Penobscot 16 Description

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Penobscot 16 Reviews

Read reviews for the Penobscot 16 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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The Penobscot 17' Royalex…

Submitted by: paddler873042 on 9/11/2020

The Penobscot 17' Royalex canoe is a great product. This is based on my use since 1996 when I bought it new from REI for $1050. I have to say the Penobscot canoe has the best value of any recreational product that I know of. A bicycle bought new in 1996 for a $1000 would probably cost $2500 now. The Penobscot today costs $1350! It's a great price. The functionality and quality of the product is amazing. My wife and two children have paddled this canoe 3-6 times each year for 20 years. The canoe works perfectly every time - no exaggeration. We store our canoe upside down in the garage per Old Town's guidance. If you do this, your Penobscot will not "wear out"! Since 1996 I've damaged my canoe significantly on two occasions: Once towing the canoe behind a ski boat, getting back to camp at sunset while traveling 30 mph, the wind and chop pushed the canoe sideways ripping ( the plastic nose piece off. The other time I had my canoe on the SUV roof rack and the wind blew the Penobscot off the car onto the asphalt, fracturing the aluminum gunwale. It's all good. I bought the plastic nose piece, "deck" from the local sporting goods shop from Old Town for $17. The sporting goods shop, Dom's in Livermore, CA, riveted the deck on for free about 15 years ago. It's worked perfectly since. The fractured gunwale amidship required no repair.

Over the years I've dinged, scraped, and crashed my canoe against rocks and docks, marring the bottom all over, but never has the damage been significant. This plastic canoe is designed to take punishment, bounce off rocks and repel damage. This is not true of many other canoes such as kevlar, wood-canvas, wood or even aluminum canoes that tend to grab onto rocks. The Penobscot is also a quiet boat, which is great for fishing, birding or just paddling across the lake. I like the aesthetics of the wood seats, thwarts and yoke on my Penobscot. The wood pieces are a bit worn now, but not broken. The cane seats are still in good condition; stretched a little, with one broken strand. This canoe travels long distances well on flat water in windy conditions with two experienced paddlers.

The best part about having a Penobscot canoe is it never fails to work perfectly when I take it out on the water. Here I can explore with my family and friends the estuaries of Point Reyes, Elkhorn Slough, the Sacramento River and the many lakes of the Sierra Nevada. All it costs is the gas to get there.

Charlie, Happy Paddler


I am hopeful to float the…

Submitted by: Elkhunt on 12/3/2018

I am hopeful to float the Willamette River from Eugene to Salem this Summer, and take my adult kids and spouses with me. I have a 16' Grumman I've had for 30+ years, and an Old Town Pack, so I needed one more canoe. I found this 1981 Penobscot 16', Royalex, on my local Craigslist, and went to take a look at it. The plastic stern seat was ruined by swelling, and there were no thwarts installed in the boat, but two brand new ones were included. I handed the owner $150 and we loaded it up. I came home, cleaned it up some, installed the thwarts and built a new seat out of oak scraps in my garage. I've not put it in the water yet, but I will let you know my thoughts after I do. I wanted to say I contacted OT prior to the purchase to get some details on it, and they were super helpful, even sent me an ad from the 1981 catalog informing me of the history and details of the boat. IMG_4949.jpg


I've owned this boat for…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/10/2018

I've owned this boat for twenty years and love it for it's versatility. For a tandem canoe, it tracks very well, turns very well, and can haul up 1,250 pounds. It will be a little challenging for novice paddlers because of its minimal initial stability, but once you are comfortable, the secondary stability gives nice feedback when you lean the boat over to turn. It paddles solo very well. Just turn the boat around, sit in the front seat and face the stern, which is now the bow. I've canoed the Jersey Pine Barrens rivers solo, which are slow moving skinny rivers with many hair pin switchbacks and overhanging branches and submerged stumps and logs. I've only dumped it once. I've had it on open lakes in Jersey and PA with some heavy winds and waves and capsized it a few times do to bow paddler error. You will quickly learn what not to do in this boat, or you will get wet The trade off is it hauls a lot of weight and slices through the water nicely. As for durability, my old boat is made with three-ply Royalex which is a little heavy but holds up to abuse very well, can be fixed, and is buoyant, so the boat floats if filled with water. The hull design lends it to flat water up to class II whitewater. It is an all around great boat that a novice can learn in, and an experienced paddler will never tire of. A classic design that has been around for thirty years.


Nice tripping canoe, wont…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/8/2018

Nice tripping canoe, wont break your back at 58lbs, and tracks nicely. Pretty easy to paddle solo as well.


I've own my Penobscot 16 RX…

Submitted by: paddler236857 on 6/14/2016
I've own my Penobscot 16 RX since '89, have had on many trips in the BWCA, both solo and tandem in addition to thousands of miles on Mississippi (all solo, lightly loaded in both back waters and main channel). It has never failed me. It handles like a dream, especially when loaded. Solo, I prefer to run it backwards as it's a bit too wide to center paddle. It takes high waves like a dream, rides right over the top. Some of the roughest waters I've seen is in severe weather on the Mississippi where a wave can appear 3 feet above your bow, only 6 feet in front of you. She'll ride right though them without taking on a drop. Reading the reviews here, people seem to think it's tippy. I've never noticed, perhaps because I've haven't been in any other canoe (other than my Winona solo) in over 35 years. Taking her on a 5 day trip to Superior National Forest this weekend with my son, who is finally old enough. Hope the fish are biting!

My Penobscot 16 is 20 years…

Submitted by: Canoe122 on 6/6/2016
My Penobscot 16 is 20 years old. It's my first canoe. So glad the man at the shop in Wellsboro, Pa shifted me from the Camper to this model when he heard me say I would be soloing a lot. Great initial and secondary stability. Fast for an all around canoe. Royalex is the bomb. I use mine these days to do solo river tripping with my Golden Lab. Did 85 miles on Missouri's Current River last summer. Looking to buy another soon. I left mine unprotected in the sun a lot of years. It's still supple, but it is faded badly. OT told me to paint it with Krylon Fusion. Looks really good, but wish it was the original green. Make sure you store your Royolex boats in the shade, folks! I also recommend appling Keeleazy as a skidplate instead of kevlar. Maintains the great shape of the hull and still protects it well.

16' Penobscot Royalex with vinyl gunwale trim. Bought this boat in 1993, for…

Submitted by: wesvaught on 5/9/2016
16' Penobscot Royalex with vinyl gunwale trim.

Bought this boat in 1993, for a Buffalo River (N.Arkansas)excursion, a five night trip with my 17 year old son. Many trips since in the mid-west and in California, as well. It replaced an Old Town wood/canvas boat I had to leave in Boston, years before.

Durable, versatile, light, user-friendly craft. Added skid plates after 22 years of use. Seats were replaced due to weather wear. I wonder why OT is not going to produce the Royalex version any more. This is a excellent canoe of its type. Find a used one and enjoy.


I've owned my Penobscot 16…

Submitted by: bobhansenwc on 8/25/2015
I've owned my Penobscot 16 for 20+ years and have been delighted by its performance and reliability for Ozark streams and small lakes. I just put in new cane seats and it looks as good as ever. Be sure to treat the royalex surface with UV protector!

I bought this sturdy royalex…

Submitted by: tommings on 7/17/2015
I bought this sturdy royalex beauty back when the floods of 1993 were rising in the midwest. It is my work horse, both tandem and solo work, short and medium hauls. It has done what royalex is supposed to do and survived substantial abuse and general wear along the way. I have wished occasionally I had bought something that was a little less "semi-good at everything", but I still use it a lot of days every year. It's been good with my dog and with kids, although I have wished for a little more initial stability....which would really be the Camper...but again I continue to paddle this one.

All the parts have held up for 20-some years and don't look to be on their last legs at all - this one will surely get passed on to some young friend when I pass on or at least stop paddling. I recommend it and I recommend the royalex versions of the Penobscot for those willing to search a bit among used boats or for the last few on some backroom shelf. Paddles nice heeled over and very amenable to the "Indian Stroke" as Bill and Becky Mason have called it...I favor ottertails and beavertails which work very nicely with this old dude. Just a very solid boat that will last a lot of days and miles with standard maintenance.


The OT Penobscot is a good,…

Submitted by: jkeliher on 6/9/2015
The OT Penobscot is a good, all-round canoe. I bought a red 16 RX last year at the Old Town sale and have been very happy with it in the various capacities in which I've used it. I've used it for fishing, day trips, weekend camping trips, lake travel, and 5 day trips through rapids. In all cases it performed very well. It won't be the best possible boat in all these conditions, but it does serve well across the board.

On big water, it tracks quite well (make sure you adjust the trim) and glides very nicely. You can get up a good head of steam pretty easily with it. In rough water, it handles waves very well (I've had it on large lakes in 1-2 foot swells), taking on only spray.

For running rivers, it does track well, holding lines through rapids very well but turning can be a lot harder than a Prospector or other river boats. That being said, it is quite easy to move around rocks. Its 16 feet is useful for getting through bigger standing waves as well. I would have no real problem taking it through class I/II rapids (I've not yet risen to try class III yet). The Royalex is also quite ideal for slipping around rocks; it's very strong and takes a pounding well.

I would have one caution around stability: I think that the seats are pretty high up, which raises the center of gravity and makes the boat a lot more twitchy. In white water, this twitchiness can be quite disconcerting. I would definitely consider lowering the seats a little to adjust that. That being said, the secondary stability is very good.

Overall, an excellent all-round boat that will serve you well in a variety of conditions.


I am a retired guide who has…

Submitted by: paddler236079 on 12/11/2014
I am a retired guide who has owned a lot of paddle craft, now down to just four boats. The Olde Town Penobscot 16 is my favorite all around canoe. In addition to all kinds of paddling, I use it with an electric motor and stabilizer floats for fishing and also sail it with a Spring Creek sailing rig. This past season, after 14 years of regular use, the cane on the stern seat broke while camping in the Adirondacks and I also broke a thwart. Replacements were easily and cheaply available. Can't go wrong with this boat.

We Love Our Penobscot. My…

Submitted by: paddler236081 on 12/11/2014
We Love Our Penobscot. My wife and I are on the second pair of cane seats after 10 years of paddling 100's of lakes in the BWCA and different rivers in the Midwest. A great quiet boat compared to aluminum and lighter too. I wanted a canoe that was relatively fast, easy to paddle and light enough to carry on portages. The Old Town Penobscot 16 has been bomb proof on the many rocks we have contacted with over the years. In about year 3 I installed Kevlar bow and stern protection strips since that was the only thing that was showing a little wear. They fixed the problem and they are still holding tight to the Royalex. I would defiantly suggest a Royalex Old Town canoe to any one that wants to paddle a great hauling and bomb proof canoe.

I have used this boat on a…

Submitted by: MaxKarpov on 12/3/2014
I have used this boat on a number of trips. I paddled for 2 weeks with a partner, he was 280 lbs and I closer to 300. I also used this canoe to paddle the Mississippi River from Bemidji, MN to the Gulf of Mexico. It rides great with a bit of weight. It is very fast, and maneuverable at speed. This is the closest thing to a perfect all use canoe that I've paddled.

I had a Penobscot 16 for over…

Submitted by: peedeekayak on 11/24/2014
I had a Penobscot 16 for over 10 years. Its a great all around canoe. I've pushed it through Class I-III whitewater, large windswept lakes and rivers, small rivers, marshes, multiday camping, downriver racing, photography and fishing. It worked well either solo (paddled bow forward or backward) and tandem. It was a joy to paddle, even when pushed to the limit. It was pinned a couple of times, with barely a scratch. Its light weight was as appreciated as the tough Royalex. It handled extremely well loaded, though it will weathercock in strong (over 10 mph) winds. Even misloaded, it didn't'let me down. Once I paddled with 2 friends, and I was in the stern with a much heavier friend in the bow. In the middle of a large river, busy with many power boats, we paddled across and back. The Penobscot just rode up and over wakes 2-3 high no problem (although with some white knuckles!) But we never came close to capsizing, and took in minimal water. Amazing! The hull had minimal oil-canning while paddled, and despite riding over numerous rocks, logs and being dragged over sand, the hull showed just minimal scratches. I only had to replace one wicker seat that wore out. An excellent all around canoe for most uses.
Highly recommended!

I've paddled Missouri streams…

Submitted by: paddler236017 on 9/26/2014
I've paddled Missouri streams for years. My OLD boat was a Mohawk 16...but usually rode with friends...most have multiple canoes. I decided to go with a Penobscot 16RX as Roylex is being discontinued....and the reviews and studies I did seemed to make this the canoe for my needs. I've had it out twice...once solo with minimal gear and once tandem. My bow partner weighed about 240 lbs and I weigh about 190. We had fishing gear and prob 30 lbs coolers. My first impression was tippy. I don't know the point of going over...but movement while fishing etc....seemed uncomfortable at times and never really seemed as if it would easily tip...can anyone tell me if the secondary stability is solid enough to really lean over the side without going over?

After online research and a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/5/2014
After online research and a fair amount of whimsical day dreaming decided to take the paddling plunge with the Old Town Penobscot 16 RX. What finally prompted the decision was a sale at REI and realizing that the Royalex was no longer in production. The sale price appeared to be a bit of a deal, so picked up the phone and made the call. As it turned out just in the nick of time, for it was the last one in REI inventory nationwide, gave up the plastic and picked it up this past Friday at the REI store in Santa Barbara. Pushed the wife out of bed on Saturday morning loaded up all the new gear and a few provisions and set course for Lake Lopez for the maiden voyage. Now I have a little canoeing experience, from my YMCA summer camp days, back in the early 60's, so I imagined, I was more than ready, my wife not so much.

We launched from the beach and set a leisurely course out into a slight breeze. After a couple of hours I finally got a positive response out of her when she finally turned around for a photo op with a smile, she had me worried for a while, thought I was going to be a solo paddler. Sunday morning gave us another opportunity to paddle, so we made a quick trip to Morro Bay and spent the next six hours making a giant loop inside the bay.

We were both amazed at the super positive experience we were having in this light weight, straight tracking canoe. We can't wait to get back on the water and become a bit more accomplished with our paddling technique. The great thing about this is that it will keep us off the couch and give us a whole new perspective from the water rather than the shore.

We both give this canoe our highest recommendation. We like her so much we just gave her a name, she will be forever known as the "Molly Dellis", she is named after the Native American actress and dancer who was born on the Penobscot reservation in Maine.
Thank you Old Town.


I have two (2001 and 2008);…

Submitted by: brim on 8/21/2014
I have two (2001 and 2008); don't worry about submerged log or rock - Royalex can take it. Either canoe only show some minor scuffs and scratches. I am looking forward to the next generation replacement material for the Royalex. I will definitely have to try it out.

Add one more satisfied…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/19/2014
Add one more satisfied customer to the list. As a 50 year old, 6'1", 200lb, kayakfisherman, I got an Old Town Penobscot 16 in Royalex to use as a comfortable platform for fishing and camping mothership. I have paddled this canoe both tandem and solo on Texas rivers and lakes. It has performed as expected and as described by previous reviews. I look forward to many years of comfortable paddling and fishing from this canoe.

This canoe is an impressive…

Submitted by: Vancouver1 on 7/13/2014
This canoe is an impressive multi-tasker. One of the best all-arounder canoes on the market, the Penobscot is efficient and straight-tracking on flatwater. It's nimble and responsive in class I & II (maybe III) rapids. It has enough cargo room for extended trips, but if you're going it alone for a day, you can easily paddle it solo.

I've owned the royalex layup for more than 11 years, and I grow to love this canoe more and more every year. It's incredibly durable, yet lightweight enough to not be a back breaker on portages. The fit and finish is nice, even the molded grab handles are comfortable. Its primary stability is a little touchier than some other boats, but it makes up for it in performance.

Great canoe!


The Old Town Penobscot 16 in…

Submitted by: canoes313 on 7/2/2014
The Old Town Penobscot 16 in Royalex is a great choice for easy flowing streams or secluded flat water paddling. The Royalex material provides a tough but lightweight alternative to the polyethylene models. I sometimes paddle it solo, so loading it on the car by myself is easier too. This canoe performs well on easy class I whitewater. I have taken 'newbies' down class II rivers in it, but I don't recommend it. We did take on water going through class II standing waves and came close to swamping it. Two experienced paddlers would fair better in this situation.

It tracks well on flat water, so it's a good choice if you are looking for a versatile canoe. It's built for tandem, but a child or a dog can ride along in the middle, too. I store my Penobscot in a storage shed to keep it out of direct sunlight. No other maintenance seems to be needed. It's ready to go when I am.

This canoe holds up to the Old Town reputation. I gave it a 10, because it it does what it is designed to do.


Bought my Old Town Penobscot…

Submitted by: paddler235273 on 8/10/2013
Bought my Old Town Penobscot 16' five years ago. It was in perfect shape then and still is in perfect shape. I just leaned that it was made back in 1994. I was astonished that it was that old. It's a fantastic family canoe, very safe and easy to paddle.

My earlier review of the…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/27/2013
My earlier review of the Penobscot 16' RX claimed it was an improvement over what it replaced, a 17' Grumman. Memory now tells me, however, the Grumman, presumably because of its pronounced keel, was very easy to paddle solo, much easier for me than the Penobscot. On the other hand, the Penobscot is lighter and faster--excellent tandem boat.

The Penobscot 16 is classic,…

Submitted by: mesten on 7/18/2013
The Penobscot 16 is classic, and it is still one of the most versatile, all-purpose canoes I know. I have used it for river trips on class 2 white water, taking the kids out on lakes, winding through twisting, narrow streams, and it does all this well.

It is faster than most 16' boats, and handles very well with a full load when properly trimmed. I have the royalex version, which is very light and tough, making portages relatively easy while standing up well to rocks and other abuse.

Obviously, there are specialty boats that are better for specific pursuits and conditions, but for an all around, general purpose boat that you can safely and comfortably use for camping, cruising, river running, and fishing under a wide range of conditions, the Penobscot 16 is worth serious consideration.


I used this canoe to paddle…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 12/18/2012
I used this canoe to paddle the Missouri River; 115 days. I removed the stern seat to make room for gear and paddled from the bow seat. Had room for a 6 man tent, chair, cot, sleeping bags, mats, cookstove, food, water(13 gals max)and more. The royalex is tough. I drug it up out of the water every night. The bottom had scratches, but looked really good considering the abuse it took. It handled well, even in large white-capped swells. Biggest drawback was I had no control until I got up a little forward momentum, which may have to due with the weight of all the gear I had. I've had a Wenonah Voyager and Old town Keneo and kayaks. This canoe did what I needed it to do. Carry a lot of gear and paddle well. The durability was a plus.

I bought my Penobscot 16 in…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 11/29/2012
I bought my Penobscot 16 in 1995 from Red Rock Outfitters in Ely, Minnesota (great people by the way) it was a year old and looked brand new. This boat has made 25 plus trips to the Boundary Waters without fail! My son just graduated college and shares the same love of canoeing, maybe even more so, so I gave her to him for a graduation present. Giving her to him would be the only way I would give up my Penobscot. As soon as he graduated he did a 17-day trip with his buddy across the entire Boundary Waters from Crane Lake to lake Superior. Loaded to the brim she made the trip without fail and brought them home safe again. She is a great boat for an experienced paddler!

For the size and weight there…

Submitted by: paddler234721 on 8/21/2012
For the size and weight there are better canoes but ubiquitous OT's are often Used & cheap. OT has a rich history that predates Chestnut Co. but is also a strange company in that they seem to want to make a spectrum of quality, from Walmart to Lexus. Penobscot is a decent all-around canoe for the budget-minded. I've used it guiding down a shallow & gentle river without a problem.

Cons: noisy metal gunwales & some ugly crimping out of shape along gunwales. Some oilpanning, more than other RX canoes like Bell Nwind. At portage it feels heavier that it is, not balanced well?

Pros: loud metal gunwales good for alerting downstream grizzly bears? symmetrical design means it can be maneuvered, used in back ferry, flipped around for solo paddling. Real good freeboard & carry capacity. A stable boat.


I was given $300 from my…

Submitted by: paddler234560 on 6/1/2012
I was given $300 from my family to buy a canoe. Instead I applied it to a used 16' Penobscot and for 18 years have been the happiest canoeist on the river.

Main pro is the low weight. At 60 lbs, I can easily put it over my head and load it onto my van or carry it for a long distance. The ride is so smooth in the water. If a rock is hit, often you can feel the Royalex bend over the rock and slide right off with little worries.

I will say it is a bit tippy, but keeping gear and butts centered will keep it from tipping over. All tip overs have resulted from unseen monster logs underwater with too much water suction for any canoe to avoid. I've replaced seats, added skid plates, but after hundreds of trips - I'd have assumed more wear and tear.


I've been very happy w/my…

Submitted by: aqudog on 9/23/2011
I've been very happy w/my Penobscot 16. It's handled the white water well, both solo and tandem. All my paddle pals are jealous now that it's 'tricked-out' w/float bags, reinforced bow/stern, and a custom center yoke seat. The royalex keeping it light enough to portage alone... and best of all, I bought it through a "" ad!

I found a used Penobscot 16…

Submitted by: fotomatt on 9/15/2011
I found a used Penobscot 16 and figured - at $450 - if it was not RX it was a good deal... if it was RX it was a screaming deal! Bought it and called OT with the serial. SCORE!

I ran this solo on the Colorado in May (Ruby/Horsethief section). Fast flowing water and high volume (volume nearly doubled in one day!). Can't imagine a better boat to do this in! Expedition capable all the way. Had it loaded with gear and it was super stable, very responsive (after a couple of gear position/weight tweaks).
Handled Class II extremely well!

I also put this canoe on the lake, both tandem and solo. Again, stable and responsive! If you're doing any advanced level of canoeing - especially multi-day River, this IS the canoe.
Thanks Old Town!


I've owned my royalex…

Submitted by: davbart on 9/13/2011
I've owned my royalex Penobscot 16 for about 10 years, and I've never seen a more versatile canoe. I've paddled it solo and tandem in everything from flatwater to class 2 rapids. It isn't going to be mistaken for a racing boat, but it has fine entry and for a recreational, royalex boat it has decent speed. It won't perform with a dedicated river runner in the whitewater, it can be a little wet. However, with some backpaddling, and care in the wave trains it performs admirably.

Like I said, a versatile boat, maybe not the best at any one thing, but capable. If I only owned one canoe (heaven forbid), this would be the one.


I paddled the Missouri river…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/31/2011
I paddled the Missouri river in 2008 and purchased this canoe for that purpose. I wanted the cargo capacity for all my gear. That canoe and tent were my home for 4 months. Empty the canoe is a little skittish, but loaded it's quite stable. Major gear included 40lb tent, folding cot, chair, 2 sleeping mats, 2 sleeping bags, coleman campstove, gas, and up to 12 gallons of water with a 4 gallon shower bag. The heavy canoe was unresponsive paddling until I got up a little speed, then it was fine. I removed the stern seat and paddled the canoe backwards from the bow. Being symmetrical it was fine. The royalex impressed me with how tough it was. I got caught by sudden winds and the canoe carried over the waves without taking on any water. For the money this is one tough durable canoe. A solo canoe may have been faster, but this canoe did what I wanted, carried a lot of gear. If I did it again I'd take the same canoe and go slower to enjoy the river more.

We just bought the Penobscot…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/28/2011
We just bought the Penobscot 16 RX (royalex) a couple of days ago and used it yesterday on the Falls Reservoir between Tillery & Badin near Albermarle, NC. My son & I took it out for about 3 hrs. I found it to be quick & well handling. The water was smooth with hardly any breeze. The lack of initial stability did not bother either of us & we quickly got into having him lean a little to aid in turning. He is only 100 lbs & I go 220 so after about 30 min we turned the boat around & I sat in the front seat & he in the back seat. This balanced the boat out a little more & it seemed to handle really well like this. We plan to add a 3rd seat so wife &/or daughter can go also.

My initial impression of the boat is a good one. We plan to river run it in a couple of weeks & I hope to find it equally impressive in a river.


Great canoe, (*purchased…

Submitted by: paddler234174 on 7/27/2011
Great canoe, (*purchased used), smooth and tracks well, stable craft and tough, holds decent amount of gear and handles wind ok.

I have owned an OT Penobscot…

Submitted by: n7zuq on 11/5/2010
I have owned an OT Penobscot 16 rx, an OT Camper 16 rx, and a Wenonah 18' Jensen, as well as test paddled a number of other canoes. The Penobscot falls somewhere between our Jensen and our Camper. Compared to the Camper, the Penobscot does feel more "tippy," but it doesn't lean far before it stops feeling so unstable. It paddles much more smoothly and easily than the Camper. It's not as relaxing to just float in, but still a very pleasurable ride. It's not as fast nor does it glide as well as the Jensen, but it comes close. At 61#, it's the easiest of the three that we have to get on and off the car and down to the lake.

In order to help us with weight distribution due to a significant size disparity between myself and my wife, I've also modified the seats, moving one and lowering both. I had written to Old Town about our size difference and they suggested paddling one of their symmetrical canoes (which the Penobscot is) backwards. In other words, have the heaviest person (me in this case) sit in the bow seat facing the wrong way, and the lightest person sit in the stern seat facing the wrong way. This brings me and all my weight closer to the center of the boat. It does leave the lighter person with very little leg room. For which they suggested moving that stern seat in towards the middle of the boat to allow enough leg room. This required the purchase of a new seat, which had to be cut down to fit, as well as drilling a set of holes in the gunwales. By moving the seat back one seat length, I was able to use one existing set of gunwale holes and still create adequate leg room for my wife. While I was moving the seat, I also purchased 4" hangers to replace my stock ones. The Penobscot seats were pretty low to begin with, so this only brought them down about another inch. But it was still noticeable. The lower I can get my center of gravity, the steadier the canoe feels. I'd kneel like the pros do it, but at my size, my knees just can't take it for very long. I'm not especially handy, but this turned out to be a really simple operation.

Picking the right boat for your intended use is important. This is the boat we take when looking to go far, or fast, or on choppy water. For a nice multi-purpose recreational canoe, the Penobscot 16 rx has been a great choice for us.

Pros: Fast, Straight tracking, Maneuverable, Easy to modify
Cons: slightly "tippy"


As I recently completed an…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/29/2010
As I recently completed an 8-day solo canoe trip in my Penobscot 16 (first solo), I was very interested in reading Tom Watson's "double dipping" article. Being used to paddling tandem, I quickly learned that I needed to modify my paddling style. Instead of paddling primarily on one side of the boat and steering with a J-stroke, I switched to the back-and-forth approach: a couple of paddle strokes on the port side followed by a couple on the starboard and so on. In this way I didn't lose forward momentum, and steering was easy: just add an extra stroke on one side or the other as necessary.

It occurred to me that this style of paddling is much closer to double-bladed kayak paddling than my normal canoe paddling approach, which got me to thinking about the possible advantage of using a double-blade paddle when canoeing solo. I don't think I would try it in rapids, but for flat-water cruising, the double blade might make a lot of sense. Aesthetically, I will have a hard time putting aside my classic Old Town wood paddle for a plastic and aluminum job, but the advantages might be worth it. The next time I go on a solo trip, I will probably rent a double-bladed paddle (maybe two in different lengths) and give it a test.

By the way, I was impressed with the Penobscot as a solo boat. (We have mostly used it as a tandem in the past.) I was carrying lots of gear and sat in the bow seat facing the stern so as to be closer to the center of the boat. In this position I was able to arrange my gear to achieve good front-to-back trim. The Penobscot is perfectly symmetrical, so the bow angle is the same facing forwards or back. With a sharp bow entry and a somewhat narrow beam, the Penobscot is a swift canoe, and the narrower profile helped with my reach across the gunnels when paddling. At 58 pounds in Roylex, the Penobscot is a tough boat but easy for one person to handle on land. With the Penobscot configured this way, and paddling on both sides, I was running about as fast as the tandem canoes I encountered on the river, and I was able to maintain good progress even when paddling into stiff upriver winds.


Our 16 is now 21 years old.…

Submitted by: paddler233768 on 8/17/2010
Our 16 is now 21 years old. Indestructible. We bought it for its all-around qualities and it has completely satisfied us. We're often the fastest boat in the group. Took it fearlessly out onto choppy water on a windy ocean bay (Tomales, CA). Got out of a whirlpool bigger than the boat. But we're in our 70s now and loading "Towanda" is challenging. Towanda? Remember when Kathy Bates rammed the VW Beetle in 'Fried Green Tomatoes'? With us guiding it, "Towanda" has rammed trees, rocks, docks, even taken rapids backwards. It will outlast us.

I bought this canoe used a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/11/2010
I bought this canoe used a year ago. An Old Town made Penobscot 16 decaled "LLBean", has wooden gunnels and cane seats. Serial number would indicate a 1980 date of manufacture. Hull is green Royalex and she feels like about 55-60#.

I wanted a nice "work horse" canoe that offered good handling, decent performance and would work well under a broad variety of uses…our use is flat water family fun about 50% (2 adults, with or without 2 kids); and 50% mild whitewater (C1-C2) day trips and 1-2 day overnighters – typically WW is solo or tandem.

I wanted the Royalex hull for sturdiness and weight – I think this hull is 25 years old and it's still kicking! Also, getting older, no canoe ever gets lighter with advancing age. I would strongly recommend that you consider this... weight is a key factor to consider if you don't have a home on the water and your own dock. Think about this when you look at similar models in other hull materials that weigh in at 85+ #. We also have a nice Kevlar canoe... but needed something for rocks and dragging... the Royalex delivers here. I need to add Kevlar strips to bow and stern – or beat my kids more so they will lift/not drag to shore.

The Penobscot offers a blend of hull features that does a lot of "canoe work" well. It is not perhaps the best canoe for any one thing, but a hull that gives you access to the entire range of beginner/intermediate canoeing. I did want some keel/v shape for tracking and also for leaning a bit... this put the OT Discovery model out of the running. Not throwing stones, but the initial stability of a pure flat hull can be quickly "out grown" and the option to put a bit of a lean into your style gives you more paddling options than a wide flat hull.

Our other canoe is a light weight Kevlar solo/tandem 14'... and is of course limited in load carrying. For families, overnight trips, or having more that two on a canoe…go at least 16'. I have found that solo this hull is "light" if empty... a water bag filled with some river water or some gear used for ballast/balance makes the "big P" a good solid handling solo hull (person & gear say 250-300# minimum).

I can't say this is a perfect model for everyone... but it is the best "station wagon" IMP. Best guide is to consider your honest loading requirements and range of use when considering any canoe.


I have been canoeing since I…

Submitted by: CircuitRider on 7/20/2009
I have been canoeing since I was 8; I am now 49. Well I didn't really canoe when I was 8 - I hung onto a rope with my brother as my Dad paddled our 17 foot Grumman down the Clarion River in PA. I was hooked. When I started actually paddling on canoe trips I loved it even more. All I knew were the trustworthy old work horse Grummans. So I continued to paddle that same Grumman I swam behind at 8.

I kept hearing good things about the Penobscot's. Seeing a good deal at a sporting warehouse. I snatched up a red one with aluminum gunnels. I have since had it back on the Clarion River and have also paddled a calm part of the Youghighaney several times. I love paddling it solo, kneeling just in front of the kneeling thwart. When you heel it over it more or less gives it the foot print of about a 12 foot boat and turns very easily.

I love it and look forward to enjoying for years. Maybe I will get to tow an 8 year old behind me.


I've been paddling a Penob 16…

Submitted by: paddler232514 on 4/2/2008
I've been paddling a Penob 16 for over four years now. Always solo, except when I have my dog. I kneel using the bow seat for brace when with my dog and using the kneeling thwart when alone. I take this boat on twisting rivers 30-50 feet wide and have no problem turning around obstacles.

When alone I can heel it over almost on it's outwale with great predictability. I find it quite stable. I can stand while paddling without difficulty. I find it a little challenge on open water to keep it tracking straight but the trade off for all else that the canoe is, is worth it. In royalex it's lighter than my friends Mad River Explorer in royalex, and doesn't oil can like his does.

For the price you'll be hard pressed to find a better all-round boat.


This canoe is not as…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/23/2007
This canoe is not as versatile as Old Town's blurb suggests; i.e., it's a good tandem but in my experience, paddled solo it is blown about by the wind and is very difficult to control, especially when I sit in the bow seat facing stern. For paddling solo, I recommend sitting not in the bow seat--uncomfortable reach over the gunwale--but in the stern with something heavy in the bow--weight, person, whatever. So it may be good for solo tripping, which I've not done.

It worked pretty well for my son and me on the Moose River-Attean Lake "bow trip" and on the West Branch of the Penobscot River/Chesuncook Lake trip (calm water, fortunately) several years ago. This summer ('07) my wife and I paddled it on Moosehead Lake, a huge body of water, and I was a little unnerved by the small length (16') and the big waves. For such conditions, a larger tandem is better.

A retired desk worker in my late 60's, I wanted a craft under 60 lbs.. Lifting it up by myself to portage it is not as easy as it once was (damn it); my next canoe will be Kevlar. I had also wanted to learn to handle rapids, and thus a Royalex canoe; but running rapids at my age and experience is more and more distant. My wife likes kayaks; I don't. So my next canoe will be a fast and light solo. I rated it 7 based only on my own situation and experience.

In brief, a good tandem but not a particularly good solo, but a big improvement over my previous canoe, a 17' Grumman.


I have been using my…

Submitted by: paddler232132 on 6/27/2007
I have been using my Penobscot 16 for my two trips a year, mostly into the BWCA, for about 8 years now. It's always a rocky trip; many large abrasive rocks to hit. I am large, at 260 lbs, my daughter at less than half of that is usually in the bow. With us, and a weeks worth of gear we always seem to find the rocks the hard way. The bottom of this canoe has taken a lot of scratches, but they are purely cosmetic. After the first couple of years, I could see that the Kevlar skid plates were going to be required.
It's the right choice for us. Rugged yet not horrible to portage and it moves through the water nicely.

The Penobscot 16 has a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/10/2007
The Penobscot 16 has a straight keel and fine ends (for a Royalex canoe). It's a low-ish volume boat for it's length. These design features cause the ends to sit down into the water pretty far with two paddlers on board. River current can really grab the ends, making emergency maneuvers a real challenge. Planning ahead helps. The seats and thwarts are set up so that a solo paddler can paddle from the front seat facing the stern, which helps stability and trim. A plastic 5 gallon pail of water in the front trims the boat out well for solo use. It's more maneuverable solo, especially in a river current. It's a small tandem boat or a big solo boat. It is fast down-river with two dedicated paddlers though. Tandem, this boat is tender, and lake waves make it a scary ride while sitting. Lowering the seats would probably help. I had a Mad River Explorer in Royalex that was more seaworthy and maneuverable but it was a barge to paddle solo.

Love 'em. Our first was…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 3/19/2007
Love 'em. Our first was stolen from the canoe rack at Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis. We use ours along with a Bell Northbay Cruiser in the BWCAW, both perform admirably. Best all-around canoe I know of.

I'm an experienced paddler…

Submitted by: ardy on 12/4/2006
I'm an experienced paddler with a number of canoes. I bought a Penobscot 16' a few years ago because I wanted a boat that would track better than my Old Town Appalachian and run rapids better than my Wenonah Jensen 17. The Penobscot fit that pretty well. Seemed like a good boat for some of the northern trips I like to do. Reasonably fast on the lakes, reasonably light on the portages, sufficient volume for tripping solo or tandem. Still able to run some rapids while fully loaded. A couple years ago a friend of mine and I were paddling tandem on a 10 day trip on the Petawawa River in Ontario.We were skipping most of the portage trails and running or lineing the rapids.This is what I usually do and even if it's not faster, it's usually more interesting than doing the portages. Well this one rapid inperticular we found very interesting. It was the one that had my Penobscot and all our gear wrapped around a rock right in the middle of the main stream. We had been lining the canoe through this nasty looking, rock studed class III kind of drop, and just when the boat was passing through the main slot the fairly sharp stern stem cought the current wrong, broadsided the curling wave at the bottom of the drop. The upstream gunwale dipped below the surface, filled catching the full current, and in about half a second was compleatly wrapped around a rock. I had to hike up river a ways to find a safe place to swim across. Then was able to approach one end of the canoe from river left, and retrieve a 60 foot piece of rope that I keep for just such a thing, but had never needed for this purpose before. Luckly I was able to position myself in a place where I could tie one end of the rope to the center yoke,pass the other end under the boat, bring it up and over the top and toss it to my paddling partner who was still upstream on river right. After tying the rope to a rock the best he could he pulled on that rope while I pulled on the stern line. Well as unconfortable as the Penobscot looked in that position,it didn't want to budge. We were pretty much in the middle of our 10 day trip with no one around to help and no other canoe, so we didn't have much choise, we had to get this canoe off the rock. So on about the third or forth try the Penobscot started to budge, and then we couldn't stop, we gave it every ounce of strength we had left and she rolled up and came swinging off the rock and to shore on the end of the rope. OK...we had our boat back now but it was mangled. The aluminum gunwale broken in three places. It was obvious we weren't going anywhere soon, but atleast no one was hurt and we didn't loose anything but a water bottle. We went ahead and set up camp for the night right where we were. We were able to stomp the hull while pulling up on the gunwales until it started resembling a canoe again, although still badly twisted. Next we turned it on its side and lashed the stern thwart to a tree, the bow rested against a second tree. Then using a couple carabiners we set up a z-drag pully system tied to the yoke and a third tree perpendicular to the canoe. By pulling this rope we were able to straighten out the twist. The bow seat had ripped out and was hanging by just one bolt and the gunwale still broken in three places. We cut saplings to splint the gunwales. By drilling holes through the royalex just below the gunwales with my leatherman we were able to lash the saplings in place. With enough cordage and a few more holes drilled in the right places we were able to rig a servicable bow seat. The next morning we started off again. I thought we'd be paddling in circles the rest of the trip, but the Penobscot did good. We even found our lost water bottle. It looked like it had been through a war or something and put back together by savages but it paddled just fine. I've been meaning to replace the gunwales with vinyl ones and install a new seat too but I just keep paddling it like it is . Not too bad and its a good reminder of the power of moving water. I never pass a portage trail anymore without thinking about that experience. But back to the review. The Penobscot does alot of things, but nothing real well. That's why I'd only give it a 7 or an 8. I guess I should give it an 8 after all it's been through, poor thing !

For over 10 years, my group…

Submitted by: paddler231567 on 5/16/2006
For over 10 years, my group which now includes my younger son, has done a week long whitewater trip in Quebec Province. The rivers there are very remote, wild, and free. Never a concern about drinking directly from the river. That also means you're on your own. Nobody around to give you a hand should you need it. We chose 2 16 foot Penobscots because of the durability and the light wieght. They are fast and smooth, and the 56 lbs. is great on portage. The plastic boat also slides over the rocks. Lots of them. Fully loaded, they eat up class II whitewater, and a lot of class III's. But III is right at it's limit. In a long stretch, you tend to slowly fill the boat, and we've overfilled (submerged) it many times. My partner has a Discovery 169 and stays a lot drier. He also is a monster who easily portages the discovery's 95 lbs.

We had occasion to test…

Submitted by: mickjetblue on 5/8/2006
We had occasion to test paddle a Penobscot and a Camper today. We are average sized, and were the only load at about 310 pounds, so that is light. Interesting thing was that the Camper was sloppy in initial stability, and when we stopped paddling, the wind would blow us across the water like a kite. The Penobscot had a little slop in initial stability, but the secondary stability kicked in remarkably quickly, and it felt much more comfortable. The Penobscot also tracked well, and the wind did not affect us hardly at all in the Penobscot. So, based upon a trial experience, I'm taking the time to write that I would take the Penobscot over the Camper any day, and would advise anyone looking into a Camper to also try the Penobscot. Maybe another 200 pounds of load would change things a little better for the Camper, but I think the Penobscot would stay on top.

I first wanted to buy this…

Submitted by: paddler231034 on 4/12/2005
I first wanted to buy this canoe WAY back in 1990 when Backpacker magazine did a review of a bunch of tandem canoes and spoke very highly of this one. Of course, I had to carefully research the other boats out there... only to come full circle in '93 when the Mrs. and I finally scraped the funds together to special-order one. That way, we got the sliding bow seat, which I highly recommend.

The boat is as fast as a Mad River Malecite; it oil cans less than a Wenonah Adirondack; it works GREAT with a kid when paddled backwards from the bow seat; paddled solo, it outruns an Old Town Pathfinder with two paddlers... all of these are experimental results. I'd buy it again in a heartbeat.

My other boat is a 'glass Sawyer Cruiser, and it is in a different class speed-wise, but when we go somewhere we haven't been before, or for any kind of questionable condition, the Penobscot gets the nod. It sounds cliché, but if you can have only one boat to do everything...


Over 8 years I used a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 3/14/2005
Over 8 years I used a Penobscot 16 for many tandem and solo trips in the BWCA and for solo whitewater in the Mid-Atlantic and New England. It is a great all around boat. Its virtues include: 1) light weight; 2) ease of paddling; 3) good tracking; and 4) durability. Its shortcomings include 1) wobbly feel and 2) insufficient flare for class III whitewater. Awesome durability - I trapped the submerged boat on a rock just below a large standing wave on Esopus creek. The thwarts broke and the boat flattened into a sheet of green ABS. Three of us worked the boat free and I dragged the stiff, flat object ashore. Standing amidship, I pulled up on the gunwales and the hull snapped back in shape and down the creek I went.

I purchased the Penobscot 16…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/18/2004
I purchased the Penobscot 16 about 3 months ago after doing a lot of research and review reading. I wanted to get back into canoeing after being a kayaker for a number of years. This was an excellent purchase. I've really enjoyed using this canoe both tandem and solo and my kayak hasn't seen much water since I got the Penboscot 16. With its shallow arch hull a novice paddler might feel the initial stability is lacking (it isn't). It is a bit twitchy when you are sitting still and my bowman never fails to get startled when I'm digging for a soda in the cooler. But within a few minutes it all feels natural. The secondary stability feels rock solid, works very well when you are traveling across a wave tossed lake. This canoe tracks quite well and can cover distance quickly with two paddlers. It will hold quite a bit of cargo. I actually prefer to use this canoe solo. It seems to be more stable and tracks even better as a solo, sitting backward in the bow seat. At 58 lbs. it's not too bad to portage, adding pads to the yoke helps tremendously and I find I can portage comfortably this way. The Penobscot 16 is a good all around canoe one you can enjoy on lakes or rivers, solo or tandem, day-tripping or camping. No wonder they've been making them for 30 years.

I bought this boat about 4…

Submitted by: paddler230763 on 8/30/2004
I bought this boat about 4 months ago based on these reviews and I am a very happy customer. I was looking for a canoe that could do just about anything I asked of it. It had to be light enought to load on top of the car by myself, tough enough to handle scraping over rocks, able to carry all our camping equipment and then some, fairly quick and straight tracking. It also had to be a relatively stable fly fishing platform, able to handle occasional class II whitewater, and double as either a tandem or solo canoe. The Penobscot 16 does all those things and it looks great doing it. The gold leaf "old school" graphics give the canoe a very classic look, I can't help but to think to myself every time I see it pulled up on the beach, "man, that is one nice looking canoe!" The only gripe I have is the fact that the initial stability is a little shakey, but not bad. However the secondary stability is excellent. Like the reviewer before me stated, you can lean it over until water spills over the gunwale and bring back up again. Try that with a flat bottom boat and it will most likely capsize. Overall the Penobscot 16 is a very versatile and great all-around canoe with classic looks that won't break the bank.

I have several Royalex boats,…

Submitted by: paddler230723 on 8/3/2004
I have several Royalex boats, and this one gets lots of use - depending. It paddles relatively easily, tracks well, and turning is snappy if you heel it over. The round bottom is great; you can lean it until water comes over the gunwale and bring it back upright again. However, the lack of bow flare allows it to ship water in big waves or even moderate drops. Hence, keep it away from big water. I would not recommend this boat for novice paddlers or family. The lack of initial stability makes it feel tippy to beginners, and it's not enough boat to carry a large load. That said, my Penobscot 16 has been soloed down many Maine rivers - the St. John, Allagash, Machias. All in all, the design is a good compromise between easy flatwater paddling and downriver canoeing, but it's not the best in either category.

I purchased an OT Penob 16…

Submitted by: paddler230673 on 7/8/2004
I purchased an OT Penob 16 royalex boat about 2 months ago and have had it on 5 class I/II river trips in CO,UT, NE, and WY this summer. This is my first canoe. Although it is designed as a small tandem, I paddle it solo, sitting in the bow seat with stern facing forward. I am very satisfied with this boat.

I give it high marks for the following: (i) ruggedness, (ii) versatility (tandem or solo), (iii) weight (58 lb is light for a royalex boat this size), (iv) load capacity (easily handles multi-night trips), (v) good bang for buck (reasonably priced). Only two minor complaints: (i) the hull scratches easily, and (ii) the boat is difficult to handle when paddling it solo in windy conditions (this should not be an issue when paddling tandem, and might be less of an issue when paddling solo if the boat is heavily loaded). As a shorter 16 ft tandem, I think this boat would be ideal for one adult paddling with a child on day trips or over-niters of a few nites or even a week.

This boat has pretty good speed and I can keep up with most royalex boats of the same size even while I am soloing and they are tandem-paddled. However, this boat will not paddle as fast as the stream-lined kevlar boats of 16-17 foot length. At a boat weight of 58 lbs, I am able to load and unload it on my car by myself.


This is a pleasant canoe. I…

Submitted by: paddler230560 on 5/17/2004
This is a pleasant canoe. I have had mine ten years and it has been paddled a lot. The royalex skin has worn thin on the ends and skid plates have been added. The canoe is not as fast as Old Town advertisements imply, but it will keep up. Mine has the third center seat, and it is decent as a solo. The canoe will carry a big load and still handle decently, although I would not dare put the weight in it that Old Town says it will carry. This boat tracks well, but does not turn as easily as more rockered boat will. It easy to portage, although the portage yoke must be removed to use the center seat. The cane seats are hung with long #10 bolts and dowels, which is Old Town's method but leads to bent bolts. This canoe is a favorite of our canoeing group, and is a great choice if you need a tandem but sometimes like to solo. However, as a solo, it falls short of the Wenonah Prism and many other strictly sold boats.

This Royalex slides well over…

Submitted by: wesvaught on 4/5/2004
This Royalex slides well over rocks. I enjoy looking at the bottom and the signatures of many rough passages over 10 years. It will last a lifetime. I have paddled it on everything .Very user friendly. All the previous review comments apply. Withal, this boat is a good companion.

My hubby and I bought our…

Submitted by: pamskee on 10/3/2002
My hubby and I bought our Penobscot 16 used from some folks who rode it hard over major rocks. Since it came with some scrapes, we didn't feel bad about dragging over rocks occasionally. I even scooted it thru gravel areas in low water on our local river. The only marks added were a few light surface scratches that will disappear with an application of 303 Protectant. We have also run thru Class I rock gardens in low water with no damage. This isn't due to great skill; my husband and I are advanced beginners to intermediate.

The boat is stable, light, keeps up with everybody in the flats, tracks well, turns much better than we expected, and hauls a lot. I was very pleased with the responsiveness.(kept saying "I love this boat!") A light touch and a little lean gets you a good result. We had less than a canoe length between rocks and little water to work with and the boat handled easily and kept us dry. The biggest standing wave train was 18"-20"(not very big), so we'll heed the cautions about big waves.

We noticed that wind affects tracking, but after shifting the load a bit we had no problems. Some of the rivers we paddle get strong,sustained crosswinds(25-30mph)so all of the boats were affected.(Except for our friends' Smokercraft which is solid as a waterbuffalo and just as heavy)

I am pleasantly surprised by the versatility and feel of the boat. Royalex is lovely stuff. We haven't been careful, but you can't tell by looking. A really nice canoe!


I've had my 16 since 1993 and…

Submitted by: tommings on 9/17/2002
I've had my 16 since 1993 and have put it into a a few different spots. I bought it because it could do a little bit of everything, and that it has done. However, I think that is also what I have come to see as it's handicap as well... For rivers I ran in Missouri I'd recommend the Camper or other model with more initial stability - I have paddled with a group of Campers and Penobscots and the campers definitely were the ticket for non-technical river runs with occasional tough spots, far more maneuverability than the semi-keeled Penobscots. Have been pleased lately with the ride in Minnesota lakes, but it has always been tought to handle with a lighter load and moderate wind - not a shock, but definitely an inconvenience when the wind comes up suddenly and you have a ways yet to paddle. A good place to start, but I'm now looking for something different as I learn better what I want in a canoe.

I chose this canoe to break…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/16/2002
I chose this canoe to break back into paddling. I have a 7 yr old and this boat allows us to paddle it effortlessly up and down slow rivers and accross windy lakes. I also picked up a center seat for solo'n and it is a blast. A lot of experts tried to push me toward slower more 'stable' boats but I figured ease of paddling and handling would be of greater benefit. We fish from this boat on a regular basis with no problems(and my son loves to hang over the side dragging his hand in the water). This is a great boat and I'm looking forward to trying it in some class 1-2 rapids.

The Penobscot is a great 'all…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/17/2002
The Penobscot is a great 'all around' design. It has a narrow entry and is light for a Royalex boat - making it easy to paddle and to portage. Moreover, Old Town nicely balanced maneuverability and trackability. In ten years I've used mine for solo and tandem tripping in the BWCA and on the St. John's and for solo class III whitewater. It was marginal for whitewater because of the lack of bow flare.

I was looking for an…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/8/2002
I was looking for an all-around boat and so far the Penobscot 16 seems to fit. It's not too long for creeks and it did well on our first over night canoe camping expedition. It handled the load well and had room left over for when we take longer trips. As many have said, it does scratch and dent easily but none so far have made any impression on the inside of the boat. My biggest complaint is the fit and finish of the boat. You can definitely tell this is a mass-produced product.

I've had the Penobscot 16 for…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 11/26/2001
I've had the Penobscot 16 for two years. It's a great boat--lighter than the Discovery series, and yet it doesn't cost nearly as much as some equivalent models by other manufacturers. The real beauty of this canoe, I think, is how easily it converts from a tandem to a solo. For anyone who's not always sure of finding a paddling partner, but isn't satisfied with a little 12-footer, this is an awfully good choice.

The Penobscot 16 is a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/6/2001
The Penobscot 16 is a fantastic tandem and solo tripping boat! Recently I have rediscovered canoeing after spending several years paddling kayaks (I am an ACA certified instructor). I had been borrowing a friend's Tripper when I decided to shop for my own boat. I spent a bit of time in a Discovery 169 (stable, predictable, heavy and boring) before I bought my Royalex Penobscot. After 1 day with my wife and our dogs on some quickwater (we were thrilled) I spent 3 days solo in the Adirondacks where the Penobscot proved to be agile, quick and very comfortable. I have adopted the Northwoods paddling style and have completely fallen in love with my boat. Besides the great hull design, the light weight means less strains on portages and off and on the truck! I am giving the Penobscot 16 a 9 because a 10 would suggest that this boat is perfect (I doubt that any boat is perfect).

I have had mine for about 3…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/26/2001
I have had mine for about 3 years. Before that I had a Grumman Eagle and this is a big difference. It is light, agile, fast and easy to paddle solo. The downside is the boat scratches very easily. This is not just against rocks, but sand, stumps and any other obstruction you will find in the water. If that matters to you, go with a boat that has a harder finish. If you plan to abuse this boat at all, I recommend getting skid plates for the bow and stern. The canoe is also a bit hard to control in a strong wind, especially if it is not loaded with much weight. Some of the other reviews have mentioned that this is not a white water boat. I have had it in class I and II rapids with no problems, outside of the scratches. All and all for the money, it is a great boat. The best I have paddled without getting too expensive.

Fast, light, easy to…

Submitted by: Wayne_Smith on 3/19/2001
Fast, light, easy to carry....what more can I ask for? The Penobscot paddles well solo sitting, kneeling, and especially well heeled-over slightly Canadian style. Rough water and winds up to 15 knots are no major problem for it. A great all-around canoe.

I have owned this boat for…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 3/2/2001
I have owned this boat for about 6 years. It does everything well. Fast, stable, and manuverable. Most of my use has been with my 8 to 13 year old sons in Class 2 to occasionally Class 3 whitewater. The boat does a great job. This boat is also considerably lighter than my previous boat which was an Old Town Discovery which makes it a real pleasure when having to portage or load it on my truck.

Growing up in the U.P.of…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 3/1/2001
Growing up in the U.P.of Michigan a great number of lakes and rivers were in my back yard.The canoe I grew up with was a Alumicraft 17 footer which was stable,motor worthy but too heavy for one person to load and unload with ease. As I became older ( mid 50's) weight became a major factor in replacing the tin boat. The Royalex Penobscot 16 was what I was looking for. Realitivly light and a blast to manouver it has taken me on many dream trips and back. For the new paddler this is the rig, solo or with a partner this canoe will bring a smile and let you enjoy the outdoors without a worry about " proper canoeing technique". Buy one you'll see.

This canoe is a real winner!…

Submitted by: paddler229075 on 1/22/2001
This canoe is a real winner! For the price you can't go wrong. It's an extremely capable fun to paddle canoe if you keep it out of whitewater it wasn't intended for. At 58 lbs. it's about the lightest bang-up boat I've come across. It's always a dry warm boat. At 16 ft. I wouldn't recomend any trips longer than 2 weeks unless you are adept at light travel. I'm a avid canoeist who also enjoys a sawyer summersong. I've yet to paddle the penobscot 16 solo, but I've heard it's exceptional also as a large capacity solo tourer with center seat added.

At one time I sailed chestnut prospector type canoes. One of my future projects is to rig the penobscot for sailing. I have the feeling because of it's dryness that it will make an excellent sailing canoe as well. Value wise this is the ultimate all around family, cottage, or short wilderness tripping canoe! If you have special usage such as whitewater or high volume you should look at a different design. Anything else and the penobscot is THE canoe (unless you are rich). This canoe has a good design and is the most resilient and lightest weight canoe in it's price rage.


Owning 6 canoes, I think this…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 12/28/2000
Owning 6 canoes, I think this is the best. It's great for day trips on all types of rivers, single and tandem - it's as good a boat for solo use as it is for tandem. Its shallow arch design gives it great intial and secondary stability, handles waves and rapids well, and turns with a bit of lean. The straight keel makes it track well. It's light, rigid and a pleasure to paddle. Paddling solo it takes bigger rapids well, especially with solo end float bags. This boat has won solo downriver races. I don't recommend it for heavy loads or two heavy paddlers in whitewater, as there is not enough volume in the bow to ride up on big waves. For occasional lake use it works better than most whitewater boats. Great boat!

After about 6 months or…

Submitted by: paddler229027 on 12/13/2000
After about 6 months or looking and searching, I finally bought a Pnobscot 16. At first it felt "twichy" compared to flat-bottomed boats, but that soon passed. I usually take 2-3 kids on lakes, slow rivers, etc..the shallow arch bottom is great for stability, we've never tipped it over even with 2 kids leaned way over the edge trying to catch a turtle. This boat is fast, and only takes a few good strokes to get it going. I'm very glad I didn't settle for a less "technical" canoe, this is a great boat for beginners willing to spend a few extra hours to get used to it. The royalex does get scratched pretty easy, but does seem to glide over rocks, stumps, etc... I cant' wait for Spring!

really like this boat. It is…

Submitted by: paddler228923 on 9/22/2000
really like this boat. It is fairly light in weight and more stable than I expected it to be. I paddle mostly flat water and it moves pretty fast. I have seen it oil can but not too bad for a plastic boat. Overall it's just a fun boat to run.

For family outings on lakes…

Submitted by: paddler228514 on 3/28/2000
For family outings on lakes and calm rivers, you can't go wrong. This canoe has proven to be quite enjoyable for a novice like me.

I have had this boat for less…

Submitted by: paddler228505 on 3/21/2000
I have had this boat for less than a year. It is the first canoe that I have owned although I have paddled quite a few. I have only taken it on slow moving rivers and lakes. I like the boat much more than the other Old Town canoes that I have paddled. I do not like to paddle it solo and have bought a solo boat. It is pretty fast for a rubber boat and I am pleased with it.

Awesome craft, it is light,…

Submitted by: paddler228381 on 12/6/1999
Awesome craft, it is light, very fast, and stable. I have paddled mine on rivers, creeks, and lakes. I strongly recommend this boat.

Old Town hit a 'home run'…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 11/27/1999
Old Town hit a 'home run' when they designed this great all around boat. Narrow at the beam, it is fast on flat water and has just the right amount of rocker to turn easily yet track well. At 60 lbs it is light for an ABS canoe - a blessing on long portages. And still it has enough volume to carry two people and gear for week-long trips. One caution - the bow flare is inadequate for large standing waves (class III or more).

I've owned and paddled this…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/7/1999
I've owned and paddled this boat, tandem and solo, in all types of water. Despite much use and abuse, most of it in whitewater for which it wasn't designed, the Penobscot 16 kept cruising beautifully along. It's light, fast for a boat of its class, and extremely versatile. As a flatwater all-purpose canoe, you can't go wrong. From personal experience, unless there's a good eddy within reach so you can bail, keep it away from significant standing waves.

I've been paddling this boat…

Submitted by: paddler227938 on 9/7/1998
I've been paddling this boat for 10+ years and am generally very satisfied. My needs are for a boat that can handle mostly class I and II water, and for general purpose family outings, particularly fishing. The best feature of this boat is that it is very light for a 16 ft ABS canoe. I prefer to paddle it solo or with 2 adults and a light load. It tracks well, is fairly stable, and has been very durable. I prefer it over the less expensive Old Town Discovery series boats because it is about 20 pounds lighter.

It is NOT a heavy whitewater boat, and does not handle large standing waves particularly well, since it has little rocker.