Grumman or Old Towne

Newbie here… Can get my hands on an Old Towne Saranac 146 or a Grumman 1948 17’ for the same price ($300)

looking for benefits of each when its comes to paddling and/or adding a small motor…

anyone know anything about either of these? Thanks in advance.

What do you want to do with a canoe?
I could use a 17 foot Grumman for tandem canoeing on lakes and rivers. The Saranac is simply too short for a tandem crew to carry much gear.

Neither boat is much good for solo paddling.

I agree with the above, what are your planed primary uses?

If it’s just paddling a small lake or pond with your kid or significant other, the Saranac should do fine. If you want to add camping, fishing and longer trips, the extra length of the Grumman will allow it to do all that far better than the Saranac.

I don’t think either are particular good boats, but the Grumman will last forever and at 17’, be much more versatile than the Saranac.

canoe comparison
Weight: about even, the older Grummans are made of thicker aluminum and I don’t remember a lightweight version in 1948. The Grumman will be easier to carry, it can be fitted with a yoke.

Durability: The Grumman wins again. The skin of the Saranac will slide over rocks, but will wear down faster from the abrasion of gravel or sand.

Paddling: The longer Grumman is narrower and will displace less water for a given weight, keeping the hull on top of the water and not pushing it aside as far as you paddle; meaning less effort required. Stability: a slight edge to the Grumman, the shorter Old Town is made wider to add stability and capacity.

Seaworthiness, the Grumman is worlds ahead of the Saranac. Deeper bow, fuller ends. 17’Grummans were taken all over North America after WWII and took countless Boy Scout troops into the wilderness and brought them home.

My money: Buy the Grmman and get a Grumman clamp on portage yoke. Pad the seats and the floor where you kneel; and paddle your heart out. When you get some experience and know what canoe hull is better for your paddling needs; buy a new canoe and keep the Grumman as your loaner and beater.

hope this helps,


if you want to relive your youth
buy the Grumman…the canoe I first capsized in, Camp Wangum, 1970??..and the madness began!

thank you. Grumman has been on the top of my list. just now saw a 16’ Old Town Katahdin in excellent shape for $400. thinking maybe this would be better than both of the above mentioned. not in a rush so waiting for the perfect boat to come along.

not the saranac
I bought a Saranac 146, in a fit of foolishness. All that luxurious looking stuff seemed to appeal to me as I was teaching my 10 year old to paddle. Big mistake. The thing weighs a ton, and is awkward to move around or load/unload. Grab handles are not well designed, those strings from the seat backs are a PITA when loading/transporting, the “console” in the middle is largely useless… I could go on. I tried replacing the stock seats/console with some traditional cane seats and an ash thwart - lightened it up a lot (like 25 lbs), but then it oil-canned like crazy… because the hull is thin, and the design counts on the reinforcement of the stock seats and console. Overall, a lousy design. The one exception - if you have a lakefront dock and all you want to do is short paddles to go fishing or lounging, just dragging it off the beach… it’s probably a decent canoe.

I have never been tempted to buy an aluminum canoe. To each his own.

The Katahdin sounds like the way to go. Just my 2 cents.