Old Town Pack Question

I am about to retire and want to get back on the water in a solo canoe that is inexpensive. Problem is, I want one that is going to be VERY stable, especially after reading a posting here about folks trying to get back into their canoe in deep water.

I have been thinking about the possibility of removing the seat from an OT Pack and replacing it with a thwart and then sitting on the floor in a “Sitbacker” seat that Old Town sells. That should be stable and I’d be using a kayak paddle. Any hope??

The other possibility is to leave the seat as is and then use a set of Summer Creek (I think) HD floats thet would be left down while paddling for stability, but that’s almost $300.00 more.

Thanks in advance.

Why do you want a canoe? Sounds like a recreational kayak would be good for you. If you are talking about taking out the seat and sitting on the bottom of the boat, you are talking about a yak. Seems to me it would be difficult to paddle that boat in the manner you are considering.

Seated position & Snakes
I can sit cross legged for extended periods, but kayak design seems to put the feet about level with the seat out in front of the body which I can not do. (On a good day I can just touch my knees.)

Also, around here, here seems to be an abundance of Cotten Mouth Moccasins which can, from local reports, be farily aggressive. I think that I’d be safer in a canoe from the critters than a kayak.


Spring Creek floats
Look at the canoe floats from Spring Creek Outfitters in MN. They are very well built, work very well, and are under $200. It would be tough to tip a canoe with these in place. I use them when paddling and fishing with my dog, and also when paddling very cold water.

I considered the Pack and ended up
with a Mohawk Odyssey 14. It’s a great sitting boat, more stable and a better performer than the Pack. Spend the extra bucks and be happier. Make sure you lower the seat. I have similar leg problems and my boat works well for me. Don’t plan on sitting on the bottom of the boat. You’ll get a wet, cold rump. Add a footbrace and a backband and you can get the most out of your boat in a sitting position.

one possibility
I had a Wenonah Prism for a while and found it to be as stable as any solo canoe I’ve ever paddled. You could also try a small tandem canoe.

I am retired and did own a Pack…
…and found it quite stable for lakes and slow rivers, and I’m not particularly athletic/balanced. I moved to a We-no-nah Sandpiper and found it less stable (I dumped) and now have a WNN Vagabond which I like very well but find almost too heavy at 44 lbs.

All the other responses sound like good advice, but I wouldn’t hesitate to at least try a Pack since it’s cheap & light. I also have an old set of Spring Creek

floats, which I don’t use often but are as good as advertised. Placement can be an issue, especially with aa double paddle (which I use 90% of the time,

a 9-footer), as you don’t want to be bumping it. Feel free to Email me for more discussion/comments. And whatever you get, keep the open side up!

I also owned a Pack…
It has great intitial stability, and NO secondary stability.

Don’t believe me? Take one out on a shallow stretch of water. It will seem fine while paddling normally. Then stop, and rock it. See how much you can rock it before it flips over on you. Not much at all.

My little test caused me to trade it in for my first kayak, which is much more stable and much more comfortable (Sundance 12)

Nessmuk, so you want to sit on the floor
Take a look at this little Historic style canoe. More money but a fine little craft, and the weight? Only 14 to 16lbs. http://www.hemlockcanoe.com/nessmuk.html

Old Town Pack
I recently acquired an OT Pack. I’ve found it to have both exceptional intial and secondary stability. I can get it over to the gunwales and still recover seated or kneeling. That was one of the first things I did with it…finding out it’s limits. The boat feels stable in waves or flat water. Due to it’s low profile wind doesn’t seem to effect it too much. I’m 6’2" and 220 lbs. and didn’t find the seat to be a problem in it’s original position. There was even enough room for me to slip my size 13 dogs under it while kneeling.

I tried using both kayak and canoe paddles. The kayak paddle will definitely make this little canoe move and improves it tracking, but I found the constant paddle drips on my legs and gear annoying. With a canoe paddle you’ll forfeit some speed and need to do a few more corrective strokes, but the canoe is still a pleasure to paddle. It is highly manueverable, one sweep stroke and you can turn it 90 degrees. Nice in tight quarters with a fish on the end of your line.

I had been considering the Pack vs the Solo 14 by Mohawk. I nearly stole the Pack so that’s how I ended up with it. I’m not disappointed either.

at 6 feet 2 inches I can’t believe you find it “roomy.” Great if that works for you.

I still stick by my comments. The Pack is the only canoe I’ve ever tipped over in.

By the way…when I traded it in, I was told that they get a lot of Packs in trade for kayaks for the very same reason that I stated.

It could be that I have exceptional balance. I have pushed the limits on all my boats to find out at which point they would dump. My Penobscot will go over easier than my Loon 138 kayak. The Pack was pretty hard to flip, about the same as the Loon. I had to grab the far gunwale and pull it over as I leaned to get it to go. Then I pretty much fell out and brought the canoe with me. The reviews I’ve read were mixed on tippiness versus stable. I really did expect the canoe to be much tippier than it is.

I found the Pack to be pretty roomy and comfortable. Ample space for me to shift myself around to find a comfortable spot. I typically take a couple of fishing rods, tackle box, extra paddle, bailer/sponge, cooler and a dry bag. Plenty of room for me and my gear. I started off paddling kayaks so even this 12’ canoe seems palacial in comparison.

Funny how different things work…
…for different people. I’m just the opposite. I found the Pack cramped, unstable and uncomfortable. I’ve fished out of my Sundance 12 yak more this year than out of the Pack in the entire ten years that I had owned it.

The main thing is that each person finds what works best for them.

Good paddling…

I appreciate all the information ya’ll. Based on your responses and what I have been able to learn from different canoe manufacturers I can do one of the following:

  1. Take a chance and order a OT pack and a replacement thwart, then cut it down, drill it, seal it and replace the seat and sit on the floor, but I would then risk not being able to paddle properly because the 31" width at the seat and have a cold, wet seat. :wink:
  2. Order the Pack or Odessy 14 and use the Summer Creek floats which would be very stable, but more expensive, especially with their HD model @ ~ $260.00
  3. Also, the folks at Mohawk say that they can lower the standard seat quite a bit on the Solo 14 or Odessy 14.

    Decisions, decisions. :slight_smile:

    Anyone want to try paddling their Pack while sitting cross-legged on the floor? Could be a definitive test. :slight_smile:

Forgot to mention…
…you should peruse the “Product Reviews” section of this site re any boat you’re considering.

A double paddle will drip into a canoe if it’s too short-kayak length. I use a 9’ paddle for that reason.

Don’t get hung up on sitting on the floor until you’ve experimented with the seat as installed. If you’re going to sit on the floor, you might as well have a kayak.