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Charles River 158

15' 8"
Width (in)
Weight (lb)

Charles River 158 Description

The Charles River 158 is a canoe brought to you by Old Town Canoe and Kayak. Read Charles River 158 reviews or submit your own review to share with the paddling community. Check out a few other canoe recommendations below or explore all canoes to find the perfect one for you!

Charles River 158 Reviews


Read and submit reviews for the Charles River 158.

Old Town Canoe and Kayak
Charles River 158 Reviews

Read reviews for the Charles River 158 by Old Town Canoe and Kayak as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

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I purchased my OT Charles…

Submitted by: paddler234949 on 4/10/2013
I purchased my OT Charles River new and only used it a couple of times before leaving it on my farm in Washington State on the Skokomish River w/relatives with the request to have it stored in the barn and temporarily strapped it to a truckbed converted trailer, which had blown off due to severe wind conditions, after recovery, it was weeks due to flooding from the river it was strapped back to the trailer using a wide ratcheting commercial truck strap.

When I returned to my farm last summer, the canoe was secured so tight it looked like a large red bowtie. It still handled well in the modest (shallow) flow of the river even with a pronounced crease in the bottoms center. I returned to So. California for it to rest on two wood horses in the hot sun and after a time outside (120°+) it returned to its shape with only a very slight hard to see dimple on the bottom. Fantastic, as it will probably return to shape completely this summer with use and SC sun strobe.

I rate this canoe bomb proof and it never oilcans like other royalex canoes that I have owned. An overall great boat awesome to handle on moving and still water alike.


I purchased a used 2008…

Submitted by: paddler233305 on 8/12/2009
I purchased a used 2008 Charles River last Fall, in the Polylink material. We just returned from taking it over 5 lakes and 15 miles in Temagmai, Canada and I absolutely loved the canoe! It's quite heavy (pushing 90 pounds with some light gear strapped in during the portages) but I managed to carry it overhead by myself, with the help of padding on the yoke, over two portages of 1/4 mile and 1.5 miles (had to split the longer one up into two legs though). It handled like a dream on the lakes, except when stiff winds caught the bow, which is higher than other Old Town models. We carried two heavy packs in addition to our own weight of nearly 400 lbs, and the canoe still glided through the water beautifully.

I love this canoe!! It is extremely stable, even on choppy water. Our expedition used three Old Town models, a Penobscot, a Discovery, and my Charles River. The CR is definitely the most pleasing to the eye on the water; though the Penobscot is built for tripping and glides through the water more easily, my Charles River was exceptional and I can't wait to take it out again. I highly recommend this canoe for anyone who is looking for excellent stability and versatility.


I bought my Old Town Charles…

Submitted by: paddler233133 on 5/23/2009
I bought my Old Town Charles River RX from Saco Bound and am very pleased with it! The extra money for the Royalex material was well worth it! The best thing about the royalex is its durability. I had the misfortune of getting mine stuck under a low water bridge for two whole days badly denting it in the process. After leaving it out in the sun and then filling it with water under an afternoon sun the dents came right out! The canoe also had some scratches, some all the way down to the ABS material but I was able to fix those with repair putty and royalex spray paint. I was told by a canoe dealer that if the accident had occurred in a canoe with another hull material the boat would have more than likely been a total loss!

This boat is fast, tracks beautifully, and has excellent initial and secondary stability. I would highly recommend it to any one in the market for a solid, great looking river running canoe at a fair price!!


I bought a CR in Royalex from…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/15/2007
I bought a CR in Royalex from Ozark River Company,and am very pleased with the canoe so far. I am a hefty guy, at 240 lbs., but still have noticed NO oil canning as noted by some others. The Royalex is much lighter than my old 87 lb. fiberglass laker, and is very thick as compared to the other canoe.

It is taking some getting used to, as it paddles very differently from the old canoe, and is much faster, quicker to turn, and after a stroke of the paddle, glides nicely. (the old laker was like running in glue compared to this boat). I am so pleased with it that I am welding up a new canoe trailer just to haul it around with! All in all, I am a 'happy camper'.


Well, you guys have me…

Submitted by: paddler232282 on 8/27/2007
Well, you guys have me convinced! I ordered the green CR in Royalex from Ozark River, and the shipping is $99 bucks UPS, and Bill said they would take it back if freight damaged, just refuse it and it goes right back on the truck. (the ads say different, and I will post if this isn't true). I have an old 16 foot fiberglass scow now that was "free", but had blown off a rack at highway speeds and had to have extensive repairs. It also weighs in at 87 pounds, which is a little heavy for this 65 year old.

I will post impressions after a few test paddles, but everyone says the new CR will be like night and day from my old hog bottomed 'glass laker... we'll see...


I've owned canoes off and on…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/31/2007
I've owned canoes off and on for the past 25 years. After a 10 year hiatus, I went to a major canoe/kayak dealer in New Jersey, and bought a Mad River Explorer 16 TT. The bottom oil-canned so bad, that it seemed about to burst! The dealer told me they knew the poly version of the Explorer was defective, and I then bought a used Bell Northwind in Royalex. A very nice boat, but I wanted something new.....

A week later, I returned the Bell and bought an Old Town Charles River. The canoe was new, and looked great. The Royalex hull felt much stiffer than the Penobscot, so on the roof rack it went. I should have demo'ed the Charles River, however: its bottom flexes up and down with each paddle stroke or body movement. It wasn't the same sort of oil-canning that the Mad River exhibited. That boat's bottom came up and stayed up. The Charles River's bottom pumps, as if it wants to retain its shape. The bottom doesn't travel very far up and down, but it's constant and the entire hull bottom moves....Bummer!

It does paddle well tandem and solo, and has great initial and secondary stability. My wife and I left the factory stickers on the Charles River, and the dealer told us that we are welcome to exchange it for another model. We've been debating what to do for the past week, and still don't know what to do! We've had it out twice (don't want to put any scratches on it, in case it gets returned) and have enjoyed everything but the flexy hull...


I recently purchased the…

Submitted by: paddler232207 on 7/25/2007
I recently purchased the Charles River PolyLink3 version 85 lbs. The general purpose was for family use on the local lakes and dams near Ogden, UT. I have canoed most of my life, yet this is my first personal purchase. We have 4 young children and all fit comfortably in the canoe. I can easily load the canoe onto the car myself, (6'2" out of shape 31 year old). It helps to have a towel or something over my shoulders, as the wood yoke can be painful digging into my neck and shoulders. I love the maneuverability i.e., the ability to "turn on a dime." My wife isn't a strong paddler, but with a good J-stroke and her paddling on the other side, the canoe tracks very well, thus eliminating the zig-zag effect I was originally concerned with. Stability is better than average, based on my overall experience with other canoes. I have done very little soloing in the canoe, yet find it easier to keep the canoe straight with just some weight in the front to compensate for my slightly obese build. My experience with the Charles River thus far, is that it lives up to the Old Town label of "ideal canoe."

I bought the Polylink3 model…

Submitted by: BobMcG on 10/20/2006
I bought the Polylink3 model Charles River in Aug. of this year(2006) for use on flat water and slow rivers. Although not having it long it's been out on a number of ponds, lakes and brooks. It's very stable and easy to paddle. Even though it does tend to catch a bit more wind than a more conventional design, the traditional or classic look of this canoe is sensational. The size, quality, function, looks and price all rate a ten. The only real fault I find with it is it's weight. At 85lbs it's not a monster by any means but it's a bit on the stout side for solo use and carries. It's the only reason I'm giving it a nine. (I've taken care of that.)

I took care of the weight…

Submitted by: BobMcG on 10/20/2006
I took care of the weight issue I have with the Polylink3 model of the Charles River by buying the Royalex (RX) version of it. It has all of the fine attributes I find the Poly model to have but with a weight savings of 23lbs. At 62lbs (while 7" longer) it's a breeze to move around when going solo. Like it's Poly counterpart, it's plenty stable, turns well and is a pleasure to paddle. It gets a ten from me and I think it'll be around for the long term.

Main Use =…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/1/2006
Main Use = camping,tripping,fishing. Possible use with motor in larger lakes and lazy rivers. hauling gear, my dog and some beers.

After narrowing it down between the OT Charles River vs. the Mad River Explorer 16 tt (both plastic for around $750) I decided on the OT.

Although the Mad River Explorer tt was a tad cheaper,a little wider and 5 inches longer, (stabiltiy factors) I decided that after either canoe gets scratched up, faded, and the emblems wear off, what remains is as simple cheap plastic canoe. So I fiqured the OT would look better at that stage - with the upswept ends and "classic" design.

The upswept bow/stern do catch the wind but no more than it would with somebody sitting up front. I also plan on hooking up a small motor (35 thrust trolling motor) so the wind issue may not matter.

The OT is very stable, I have maxed out the weight limit and probably even went over it by a few pounds. With a max load weight the bottom did flex a little bit, but no more than any other plastic canoe would.

One drawback I noticed with the curved stern & bow, is that when I anchor the canoe in the current the anchor rope does not slide over the ends (from side to side) as easily as it would with a canoe that has flatter ends. The rope sort of pulls against the sides when at a slight angle. This results in the canoe doggtracking a little bit while sationary in current, however it's no big deal.

It's sort of impossible to sit on the ends....and anything mounted to them will be at a 45 deg. angle.

Turning, back paddeling, tracking and even ruddering down river is easy to do. It handles well in 3 mph currents and it slices waves/wakes fairly well. The vinal gunwhales are beefy enough to clamp on rod holders,can holders, and maybe even orelocks. As with all the plastic canoes it is heavier to lug around. $500 can shave off about 20 lbs going with the royalax material, but from what I gather, royalax can be problematic with flexing and somewhat of a bitch to care for. The largest problem Iv'e read about is the famed "IQ" gunwhales are nothing more than channeled aluminum, therefore flexing and bending to the point that anything slid into the channeling will bind up.

The OT CR is a good canoe for what I use it for. And I have also had comments on how good the canoe looks, leading me to believe that in ten years I could still sell it easily.


I recently purchased the…

Submitted by: Greywolf on 7/11/2006
I recently purchased the Royalex version of the Charles River.So far it has lived up 100% to the description Old Town offers. I have had a blast on class 1 and 2 water, while sometimes I slip up into thin water where the bass boats cant't go.If your going to get your boat out once every two or three years buy a cheaper boat. If your a paddler with only moderate skills, you want a boat that tracks like a dream, turns with little effort, has both initial stability and secandary stability, can haul a load if you need it to, is faster than most boats you might bumb around with,and looks really really great, get a Charles River.I'd bet I have had one hundred people look her over on the river and say " wow, thats a good looking canoe".I grew up paddeling the Discovery 169 also from Old Town, but you'll never trade my for this sweet boat!

This is the first canoe I've…

Submitted by: paddler231556 on 5/10/2006
This is the first canoe I've owned and I love it. It's very stable and easy to paddle. I live about five minutes from lake Erie and the only problem I've had is the wind seems to grab at it more than my friends canoes, but the Great Lakes aren't real friendly towards any boat. Great canoe, can't till my son is (1yr) is old enough to enjoy it with me.

First paddle on this Charles…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/17/2006
First paddle on this Charles River was just as Old Town advertised. Initial stability great. Secondary stability super. Paddled in wind of about 12 knots, against a slight river current. Handled both very well. Although sort of heavy at 85 lbs in the polylink3 it was a joy to paddle. Felt very comfortable even after almost 6 hours. I have a Wenonah Vagabond in royalex and an Old Town Pack and a Mad River 14tt but, this Charles River is by far the best looking and handling canoe for the money. Fished rock solid with plenty of room for coolers and tackle boxes. If the budget had afforded I would probably have gone with the royalex version but, this will do just fine. Old Town, in my opinion, gives you a lot of quality for minimal costs.

Bought this canoe in the…

Submitted by: amosm on 3/20/2006
Bought this canoe in the summer of 2005 and have been very impressed with it so far. Secondary stability is great. Handles very well with 2 people as well as running solo. I have run class 3 rapids open without much trouble. I have yet to try it on a lake though. It also has a very sharp look to it. People always compliment on its shape. The only drawback is the weight. At 85 lbs, it can difficult carry alone.