OT Camper or MR Explorer?

-- Last Updated: Jan-17-07 2:18 PM EST --

Another newbie question. We have narrowed down our search to the Mad River Explorer 16 TT or the Old Town Camper.
Any thoughts appreciated....

Royalex Vs Poly
The Royalex Camper should be a bit lighter.

If you run lots of shallow rocky rivers the TT Explorer should last a bit longer.

If you plan to add outfitting the Royalex is easier to glue to.

Not a huge difference between them. If I was choosing I’d base it on the condition and price.


I have a MR Explorer
and I have seen it side by side with an OT Camper. Both are nice boats that can do a lot of things. I agree with Tom…not much difference between the two. Maybe a bit more freeboard on the MR, and I don’t think the Camper had a semi-vee hull, so the MR should track better. I love my boat…I’ve had it on a lot of different waters, both empty and loaded up, both paddling it an poling it. If their both in about the same condition, go for the less expensive option and I am sure you will be pleased.


lift before you buy
I think the explorer TT is light for a poly boat but it is still a lot more weight than a Camper.

If it is easy for you to lift and load the Explorer then I think you’ll like it a lot.

the explorer hull is a slight v which will feel more tippy at first but after a while you may learn to love all the things this boat can do.

Either one is a great all around canoe.

OT Camper
I don’t know anything about the Mad River, but I owned the Camper. I was very happy with it. It is a very good recreation canoe. I even took it on trips to the BWCA and Quetico and it did fine.

The Camper does not solo well, but otherwise I liked it a lot.

At $400 less, I think you all have sold me on the Mad River (My husband’s wallet thanks you!). I am going to look at a used Mohawk this weekend that is $200 bucks cheaper than the Mad River. We will see…

If you plan on
heading out into unprotected waters you’ll appreciate the explorer’s slight rocker, shallow-vee hull. My canoe isn’t a Mad River but it does have the same type of hull. I paddle such diverse waters as Class 2-3 rapids to 6-8 foot swells in the Gulf of Mexico. I wouldn’t paddle in such diverse waters if not for the hull design.

BTW… As with running rapids I don’t suggest anyone paddle big swells in the open gulf without getting some experience with the smaller stuff first.

Only other possible drawback…
to the Explorer is the semi-V bottom, if you are going to be on shallow, rocky rivers. The apex of the V tends to catch much of the wear when you drag it over rocks or scrape down boney riffles, while a flatter or shallow arch bottom will kinda spread the wear around more. Of course, you’ll still get most of the wear near the front and back anyway.