MR Explorer vs. OT Camper

Looking for an all around 16" Rx boat for fishing, camping on rivers with

Have Owned the Explorer
Only paddled the Camper. A buddy of mine has one and loves it. People talk about the flat bottom and the fact that in rough water that equals poor stability, but that’s not been evident by him or noticeable by me. I think it feels very slow, like you’re dragging something when paddling it. Steady as a rock for fishing.

I have paddled the Explorer extensively from BWCAW lakes in the northwoods to Ozark rivers. Handles all well, although, it too is a tad slow (not as much so as the Camper). The initial stability may feel a little “Wobbly” with the shallow-V hull because the boat likes to rest on one or the other side of the “V.” But, it too is rock solid. Only time I’ve come close to tipping one was making too sharp a turn with a trolling motor one time and I’ve had mine in some godawful conditions.

For fishing, either would work. Over the long term, I personally prefer, and think most folks would prefer the Explorer? But remember, opinions are like arses, we all got a different one (LOL)!

Wenonah Aurora
Since you’re looking for 16’ Rx.

Camper is a little slow, the MR is a little heavy for Rx, the Wenonah is the best paddling 16 footer in the bunch.

Explorer Vote
Paddled both own an Explorer and prefer it. Should have never sold it.

I own a Camper paddled Explorer

– Last Updated: Aug-14-14 6:13 PM EST –

Both are good boats. The Camper is an all rounder but the Explorer though heavier takes some wind and waves a little better and a bit stronger river conditions. But I will never ever sell my Camper ! I maybe should have never sold the Penobscot 17 we owned but I will never sell the Camper. It's light for Royalex, stick in most any water, beach it, fish from it, camp with it, go down a river up to maybe class 2, or up the river and anchor in an eddy. It glides over river structure. Heavy wind on a lake slows it down yes, waves splash a bit yes but I've paddled far worse. The Explorer is a notch above the Camper, drier ride, slightly easier paddling and slightly better tracking but not far enough up the scale to trade out my Camper and give up that weight break.

I prefer the Explorer
As Terry said, some people might find the shallow V hulls slightly unsettling at first but you quickly get used to them.

Both boats would likely serve your purpose but the Camper is just a bit too slow for my tastes. The Explorer, though no speed demon, is more efficient.

Never Paddled That Boat…
…but it sure looks like a nice hull?

One diffrence between them is depth.
MR is 14.5 inches, OT is 13 inches. An inch and half does not seem like a lot but it makes a significant difference. Your intended use is not 100% clear to me but if you are paddling protected waters in flat conditions the 13 inch depth might be preferable and if you are paddling a lot of white water or rough flat water conditions the 14.5 inch might be preferable. Just a thought. I paddle a fair amount of whitewater and I trip a lot on rivers and lakes and so my choice would be the MR as between these two boats because of the high sides. There are many other boats to consider of course. And there are longer boats too - which would be my preference if I had only one boat.

Explorer for me
I was looking at OT Camper from local retailer but found a Explorer on PNET classifieds. Love it. I foind it very stable on Ozark rivers. Only time I flipped was when hit submerged log on flooded creek I shouldn’t have been on anyway.

Lots of folks love their OT Campers - for what I hear you saying you want to use it for _ don’t think you can go wrong with either.


Yeah, I agree either would serve
you very well in that capacity. The first “real” canoe I ever bought was a sixteen foot Explorer in RX. Decent initial and great secondary, swallows gear and can be soloed with decent tecnhique. It’s often referred to as the swiss army knife of canoes and I think that’s a good analogy.

with moving water(ie streams/rivers)…I

– Last Updated: Aug-19-14 10:43 AM EST –

think I'd go with the MR Explorer. In fact I know I'd rather go with the Explorer, wherever.....rather than the camper, even if it gets a stiffer & heavier hull.

I have an Explorer and it’s a great all around boat. It’s a load monster for camping and a nice, stable platform for fishing. I can handle it solo (paddling backwards from the front seat) in all but the most windy conditions.

I’ve paddled am OT Camper twice and I liken it to paddling a bathtub. The Explorer is no speed demon by any means, but it’s considerably faster than the Camper

Old Town Penobscot 16RX
Back in May, I started to buy a Mad River Explorer 16 in Royalex, but due to shipping delays upgraded my order to an Old Town Penobscot 16 in Royalex. I use the canoe for fishing most of the time, but will also take it out for overnight camping on the river. It works great as a solo boat too. The Penobscot flat bottom can slip thru some very shallow water vs the Mad River shallow V. The Penobscot is also a bit narrower, lighther, and faster than the Mad River Explorer. I’ve paddled both rivers and lakes in the Penobscot and love it. Penobscot is designed for the intermediate (experienced) paddler.

OT Penobscot Shallow Arch bottom

– Last Updated: Aug-20-14 3:30 PM EST –

It looks slightly V shaped really but is classified shallow arch. Anyway, it really is a different handling boat than either the Camper or Explorer. I owned a Penobscot 17. The 16 is basically the same hull design, obviously minus the size. The Penobscot is the sharpest tracking of the three boats when under way.