|My Old Town 12' Pack (left) and 14' Hunter Canoes|
Every now and again I happen onto a forum website where somebody explains they have an opportunity to buy a used Old Town canoe, so they're seeking the opinion of people who have owned and used them. This post is for those folks who want to know about two great Old Town canoes no longer being manufactured.
|Grandson Kevin off to fish in my 12' Old Town Pack canoe|
I am very fortunate to own two discontinued models -- a 2010 Old Town 12' Pack canoe (33 pounds), and a 1986 Old Town 14' Hunter canoe (52 pounds).
I wouldn't part either for any reason because -- for me -- they are two of the best -- solo -- fishing canoes ever made. There are slightly better tracking and faster canoes, and I wouldn't take them on a river with anything greater than class 1 water, but for flat-water fishing they are as good as anything ever built.
I'm now 73 years old and these two canoes are just the ticket for an old man. They are both light weight and easy to paddle solo with a traditional paddle or a double bladed kayak paddle. They are also both capable of carrying all the gear I need for a two or three day flat-water canoe adventure.
Finally, they are both low maintenance -- especially if you keep them under a roof.
Old Town 12' Pack Canoe:
|1986 Old Town catalog page for the 12' Pack|
I picked up my first Pack canoe on a 1987 trip to Montana, but I made the mistake of selling it about 2004. It was such a perfect solo canoe I replaced it with a new one in 2010.
Old Town finally discontinued the Pack canoe a few years ago. I suspect the main reason it was discontinued is that shipping companies tended to beat the hell out of them, and nobody wants to pay a thousand dollars for a brand new damaged canoe. When I bought mine from LL Bean, the shipper severely damaged two of them so much that I rejected them. Finally, a third one arrived with just minor damage I could live with.
|2010 Old Town catalog page for the 12' Pack|
Don't get the wrong idea, these royalex canoes are plenty tough if you treat them right. I've car-topped royalex canoes all over the Western United States and Canada without any damage. But, I also don't drag them on sand bars or gravel beds.
Old Town 14' Hunter Canoe:
|1986, 14' Old Town Hunter canoe|
The 14' Old Town Hunter canoe is just a tad larger (2 feet longer) and heavier (19 pounds) than the 12' Pack, and it is also a delight to double paddle.
I think a 14' canoe, that weighs just 52 pounds, is just about the best all around canoe ever made. It's just fine to solo, but is also comfortable with two paddlers.
The only reason I use my Pack canoe instead of the Hunter canoe is wind. The extra two feet of length makes paddling, in seriously windy conditions, just that much harder.
|1990 Old Town catalog page for the 14' Hunter|
|Pack canoe with Spring Creek stabilizer and oars|
I've also added outriggers and have rowed both of these canoes.
|Hunter with an Essex wooden rowing outrigger|
My Pack canoe on its brand new Malone Xtralight trailer. This will save a lot of stress on my old back. See you on the water.