Old Town Pack canoe

Kayaker here, wanting to try a lightweight canoe. What can you tell me about how the Old Town Pack handles? I know more or less nothing about canoes.

Use: ponds, lakes, calm conditions, day trips.

I have 220 and 230cm kayak paddles. Is the 230 too short for the Old Town Pack?

An internet friend in Scotland paddles
an OT Pack with a double blade. He paddles it sitting and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t use anything longer than a 220.

As for handling, I don’t think anyone would expect it to be a “handling” canoe. You’d want to go to a Flashfire or similar for handling, and for better cruising speed.

For the most boat for the least weight with decent speed and handling, I’d look at a Patriot from Millbrook. But at 14.5 feet, it isn’t quite a “pack” canoe. Isn’t a toy, either.

Wish I knew where you are
Hornbeck in the Adirondacks makes pack canoes…so does Placid Boatworks. So do some other builders like Hemlock.

at 33 lbs the only similarity between an OT Pack and a pack canoe is the word “Pack”. All the others are much lighter and most have way better handling.

Ponds lakes day trips ??
Have to agree with Kayamedic that the Old Towne is not really a pack canoe other then in name. If you really are going to only paddle ponds, lakes and day trips and don’t plan on doing any portages it should work for you. But, and its a big but if you intend to do any portages the extra weight is going to be it’s downfall. Quick check shows the OT Pack for sale at around $800-$1,000 and you can find used ones. While a Hornbeck 10 will go for around $1,300 and weight half as much as the OT Pack. If money is no problem look at the Placid Boat Works Spitfire or Rapidfire at around the $3,000 price. Swift as well as others also make some nice canoes at a reasonable weights. So it comes down to where you plan on paddling and if you plan on doing any portaging while carrying the boat.

OT Pack
I bought an Pack earlier this year and really like it a lot. I bought it because I was tired of having to worry about hitting rocks and stuff with my 16’ Hornbeck, while out fishing 3 or 4 times a week.I love the Hornbeck for doing trips,just not every day use. The Pack doesn’t paddle like a kayak like all the high end pack canoes. It doesn’t slice through the water,but I need the extra workout anyway. I use a 240 paddle and have no problems, would think a 230 would work. It’s also great for bringing the grandkids and/or dogs along.

Can you say more
about the handling of the Old Town Pack?

I really don’t know a thing about canoes, even after paddling them for 10 years prior to switching to kayaking. I don’t even know what “good handling” would mean. Same as a kayak? Good tracking and maneuverability? Stability?

The Old Town Pack was one of the recommended light canoes that came up when I asked for suggestions here last year.

Ponds, lakes, day trips only. No portages.

. . . but do people use the OT Pack for camping??

I guess this will surprise you but I’m looking at the OT Pack because of its light weight. My kayak is 49lbs. I want a light alternative to throw on the car for a quick evening paddle.

Money is definitely a limiting factor as my main investment is in my kayak. I’ve found a used OT Pack but haven’t tried it out yet.

My main concern is whether the OT will be ok in wind and waves if conditions turn rough, or will it tend to be blown about? I’m used to a stable kayak that I can rely on in all conditions.

A second concern is the width. As a kayaker it’s hard to conceive of paddling something 12’ long x 32" wide.

Thanks, Jeff!
Compared to a kayak, does the OT Pack paddle like a tank? Any glide to it in calm water?

Would you ever consider camping with it?

Have you had it in rough water?

33 lbs. is too heavy to portage?

I wish I owned a 33 lb. canoe instead of the much heavier ones I have to schlepp or, in the near future, tote on vertiginous goat paths with my new CCC (Chinese Canoe Cart).

How many legitimate single blade, hung seat, kneeling canoes weigh less than 33 lbs. like the OT Pack? And how many of those dang few cost less than $900 new?

Not sure I know what pack canoe “in name only” means either. Old Town’s hull was called a pack canoe much earlier than any of the other hulls mentioned in this thread, all of which are simply undecked double blade kayaks made out of thin layers of cloth with minimal resin. They should more accurately be called “pack kayaks” to differentiate them from hard-to-portage sea and rec kayaks.

I wouldn’t want to paddle an Old Town Pack for the performance purposes that interest me, but its weight is certainly not an issue for me. OPMMV. It’s been a very popular boat for many paddlers for many decades.

Creek canoe
I have an Old Town pack. Bought it used. I love it…when I use it. I call it my “creek canoe.” It is great on small rivers, creeks etc. I don’t think I would take it out on lakes… I have other canoes for that. Lightweight… Hoist on your shoulder and go. I know others who use it well for fishing. I used to know someone who had an Old Town Pack rigged for whitewhater . . . He said it handled Class II’s easily. And three or four weeks ago I met someone at the Bois Brule in Wisconsin who planned on doing the ledges there in an Old Town Pack after very heavy rains. I told him I wished I could get in touch with him afterwards to see how he did.

Yes, compared to a kayak or sit on the bottom solo canoe it does paddle like a tank, but like I said, I need the workout. It does glide some, about 1/3 of the glide of my Hornbeck.I’ve had it out in about 15 to20 mph winds and 12 inch wave and it is a hand full. You really have to hurry to get a drink or anything or you will be heading the way you came from. I have decieded to just use a kayak paddle all the time in my pack.I can do OK with a canoe paddle, but it’s way easier and faster to use a kayak paddle. I would use it to camp unless I had to do 20+ miles a day. I have to work pretty hard to keep up with my buddies in there 12 and 14 foot kayaks but I can do it. I think I can get as much stuff in the Pack as I can in the Hornbeck because the Pack gets pretty wide real quick and the Hornbeck stays pretty narrow back to where you sit on the bottom. Glad to help and feel free to ask more? Jeff

I’ve done the Bois Brule, and have
paddled with a lot of nut cases who insist on using canoes that are manifestly unsuitable for whitewater. People can get away with a lot with nerve, and in some cases, some real ability.

But an Old Town Pack in class 2? Except for a few more difficult rapids, the Nantahala is mostly class 2, and it would take both nerve and luck to get a Pack down it, without even attempting some expected eddy turns and maneuvers.

I agree
I wish I would have gotten his contact info. I really wanted to know how he did. I can’t imagine him getting down the ledges in that canoe at 325 cfs. He went with a Marine, in a kayak, who was about to be deployed. I guess he was his guardian angel.

Thanks Jeff
Very helpful!

Try this: http://www.paddling.net/sameboat/archives/sameboat660.html

Tamia Nelson, author of In the Same Boat, is a major contributor to this website. She has written several articles about the Old Town Pack, and makes a nice case for it.