Pathfinder Description

The Pathfinder is a canoe brought to you by Old Town Canoe and Kayak. Read Pathfinder 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!

Old Town Canoe and Kayak
Pathfinder Reviews

Read reviews for the Pathfinder 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 finally had to retire my…

Submitted by: TexasCanoeart on 7/3/2020
I finally had to retire my Old Town Pathfinder after about 23 years of service. The first couple of years, I paddled eastern NC slow-moving rivers and creeks and this boat’s flat keelless bottom made maneuvering between cypress trees and flooded timber very easy. Then I moved to north Texas and found the Pathfinder perfect for chasing bass and sunfish around shallow rocky creeks and rivers like the Brazos where I would occasionally have to hop out and drag it during the dry spells. I raised two sons taking them out on day trips with their mom, and while they were little, they could fit easily. The Royalex handled many abrasions and thumps upon rocks and stumps, but eventually UV radiation and attempts at repair turned it brittle. I filled it with soil and now grow tomatoes out of it. I’ve rented an Old Town Saranac but the comparison motivated me to go try a new T-Formex boat instead. My new boat is heavier than the Pathfinder, and has a higher profile to catch the wind, but Is much faster and tracks better than the Pathfinder. If you find a pathfinder in someone’s garage sale, I highly recommend it as great solo recreational canoe.

I bought my blue Old Town…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/23/2018

I bought my blue Old Town 1987 Pathfinder Canoe in the Summer of 2017 for $350. It had a cracked hole in the gunwale and was somewhat beat up on the bottom, so I was worried that I had overpaid for my first canoe. But after patching it up with vinyl and seeing other much higher prices for the same canoe on Craigslist since, I feel good about it. I love the vintage look to it, and it can still take a beating on the bottom (the gunwale I worry about of course). It has been very stable for me, and I have felt comfortable with it taking my wife and two kids on the snap in middle seat that the seller gave me with it. The only problem I have had is that it is hard to control by myself on windy days because of it's wide body and subsequent raised front, but I've learned to use that middle seat to balance it all out and make paddling easier. At just under 60 pounds I am able to carry it around above my head (for now--I'm in my mid-40's), and at 14' 10" it fits snugly in the ceiling of my garage. The Royalex rinses out easily. I've never owned anything to compare it to, but if you can find the Pathfinder at a reasonable cost, I highly recommend it!


My first canoe

Submitted by: RVK on 6/26/2017

Just picked up this boat this morning after coming across it on Craigslist. Paid: $600 with 2 Grey Owl and one Bending Branches paddles. It;s got the usual dings and scratches but for the most part is in very good shape. One 2-3 inch repair done with Kevlar; outside layer of Royalex cracked when the boat was dropped but the inside layer was not damaged. It's green, aluminum gunwales, webbed seats, all in good condition.

Took it out on Monksville Reservoir in New Jersey. It was extremely windy but the skies were clear. I started off paddling solo with the boat turned around, It tracked fine until I had to go against the wind. I kept it turned around and kneeled so I was a bit more forward and it tracked much better; not great. I also haven't been in a canoe in probably 10 years. So, there's that too.

When the wind died down; it was smooth paddling. The boat is stable enough for me but a little wobbly. Tracked much better when I went back to the landing to pick up my girlfriend. Very happy with the purchase.

Will be back to write another review when I try it under other circumstances. Hopefully, Pine Barrens in NJ.


Mine is the RX model and is a…

Submitted by: TroyOH on 9/18/2016
Mine is the RX model and is a pure joy at 57 pounds. Tracks true and glides easy. There is nothing negative that can be said about this canoe.Made in 1992 and expect it will still be going strong for many years.

My Royalex 14'10" Pathfinder…

Submitted by: Fishcop on 4/29/2016
My Royalex 14'10" Pathfinder has been part of our family for about 25 years. Bought used from a livery during an end-of-season clearance. Over the decades I have added one coat of paint, filled some scratches and reinforced the stems with Old Town's Kevlar skid plates, painted green to match. I've replaced old cane seats with new, sanded and varnished thwarts and trim, and attached a foam carrying yoke. 1-2 times a year it gets a good scrubbing and coat of protectant.

What a workhorse it has been! Not great secondary stability for much whitewater, but it has suited our family fine as long as we pay attention to inherent limitations. It's been dragged over beaver dams, paddled on high mountain ponds and lakes while deer hunting and fishing, in tidal canals and coastal rivers, class 1-2 whitewater and held mountains of gear paddling solo and checking trap lines and waterfowl during most of my game warden career.

At 64 I can still hoist it overhead and enjoy paddling with grandkids and my wife. More than one of our 43 anniversary dates has included at least a few hours of relaxation in this canoe. As with any piece of equipment, take care of it and there's no reason it won't be a hand-me-down to the next generation of paddlers!


Bought my Pathfinder in '86…

Submitted by: Omeas on 3/9/2016
Bought my Pathfinder in '86 and still own it. It's been beat to hell on cedar stumps and other logs, been burned by a stove pipe, been crashed into more brush on sharp turns than I can remember, but it's still going and in great shape. Painted it duckboat camo, put hauling holes in the bow and stern, adjusted new cane seat with shims to paddle bow seat reversed, moved and reversed yoke to make the stern heavier when carrying, and generally keep the ash in good shape.

Great all-around boat, and yes, it sucks in the wind but that's about its only negative.


I fished lakes and played in…

Submitted by: paddler236244 on 5/28/2015
I fished lakes and played in 4ft class 4 haystacks with a center air bag in my pathfinder. Took friends and family, including a golden & lab for many a river trip on the James, Appomattox and Shenandoah. Perfect for class 1 & 2, and low water, easily slips over shallow rocks.

Excellent initial and secondary stability, and very maneuverable. Tough solo in wind with little gear or weight. Perfect for cartop at 57 lbs. I miss it a lot, stolen. I do my homework and was rewarded for it with the pathfinder. Replaced it with a Camper to fit 3 for family, but have been disappointed with tippy, flatbottom, unmaneuverable 16ft 90lb. Boat that dumps easy on low shelfs. Thinking of trading for another pathfinder. A kayak works great fir our 3rd person.


Bought My Old Town Pathfinder…

Submitted by: paddler236091 on 12/28/2014
Bought My Old Town Pathfinder at the factory store in Old Town, Maine in 2001. Have used it extensively From Florida to Nova Scotia. Because it likes to slip sideways in a wind or current I affixed a 1"x 1" x 5' Starboard strip (keel) with 5200 to the hull, its made a great difference in the tracking.

I am tired of the wicker seats after replacing them a number of times, I would like to replace them with the Old Town solid plastic seats. Has anybody done this?? I bought the Cabellas outrigger kit for it and the Old Town motor bracket and have a 2hp Honda for long trips. Also have a sail kit for it. I plan on keeping it forever!


We had a Old Town Pathfinder…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/5/2014
We had a Old Town Pathfinder 15' Royalex canoe. It was a bit too shallow and tippy for us, but would be a great fishing canoe for one person though.

I bought my Pathfinder in…

Submitted by: paddler234480 on 4/4/2012
I bought my Pathfinder in 1981 and have used it well over the years. Two years ago, I replaced the cane seats and yoke with heavy-duty (and thus heavier) ash units from Vermont. That extra four pounds, and my extra 30 years, have made it harder to lug around so I bought a 16 pound Hornbeck. Very different paddling experience but the most serendipitous thing resulted from solo-paddling (front seat facing rear) the Pathfinder with the two-bladed Hornbeck paddle. Much faster than one blade, just as maneuverable and I don't have to rely on my partner's busy schedule anymore for gear-laden trips. Old Town, take notice.

We bought the pre-Royalex…

Submitted by: paddler233396 on 2/3/2011
We bought the pre-Royalex Pathfinder USED from a canoe outfitter in Ely in 1981 (30 years ago). And it is still one of my favorite canoes in a stable full of 9 canoes and kayaks. It is not fast, nor track straight as an arrow like a good tripping canoe. I like it because it is very comfortable, stable, great for fishing and tough as nails (compared to any fiber composite).

This past summer it was my go-to canoe for a trip to some islands in Lake Superior. It is safe, secure and plenty seaworthy in an ice cold lake.

This is my favorite canoe when I don't have to cover lots of miles quickly. It is a joy to take down twisty rivers and handles nasty weather nicely. The wide flat bottom gives it great initial stability for fly fishing, photography and friends that don't canoe. Don't try to use an electric trolling motor for the same reason, the flat bottom will just get you spinning in circles.

I don't use it for Boundary Waters canoe tripping, but love it for every day use. This is a great canoe to have around the cabin for everyday use, for kids to use, bouncing down a rocky river (not serious rapids) or someone looking for a stable fishing canoe.

Unfortunately the old canoe made Oltonar (sp? - plastic predecessor to Royalex) weighs over 70 pounds, or I would use it even more. On the other hand, it still has at least another 30 years of hard use left in it without any need for repairs. No kevlar canoe could take the abuse this canoe has seen over the past 30+ years and still be floating without patches and a few major repairs.


Bought my Pathfinder new back…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 12/15/2008
Bought my Pathfinder new back in 1993, so I've had 15 years of solid use on which to base my opinion. Have paddled this great canoe both solo and tandem. Have fished from it and used it as a great platform for wildlife photography. It has taken me all over the New Jersey pine barrens, the Adirondacks and into the interior of Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. I have paddled it deep in the wilderness and it has performed beautifully on expansive lakes as well as rivers.

The tough Royalex hull is durable and has never been punctured after 15 years sliding over rocks in wild rivers. I have used it in class II whitewater, but that may be the comfortable limit for this versatile craft. On big lakes, its higher profile requires skill to keep it quartered into the wind. For solo paddling it is a little wide (36 inches), but I have learned to live it by hugging one side and not switching too often.

The Pathfinder has exceptional initial stability, and moderate secondary stability, considering it's flat bottom. The 14'10" length coupled with the 820 pound load capacity make it a great solo wilderness tripper. At 57 pounds, it's not tough on the shoulders when portaging.


I have had the Pathfinder for…

Submitted by: paddler232814 on 8/11/2008
I have had the Pathfinder for 8yrs. I continually take it out on Puget Sound (in protected waters) in the northwest. I have used this canoe for overnighters, hunting, lake fishing, wildlife viewing, setting/retrieving crab pots, and salmon fishing in protected waters. It's true it does not track well in the wind, but when I am out in waves it does well as long as you're not side ways with the waves too long. With this canoe being my first I don't know how I have ever lived without one.

I bought my boat 15 years ago…

Submitted by: paddler232726 on 7/8/2008
I bought my boat 15 years ago from a man who thought it was jinxed. My wife and I have paddled lakes and rivers all over the Alaska road system. I have sank it in Portage River, AK twice. Once it was wrapped around a rock and left till morning, after it was winched out it went right back into shape. I've pulled it behind a 4 wheeler full of decoys through the brush. Last weekend I took my wife and our 2 kids fishing in it on Lake Lois AK and had a great time.

Just traveled 350 miles round…

Submitted by: mattfinnigan on 6/3/2008
Just traveled 350 miles round trip to pick up a used one. Been out on a small lake and a winding creek. Canoe handled very well tandem especially since I'm a beginner. Was able to get into and out of tight areas of a shallow creek and able to track well enough to go across a small lake. At 57 pounds, it's a piece of cake for my wife and I to throw it up on the roof of our minivan. Ours is green and in excellent shape with cane seats that are surprisingly comfortable. All in all I am extremely pleased with this canoe as my hours & hours of research really paid off. If you are looking for a versatile canoe, this is probably as close as you are going to get. Lightweight, good stability, large enough for trips, small enough to solo, wide open or tight places and very nice looking too.

I have used this in lakes,…

Submitted by: paddler232243 on 8/9/2007
I have used this in lakes, rivers, streams and duck sloughs. I have fished from it, duck hunted from it, hauled a kid and a golden along w 80 pounds camping gear, and used a trolling motor on it. Above all, it's lightweight, I can throw it over my head with my frame pack on and do a 200 rod portage without too much problem. It's now paddling through its 23rd year for me. Not too many out there this versatile.

My first canoe. I owned this…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 2/5/2007
My first canoe. I owned this boat for 3 years. I fished out of it and you can consider doing overnight trips but keep the weight down as you loose manuverability. It is lightweight and durable. Easy to paddle even for one person and tracks pretty well but is also rather agile. I used it with a 50# trolling motor with an aluminum motor mount on the back. Performed pretty well. Decided it was too small to take two anglers our regularly. Traded for an OT Camper.

I have been using this canoe…

Submitted by: paddler231728 on 8/3/2006
I have been using this canoe for river tripping with my dog.80lbs of black lab. Using it for transportation,while fly fishing for steelhead. I paddle it solo, turned around, so I can use the wt of the dog for trimming out the boat. I paddled a 17 mile section of the Deshutes river in Oregon,last week and only lined the boat around one class three rapid. It scouted,and ran the class one and two rapids ,as long as I stayed out of the big rollers. I am going to make a fitted, partial spray cover for this boat , and take it through the rollers no problem . very stable canoe. It does not track well, but is teaching me to refine my paddleing techniqes to keep it straight. Next I will try some overnight river trips in it.

I've had a Pathfinder for…

Submitted by: davidsavage on 1/23/2006
I've had a Pathfinder for many years; regularly paddle grade 4 water in it and have run grade 5+ with full buoyancy and thigh braces. Great boat, but being flat it tend to slide off big haystacks into the trough and swamp. I might change it for a 15' Legend if it was still available in the UK, but otherwise I guess it will see me out!

The royalex pathfinder is…

Submitted by: paddler230585 on 5/27/2004
The royalex pathfinder is very stable and durable. I bought mine used with skid plates allready installed. I dont think it effects the performance much as its a slow canoe anyway. I use it solo. at 57 pounds, I have no trouble getting it on and off my chevy s-10. this canoe can turn on a dime but does not track well in a solo situation. in open water even with the slightest breeze it can be a workout. weight distribution becomes critical.I have not had this canoe out in any type of moving water yet. only lakes. but i cant wait to try, Im sure thats where this canoe would excell.lazy river trips!

I've had my Royalex…

Submitted by: paddler230476 on 3/1/2004
I've had my Royalex Pathfinder for nearly 15 years. I use it for fishing, camping trips, some mild whitewater and lake paddling. I've even had it out on the ocean on a very calm day. I can take my wife, daughter and dog on a flat water paddle, and I've soloed it full of camping gear across a whitecapped river. Sure, with that flat bottom it tracks like a drunk, but if you're in a hurry you should be paddling something else. A high quality all-rounder - now if I could only find a kayak that does all this.....

My wife and I have had our…

Submitted by: paddler230084 on 4/7/2003
My wife and I have had our Pathfinder Royalex Canoe for 4 years.During this time we have paddled the Scarborough Marsh ,various small to medium size Maine lakes all with excellent results.We have also been down the Royal River in Yarmouth out to the closer Islands in Casco Bay,out of Portland Harbor , again to the islands of Casco Bay.By proper trim and direction of paddeling we found the wind to be less of a problem then some other revies stated but can understand that point of view.We give it a 10 as it does all it should and a bit more.

I have paddled my Pathfinder…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/3/2003
I have paddled my Pathfinder for 5 years throughout the Adirondacks and the Tug Hill plateau. I have been very pleased with it's performance as an ideal all around boat. It handles well as a solo boat and as a boat for my wife and myself with gear for short trips. It does not perform as well on large lakes with strong winds, especially solo.(But of course that's not what it is designed for!) For someone looking for a nice, high quality all around performer, I definitely recommend the Pathfinder.

I chose the Pathfinder after…

Submitted by: paddler229823 on 7/22/2002
I chose the Pathfinder after trying several different manufacturers' canoes. I made my final decision on the basis of portage weight and cargo hauling capability always taking in mind the handling chacteristics. The Pathfinder is the supreme touring/camping canoe in my estimation. I would have no problem with purchasing another should it ever be necessary or recommending to a friend. Really a sweet boat.

I think a description is…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/23/2002
I think a description is better than a rating in this case. This canoe does much more than I thought it would. I have had it 10 years and used it on lakes for shore fishing, open rivers for float trips and on the South Branch and GreenBrier in WV and Slippery Rock and Casselman in PA. I load it down for 5 days of canoe camping. It is very good in shallow water conditions, moves well enough to keep me out of trouble and dodges rocks too. It is very stable and I can fly fish from it. I am 5'10" 160 lbs and it it a perfect size solo. When I bring the nephew along, I have to cut back on some luxuries (chair, cold beverages, but we still have a great time. On a lake it is not too much fun in a wind and it does not have much glide.

I'm in my second year with…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 11/24/2000
I'm in my second year with the Pathfinder and find that it suits my need for fishing, short camping trips with a lot of gear and wildlife photography. It is ideal for the blackwater swamps and rivers of Eastern North Carolina. Easily handled by one person, very stable and manuverable. It fits my budget and it is can take some rough handling without damage. I highly recommend it for slow and flatwater paddling. Great utility canoe.

I love my Pathfinder. I can…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/18/2000
I love my Pathfinder. I can manage it solo both on land and onthe water, and yet when I want to bring a friend along, no problem. It is a great small water boat, light enough to be paddled for hours without tiring, manouverable for coves, fast or slow creeks, canals, and all the great places for seeing wildlife up close. I use a long shafted paddle with a long thin rectangular blade. I do not like it as well for big water such as large lakes because the wind quickly becomes a factor in handling (at least when soloing). But I think it is great for float trips, fishing, and wildlife watching.

The Pathfinder is a great…

Submitted by: jrmashburn on 5/22/2000
The Pathfinder is a great multi-purpose boat that is very responsive. It is great for weekend getaways, solo daytrips, or exploring. Fairly light weight and easy to handle for the whole family. I have enjoyed mine for over four years.

I was looking for a canoe…

Submitted by: paddler228467 on 3/1/2000
I was looking for a canoe that will take me on three day river trips through class I whitewater, and this is not the one. It rides low to the water and gets completely swamped in the waves.

Look, I know it's a little…

Submitted by: paddler228316 on 10/6/1999
Look, I know it's a little tubby, kind of heavy and kind of slow but it's also a great fishing platform, great on small rocky streams because it's responsive, a nice solo whether on flat or moving water, especially if you've got time. It's very stable and can haul a fair amount of stuff. It also has a rugged lay-up so it will take a good amount of abuse. I think the Pathfinder is a great general rec boat.

Just returned from a solo…

Submitted by: paddler228193 on 7/21/1999
Just returned from a solo camping trip along Lake Superior, the Pictured Rocks area. The canoe was stable in some heavy water in the the big lake. It was also large enough to hold all the camping gear I needed for five-days out. It was stable enough to allow me to use it for fly-fishing at the mouths of rivers in Superior. I'm now planning to take it to Isle Royle National Park in Lake Superior for a week of camping and fishing. It's a sable canoe that holds plenty of gear and is easy to handle.

An all purpose boat. It is…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 3/15/1999
An all purpose boat. It is durable and fairly light. Priced well as are most Old Town products. Can be paddled solo from reversed bow position. Tends to be blown in stiff breezes. Remember when dealing with an all purpose type of boat, it will not do all things well,but this is a stable family canoe that can be used on lake or slow moving stream, has a relatively good capacity so camping with it is not out of the question. It is not the prettiest boat of the lot, but it is serviceable for many things.