Spirit II or Old Town Camper in Royelex

Which boat is more stable. I’m a big guy 300 lbs. Wanna take another friend who’s 200 lbs. We mainly go canoe camping. Will do some fishing as we… Also. it be nice to take my wife and 6 year old for an overnight. Will the Spirit work? I know one canoe can’t do it all.Thanks,


15 or 16 camper?

– Last Updated: Aug-01-16 3:38 PM EST –

Old Town shows the camper in both 15' and 16' models. Obviously, the 16 has a higher load capacity.

I haven't paddled either boat, but I have 2 other Wenonahs and 15' flat bottomed canoe. I'd have to guess that the OT Camper is going to feel more stable (initial stability), and the Spirit II will feel a little more tippy because of the shallow arch bottom, but probably has better secondary stability.

Go with the SpiritII
It is a larger boat and will do what you need the boat to do. A pretty good all around canoe.

for canoe camping, go with the Spirit II
I have owned both a Spirit II (tuf-weave) and a Camper 16. I’m your size and they both handled me and another passenger with no problems (which is not true for every model I’ve tried).

I’d say on the whole the Spirit II is the better boat. Much more versatile than the Camper. If you are going to want to travel any appreciable distance, travel more easily in a straight line, attain any decent speed, or travel through some moving whitewater, the Spirit II has the clear advantage.

That’s not to say the Camper is a bad canoe because it is not. I think it just excels in a more narrowly defined set of uses. As someone else mentioned, while the Spirit II has far superior secondary stability, the Camper’s initial stability is excellent. There is no “tippyness” feeling, which can be especially off-putting to beginning canoeists. This is what makes it my wife’s favorite model. She enjoys just hanging out on the water, setting the paddles aside and floating around, and the Camper is perfect for that. It just feels so stable, even if you are moving around inside the boat (staying within the gunwales, of course). For this reason, I’ve also found it to be a great model for little kids, dogs, fishing, and photography. Just so long as you don’t want to go too far, too fast.

Off the water the Spirit II is a foot longer than the Camper 16, and from personal experience I know for storage sometimes that extra foot is an issue. In Royalex the Spirit II is about 10 pounds heavier than the Camper 16. The Spirit II in Tuf-weave is about the same weight as the Camper (listed at 59#). For me personally, I find I can move a canoe around by myself comfortably up to 60 pounds, and anything over that becomes work (until about 85# when it becomes a two person job).

As you said, no one canoe can do it all. So far I’ve found the Spirit II and the Penobscot 16 are the most commonly available “jack-or-all-trades” models on the used market. You mentioned canoe camping, which I’ll assume means traveling some distance, so I’d definitely recommend the Spirit II over the Camper 16 for that purpose, and it would be more than adequate for fishing as well as taking along the wife and child.

The Spirit is the far better boat for your needs. The Camper may feel a bit more stable, but it really isn’t (see secondary vs. primary stability).

The Spirit II is a do everything OK, but nothing great boat (similar in some respects to the Mad River Explorer), but the OT Camper is more of a niche boat.

Niche for the Camper
What was the Camper designed to do? I have one that I turned in to a solo boat by taking out the seats and pulled the gunwales in an inch.

Spirit will do, but
For two big people I advise the 18’Champlain. And I would mount the stern seat about 6 inches front of the stock location. Or get it with a sliding stern seat.