I’m debating over my first canoe purchase Old Town Camper 16 or Penobscot 17

I’m looking to pick up my first canoe for my family. I have 2 young children and would like a good beginner canoe but something that we could grow into and would be really fun to paddle and be versatile. To begin it would be used primarily on larger lakes and canyon paddling in AZ. These two are local to me and I was wondering what we would benefit best from. I’m a bit worried about the primary stability of the Penobscot but I also like some challenge in learning how to handle it. Any help would be great. Pat

I think the Penobscot is a better choice if you can handle the weight (I think it’s a bit heavier than the Camper and neither are feathers). The shallow vee design does have some tendency to want to lean a bit to one side or the other but it’s not an unstable boat and it has great secondary stability. The Camper has more of a flat bottom which makes it feel quite quick and effortless and maneuverable on ponds or quiet lakes but you don’t want a flat bottom in waves or fast water when secondary stability is really important…a flat bottom boat gets pushed around and will make you uncomfortable. I haven’t paddle a P17 but I owned a 16. If you want some added primary stability for comfort while learning just kneel (just you…even one person kneeling makes a difference).

The Camper is not as good in waves… And waves sometimes happen especially if you are going to be sharing water with powerboaters… If you can, take a lesson so you learn to manage those comfortably.

The weight can be managed with a cart if you don’t want to haul it around. I am assuming you won’t need to carry it far.

Also those little kids will be big kids soon enough and cramming four into a 16 footer will get to be a challenge

Penob has a finer hull shape and greater capacity (and I wouldn’t go any smaller than a 17 with two kids plus two adults). The Camper has a flat bottom and will oilcan much more than the Penob.

As others have said the Penobscot is the better boat in most ways. Its heavy but as long as you can manage that, its the way to go.

Thanks everyone for your help. I am leaning towards the Penobscot. Probably go that route