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Reviews for Camper 16 Canoe by Old Town Canoe


Rated: 8.91/10 Based On: 56 Reviews


Camper 16 Canoe by Old Town Canoe

Length: 16' 0" - Width: 36.0" - Starting at: $1699.99
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07-03-2014
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     This Camper in Royalex is a truly versatile boat that does so many things well it defines what a good solid canoe should be. I've had one for many years. Whether paddling solo on one knee, or with my wife and kid(s) and dog, the Camper can get you and the gear you need anywhere on the lake or river of your choice. It can run whitewater too, but it's not a really quick handler there. It tracks fine for skilled paddlers even without a keel.

My Old Town Camper really is the canoe to own and though there are other boats I would enjoy for specific purposes, the Camper has not been replaced because it just keeps delivering great all around performance. Yes there are faster canoes and better canoes built for flat and whitewater, but no single canoe that I have ever paddled delivers the overall performance of the Camper. It is a classic!

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07-03-2014
Submitted by: Corey WoolseySend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Great canoe! Nice, solid boat. We pushed it to the limit by running a few class 3's, tandem, with 350 pounds of people and a 60 pound cooler in the middle. Very stable, tracks nice and turns well for a longer boat.
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07-02-2014
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I rated the Camper 16 a 10 out of 10 because it fits the bill for its purpose ideally. It is the ideal family "tank". It's rugged, can carry the entire family plus gear, and it's a heck of a lot of fun on flat water and non-technical rivers. I have detachable seat backs for the cane seats and a snap in center seat that allows two children to sit comfortably in the middle.

This boat is ideal for just tooling around with the family. I often use my kayak paddle in the back seat and do all the paddling and navigation for the family (me, wife, 3 kids, and golden retriever all fit fine with a cooler and gear), and this is also a great boar for taking my son fishing. This is a long canoe with a pretty flat bottom, so if you are looking to navigate a more technical river, then I would look for something with a little more rocker.

Lastly, make sure you have plenty of room for storage. At 16', I had to build a raised deck on my old house to keep it out of the elements. I now have a hoist system in my new house's garage to get it out of the way.

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05-13-2014
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Material: Royalex
I have a few tandem canoes, and when going out with the kids, the dogs, or for fishing, this is the one that I take. This is a supremely stable boat for basic recreational paddling on flat water. It will carry a ton of gear if you want to go take the Camper camping. That may be how it got it's name. This is not the fastest tandem, but it will move along with a little effort. It is fairly maneuverable however.

The royalex hull is incredibly durable. I don't have to baby it like I do my Kevlar boats, and it still looks good. The vinyl exterior picks up lots of dings and scrapes, but these cosmetic blemishes are all that've come from some pretty heavy use. Royalex is such a great balance between durability and weight. Old Town has kept the weight down on the Camper and it is light enough for a single person to car top without an extraordinary effort.

The Camper is a great canoe. It's our family boat that doesn't get near the use it used to when the kids were younger. It's also my fishing boat when I want a steady platform. And it's also the one I loan out to friends who havenít much paddling experience. It's near perfect for all of these situations, and probably a few others I've not considered.

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08-03-2013
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Bought a Camper 16 because of reviews talking about the superior stability because I knew I would be taking my toddlers (2 and 5) out on the water and I couldn't be happier. The boat stays steady even with a kid reaching over the edge to get their hands wet. The light weight is amazing allowing me to portage by myself so the wife can corral the little ones. The width is nice for packing for multi day trips. The only downside is that it is very susceptible to the wind and with cross winds or head winds we find ourselves paddling pretty hard to keep a straight line.
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07-29-2013
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Good canoe for calm water and beginners. Can fit two and a week's worth of gear. Lacks speed but very stable. Would recommend as a first canoe because of stability and durability (ROYALEX). Biggest complaint is that cane seats dry rot and fail but after several years of use and storage.
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07-27-2013
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Royalex 16' Old Town Camper. We love the classic style of this boat. It is relatively lightweight, good speed, good maneuvering, excellent tracking, great stability, and great carrying capacity. No problems with "oil canning"
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07-25-2013
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     My Old Town Camper is a lightweight, rugged, stable recreational canoe that I have used for over 30 years in Class 3 rapids, lakes, streams, ponds, and meandering rivers. I can paddle this canoe solo or with my wife and 2 dogs with ease of handling. The Royalex hull has high structural memory and resilience with a lasting shine. This a truly an all purpose craft suitable for beginners and experienced paddlers of all ages.
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08-22-2011
Submitted by:
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought a used Old Town Camper in 1972 with 2 paddles and two PFD's for $200.00. In 1988, I gave it to my son when I purchased a Tripper. A few years ago as a project; we replaced the gunnels, deck plates, seats and installed kevlar skids on the double ends. Forty years later; other than scratches and dents it performs like new. Not a bad buy, huh?
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06-30-2011
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have owned an OT Camper 16 rx, an OT Penobscot 16 rx, and a Wenonah 18' Jensen, as well as test paddled a number of other canoes. The Camper has become our favorite for just having a nice relaxing day on the lake. It's a wide, flat bottomed boat, which gives a very stable and relaxing ride. No "tippy" feeling.

The Camper is not fast, but for maneuvering around and floating amongst ducks and geese and just hanging out on the lake taking pictures, it's been a lot of fun. Just don't be in a hurry. At about 60#, it's still manageable to get on top of the car with out too much effort. Though the width that makes it so stable in the water, makes it a little ungainly on land.

Picking the right boat for your intended use is important. For a nice stable recreational canoe, the Camper 16rx has been a great choice for us.

Pros: Stable, Maneuverable
Cons: Slow, Tracking could be better

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06-13-2011
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I love our Old Town Camper. It's been the best canoe for me and my family. It paddles easy. It's not to heavy when we put it on the car. When we take it out on the lake with the kids they sit in the center and it is totally stable, even when the kids lean over the sides to play with the water. My husband goes out fishing in it and loves how steady it is. He says he can go into shallow places with this canoe than any other boat he's used. We've had several other canoes over the years, but none of them have been as good as the Camper.
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08-26-2010
Submitted by: JHD65Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     We now have three kayaks and the 16' Old Town Camper. After 40 years of canoeing, we feel that the Camper is the best all-around canoe that we have owned or tried. It is very stable, holds a huge load and is light enough at 58 LBS for two old coots to wrestle on our van.

We've used this canoe on all sorts of water including class I to II rapids, and have never felt we were near turning bottom up. The Royalex seems to slide off of the rocks and the flat bottom can be made to skid sideways in fast water with a bit of practice.
With two in the boat, tracking doesn't seem to be a problem except in a very high wind.

All in all, the best all-purpose canoe there is.

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08-23-2010
Submitted by: rdmSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I bought my Camper 16 for half-price when Sportsman's Warehouse went out of business. In spring of 2010 I soloed it, fully loaded, down 125 miles of the Buffalo in Arkansas in three and a half days. For a pointy raft, it turned out to be well suited to the easy rapids and chop of the swiftly rising river. This boat's legacy goes back to the Chipewyans of the 70's (I had the 18-foot version, which oil-canned badly: my Camper does not do so noticeably). We have a Penobscot 186 for our adult kids to borrow, but I can't lift it onto the van myself. We also have three solo boats, but I wanted a small boat that I could paddle while my wife doesn't. I'd rather have the Penobscot 16, but I can't imagine it could perform significantly better than the Camper did on the Buffalo. It's not a hot boat, but it isn't embarrassing either.
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08-11-2010
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     My canoe is the Chipewayan, which is now called the Camper16. It has molded seats instead of the wood and web on the newer Camper.

It has been a very durable canoe on eastern rocky rivers. Many gouges and scrapes over rocks, but no holes. Handles Class 1 well with a load. Lack of rocker, and a flat bottom does not lend itself to more than Class 2 if loaded. Low sides has it shipping water in waves on rivers and lakes. Good initial stability. I also have an Old Town Discovery 174, a Wenonah Spirit 2, and a Mad River Guide, and the Camper is most frequently taken as a good all around choice for light loads on the local rivers and ponds.

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07-07-2010
Submitted by: JoeBobSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Bought a 17 foot Old Town royalex canoe in 1977. 25% whitewater up to class 3 Eastern scale. 75% lake water. 25% riding the top of the truck. Used duct tape for bow and stern wear pads.
33 years of hard use; Royalex is still going.

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06-24-2010
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     great small coastal river canoe, floats in very shallow water, good fishing canoe, does not track well in big lakes but no problem, that's not my thing. beautiful boat and easy for 2 to load.
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07-13-2009
Submitted by: Kyle JohnsSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I've had the Royalex 16' Camper for a year. Most of the reviews are spot-on; this boat is stable, but it can be a pig in rough water. I would add that paddling solo on a heel (the "traditional style", although I paddle backwards from the bow seat, rather than kneeling in front of the thwart) the speed picks up and the Camper gets some secondary stability and wind resistance.

I'm still wondering about the durability of Royalex. It seems to scratch when you look at it, but I haven't had any major damage thus far. The weight advantage is awesome when you are loading it onto the car by yourself, which I am most of the time.

I'd buy it again, although I'd like it to be part of a "quiver" of boats, rather than my one and only. I'd take it out solo in anything, but I'd probably prefer a shallow V with a partner in rough water.

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07-08-2009
Submitted by: CraigSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I live in Maine and I bought my Old Town Camper in 1992 direct. It was a so called blemished canoe, but I never was able to find the reason why. It had ash seats with cane and I paid around 689 for the boat with Old Town paddles...I am a master Maine guide and also a boat builder...I must say in the last 17 years I have gotten my money's worth from this canoe. I am a die hard trout fishermen and have used this in fast moving, beaver damed, rocky brooks and on numerous ponds and large windy lakes....it has held up nicely and performed very well...

In all the years I have used it I have only tipped over once and that was in a fast moving brook in early Spring with a drop in elevation and was because we encountered a fallen tree over the brook around a corner and had to maneuver sharply....After all these years of severe abuse the ends just started to wear...I simple laid a patch of fiberglass cloth down and some resin and she is good to go again...

I might retire it to my cottage on a remote lake and perhaps pick up Old Town's Discovery 169 model.

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05-22-2009
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     We lived with the 16' Camper through most of last year, and got to know it well. For what it is designed to do, Old Town has a winner in the Camper. This boat has primary stability enough to please anyone who should be in a boat, and will haul a pretty good load. It is roomy and comfortable and maneuvers easily. It is well-suited to class 1 flat water, and will handle a little chop - although it gets uneasy pretty quick if you don't pay attention when the water starts getting rough. And at ~59lbs, the Camper is easy to carry but still plenty tough for hard use.

In spite of what one might expect, we found the Camper to be better on rivers than on lakes. It turns well and sideslips easily, but straight tracking requires more attention to technique - and with a light load, the boat is easily pushed around by the wind. We found it best used on the nearby shallow class 1 river, where it handled tight turns well and slid easily through riffles and mini-rapids over shallow gravel bars.

The Camper also made a pretty good poling platform on that same river. It's very easy to learn to stand in and tracks well upstream when trimmed heavy to stern, and compared to the Nova Craft Prospector that we replaced it with, the Camper glides easier over extreme shallows and carves a turn with less "offside lean" when poling (though not quite as easy to turn with paddles). But it lacks secondary stability to tackle the rough stuff or the turbulence found under even class 1+ drops and the powerful eddies around wing-dikes, when poling upstream.

For the average novice paddler, or for anyone not interested in anything above class 1 and calm lakes, the Camper should serve well - but I find a boat that relies heavily on primary stability to be too limiting. Of the boats that we have owned, for flat water, I prefer the Old Town Penobscot, and in rivers with any excitement to them, I prefer the Nova Craft Prospector. We also have a Wenonah Fisherman that does as well as the Camper in extreme shallows while also providing good secondary stability and easier flat water tracking - although it's a bit slower and doesn't track as well going upstream while poling.

In short - the Camper is a pretty good class 1 river boat and pretty good for fishing and such on small (windless) lakes - especially for novices who are intimidated by a livelier hull. Easy to carry and car-top while still very durable. And good-looking, as well. But for anyone that might want to get into more exciting waters with comfortable control, I would advise to skip to something designed to lean more toward secondary stability and take the time to get accustomed to the "tippiness".

I believe these numerical ratings should reflect how well the manufacturer's design fits it's intention, the quality of construction, choice of materials, and it's ease of use - without comparing boats of different performance categories on the water. I give the Camper a 9, because Old Town could pay a little more attention to grain quality in it's wood seat frames - not a big deal.

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02-16-2009
Submitted by: dj
Rating: 10 of 10

     Best canoe ever! Will take a hell of a beating and a huge load. My friends and I took a trip down the Saco river in Maine and of course my friends with their little kayaks didn't have room so dumped everything in with me and my buddy and the top rail was only inches from the water but she took the abuse, no problem.
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09-04-2007
Submitted by: PSNSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     If you are looking for a general purpose, stable canoe to fish and canoe camp on class I-II waters, then this is the canoe for you. I have been extremely pleased with my Camper. It will hold tons of gear and the stability of this canoe is awesome. My two kids walk about in this canoe from one end to the other and we have yet to spill her. However, the down side to the Camper is it is hard to keep it tracking straight during windy situations on flat water. I will still rate it a 10 due to stability alone.
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02-05-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have owned the Camper for 10 years after owning various other OT models including the Pathfinder, Discover Sport 13, and Discovery113. It is a great all around canoe. Light weight and durable. It has been most used for float fishing and camping on various rivers in the mid-Atlantic. It is not the most agile boat for white water running due to the flat bottom design but it does have great initial stability. I regularly stand up in it to fish. It has plenty of storage capacity for gear and holds my two sons easily with all our fishing gear. Other boats to consider would be the Appilacian, Discovery 164 and Tripper if they still make them.
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07-11-2006
Submitted by: Mary Ann KarpSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I spent weeks using these canoes while working as a guide with teenagers in the Adirondacks, over 3 seasons. They will hold tons of stuff, take a lot of abuse, and is great for long trips with two paddlers. I have seen one fall off a canoe trailer on Route 30, wrap around a tree, and the only think wrong with it was a cracked thwart, which was very easy to replace. These canoes were beaten and they just kept on going and going and going.
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05-31-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Well, we just returned from a 3 day 3 night trip on the Jack's Fork river in Missouri. The Camper performed well on the class I/II river. My wife loves to bring "everything" when we go canoe camping and the boat took it all with freeboard to spare.

I found the handling of the Camper to be reasonable on moving water. The boat did oilcan a bit on wave trains. Perhaps the most interesting tidbit of handling characteristics is that although the initial stability is great (I stood up to get a better view of all turns, riffles and wildlife) secondary seemed impressive. We had a bit of navigational diffuculty after passing the confluence of the Alley Spring (81 million gallons of cold water a day) and we hit a nasty rootwad after a sharp bend. The boat went to the gunwhales and popped back up. Yeah for my team.

Still pool paddling was possible with good tandem technique. The boat tracks and glides reasonable well and the flat bottom allowed enough sideslip when leaned to maneuver tight river conditions.

My camper is the Royalex layup. The Upper Forks was a little below ideal float conditions and we hit just about every rock in the river. I think we left a green trail over 10 miles long =) The boat is no worse for the wear.

As far as capacity goes. I did not weigh all the gear that went with us on our trip but a guesstimate including our weight puts our load out at around 550 pounds. The camper handeled better with the load.

Our first day on the river we kind of lazed about and float-fished the day away not paying attention to the mileage we needed to cover. This put us at a hard 18 miles to our next planned gravel bar. This is when we discovered how well the Camper can scoot down the river. We passed OT Discover169's (outfitters boat of choice for the Jack's Fork) all day long and actually arrived at our next gravel bar in plenty of daylight! Can't say enough about the speed of this boat with a load. Our friends were in their 169 kept commenting on how fast our boat was.

Overall we are impressed with our Camper as a camping canoe. We haven't had it on the lake yet, but it does a supberb job with the little ones on local rivers and creeks. It will hold a ton and get more stable and handle better the more load you put on it. Loading and unloading onto the trailer is a one man operation at 59 pounds. I highly recommend this canoe to a family or someone who likes to canoe camp on rivers and creeks. I would give it a ten but it has no built in cupholders and I have a hell of a time getting the sand out of the hull after a trip. My old Ottawa 17'fiberglass will remain parked in the shed until the Camper breaks!

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09-12-2005
Submitted by: PSSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I took a long while narrowing down the many choices. Criteria were light weight, good stability, reasonably good paddling ease and one maker to not complicate the decision. I have a decent amount of paddling experience while my wife has some and my 3 year old would be tagging along for the ride. Narrowed down to the Penobscot and Camper and ended up with Camper. So far have had it on a still canal, open lake with 10 knot winds, slow moving river and a river with some moderately fast flat water. performed well in each situation. Tracks reasonably well with a J stroke. Good stability with the little one moving around or leaning over the side. Very happy with the canoe. The royalex glides very smoothly over rocks though it does scratch easily. I added seat backs which really improve comfort on casual paddles.
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08-11-2005
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 8 of 10

     This is an initial review after limited use. Picked up a Royalex model after it got dented in shipping and the initial buyer begged off for a pristine canoe. Great all round family canoe. With either my 7 or 10 yr old boy paddling up front, the canoe tracks relatively well without a stern j stroke. On an open lake, catches a bit of wind on the freeboard and one has to pay attention to keep it in line. This is balanced out by the flat bottom and exceptional stability.

On rivers, while the absence of rocker makes this a bit of a pig, leaning the canoe lets it handles well. I weigh 210 lb, and sitting in the rear seat I found it relatively easy to handle solo or with a light load. You can put the gunwales virtually in the water without fear of tipping, relieving the need to work too hard to steer. With a hot summer and low water, the shallow draft lets this ride over the rocks even weighted down with myself and the gang. Even when we did bang into rocks or scrape bottom, the hull showed it's willing to take large abuse.

With the wide beam, you can put an army and the provisions to feed it in this canoe (part of why I wanted this - true to its name - for camping). Stability is a highlight for this canoe: I can easily stand in the stern with a small boy squirming around the bow without fear of going over. The cane seats are wonderful - breathes well on hot days and conforms enough to your rear to let you comfortably rock the boat without sliding - nice when turning.

Finally, for weight, I would not want to move this canoe up on my SUV' rack if it wasn't Royalex. I can easily portage it on my own, though with the wide beam sometimes a bit tricky to roll over and get under. A great canoe well worth an 8, maybe 9. Only more use will tell.

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07-31-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The Camper is a great all 'round canoe. I use it mostly for fishing in ponds and salt marshes around where I live. It has very good stability for a relatively skinny recreational canoe (36 inches). Even though it has a flat bottom, it still will go straight if you are average with a j-stroke. At 16 feet long, there is plenty of leg room for 2 fully grown men. The royalex material is very tough and will take tons of punishment. It is also quite light for a canoe its size, and can be cartopped by one man. While this canoe is at its best on flatwater, I have taken it out along the shores of the Delaware River with 2 foot seas and did not get one drop of water into the boat. For fishing, hunting, camping trips, and its beautiful lines, this is the best boat that you could buy. A near perfect canoe.
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06-27-2005
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 8 of 10

     After poring over reviews from paddling.net and talking to friends...I decided that the Old Town Guide was the best starter boat for my never-been-canoeing-at-all partner and my haven't-been-canoeing-since-summer-camp self. We drove to the Appomatox River Co. in VA, where we seemed to get over-looked in getting waited on. Probably because we are both the antithesis of sporty and svelte.

$950 dollars later, we drove off with the Old Town Camper secured to the roof of my Hyundai Santa Fe. They had the Guide 160 at a great price---$499, but it weighed 30 lbs. more, had plastic seats, zilcho leg room in the bow, clearly violated the warning on the roof rack not to exceed 75 lbs, and was too wide to fit between the rails on the roof rack. I think we could have got around everything else, but the 59 lbs of the Camper won out, since we were the ones who were going to be hoisting and carrying it.

True to the reviews of the Camper...it is tippy, and it took some time to get used to. Took it out on the way home on the James River, and while I am no expert, it seemed to do just fine on a calm, slow moving wide river. I may have more to say after experiencing wakes (they might as well be whitewater to me) and that sort of thing, but on the whole, it was very enjoyable. I am looking forward to many years with this boat.

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04-12-2005
Submitted by: Chuck HaakSend Email
Rating: 3 of 10

     I paddled this canoe as a rental on a 5 day trip into the Sylvania Wilderness in Michigan's UP. I found it to be a real pain in the neck. I am an experienced J Stroker and I can usually make a canoe track straight and only occasionally have to switch sides with the paddle. I could not get this boat to go straight. I thought it was just me until the other experience paddler in the group volunteered the same complaint. It may be a great canoe in other regards, but if I am always fighting its wandering tendencies, it is of no use to me.
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02-01-2005
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     Great boat for two, a real work horse.
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08-23-2004
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     I believe that this canoe is either the best one you will ever buy or the biggest pain in the butt, depending on the conditons you will use it in. If you are looking for a lightweight boat to load down and paddle in calm waters, this is the boat for you. It is also great for taking kids on trips, because of the high degree of initial stability provided by the flat bottom. I chose the boat because of the flat bottom - it is great in the very shallow Brazos River. I load it down with gear and disappear for a week at a time.

Was concerned about the thin Royalex construction at first because I do end up dragging the full boat from time to time, but the flat bottom distributes the weight of the gear and have had no problems with this. I have had to add the Kevlar skidplate kits on the ends of the boat from the dragging, but did so before I had any real issues.

DO NOT get this boat if you are going to paddle in swift, rough waters or are looking to set speed records. It will not satisfy your needs. No secondary stability would be a major problem, and it is too short to go fast.

It is lightweight and durable. I have the webbed seats with the optional seatbacks. 10 miles into the trip, EVERYONE wishes they had the seatbacks. Definately worth the money...

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07-19-2004
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     This is not the fastest or sleekest Old Town if that's the kind of craft you are looking for. It has a 36" beam, 34" waterline beam, a flat no-keel no-rocker hull, straight sides, and highly curved traditional bow and stern lines. It's a pretty canoe but it will not win races or handle rough waves well. Nor does it have much glide without a pronounced J-stroke when paddled solo. However, it does hold quite a bit of gear and the initial stability is close to that of a river barge- big, wide and flat. At 59lbs, this is definitely the top end limit as a cartopper for my solo carrying and loading preferences. I certainly do appreciate the increased stiffness of Old Towns' Royalex construction when compared with the Mad River and We-no-nah models I test paddled prior to buying. I purchased this canoe primarily for fishing and secondly for tandem puttering. When paddled tandem, the camper is surprisingly manuverable and much faster than I ever expected. Flyishing while standing in the Camper is no problem for me as long as my feet are spread a bit. The wide beam allows more foot room than what is really needed to accomplish this. After getting on the water, I quickly became confident enough to solo paddle and fish while standing in the center of the canoe. I can do this as long as wave action doesn't become to rough. For expample, boat wakes don't cause much of a problem, as long as the waves can be anticipated. To fish and paddle at the same time, I simply choke up on the paddle shaft with one hand to get the blade out of the water before casting with the other, then drop the paddle shaft back down when I need to make a stroke. Fishing in a canoe is really just a controlled drift anyway. I use a 67" paddle and will probably move on to a pushpole at some point. For fishing quiet waters, the Camper is hard to beat. I do have a minor complaint: The pronounced curve of the bow and stern do help to catch the wind a bit too much. I would think that Old Town could keep the dimensions of the canoe and flatten the bow and stern just a bit. Since I was looking for a fishing canoe and I did a good deal of research before buying, I can fairly rate this canoe as a '10'. It has definitely surpassed my expectations.
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05-10-2004
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     Just purchased the Camper based on the reviews from Paddling.net and quite satisfied so far. It paddles extremely well in quiet water and in windy conditions. It has a great initial stability (even when bone empty) - and have yet to capsize it, but will do so once the weather warms up. Anyone with even a reasonable J-stroke or draw will be able to keep this boat on-line in almost type of weather, including New England lakes and ponds in a head wind. It probably will not track as well as the Penobscot (the boat I almost bought), nor will it "haul" as much gear - but it will most certainly be more maneuverable and much easier to get on and off the truck. Will follow up in the fall by posting more practical experiences with it.
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09-22-2003
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     We have had our Camper since 1987 and love it. It's our workhorse and we've taken many week long trips in it. It's been in the Okefenokee several times, has been paddled through the Everglades, has taken trips on Fontana Lake and Lake Santeelah, and has even been down the Blue River in Indiana. It paddles best when it's loaded!
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09-15-2003
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     We've just purchased our camper based on these reviews and are quite satisfied. It paddles extremely well even in the wind. Many of our family members have paddled it and have done very well, some haven't been in a canoe in several years. I wonder though about the weight claim. It seems to be a heavy 59lbs when we compare it to our wood and canvas canoe which I know must weigh at least 80lbs. Or maybe we are just getting old, whatever we do enjoy it and recommend it highly.
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06-10-2003
Submitted by: PaulSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I recently purchased a use Old Town Camper canoe and have been repeatedly impressed. It is faster than I expected on flat water and has handled moderate (class II) whitewater very well. The flat bottom has actually been a benefit on the often shallow rivers in the area. It handles well solo or well loaded. The Camper has exceeded all of my expectations.
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04-17-2003
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 4 of 10

     The Old Town Camper was my first boat. My fiance bought it for me in place of an engagement ring. Happy to say that I have replaced both the woman and the boat with more user friendly models. Tha flat -bottom was always a major hassle and it was one of many factors that added greatly to her unstability in rough conditions. In a word - unimpressive!
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12-23-2002
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My wife and I have been paddling the "Camper" for 7 years now in mostly light conditions with a couple of Labrador Retrievor dogs who make things interesting. As you might imagine I like the canoe for its great stabilty. We've had the dogs decide to leave mid-trip and return to re-enter the canoe while still on the water without any problems or upsets. The canoe is ideally suited for the job it's name denotes: camping. The canoe carries a pile of stuff and stability increases without much loss in performance -not that this is a performance boat but it does move along nicely. We've also found that the canoe is best paddled dual. Using the camper solo can be challenging in fast water or if a wind is blowing due to the flat bottom. Positioning in the centre of the canoe with a lean improves the situation but the camper's strengths are in it's easy paddling and stability. The canoe tracks and handles moderate conditions well when paddled dual and with some weight in it. I've done some fast water with this canoe and found that the canoe handles well and is easy to move across the currents but a lot of side slip in the turns is unavoidable. Overall we've been very pleased with the canoe and rate it very highly in the role for which it was designed. The construction and materials used are high quality and it's a nice looking traditional canoe.
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11-27-2002
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I canoed with my camper for 17 years and have to agree that tracking can be a problem on open water. To overcome that, I've been using a double blade paddle for almost as long as I've had the canoe. This greatly compensates for the tracking problem. On the winding rivers we have in upstate NY the lack of a keel is much appreciated as it allows the canoe to maneuver better. Cane replacement and cleaning is the only maintenance I've had to perform. I don't think you can buy a more versatile canoe.
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10-02-2002
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I bought my camper several years ago used from an outfitter going out of business. My wife and I have paddled it loaded with all kind of camping stuff/gear on flat water creeks and on ocean inlets with no problem. It is very stable and one time on a trip on an ocean inlet to Cape Lookout in NC, there was small craft advisorys which we did not know until later. The canoe handled great. It is now about 14 years old according to the serial number and still going strong.
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08-15-2002
Submitted by: Jackson Landers
Rating: 9 of 10

     The Old Town Camper is just a really great canoe if you aren't out for major whitewater. It's real strength is for canoe camping (as the name implies). Let me tell you, the best advantage that canoe camping has over backpacking is that with the right canoe, you can load up with an insane amount of crap that you would never consider lugging down a trail. And the beauty of this Old Town is that the more you throw in there, the more stable it gets. Seriously, I have spent hours paddling my Camper down the James river in Central Virginia standing up in the canoe. Yes, standing. I use a longer paddle like an old fashioned sweep. I have never once fallen or tipped my boat by doing this. The canoe accomadates so much cargo that the center of gravity remains low despite my insane posture. When you've been sitting down for 2 days straight, sometimes standing for a while can be a good way to stretch out without stopping.

Furthermore, the Camper is so big that I usually set up a full kitchen in the middle of the boat. A friend and I made a table/deck out of wood and plastic lumber that is clamped firmly across the gunwales. I have a 2 burner propane camp stove, running water and a cooler full of dry ice (lasts for days- you should try it) and generally everything I need to make some pancakes while someone else is steering. Try doing that in some sleek little white water canoe!

Depending on how the gear is stored, I can even get a little sleep in the boat during night paddles. Plenty of room to stretch out. Again, I've got someone else driving while this stuff is happening. Admittedly, mine is a completely gonzo, insane style of canoeing. But my thanks and appreciation go out to Old Town for making the canoe that allow this.

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08-13-2002
Submitted by: BoboSend Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     I used this boat for two weeks in an ocean inlet/back bay setting. I paddled it solo, tandem, and loaded with children passengers. It was very stable in the calm water, but tracked very poorly with any wind. Poor tracking was an advantage when running cross current. It handled 2 ft waves soundly, but was bumpy. I had to constantly work to keep it tracking and every stroke required a correction. I was disappointed with the rigidity of the flat bottom. It looked like a trampoline in the slightest chop and was concave with any load. Old Town should consider adding ribs to improve rigidity across the 36" floor span. The concave floor probably added to the feeling like I was plowing it through the water. It was great for carrying cargo and moving about on the water. Great for young ones. It is the minivan of canoes. I returned it and purchased a Penobscot 16.
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10-02-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     I love my Camper. I use it for camping and i couldn't imagine a better workhorse. It's wide, stable, has a shallow draft, and holds a ton of gear. I have had trouble with wind and tracking but the more gear I load the better it handles. This canoe is great for it's uses, it's light, carries a ton and takes a beating. I highly recommend this boat for anyone looking to haul gear, or people although I can't recommend it as highly for no load touring, especially in to the wind.
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08-01-2001
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Old Town's camper is a very good all-around canoe for flat water and an occasional class 1 & 2 river. I bought my Camper 9 years ago as my first canoe, and have really enjoyed the durability of the Royalex material and the relatively light 59 pounds for a 16' plastic canoe. The flat bottom provides excellent initial stability, but the trade-off is only fair tracking. It doesn't handle boat wakes and larger waves as well as a rounded-bottom boat, either. As an alternative, prospective buyers should consider Old Town's Penobscot 16, which is similar many aspects but with a shallow arch bottom that provides better tracking and handling in waves, at the price of slightly less initial stability. My Camper has been trouble-free with many hours on rivers and lakes, except for replacing a cane seat a few years ago. Excellent quality construction.
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03-26-2001
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 4 of 10

     I live and boat in Fl. I bought the Camper 3 mo. ago to explore and fish. I've been very disapointed with it because it is not very stable and gets push around buy the wind to much. This is not the first canoe that Iv'e owened.
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02-05-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 8 of 10

     I mostly solo but wanted to get my wife to tandem in a relatively stable platform. We both love the classic lines of the Camper (see Old Town's original designs) plus its very light so is relatively easy for one person to carry, unless it's windy then you'd better get help. It also tends to oilcan slightly, not surprising for a big, flat bottom boat. Despite all its postives, we used it strictly on the lake and I wanted a boat with more glide, and an occasional tricky river or two so got rid of it for a Wenonah Adirondack.
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01-02-2001
Submitted by: DPGSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     This canoe is great if used as is intended by Old Town and that would be for general purpose and light-moderate river use. My wife and I travel and camp northern Maine and wanting a canoe after being canoeless for a few years, we rented a Camper and fell in love with it right away. On our next trip to Maine later in the summer of 98, we went right to the Old Town Outlet Store to pick up our own new Camper.

After a few paddles I realized this canoe needed its rear seat lowered compared to the one we rented (I'm 6' 2"@230lbs which I'm sure plays into this, plus I expect a certain feel from the boat that includes a lowish center of gravity), I did that and have been happily padding this canoe for mild class I- II rivers and walk in lakes. We use this canoe for relaxation, photography and fly fishing and the only reason I downgrade it to a 9 is it requires some paddling skill on the stern paddlers part to keep it tracking properly. I use a constant series of correction strokes to keep it on course and even paddling alone as my wife fishes or photographs in the bow, I rarely switch sides, but someone not aware of this characteristic might find this annoying (thought it was worth mentioning).

In terms of stability, there can't be a much better canoe, never a thought of dumping it, even if hitting a submerged object, unlike some canoes that feel like they will dump if touching something, even lightly. We have used it on fairly rough lakes, it's decent in the wind but has no tracking glide at all, if you power off or stop correcting, it will eventually glide through a full 180 deg. skidding rotation or even 360 degs (unlike the Penobscot 17 which we also now own, that will glide for what seems like miles while staying on track). But what a fishing platform, and what a reasonable easy paddler, not real draggy and it will turn very well if needed. It's great to drift down river with and anchor in an eddy, you never feel the seams in the river or that tugging sensation of water direction changes as the canoe swings over feature changes, under way or while at anchor.

The Camper may not win races but you don't really tire either while lake padding, if you keep moderate power on and keep the boat at or around hull speed, it performs quite well IMO (after all, it has its limits and pushing them does little good!). We do load this canoe fairly well at times and it takes at least what we load in it very well, there are higher dryer canoes, there are specialty canoes but for an all purpose canoe for fishing, camping or photography and carrying in, the Camper may well be hard to beat.

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08-28-2000
Submitted by: FMCSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I've had my camper a month now and have been out in it five times. We've only gone on state park lakes here in Pennsylvania for 1-4 hour day trips. We've not used it for overnight trips nor on rivers yet. I researched many different models of Old Town, Mad River, and Wenonah. I was looking for a family canoe that I can go out in relatively calm waters with my two young kids and my wife, or just me and the kids.

The camper suits my needs perfectly. At 59 pounds it is easy for me to load and unload and get it in the water by myself. The minor increase on price for the Royalex over the Crosslink/3 is worth it. It is long and wide enough that all four of us fit easily, including coolers for lunch, extra clothes, and fishing rods. Next trip, we might even add our dog! The flat bottom is very stable, at rest and while moving, and it allows us to venture into coves and inlets where the water is fairly shallow.

It seems to paddle easily, even when I'm the only one doing the paddling from the stern. I think it handles wind as well as any canoe. Despite what you hear about some models, I think ALL canoes have trouble in a strong wind. Regarding "tracking", it does seem to zig zag a little, but I think that is more a problem with my paddling than the boat itself.

Overall, I love my camper and would highly recommend it.

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07-24-2000
Submitted by: jimbob
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have taken the Camper in the sounds of North Carolina and lakes in Pennsylvania and am very happy with this boat. It has good stability to fish from. It tracks well for me. It is light enough for me to handle on and off the minivan by myself. I use a removable nylon center seat when I want to paddle alone and use a kayak paddle and the canoe handles well. I would recommend this canoe.
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05-17-2000
Submitted by: TAASend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have had 2 Old Town Camper canoes. The first one I sold before I moved and when I arrived in Alaska I really regretted not having it. I purchased another Camper and have never looked back. It is the perfect canoe for fishing the numerous lakes on the Kenai peninsula as well as running some of our shallow class 1 rivers. Others without the Campers flat hull scrape bottom, while I am easily moving down the river and beating them to the fat native trout found at the next bend. I love this canoe and heartily recommend it to anyone who wants fishing stability and easy shallow river cruising.
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12-31-1999
Submitted by: DMBSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My primary concern for critical evaluation of this canoe is how well it performs as a touring canoe for my style of touring in the BWCAW. My son and I have been going there every year for a 7-10 day trip for the last 7 years.

We go there to get away from people, fish and relax. We usually go in as far as we can comfortably get in a fairly aggressive one day paddle, 10 to 20 miles depending on # of portages and the wind. We target lakes and campsites that are not part of primary routes or loops, but offer seclusion, good campsites and good fishing.

We set up a very comfortable camp with a 4-6 man tent with standup and walk around room, hammocks and many creature comforts that the ultra light canoe-camper will forgo. We also take in enough fishing tackle to cover everything from large northerns, deep water lake trout, walleyes and small mouths. If they swim we try to catch'em.

Needless to say we are very heavy going in (4 full size duluth packs plus the food pack)and the Camper handles the load extremely well. It is a little tight but we squeeze em in. We still have plenty of freeboard and the low center of gravity makes for excellent stability. We've been on Sagnaga and across Cache Bay in less than favorable windy weather and the canoe fared far better than my nerves did. It can get real nasty out there real quick and the canoe just took it in stride. I'm not talking 3' swells and white caps here, but it has been far from the kind of weather you hope for. Once we set up base camp we day trip in every possible direction with light packs and our fishing gear. The Camper is an outstanding fishing platform. The royalex is extremely quite, even when a less than graceful 14 year old bounces his paddle off the side or drops a tackle box, All you get is a soft "tump". Hardly enough to scare even a shy walleye. In addition we do not have to be extremely cautious when it comes to landing the canoe. If we scrape a rock or two the royalex Camper slides right over them. Along with it's quietness, is the type of stability the flat bottom design offers. I am aware that in extreme conditions a curved or rounded bottom canoe will handle rougher water before it flips, but I am not going out in those conditions. What I am trying to do is keep from getting motion sickness caused by my young fisherman's casting style. At his age he still uses his whole body to cast or set the hook and the constant jerking and rolling motion in a curved bottom canoe makes for a nerve wracking experience. In the Camper I can relax, leaning back in the woven cane back rest, almost to the point of taking a nap, while Mike does battle with the fish up in the front.

The only thing I might like to see is 6" to 8" more in length to help handle the load for an 8-10 day trip. It would add a pound or two in weight but next year Mike will be big enough to carrying the canoe so I don't have to worry.

If you know of a canoe that does what this one does, only better, I would love to know about it. I have not found one but I am always looking.

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10-25-1999
Submitted by: Edward BornsteinSend Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     Very good general pupose canoe. The wife and I used it extensively for fly-fishing. It does skate in a wind and certainly does not track well, but performs well on medium fast rivers. Single-handed from the center in the leaned position greatly improves its performance as it has excellant stability in this position.
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10-17-1999
Submitted by: Carl MSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I have just purchased my 2nd Old Town Camper canoe. I sold the first one and missed it so much. It is great for small state park lakes. I paddle it solo quite a bit. I just put some water jugs in the back and sit on the front seat backwards. Therefore the stern becomes the bow and it paddles so easily. Wind can be a problem. I think it is a good looking canoe and very stable. It will hold up to 900 pounds. Now I'm ready to try out a lot of State Parks. By the way it is light at 59# and not hard to load...Carl M
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08-23-1999
Submitted by: GregSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     A great craft if you duck hunt, bird watch, fish or camp on a river or need stability (children pets etc.) Very light and can be handled and lifited by one person. It is not as forgiving in the white stuff due too the flat bottom, however it handles very well when loaded. It will track a little odd, but I always drag a bit of chain to correct it. On a flat lake it will suck up the wind and will handle a little more cumbersome than a skinney, however I always use a side mounted trolling motor on those days. The Camper is a fine product worth boasting about when used accordingly to it's design. The web or cane seats are a must if you are considering a trip of any length. I have taken many river trips in mine that were over 4 days duration and the craft was able to perform very well with two adults, a pooch and camping gear. I use mine mostly for river fishing in some rapids (class 3) for small mouth. Friends own other types of canoes, i.e. Discovery, but these craft have weaknesses too, such as weight, stability and tracking. Also, unless the canoer is very experienced, the skinnys usally don't perform any better in the average white than my camper. It is one comfortable craft for this sport and I dare say that a small jon boat cannot measure up to the camper. My best advice- Buy only for the application that you are intrested in. I've noticed that jon boats are bulky, heavy and extremely noisy for shallow fishing and some with the narrow beam are not as stable, also the jon boats can be expensive for their limited use as well and usally require a truck to haul them. Good luck!
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05-04-1999
Submitted by: JLR
Rating: 4 of 10

     After spending time in a Camper I've decided that it is a pretty canoe to look at because of it's traditional lines. That's where it all ends. On the water in a moderate wind, it blows around like a bathtub with a sail. Tracking is very poor and hard to control if you are trying to get somewhere like across the lake. It's OK if you just want to float around but there are much better canoes out there.
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12-22-1998
Submitted by: HSSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My interest in wildlife photography takes me to small creeks, lakes and large rivers. The Camper works very well in all of these. It is very stable and easy for a one-person carry (58lb.). The Royalex material makes it quite and resilient to abuse. Old Town also makes some very useful accessories for their canoes, so if you are in the market for and all-around canoe, check this one out.
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