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Old Town Pack Solo

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I just picked up my third OT Pack for what I consider a fair price, a 2010 model for $575. I have never found anything to love about the Pack, other than the 34 pound weight when I lift her off the ground. The hulls oilcan ever so slightly, the big ugly OT gunnels creak incessantly and they require a good bit of effort to track with a single blade. On one of the previous two Packs, I relocated the seat to 6 inches back from center (as most of my solos are) to improve trim. The downside, unfortunately, is that increases the need to reach over an additional inch for a good vertical paddle stroke. Other canoes came along and she was sold off for working capital. On the second Pack, I experimented with pinching the gunnels in slightly to improve tracking, a technique I have used in other Royalex canoes. While this stiffened the hull somewhat, the Pack bends right at the molded-in keel, resulting in a strange variation of an unstable rounded hull. After returning this canoe to OEM specs, she was sold off as well. So on this third Pack, I will refrain from trying to make it anything than what it is for me: a lightweight plastic ‘plinker’ for thin bony local streams that I can portage easily on my 65 year old shoulders. Luckily, I have more suitable craft for day-tripping and big water.
OT Pack 2010.JPG
 
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I pulled the gunnels in on my Esquif Echo. For this canoe it worked well. gave me a narrower paddling station and still had good maneuverability.
 
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I don’t mean to disparage the boat. The problem is I am always trying to make it into something more. After all, the Pack sold for over 40 years! Beside the Malecite, I can’t think of too many designs that were around that long!

“The first reference to the Pack canoes that I've found was in the 1973 Old Town catalog. Both the fiberglass Carleton model and the identical Chipewyan version in ABS were introduced at the same time. The 10.5 foot long Rushton model had been introduced in the 1971 catalog and was very popular. The Pack model filled a hole in their offerings between the 10.5 foot long Rushton and the 14 foot long Carleton and Chipewyan models. The hull shape is more like the larger Carleton and Chipewyan models than the smaller Rushton” (Benson Gray WCHA).
 
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I don’t mean to disparage the boat. The problem is I am always trying to make it into something more. After all, the Pack sold for over 40 years! Beside the Malecite, I can’t think of too many designs that were around that long!

“The first reference to the Pack canoes that I've found was in the 1973 Old Town catalog. Both the fiberglass Carleton model and the identical Chipewyan version in ABS were introduced at the same time. The 10.5 foot long Rushton model had been introduced in the 1971 catalog and was very popular. The Pack model filled a hole in their offerings between the 10.5 foot long Rushton and the 14 foot long Carleton and Chipewyan models. The hull shape is more like the larger Carleton and Chipewyan models than the smaller Rushton” (Benson Gray WCHA).

There are some things it would not be the best choice for but that you are buying another suggests that it is very useful to you and that is all that matters. Given the choice of an 18 foot tandem or a Pack in the Pine Barrens or the Oswegatchie River the Pack wins hands down.

Or just to throw in the water and fish on a local pond.
 
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Has anyone tried solo tripping with Pack canoes? Granted they'd be short trips but I wonder if the trim can be managed. Treating it as a modern solo sitting closer to midships I can imagine it must be tubby. I'd prefer to sit further astern necessitating throwing all the gear forward of course. The kitchen sink might be needed. Can you heel it enough sitting back there astern to help with the long reach across the gunnel? Old Town lists the current Pack at 32" beam (12') which doesn't sound beamy to me, but I've never paddled one. Thanks for the fair and balanced review Matt.
 
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I bought a used Pack a couple of years ago to use primarily on river clean-ups. It's slow and chunky but I find it pretty good for the way I use it. Weight wise it's not bad only complaint I have is the width and having to move the kayak (forgive me lord for saying that word) and canoe brackets whenever I take it out as it's not one of my normal go to boats. I've lent it to a friend on ADK paddling trips and she's been pleased with the Pack and has asked me to sell it to her a number of times. Bottom line is at the price you paid for the boat you can use it for a few years and probably sell it for what you paid or even possibly more.
 
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Bottom line is at the price you paid for the boat you can use it for a few years and probably sell it for what you paid or even possibly more.

Pretty much what I did with the first two Packs. People ask crazy prices for 'em these days. The Pack last appeared in the 2014 Old Town catalogue, discontinued due to the cessation of Royalex sheet production and replaced with the Pack Element/Next. The advertised list price at that time was $1099 USD; however one opportunistic dealer in Waterport NY appropriated as many OT Packs as possible from Old Town and OT distributors and added a $200 ‘last ones available’ surcharge, selling out inventory sometime in 2016 at $1299 +tax each. If still available today, the OT Pack would probably list for at least that much; there are a few 80's models on C-List and FB Marketplace for as much as $1100! Dreamers...……...
 
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Friend of mine stuffed a huge float bag up front and played it down the Middle Yough (class 2). Wonderful little hull both durable and light weight. Wish I still had mine.
 
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I always feel like a royalex boat is easier to carry than its weight would suggest because you don't have to be so careful putting it down. If I slip on a portage trail schlepping rx I won't be too worried about where it comes down, as long as it isn't on me. A 34 lb Pack is probably easier to move around on land than the latest 20 lb nougat gunwhale floating ballet slipper.
 
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Has anyone tried solo tripping with Pack canoes? Granted they'd be short trips but I wonder if the trim can be managed. Treating it as a modern solo sitting closer to midships I can imagine it must be tubby.

I did a few 4 – 5 day solo trips in my OT Pack. At 12’ long x 32” wide it is not a fast boat ; the Pack’s 4.5 LW is darned slow. For comparison the soloized Penobscot, not exactly the sleekest of solos, has a length to waterline ratio of 5.7, and the Monarch has a 7.4 L/W. (All L/W ratios calculated at length divided by max width, not a weight variable “waterline”)

Actually I did quite a few trips in the Pack; my other option at the time was the aluminum Ward’s Sea King tandem, which was a beast and not much faster, and 33lbs was much preferable. It was a bit of a pig on lakes, but did OK on mild rivers.

I was packed somewhat light in the Pack, although a couple trips included potable water and a few hoppy beverages. Gear trimming the Pack with the stock seat position was never a problem. Today, given my Glamper comfort desires, I would need to catamaran two Packs just to carry my stuff.

I put a strap yoke in the Pack early on. My original concept was to DIY some kind of Knu-Pack holder on my external frame backpack, and carry the Pack uptrail to some alpine lakes. You can imagine how well that worked out.

We later had a 10 foot, 18lb Old Town Rushton which would have been much better for that purpose. BTW, the Rushton made an awesome kid canoe with a pad to raise the seating position, right up there with the 29lb 10’ 6” x 27” Dagger Tupelo; both went on to friend’s kids.

The Pack was, for my later uses, a great little canoe for small streams, marshes and swamps, where my tripping preferred soloized 16’ tandems would be more problematic. And eventually the Pack became a wonderful little duckhunting canoe for sneakboating and dragging back into marsh ponds.
 
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I always feel like a royalex boat is easier to carry than its weight would suggest because you don't have to be so careful putting it down. If I slip on a portage trail schlepping rx I won't be too worried about where it comes down, as long as it isn't on me. A 34 lb Pack is probably easier to move around on land than the latest 20 lb nougat gunwhale floating ballet slipper.

Not really much of an issue. I did have a 65 RX solo come down on me and it was not fun. My 31 lb ballet slipper got thrown down a cliff ( about 20 feet tall) when I slid and threw it off me in Temagami ( which must stand for gnarly uphill portage both ways) Continued on trip no damage.

And another one got bent when I misread the map and ran a waterfall.. not a good time and it did get a little z shaped as the gunwale wrapped around a sharp rock before taking the plunge. Small waterfall about 1 m high. again continued on
 
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Of course, no solo (of mine) is complete without a Wenonah footbar. This is the sixth one I have installed and I am thoroughly disappointed in Wenonah. You shouldn't have to deburr and touch-up new parts from the factory! Pack Footbar.JPG
 
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Of course, no solo (of mine) is complete without a Wenonah footbar. This is the sixth one I have installed and I am thoroughly disappointed in Wenonah. You shouldn't have to deburr and touch-up new parts from the factory!

Matt, agreed. Aftermarket added to every open canoe solo we own, or have owned. And in the stern of every past tandem. $30 and four flange-head pop rivet (or short machine screw) easy to install.

I’m kinda surprised, I have never had an adjustable Wenonah footbrace arrive less than perfect.

https://www.wenonah.com/Items.aspx?id=29

Mohawk pedal tracks and rails (once Yakima’s, later Werner’s, then Mohawk) on the other hand have gone to hell quality-wise.

https://www.mohawkcanoes.com/collec...c-rudder-track/products/fb-black-rudder-track

https://www.mohawkcanoes.com/collections/foot-brace-plastic-rudder-track/products/fb-aluminum-rails

Those were once bombproof and adjusted (or rudder pedal slid) reliably, and rarely bound up even with grit or sand in the tracks. I’ve had to return the last couple sets from Mohawk; they stuck and didn’t adjust/slide worth a damn immediately after installation.
 
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Mike, I was not a fan of the 'new' design Wenonah footbrace rails as I thought they added weight over the simple perforated aluminum angle. But I do like them now as I am able to bend them to fit the contour of the hull for a better installation. The only hull that gave me fits was a Hornbeck 12 because of those darn pinched 'cheeks' in the bow!
 
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Mike, I was not a fan of the 'new' design Wenonah footbrace rails as I thought they added weight over the simple perforated aluminum angle. But I do like them now as I am able to bend them to fit the contour of the hull for a better installation.

I am a fan of the infinite incremental easy adjustability of those Wenonah foot bars.

I sometimes paddle barefoot, and sometimes with Nunavut Mukluks with a thick sole and staked heel; the difference in desired foot bar distance is considerable. Plus family members and friends paddle my canoes, and being able to easily adjust the foot bar position is valuable.

Two foot brace stories. I have not had a problem with the adjustable foot brace slipping out of position, I guess I don’t press on the bar like I’m doing lunges. Except one time; I was seated, running a broken out mill dam and smacked a rock at the bottom dead on. The rather immediate stop threw me off my seat and part way under the front thwart on my ass. The adjustable foot braces slid forward on impact; I believe if they had been the old style aluminum angle with wing nuts I would have torn them off the hull.

Running a western river with a friend. He had the old style angle and wing nut foot brace. Someone taller had last used his canoe, and minutes after we launched he announced a needed stop to adjust the foot bar. The wing nuts were a bit corroded and it was a longish, frustrating stop.

FWIW in some of our loaner canoes that see a variety of paddlers I installed the foot brace tracks at a slight angle, a little lower closer to the seat, a little higher further away, on the theory that larger folks often have size 12 feet and smaller folk little size 8’s.

The angle seems to help adjust the bar distance to a more suitable foot height.
 
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