OT Camper16 VS. OT Penobscot16RX

I have another thread on here called OT Camper pros/cons. The responses on that thread has given me much to think about and may have my leaning toward a different boat.

I checked out the Wenonah boats (nice looking), the RX models seem to be heavier than the OT’s, and I dont have the cash to go to their lighter materials. I really do like the 58lb. weight of the OT.

My question now is, would you think the OT Penobscot 16rx would be a better all around canoe than the Camper? I’ll mostly be on ponds and lakes, but I dont want to rule out a river since we never know where we’ll end up. I’m a fairly experienced canoe paddler (this would be my 5th boat). I use an OT pack for exploring and fishing on my own…this bigger boat would be for use just to go with my girl friend and our son…leisure paddles, day trips. a little fishing, maybe more later. I’ll probably end up on lakes, slower parts of the Merrimack river around concord, smaller trout ponds. I’m now torn between the two boats I guess, any advice? Which would you pick, Camper or Penobscot? I’m leaning heavily toward OT because I’m in NH and they’re very easy to get for me.


FE? Does that mean something? I dont understand.

Fat Elmo

– Last Updated: Mar-04-10 3:26 PM EST –

Ah's jus' too lazy ta writ in all out...


Penobscot 16 RX

– Last Updated: Mar-04-10 3:33 PM EST –

I bought a used one for a family member and have borrowed it a few times. Nice lake canoe, fairly efficient, wants a bit of lean if you're trying to turn fast. Initial stability might feel loose to a novice but is fine for anyone with some seat time. My only complaint is that I occasionally whack my knuckles on the aluminum gunwales -- I'm used to the tumblehome on my other canoes.

Where are you in NH? Once the water becomes liquid I'd be happy to meet you for a paddle if you don't have another demo opportunity.

Contoocook Canoe usually has a spring demo day, but it's not on their schedule yet.
The KTP show is coming up but there are no demos there.

For comparison, here are a few shots of the Penobscot compared to a Bell Morningstar RX. The Morningstar RX is more stable and more maneuverable but trades off some tracking and speed compared to the P16.

I think the Camper has a flatter bottom than either of these, but I'm not sure.

My 2 cents
Wenonah > OT by a mile

my votes for the
Penobscot, but I know what FE’s saying. Translation is …IT’S ALL GOOD. Personally, I wouldn’t listen to me. I just like the name Penobscot. Sounds more romantic, Camper sounds utilitarian.

Penobscot is one of the best
all around hulls there is in royalex. You will enjoy paddling it much more than your other choice. It will be faster and will have plenty of maneuverablity for moving water. Hope the son is fairly small as it might be a bit small for 3 large folks.

Or you can take my Penobscot 17 for a
week and spend some time in it w/ your family. We used it as a tandem tripper and family boat for years, but it hardly gets much use anymore. I could even meet you at the MA border sometime.

the Penob. is often soloed too …
… it’s narrower and tippier than that Camper I’ll bet .

I found the Penobscot 16 to be tippy. Most don’t.

Camper vs Penobscot 16
Two very different boats.

You know what I wrote about the Camper. The Penobscot is a better all-around canoe, IMO, but it probably won’t pack a load like the Camper. It does feel tippier at first if you aren’t used to a more lively hull, but you get over that with time. The trade - off is more glide, better tracking, and better handling on rough water. The Penobscot takes more effort to turn than the Camper, but that’s also a trade - off for better tracking.

I wouldn’t put three medium-size adults in a Penobscot 16. Two average adults with a small child on the floor will probably be fine - so long as the kid isn’t hyper-active. Kneeling instead of sitting will help with that though, of course.

I use my Penobscot as a tandem, a solo, and a poling boat - and it works well for all three, so that gives you an idea how versatile it is. It’s not as easy to stand in for poling as the Camper, at first - but once your comfortable with it, it is more capable on rough water and more efficient everywhere but extreme shallows.

Flat bottom
The Camper bottom is flat as can be. Flatter than either the Penobscot or the Morningstar, yep.

I’d lean towards the Camper for your intended use. The Penobscot is tippier…a better solo canoe, probably a touch faster…probably better for faster rivers (moving water) but for ponds and fishing and just relaxing and enjoying yourself the Camper is a bunch more stable (and therefore more comfortable) and it’s surprisingly efficient (easy to paddle) and manueverable on calm water.

I believe there is a small amount, or
a suggestion of, “V” in the Penobscot hull. A V bottomed hull will show a bit of tippiness or uncertainty at the center position, but usually firms up quickly as it goes off center. I don’t care for V bottoms, but they do help directional stability.

Not really a vee
More of a shallow arch - at least, compared to a Malecite. The Malecite actually feels more stable to me though for some reason. Could be that the lack of a vee allows more of a rolling action, where the vee is more of a “rocking in place”, I guess. You are right about it firming up as it rolls towards the edge though.

Just spent the afternoon poling up the river in the Penobscot yesterday, so it’s fresh in my mind. Some might be surprised what a good poling boat the Penobscot makes.

From my experience, I would say…
…the Camper is better for ponds and very small rivers, while the Penobscot is better for lakes and bigger rivers. Crossing over to what the other is better for favors the Penobscot, IMO.

58 lbs?
Sounds optimistic to me.

They’re both decent boats but as different as can be. You would really do yourself a service to try them out.

58 lb is my RX 16’ Penobscot’s weight nm

The Camper’s virtues are it’s stability and ability to float in less water than anything else. It is great for floating over trees, gravel bars, and mud flats because the bottom is flat like an ironing board.

The Penobscot is faster and has a lively feel to it. I have only paddled them briefly but I think you will find them much better for lake travel. They do feel tippy at first. I think you will be much happier with the Penobscot for the uses you describe.