seat an inch or two would help tremendously, but I never got around to it since it didn’t bother me much.

In other words, it’s a fat tub of a boat, but it can be fun if you like small, intimate waters. For $500 I’d expect it to be in really good shape though.


Mohawk Solo 14
I thought I was interested in a Pack until I paddled one. Can’t say I liked it very much. Very sluggish. I purchased a Mohawk Solo 14. Love it!! Not sure how it would handle with a large dog, no experience there. I have paddled with my nine year old daughter in this canoe with no problem at all.

Its a good day boat for dog outings

– Last Updated: Jun-25-11 9:58 AM EST –

though you might try to rent any boat and test the dog first. Not all dogs enjoy canoeing as much as you would like and can be antsy.

My chief objections are that the paddling station is so far back because of the boats width.. You really don't have much control of the bow. It does not allow much advancement and learning of paddle skills if that is a goal of yours.

If you simply want to get out there with dog and fish and relax its a reasonable boat. I have seem people paddle them with big smiles.

I wonder where our Pack Guru is?

Out paddling…

That’s where I’d rather be right now.

I owned one…
for a number of years. Is it the best solo boat available? Nope. But is it perfectly serviceable? Yep.

Somebody mentioned that the seat placement is so far back that you can’t control the bow. I found that to be the case, so I simply spent a few extra dollars on a new bench seat that I could cut to size and place closer to the center of the canoe. I placed it so that the front edge of the seat was just about in the exact center. This not only made the boat easier to keep going straight when you wanted it to without having to make every stroke a corrective one, but it also had the effect of making the canoe feel a lot more initially stable. After placing the seat better, I did not find the canoe to be very tippy at all. I also did not find the canoe to be sluggish. It’s slow, and it will never be a good tracking canoe, but like I said, it’s serviceable.

Well if he is on the 50 mile trip I just
finished that explains it… It will be a few days…

you see the L/W ratio is so low that even a 20 mph wind is going to put you ashore when the seas start running and bobbing you around.

OTP and Seat Placement
Is the OT Pack at a questionable catalog weight of 33lbs a light boat? Other pack canoes run as light as 12 lbs, and it does not handle as well as many others either. It is not a great boat but it’ll float a guy and his dog.

But yes, the seat needs be moved. Front edge 4.5 in aft of center for kneelers, 2 in aft for those sitting, and foot braces will help the sitters amongst us acquire bone to boat contact. New seats with wider cross bars are ~ $30 from Eds or Essex.

Agree with most…think one can do
better with other brands of “Packs” for efficiency, stability and ease of paddling. If Mohawk solos are available, even the added cost is worth it.


The Pack is not…
a true “pack” canoe. It’s simply a small recreational solo. It compares closest to the old Wenonah Sandpiper and the Mohawk 13, and both of those canoes are (were) a little better handling than the Pack. It also compares to the heavier Old Town poly 119 and its big box store alter egos, with fairly similar handling characteristics. I found the 33 pound specs to be very close to the true weight of my Pack, and it was certainly easy to carry around and cartop. Though it’s neither a performance solo nor a super light weight, no frills “pack” canoe, I believe it’s about the lightest Royalex solo, and it was a pleasant canoe to paddle if you didn’t expect too much from it.

Try the boat
Ask the seller for a test paddle. That way you will be able to answer many of your own questions.

If possible, try it with your dog. Your dog may not like canoes. You may not like your dog in a canoe. You may not be able to control a small canoe with an 80 lb. dog jumping around.

If that all works out, sure the canoe can do what you ask in your OP. So can just about any FW solo or tandem canoe. There are other canoes that are just as light but paddle better. They may be more expensive, however.

Try before you buy.

purchase hatchet along with OT pack
Borrowed a bud’s OT pack for a 20 mile trip down a local river and wanted to take an axe to it when I finished. But that’s just me.

Would be good to put in your pool or pond.