• Happy National Letter Writing Day! 📝✉️📬

First solo canoe and solo safety

Joined
Feb 11, 2021
Messages
405
Reaction score
145
Location
Clayton NY
I test paddled the Esquif at the last Paddlefest in Old Forge and liked it. I just wanted lighter weight. But definitely a rugged and easy paddling canoe.
 
Joined
Dec 16, 2016
Messages
564
Reaction score
398
Location
Bangor, Maine
Just wanted to reiterate my thanks to everyone and let you all know that I purchased an Esquif Adirondack. I know it’s viewed by many as a reincarnation of the Old Town Pack not suited for 'serious' paddling. But after test paddling one, considering the cost of alternatives, and trying to be honest with myself about the kind of paddling I’m going to be doing 80+% of the time, I decided that it was a good choice for me.

I like that I can comfrotably alternate between sitting and kneeling, and the boat doesn’t track half bad, especially when heeled. I also have some Royalex loyalty - probably irrational for the kind of paddling I do - and Esquif’s T-Formex material checks that box.

Finally, the folks at Oak Orchard Canoes set me up with an ottertail paddle a bit longer than my tandem paddle that makes corrections a good bit easier when soloing. I also tested out a double-blade paddle, and man is that tempting, but I decided to hold off to give myself an incentive to improve my single-blade skills.

Happy paddling!

Congrats on the new boat. Maybe call it "Le Pack".

Small royalex/tformex boats are really useful for slogging around places on the outer boundary of navigability. I'm not sure what constitutes "serious" paddling, but read this TR from @Brasenia. That's a well traveled 12 footer!
 
Joined
Mar 27, 2022
Messages
15
Reaction score
5
Congrats on the new boat. Maybe call it "Le Pack".

Small royalex/tformex boats are really useful for slogging around places on the outer boundary of navigability. I'm not sure what constitutes "serious" paddling, but read this TR from @Brasenia. That's a well traveled 12 footer!
"Le Pack" - I'm definitely using that.

Great trip report, too.
 
Joined
Jul 6, 2021
Messages
643
Reaction score
534
Location
The Hereford Zone along the Mason-Dixon Line
“I know it’s viewed by many as a reincarnation of the Old Town Pack not suited for 'serious' paddling”.

The OT Pack gets a bad rap from many “serious” paddlers. It fills a niche, and for many uses was an economical, multi-functional Royalex canoe. I’m not that kind of “serious” or boat proud about canoes; we had a Pack for 20+ years, often used as a small water solo day tripper, a novice loaner and tween-ager solo, a dedicated duckhunting marsh canoe, and even, at first, in lighter-backpacking years, as a downriver tripper.

Less than $800 new in the ‘80’s. I/we/lots of folks got $10,000 worth of pleasure from that Pack; my 75 year old ex-boss paddles it still today.

The T-formex Esquif Adirondack is a first cousin to the Royalex OT Pack. I would take the 9lbs heavier in exchange for a wee bit deeper and narrower. Excepting the additional weight (T-formex canoes seem to run 5lbs +/- than same-model Royalex canoes), all to my mind dimensional improvements from the OT Pack.

The phrase “trying to be honest with myself about the kind of paddling I’m going to be doing 80+% of the time” is the single best directive to which a canoe buyer can commit.

Buy for what you honestly hope and plan to be doing most often. Not the impossible what-if/maybe someday conundrum of “Flatwater. And Class II+. Usually solo, but sometimes with the wife and kids. And dog”.

Every potential paddling use involves some trade-offs, and every compromise becomes less functional for what you do “most of the time”.

Will that be what you evolve to doing “most of the time”? Maybe not; probably not, and probably your first and last solo canoe.

I have not seen the Esquif Adirondack in person. What is the bottom shape? The Pack was very flat bottomed, with a slightly molded “keel”. I would have preferred more of a shallow arch or shallow vee to prevent the hull bottom oil canning.

Good choice. Keep us posted.

EDIT: I mis-remembered the Adirondack as being 13" long; its is 12' just like the OT pack
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 27, 2022
Messages
15
Reaction score
5
I have not seen the Esquif Adirondack in person. What is the bottom shape? The Pack was very flat bottomed, with a slightly molded “keel”. I would have preferred more of a shallow arch or shallow vee to prevent the hull bottom oil canning.
The bottom is just like the Pack as far as I can tell: flat with a mini-keel. I had the same thought about oil canning. When I test paddled a different Adirondack* that I didn't end up buying, the first thing I noticed was the "bounciness" of the bottom as I got situated in the boat. I also have a Penobscot 16, and I thought it would be cool to make a "Pack" that's just a smaller version of that - slightly narrower and with a shallow V. That said, I think I will appreciate the primary stability that comes with a flat bottom when I'm fishing or have a dog with me.

I've had "Le Pack" out twice now. I suppose this holds true for any flat-bottomed boat, but heeling makes the effective hull shape more rounded and changes the feel and performance accordingly. I had the thought of trying to pull in the gunnels in a bit in the future to force a more rounded shape. But the concern with that is potentially creating a hogged keel.

*Apparently Esquif is making an Adirondack "LV" and an Adirondack "HV" (low- and high-volume, respectively). They don't list this option on their website, but Oak Orchard had both options. The first one I tried was an "LV." It's trimmed down a couple inches and so a few pounds lighter. There are a couple tradeoffs to this: 1) They use the same seat brackers, which has the effect of lowering the seat, and the lowered seat is too low to kneel with (not enough room for your legs underneath). One can raise the seat, of course. 2) It's a bit sketchier to heel. Because there are a couple inches less freeboard, leaning puts the gunnels considerably closer to the water. 3) Because you can't kneel (again, one could raise the seat), the bounciness of the bottom is, I think, more pronounced. Kneeling so that one's feet and legs are putting pressure on the bottom of the boat of course makes it a bit stiffer.
 
Top