Which is the better fishing canoe? Leaning towards the Vagabond. Anyone have any thoughts?
Vagabond is more versatile, will
work better in bigger water, and provides a fair amount of room. It will paddle better and be a fun boat. The Pack is a great one if you need to portage between places you paddle. Its wide and has good initial stability, but can be tippy, especially with the seat at factory height. If you want to do overnighters or three/four day trips, the Vagabond is the boat.
Either is a nice boat, but it really depends on what you expect the boat to do and where you fish. If you fish small waters that have little or no current, the Pack may be your boat. If you want to fish larger lakes and bigger waters, go with the Vagabond.
The Pack is light weight, the Vagabond isn't heavy, but may weigh more depending on the layup. In Royalex it comes in at around 43 lbs as I remember. For more money, you can get it in lighter layups...carbon fiber is very light, also not cheap. Again, a lot depends on how you use it. If you aren't going to encounter rocks and bang it around a lot, a composite layup will work well. If the areas you fish are rocky and have a few rapids, Royalex is the way to go.
I've the Vagabond's little brother, the Sandpiper, no longer made. Its a foot shorter. Great little boat, but to gain stability for fishing, I've lowered the seat about 2". Its Royalex construction, weighs 39 lbs on the scale. Its fun boat and a good one to fish from. Since buying it, my Old Town Loon has been fishing twice...bought the Piper in March. Weight makes a difference. I paddle the Piper with a kayak paddle, something you may want to consider for the Vagabond. There are only two things I'm not pleased with. I'd rather have the extra length of the Vagabond (though, for $300 for a slightly used Piper, I'm not complaining too much). And, I still haven't found a comfortable seat for it. Bought the Sitbacker, that was a mistake. Can't afford the Crazy Creek yet, it looks better.
I’ve owned both…
plus the Sandpiper. I much prefer the Vagabond, no matter what kind of water I’m fishing. Mine is Royalex, specs say 43 pounds but I’ve weighed it and the actual weight is 42. The extra 9 pounds over the Pack doesn’t bother me at all. Vagabond tracks WAY better than the Pack, but maneuvers almost as easily, holds more stuff, is easier to stow extra fishing rods in, and is fun to paddle. I had the Pack for probably 8 or 9 years and liked it just fine, bought a Sandpiper when it wore out, found the Sandpiper to be pretty comparable to the Pack. Then I paddled a friend’s new Vagabond, and immediately sold the Sandpiper and bought one.
One caveat…I didn’t like the seat placement on the Vagabond I bought, it was the old style before they put in the adjustable seat. I found the seat to be a few inches too far back, and too LOW. Made it more difficult to get in and out of the boat. I moved the seat forward a bit and raised it a couple inches, which didn’t much affect stability and made a surprising difference in both comfort and in getting out of the boat. I don’t know how the seats in the newer ones are.
I find the Sitbacker to be quite comfortable, by the way.
Nice thing about canoes, they are
not difficult to modify for the user. You like the seat higher, I prefer lower. The adjustable seat Wenonah now uses is a great option.
I recently wrestled with the same decision. I was never able to demo either, so I can’t comment on the Pack. I wound up going with the Vagabond in Royalex (on the recommendation of Yak.canfish, if I’m not mistaken). I have definitely not regretted the decision. It is quite fast and stable. The extra 10 pounds might make a difference for some, to me I figured the increased performance would be worth it. Also, one dealer told me he thinks the Pack is heavier than listed by OT. Anyone ever actually weighed one? At any rate, the Vagabond is very easy to cartop. I mostly flyfish out of it on small lakes and rivers, it works great for that. Like I said, I can’t offer you a comparison, but I can give a very high recommendation for the Vagabond. I love this boat.
Thanks for the credit, but I think
the Vagabond sells itself. There was one here for sale at a dealer, took it in trade and it sat…Houston is a big SOT town, canoes doesn’t do well. I drooled all over it, guy on another forum asked about a solo canoe, was thinking about the Pack, told him about that Vagabond, he bought and is very pleased.
old town pack or Vagabond
Thanks for the excellent feedback from everyone. Looks like he Vagabond would be the better choice as I will be using the canoe in some larger lakes. I will mostly Bass fishing here in Florida. There’s a couple forsale on the local forums, a kevlar and rolex versions.
It’s interesting that Old Town now has a angler version of the Pack out now.
Angler versions are seldom worth
the extra money. Often rod holders and other “angler” items are not where you, as an individual want them, or they are the wrong kind for the way you like to fish. Save the money and rig the boat yourself. Be aware that both Royalex and Kevlar will scrape on oyester reefs if you are planning to do any saltwater fishing. Of the two, I’d go with Kevlar if you fish the bays.