Old Town Camper 16, pros/ cons?

Thinking about buying the Camper as an all around pond/lake/river canoe for the family. Looks to be a real nice canoe.

Is weight an issue? If not, enjoy.


my buddy Bob
who has mostly Mohawks, likes his Camper for poling and tandem. Very experienced canoeist.


Whar’ the wind bloweth, thar’ ye goeth.

what do you mean about the wind? Is the Camper 16 really more suceptable to wind blow than other canoes?


Old Town Camper 16
I have owned my Camper since 2005.

My family and I have had a blast with mine. The Camper is extremely stable. I have two kids, now 7 and 10 and we have never spilled in this canoe. Excellent primary and secondary stability and will hold tons of gear. Great to fish out of as well. On the other side, it is wide and has a flat bottom. Therefore it is much harder to paddle in a windy situation. All in all this is a great family canoe IMHO. Hope this helps. If you live close to the West Tennessee area you are welcome to give mine a try on the pond.

Should depend much more on load
than on the shape of the bottom. Our first canoe was an 18.5’ Moore Voyageur, sharp ended with a very arched bottom. When my wife and I paddled it empty, on more than one occasion we were blown around and downwind in spite of our best efforts. But when the boat was loaded with 600 pounds of people and gear, it was rock-steady and fairly impervious to wind.

I don’t care for purely flat-bottomed canoes, but taking the redoubtable flat-bottomed Grumman as an example, when the bottom turns up to become the sides, the chines provide some resistance to wind unless the canoe is just too lightly loaded.

My main anxiety for the original poster is that I think he perhaps should be buying a 17 footer for the family loads he anticipates.

flat bottom, lots of oilcanning
Camper is a pretty boat if you’re looking at a side elevation, but on the water, the flat bottom has major oilcanning and tracking issues.

For the same or perhaps a little less money you can buy a Wenonah Adirondack or Aurora in Royalex, both of which have more arch to the bottom (the Aurora more than the Adirondack), and will track better than the Old Town. More efficient boats, same materials.

All of the above
The Camper is a pretty good general usage canoe well suited to what you descibed.

The flatish bottom means you have very little draft. Lightly loaded you can sneak in places were other boats will bottom. That also makes it more susceptable to being blown around and oil canning (the hull will flex from water pressure)

More weight in the boat will make it less likely to be blown around.

Some of the other boats mentioned will hold a course better and maybe even take less muscle to push along, at the expense of manuverability and deeper draft.

The good & the not so good…
I had one and you can check my review on this website - but I’ll go through it some right here for ya…


*Easy to get used to for a beginner.

*Reasonably light for a 16’ Royalex canoe.

*Hauls a lot of stuff and has full stems for good buoyancy.


*Easy to stand in on flat water.

*Excellent poling canoe for especially shallow water, and pretty good for poling all-round. Easy to carve an edged turn in.

*Turns pretty easy just about anywhere.

Not so:

*Not generally as efficient as similar priced and sized Royalex boats.

*Lacks secondary stability compared to shallow arched or vee hulls and is therefore less suitable to rough water.

*Catches more wind and skids across the water more easily as a result, than some other canoes given a similar load (I.E. - Penobscot, Malecite)

*Tracks less easily than arched or vee hulls.

It’s a good canoe, within it’s limitations. I wish I could have kept mine (had to prioritize, y’know), because when the river is really low it’s about the best thing going.

To answer your question,
as others have indicated, the large flat bottom requires

about 500 + pounds to get enough of the hull into the

water to make the design work for the Camper. It is made

for heavy loads, and therefore not the best for an all

around canoe.

By comparison, the Penobscot is a fantastic choice, and

you should research it.

Good luck, and enjoy your research.

I think the Camper will be fine
for what you have in mind. I have several canoes, but the Camper was my first boat. Like many have said, it’s not a ‘performance’ boat, but it’s very stable and forgiving, and easy to paddle. I sometimes paddle with young kids or visitors or with my elderly father. I’ll always keep this boat just for such occasions.