Old Town Northern Light 186

I am buying an OT Northern Light 186 an without any reviews about this canoe, I was wondering if anyone has experience or first hand knowledge of this big canoe? I do have many back issues of Canoe magazine and looks like it was only made 1993 to maybe 1995 or 6. Dimensions are kinda similar to a Wenonah Sundowner 18 so I think it will be a good canoe. Riverrunner Outfitters here in Columbia SC has a perfect blue one hanging in the store overhead and its quite nice. They are asking alot for it. It appears to not have a scratch on it.

What does it weigh? Our first tandem
was an 18.5’ Moore, fast and dry. But it weighed 85 pounds, which was a critical fault.

I wouldn’t buy an 18.5 that weighed over 60 pounds.

3 seater?
I have a 99 OT Penobscot 186. It is a heavy beast, doesn’t like to turn but it allows me to haul 2 large kids and I doing river cleanups. It was cheap at $400. Usually cheap and heavy go together. I would have liked to find a lightweight freighter type of canoe but they are out of my budget. If just looking for a tandem canoe there are better choices out there. I picked up a mid 90s Spirit II for $350 once and sold it because my kids were not interested in dads passion yet. There are deals out there but you have to be patient.


It is fiberglass
It is made of fiberglass, 2-seater with the very light and narrow aluminum gunwales. The Canoe Magazine buyers guides for 1993 and 1994 do not have the weight listed. It says N/A in that column. I know it is not a deep boat with the bow only 19" and stern 16" with a 14" center depth. I also own a 1985 OT Columbia 18.5ft fiberglass tandem with wood gunwales and it is really a pleasure to paddle. This Northern Light might be similar but a little beamier and more capacity. My Columbia weighs about 64lbs and I am expecting it to weigh around 70lbs. I go pick it up in two weeks.

Northern Light 18’6"
It is not a relative of the 18’6" Penobscot. I remember it as a derivative of the White Lightning. When Johnson Outdoors bought E.M.White they moved some of the White models to the Old Town Catalog. Some bore their White model names and others were rechristened. It is not a bad paddling canoe. It suffered from the same flaws as the Canadienne and Columbia. All were too heavy and too expensive to compete with what Wenonah and Sawyer had to offer. They fiberglass Old Town models were priced the same as the Kelvar Wenonahs. The Kevlar Old Towns weighed as much as the fiberglass Wenonahs and cost more than the Kevlar Wenonahs. The kevlar Old Towns were solidly built and beautifully finished, but were not competitive either in price/weight or performance. Who wants a tripping canoe that is slower, heavier and costs more?

The Northern Light series were some of the best paddling Old Towns ever produced. The 18’6" was comparable to the 222 Sawyer, Mad River LeMoille, and 18’Sundowner. But not a match for either the Wenonah Odyssey or Minnesota II.