Penobscot 17 Description

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Penobscot 17 Reviews

Read reviews for the Penobscot 17 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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We started out on rivers in…

Submitted by: mogeton on 8/30/2019

We started out on rivers in New Brunswick with this canoe, and liked it so much we brought it with us when we moved to Ontario. It does not track easily on lakes where we paddle now, but my husband has learned to handle it very well. He says the incredible durability of the royalex makes the inconvenience of low tracking worthwhile. Added to this, it floats nice and high in the water, so even when we have it loaded with camping gear for our family of 3 and our 50 lb gal on top in the middle, it rides high and is never a problem, nor do we get anywhere near the waterline. In rough water, when some water is splashing in, we didn't need to worry about swamping. Highly recommend this canoe if you have a chance to buy one!


I have had my Penobscot for…

Submitted by: slaporte on 2/12/2018

I have had my Penobscot for about fifteen years. In that time I have paddled it in everything from wilderness lakes (Woodland Caribou PP) to whitewater rivers and everything in between. I find the Penobscot to be a good jack-of-all-trades canoe. Its mild rocker makes it reasonably maneuverable, while preserving reasonable glide. The flared bow deflects waves well to keep the boat dry. It has enough volume to carry all the gear (or children) that most people would want to carry. It has good primary stability and reasonable secondary stability. If you paddle from a kneeling position, as I do, you may find that the front edge of the seats dig into the back of your thighs, but that is easily correctable by putting longer seat drops on the front of the seats. At sixty-five pounds, the Penobscot is pretty heavy for wilderness tripping.

All things considered, if you only have the storage space or the budget for one canoe and you like to paddle in a variety of venues, the Penobscot would be a good choice for most uses.


just replaced the cane seats…

Submitted by: paddler236793 on 5/25/2016
just replaced the cane seats in our Penobscot 17 royalex to start our 16th season. bought for back-country trips but now used mostly in salt water rivers. hull a little scratched but still looks great (cleaned and stored under cover) at 65lbs this senior citizen can still easily pick it up to load or portage. only negative, repeat only, it's not a one person boat unless loaded for an extended trip. gets loose in a stiff breeze. otherwise a solid stable platform, everything you'd expect from old town.

Owned this canoe for over 20…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 11/2/2015
Owned this canoe for over 20 years and it is a great all-around paddle. It tracks well on flat water, yet is maneuverable in whitewater. It carries considerable gear, when needed, while maintaining reasonably good handling. The ABS-Royalex is most forgiving and (obviously) gives great service for a good while. Highly recommended craft!

I have owned the Old Town…

Submitted by: Prof.Charlie on 9/4/2014
I have owned the Old Town Penobscot 17 for a number of years. This canoe is almost indestructible and very nice looking. It tracks very well, is quite fast and holds a lot of cargo for long trips. It is a very stable, forgiving and yet surprisingly easy to maneuver in white water.

Although the Penobscot isn't as light as some canoes, it isn't outrageous to portage either. It has enough oak to make it pretty and the cane seats are not only comfortable but quite easy to repair by yourself once you get the hang of it. I really love this boat and although I have several canoes, this one is my every-day boat as well as my main tripping canoe.


I have used this canoe for 4…

Submitted by: paddlerdan on 7/10/2014
I have used this canoe for 4 BWCA trips and multiple float river camping trips in WI. This canoe will handle three passengers and all gear for a week expedition with ease. It has minimal rocker, but can still be managed in whitewater by experienced paddlers. I have added lining holes just above water line for wilderness work. It is good in chop on large bodies of water, and has excellent secondary stability. Length makes it glide well. At 64 lbs, it is a rugged compromise, but worth the safety. I would recommend it to younger paddlers who do not need Kevlar for portage, but I am 67yrs old and still not ready to switch.

I am the owner of a 16 foot…

Submitted by: CircuitRider on 7/5/2014
I am the owner of a 16 foot Penobscot Royalex canoe and had opportunity to but a used 17 Penobscot. I have only paddled it once and was surprised the difference the foot made to the paddling experience. I found it a little more cumbersome to paddle it solo. To be fair though it has increased capacity and the ability to haul a great deal of gear for river or lake trips. I'll be giving it many more tries. I'm sure that paddling it tandem will be a much better experience.

I recently purchased a used…

Submitted by: paddler235657 on 7/3/2014
I recently purchased a used Penobscot 17 for a trip to Quetico and for use on Missouri Rivers. The canoe held plenty of gear for 9 days on the lake. Very stable, but found it slower on flat water compared to kevlars on our trip. Handles well on the river even with the minimal rocker. Tough Royalex construction got its use. Adding web seat backs was most valuable on the Canadian trip.

This boat has done everything…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/3/2013
This boat has done everything from mild whitewater, lazy rivers, Intercostal waterway and the Boundary Waters. It has preformed excellent in all places. It tracks well is very stable. The royalex hull is virtually indestructible. I have owned the boat now for nearly 15 years and have used it well. Kevlar skid pads where added 5 years ago when the ends where showing the yellow core after multiple trips on the sandpaper of the Wisconsin River. It is heavy on long carries and not a speed boat but it accomplishes all that I have ever asked of it.

I bought a Old Town 17'…

Submitted by: Marlin on 7/29/2013
I bought a Old Town 17' Penobscot at Gander Mountain on sale a few years ago because I wanted a royalex canoe to use around home. Over the years we have used this canoe for many things ranging from family trips, fishing and a few white water races.

It is a nice blend of of size 17'1" and weight 65lbs. being able to carry a lot of gear and not being overly heavy. So far the royalex hull has held up well to the beating that it gets from the shallow water that I sometimes use it in. It has a almost 34" hull at the waterline and has a shallow arch bottom which help it glide a long quite nice, but still is very stable.

For an all around canoe this is a great choice. The only thing that I have changed in my canoe is that I have slanted the seats a little to help for when I use it in the white water race that I do once a year.


Bought one of these made of…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/25/2013
Bought one of these made of Royalex some months ago as I needed something lighter than my 30+ yr old boat. The Penobscot has turned out to be about 35# lighter, handles well even under a heavy load of camping gear, 2 guys & a dog. Did change out the yoke to a middle seat to make paddling solo more manageable and this also makes a handy platform for keeping stuff off the deck.

I've paddled a wide array of…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/25/2013
I've paddled a wide array of canoes over the years including fiberglass, standard and lightweight aluminum, and kevlar. I purchased an Old Town 17' Penobscot because the Royalex construction was light enough to allow me to carry it without assistance while being more rugged than Kevlar. I've found it to move smoothly and easily across lakes and to be stable enough to safely carry my grandchildren. It's an excellent balance between easy paddling and great load capacity.

My Penobscot 17 can go…

Submitted by: paddler234742 on 8/29/2012
My Penobscot 17 can go anywhere...problem is at 65 lbs, can I portage it there? The boat is wonderful on nasty windy lakes with waves, tracks well and the weight adds momentum. It glides well on rivers and the slick royalex just slips off of rocks. It never let us down...ever. I sold it this year with a tear in my eye as I replaced her with a Spirit II Kevlar from Wenonah. At 64, kevlar makes the portages a breeze, I just need to be more careful with hitting rocks. If it wasn't for the weight when portaging, I'd give the Penobscot 17 a 10+. Goodbye old friend!

Paddling for over 20 years…

Submitted by: paddler234593 on 6/17/2012
Paddling for over 20 years now, and this boat is a great one if you want a do all canoe or want to down river race with a friend! Paddled solo on a windy day you will find yourself low near the center of the boat to keep her on track. That is the worse part of this boat IMO, but a 17' royalex boat that is perfect for 2 people and a ton of gear never make ideal solos. Initial stability is moderate. Even Novice paddlers will quickly adapt though, and in the event something does go wrong the boats secondary stability is wonderful. If you are looking for a solo boat for high wind conditions, this is not it. If you want a boat that will do everything 90% as good as any other boat, this IS it.

I received a Penobscot 17 in…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/11/2012
I received a Penobscot 17 in Royalex for my 40th birthday... and have never looked back. A perfect multi-use canoe for this Canadian. I have spent hours on my own on flat water cruising around lakes (midnight is a great time to see the stars), I have tripped with two kids and my wife, and have done some river running, without complaint - except for two minor issues:
  1. The inside surface is a slick as ice when wet, so you need to install pads to prevent sliding all over the place in rain or rapids. An easy fix.
  2. The standard middle yoke is not comfortable for portaging more than a short distance. Again an easy fix by replacing with a quality one.
Excellent stability, especially secondary, makes for easy solo work with a longer paddle. And I don't worry about the kids bashing into things - a perfect boat in which they can learn the art of paddling.

I'm new to paddling but took…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 11/27/2010
I'm new to paddling but took my used 17RX down 50 miles of Oregon's Johnday river, solo, with a total load of 600 lbs. I took the advice of the previous owner and reversed the boat and paddled from the front seat facing aft. Can't say how that compares to paddling standard solo but I can say that I met every river condition on this trip and I found the canoe to perform excellent, by my limited standard. There was a lot of wind, zig-zagging of boulder fields, shallow, and fast water and I had zero problems and never came close to tipping.

From my years of cataraft experience I can say that 17 ft. is a lot of arm to swing especially from the far end so if you have problems maneuvering this boat from the rear seat try paddling from the more centered front seat.


Love our Penobscot 17. It's…

Submitted by: paddler233781 on 8/25/2010
Love our Penobscot 17. It's safely taken my family (two adults and two kids) up the 92 mile Allagash River in Northern Maine...and into the Boundary Waters for 11 days across lakes big and small and down gnarly rivers with lots of rocks and beaver dams and blow overs. And we haven't had an involuntary swim yet! I find it very fast on lakes, and forgiving over river rocks. And this while loaded to the gills with gear and kids.

At 65 pounds, it's a little tough on the portages. But I couldn't find a kevlar canoe which could hold all of us that was that much lighter. The Penobscot 17 is a bit tippy initially. Like when the kids make a sudden move it always feels for a nasty second like it's early bath time. But like I said, we've never capsized, so the secondary stability must be great. Amazing tripper canoe.


I bought a 17 foot Royalex…

Submitted by: paddler233682 on 7/7/2010
I bought a 17 foot Royalex Old Town boat in 1977 that looks like what they now call the Penobscot. I put fresh duct tape on the grind points when the old stuff peels off.

Lotsa class 3 rapids. Paddled 4 or 5 times down Section 3 Chattooga. One Christmas we paddled the Buffalo and White in Arkansas with a dog and 250 pounds of gear. (A Kerosun heater will make you very popular with wet boaters in December!) The seats are high enough that you can get your feet under them comfortably if you're kneeling in whitewater. (Another reviewer faulted Old Town for having the seats too high - get off your tush!)

33 years and I still can't get the wife to let me buy another canoe - this Royalex just won't wear out! Although it has gotten fairly ugly...
How can I give it a 12?


I have a 17' OT Penobscot RX.…

Submitted by: paddler233582 on 5/13/2010
I have a 17' OT Penobscot RX. This is a tripping boat with lots of room for gear. This is not a sprint canoe, but not a barge. It tracks well, moves easily and turns nicely for minimal rocker. My main complaint is because it is quite deep, and the seats are mounted 1-2" under the gunnels, and therefore, it is a bit top heavy without any gear or tipsy as others have mentioned. This boat needs gear to lower its center of gravity, or do as I have done and lower the seats by 2.5 inches to about 3-4" below the gunnels. Now it is a very secure boat that has high enjoyment empty or full. It is fairly dry and easily steered on the river. Too bad OT did not do this to begin with.

I owned an Penobscott 17 for…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 12/10/2009
I owned an Penobscott 17 for 2 years and have put many miles on it. I find that on flat water it moves along nicely with a good glide.It will definitely hold as much gear as you can fit in it and perform OK in class 2 water. It steers well with the appropriate strokes applied.

As for it's initial stability, I would say it is very poor at best. Any sudden movements or aggressive weight shifting will have you grabbing for the gunwales quick. It can be leaned well for Canadian style paddling but again watch any quick movements. As for secondary stability I would say there is none. Once the boat starts to roll you are going swimming and it rolls really fast. The more load you have in it the quicker you and your gear will be in the water. Forget trying to pole up river in class 2 unless your legs are made of steel as you will spend most of your effort to stay in the boat.

After 2 years of trying to improve my skills to match the performance of the boat I gave up and bought an Old Town Appalachian 16. This boat so far exceeds my expectations I can hardly believe it. I have found the perfect river boat at last. I would never recommend the Penobscott to anyone.


I've owned this boat for…

Submitted by: paddler233381 on 9/25/2009
I've owned this boat for about 5 years now and am very happy with it. Most of my trips take me down flatwater, and class 2 rapids. However, more and more frequently I've been taking the boat to the Nantahala River in North Carolina and Section 3 of the Chattooga in North GA. I would say these rivers are the limit of what the boat will do. I've got it set up with bow, stern and middle floatation but on many of the rapids and wave trains the low volume bow will go over the first wave and plunge into the second or third one. At The Narrows on the Chattooga the entire boat becomes submerged and only pops to the surface at the end of the rapid with our seating positions full of water and the floatation keeping us up. When this happens you've got to find a pull out spot to empty the boat.

With all this said I can easily say, this boat is easily maneuverable with the correct paddle strokes, this boat has incredible secondary stability as I can attest to from many many dicey river experiences. This boat will power through just about anything - the 17 foot length is powerful once it gets going, if you stall this boat out in rapids, they're too big to paddle this boat in in the first place.

This boat will haul a ton of gear. I've done trips with two tents, two coolers, a grill and tons of other stuff down class 2 and 3 rapids and handled the boat handled extremely well.

I would say the royalex skin on this boat is thin. Paddling in the South means many rock scratches. The rear of my boat now has two layers of kevlar padding and I found the standard royalex wore out too quickly.

The overall craftsmanship of this boat is very nice. The lines are great and the fit and finish is much better than the Mad River boats I've looked at. I also own a Mad River Outrage X and the Old Town is better put together in almost every way.

If I were buying a boat today, would I buy another Penobscot 17? Probably not. I'm very happy with my boat, but if I knew I'd be hitting these bigger rivers as frequently as I do now I would get a more ww specific boat. I'd probably get the Old Town Appalachian or a Bell or Esquif. However, if I was buying a boat for fishing, flatwater, river running class 1 and 2, and camping I don't think you can go wrong with this boat. You'll have years of great memories and great times. This boat feels tippy to some people new to canoeing - this is a good thing, you will be rewarded for advancing into a better paddler by growing into a boat that will outperform a beginners boat in every way.


I have had my Penobscot 17…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/27/2009
I have had my Penobscot 17 for over eleven years. It was the first canoe I purchased. I rented several others before, then did a lot of research to find the right one. After 11 years, I have never regretted my decision. My family and I have done backcountry camping with this boat with 2 kids, 2 adults and lots of gear. My wife is not exactly a "lightweight camper". (she's not big, its just that she wants to bring a lot of gear.) We had no problem loading, paddling, or steering this fine craft. I had purchased 2 'sling seats' made by Old Town which clip over the gunnals. These were great for the kids.

I've also spent several hours with a friend, fly fishing from this boat and were very comfortable. My friend owns a Mad River Explorer and he was impressed with the way this boat handles. Lately my son (13 Yrs.old), takes it out on calm flat water BY HIMSELF and is able to move quite well in whatever direction he desires to go. He'll also pretend he is the Karate Kid and stand on the gunnals and balance himself.

Over the 11 years, our needs and useage of a canoe have changed and the Penobscot has met the challenge every time! It is light enough that I can put it up on a rack on the back of my truck by myself.


the Penobscot 17 is a bomb…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 2/18/2009
the Penobscot 17 is a bomb proof boat that I would not hesitate to take anywhere. Sure it paddles like a log, but really for a royalex canoe, I feel that it is top in the class. It does everything good enough. Seriously a good boat.

my brother has a flotilla of high tech, Wenonah canoes, they are fantastic, usually. But there has been many times, on the lakes of the Quetico and Wabakami that I questioned the value of the Wenonahs straight ahead speed. With big waves on some of the large lakes, I questioned the design philosophy of these boats. Better put - I cursed these boats and their unforgiving nature.

I am now rehabbing a Peterborough canoe... a bit of rocker, a little more forgiving. I can't wait till this rotted old boat is finished. I will be traveling in style in a boat that was designed for these conditions. My new old canoe needs to take one last trip to Northern Ontario. It has earned it.


I depended on this canoe…

Submitted by: paddler232560 on 5/8/2008
I depended on this canoe through two near death experiences in Alaska. I won a land stake settlement which involved an eight mile canoe trip in the middle of october. After hiking over 30 miles back from my property i muscled this canoe through 3 ft+ whitecaps in the dead of night with a nothig but a head lamp that was blinded by wind and snow through man eating Lake Louise. A local and well experienced bear guide drowned to death in the freezing waters a couple weeks earlier. This boat handles rough water like no other. I respect the secondary stability of my penobscot which is named after the river in my hometown. I'm not a novice, I face a very unforgiving and oftentimes bitter wilderness with this canoe. I have a bond with this canoe...

I bought my Penobscot 17 at a…

Submitted by: stephanne85 on 7/16/2007
I bought my Penobscot 17 at a neighbor's yard sale last summer for $500 with gear and all. Best buy ever-- I've taken up to five adults in it on still water/calm rivers for day trips, taken it down class II rapids, and just recently started ocean fishing in it. It has only tipped twice, the first time when a friend was trying to tip it from the outside and the second time when we were trying to put out through the ocean surf on the beach... it handles really well as it's easy to turn using the back paddle as a rudder. I LOVE this boat!!!

We bought our Penobscot 17…

Submitted by: paddler232139 on 6/29/2007
We bought our Penobscot 17 royalex this spring used, it is about 5 yrs. old. We have had it out on some local lakes and rivers.
This is a GREAT canoe, I don't understand some of the people on here saying it is hard to turn, it turns very easily, tracks well, is very stable. Just can't say enough about how nice this canoe is.

I ordered the penobscot canoe…

Submitted by: paddler231994 on 4/23/2007
I ordered the penobscot canoe from LLBEAN (royalex). I received it from Roadway Freight Company that Old Town uses. The canoe came with a 4 x 2 hole on the side and burned/dimplings near it. I was upset with it and refused delivery. Informed LLBEAN. They sent me another canoe expediently, but the second canoe had two parallel lacerations on its side. Refused again. Third try, the canoe came in two weeks, also expedited as I had a planned trip. However, yet again, the freight company delivered the third canoe with a severely dented hull. Refused for the third time and not looking forward to any more of Old Town canoes, be it due to their craftsmanship or choice of freight service.

A great canoe that takes the…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/1/2005
A great canoe that takes the middle of the road. After selling my Mad River Explorer TT (a fat one at 90 pounds), I splurged and got this boat after reading the reviews here. I have to say I’m not disappointed. Tipping the scales at around 50 pounds, it is MUCH EASIER to portage and handles itself in the water with grace and a minimum of fuss.

While I do miss the molded cup holders of my old mad river, this Old Town Penobscot canoe gets compliments everywhere I go from other Old Town owners including an 80 year old gent who reminisced about his Old Town canoe from years ago. Recommended for folks that want a good, reliable, and graceful water craft.


We bought a used Penobscot…

Submitted by: paddler231043 on 4/21/2005
We bought a used Penobscot late this winter. We have since used it on 6 day trips. It handles our two kids and lab very well. We upgraded from a Coleman Ram-x and the difference is amazing I will never paddle the Coleman again. We have not found stability to be an issue, and it turning vs. tracking suites us just find. We plan to use this boat on lakes and easy rivers in north Idaho. This is a 95 model year we bought used for $900.

I have won three downriver…

Submitted by: paddler230877 on 11/15/2004
I have won three downriver races with this boat. I have had two second place finishes on rivers in Virginia that are class 2 and easy class 3 in difficulty. It is hard to turn, it is fairly stable, once you get use to the balance. Good all around boat for the average paddler, and above. I sometimes use it for a weekend tripper and yes, it can carry a lot of gear.

My buddy and I have been…

Submitted by: paddler230873 on 11/11/2004
My buddy and I have been using this boat in races from 4 miles to 9.5 miles and we are always kicking butt with it. It's a fast non-racing boat which of course cannot keep up with the racers but it was never supposed to, however if you have good skills, a good partner and are in shape you can compete with those guys. It tracks straight which is what I need without having to make many correction strokes. Oh yeah, if you don't plan to race with it, it's still a good all purpose boat.

Update to previous post. We…

Submitted by: grubfish on 8/30/2004
Update to previous post. We sold the Penobscot 17, it ended up not fitting our needs well and we kept the Old Town Camper since this the canoe we seemed to gravitate to most between the two canoes. Some health issues cropped up as well, limiting the likelyhood of long packing in trips, day trips or short overnights are more the norm.

UPDATE: The outfitter in…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/16/2004
UPDATE: The outfitter in which I bought the canoe from was kind enough to take the snap in seat back. I bought a webbed seat that I have since installed and now I paddle from it. Works great! I love this canoe.

I bought the Penobscot about…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/19/2004
I bought the Penobscot about seven months ago. At first it felt a little tipsy but it is actually a stable boat. I bought the snap in third seat the same day I bought the boat and I shoulda checked to see if it would fit correclty. Turns out that the thwarts are in the way if you try and use the sanp in seat (Unless you are a small child). I'm 6'5" with a long torso so when I solo this canoe which is 99% of the time I sit on a foam pad on the bottom of the boat. Great boat at a great price of $800.

The Penobscot 17 is a good…

Submitted by: paddler230560 on 5/17/2004
The Penobscot 17 is a good boat which will track well, paddle easily, and carry a big load--although I would not load it with the 1080 pounds the maker says it will carry. The canoe is moderately fast, though the advertisements would lead you to believe it is a racer. The canoe does not turn easily. Some reviewers contend that it lacks stability, but I find it to be very stable--though not as initially stable as my much slower Trippers. The seat mounts are not as sturdy as I would like. The royalex skin has worn thin, and I have added the skid plates. This canoe is not hard to portage reasonable distances, and is fairly easy to cartop. The Penobscot 17 is a good river and swamp tripping canoe, and most Tripper owners would like this one better.

We bought this 17 foot…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/24/2003
We bought this 17 foot royalex canoe because we wanted a boat large enough for two adults, two kids and a dog, versatile enough to handle lakes and rivers, and light enough to make one man cartopping and portaging a reasonable possibility. And we wanted all this at a reasonable price. After a great deal of research, the Penobscot, at a sale price, fit the bill. I've paddled it solo (canadian style to reduce the water line) and loaded with family and gear. We lived out of it for a week in in the adirondacks. It tracks well, has nice secondary stability and has as pleasing a line as can be expected from a royalex canoe. Frankly, I don't think its an exceptional canoe; in this material and at this size; there are lots of options, and for more money, they might be better. But for my criteria, I made the right choice.

This is the first canoe I…

Submitted by: paddler230182 on 6/17/2003
This is the first canoe I have owned. My wife and I have used a variety of canoes, from 15' Colemans to Grumman aluminum to OT Guide and Discovery models. This is the first one I have had great satisfaction paddling. The ease with which we can move this through the water is very nice, speed into the wind gratifying. We are looking forward to putting in to a few of the local rivers, maybe a tour of the Congaree Swamp Nat'l Monument area. I am considering putting on the skid plates to stave off damage before it happens. I like this one enough I am thinking of getting a used beater boat to offer as the inevitable loaner! Rated a 9 because nothing is perfect.

This is an update to my last…

Submitted by: paddler230000 on 6/16/2003
This is an update to my last post. We took out the Penobscot on several different occassions. To turn, as stated before, was a chore of leaning the boat and making sweeping strokes with the paddle. That's ok if the other person in the boat is experienced enough, but if you have a new paddler, they probably won't like all the leaning. Long story short, I took it back and got a Mad River Explorer.

I read these reviews and…

Submitted by: paddler230000 on 12/5/2002
I read these reviews and bought my Penobscot 17. The review from the fellow calling it a barge stuck in my mind. The first time my daughter and I took the boat out, it was windy. The boat was very fast and did extremely well in the wind. However, turning it was a chore. I wondered how so many white-water races were won by Penobscots. I called the fellow who owned the store I bought the boat from as well as corresponded with Old Town. The man from the store offered to not only go out on the boat with me, but said that if I wasn't satisfied, he trade it back. The Old Town response was a lady that obviously new more about canoes that I did. Even though I've canoed the Natahala in NC (in old Grumman Aluminum canoes), and have leaned boats to turn before, it didn't occur to me. As pointed out by both responses, the next time I took the boat out, my wife and I practiced leaning the boat and doing sweeps with the paddle. The boat turned quite abruptly!! I'm very happy with the Penobscot 17. But as one person put it, it really is for intermediate users and up. It has good initial stability, and very good secondary stability. I'm looking forward to more river paddling.

This is a greatboat for…

Submitted by: paddler229799 on 7/15/2002
This is a greatboat for intermediate canoers and up... A beginner like me has a problem with this boat. My Dad and I had just bought it... The first time we took it out... we had all of our equipment with us... fishing tackle, anchor, backpack with lots of stuff in it, fishing poles, GPS, etc... we paddled for about an hour and stopped to take a rest... we had started going again and all of a sudden we tipped... we don't know how... we tipped... somehow we didn't lose much... we lost the anchor (it wasn't tied to the boat at the time), and my glasses that I need to see with. We couldn't get back in, so we headed to a dock about 40 feet away with the canoe 4/5ths full of water... no problem staying afloat there... we dumped out the canoe and headed back to our car... later we went out again.. it was way too tippy... we couldn't fish out of it... that was our main objective... we tried a cople more times... but this canoe is just too tippy... we are going to get a more stable boat that hopefully will fit our needs. This boat goes fast, turns like a dream, but flips way to easily. That is not what we are looking for.

Great canoe for flat water…

Submitted by: paddler229664 on 5/2/2002
Great canoe for flat water and load carrying ability. I added a third seat in the middle. Great family canoe. This canoe is designed for straight tracking, so if you want to maneuver more, go for one of the other models. The royalex makes it lighter for it's length. After nine years of scratches, I got their repair kit and paint and spent a few hours on it and it looks brand new! Purchased seat belt webbing to replace the cane seats. Turned the seats over and used stainless staples to attach the webbing. I was fixing it up to sell it, but it looked so good, I decided to keep it. Talk about a low maintainance boat!

I have Owned my Royalex 17'…

Submitted by: paddler229472 on 9/21/2001
I have Owned my Royalex 17' Penobscot for two years. Overall I am pleased with it. I have used it on large rivers, lakes and also for hunting. I like the durability, insulation and quietness of the Royalex. It goes straight better than it turns, but turning is no problem if you have someone who is experienced in the bow. Overall seems to be a good canoe canoe at a good price. I would have rated it a 9 but I had to fix 2 rivets on the gunwhale where the assembler did a poor job.

My husband and I bought a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/20/2001
My husband and I bought a used 17 foot Penobscot. We used it on a 5-day Boundary Waters trip. We noticed the Penobscot has decent speed, but it's not as fast as a lighter weight canoe. While on our trip, we were ahead of another group by about ten minutes. While paddling hard and fighting a headwind, the group behind us (one in a Bell and the other in a Souris) easily passed us. But the canoe tracked well and had good secondary stability. We didn't feel like we were going to tip, even on windy lakes. On a narrow, snaky river we had a hard time turning, but the canoe is meant to be a canoe that tracks well, not a sharp-turning one. We felt there was ample room for our gear for the five-day trip. Overall, we are happy with the Penobscot. We wanted a decent canoe, but couldn't affort a top of the line one. In six years we'll celebrate our tenth anniversary in six years and our goal is to buy a lighter, faster canoe, but for now we're happy with the Penobscot.

Just installed skid plates as…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/16/2001
Just installed skid plates as they were needed after approx. 15 floats in the Ozarks.It is somewhat thin skinned.It is also lightweight and easily handled.It tracks well and has carried a family of four, Eddie the dog, camping gear and still floats/handles real nice.Find one at a good price and buy it.

This is the first Royalex…

Submitted by: paddler229151 on 3/20/2001
This is the first Royalex canoe that I have ever owned. I am used to aluminum Grumman canoes which always seemed fine to me. But the first time I took this canoe out on the lake, I was amazed at its fire blazing speed! The Penobscot 17 rides the top of the water gracefully. Even with my 50 pound 5 year old boy in the front, I could paddle the canoe from the rear seat with ease. Paddling in the wind is a snap. I am not just saying this. It is true. This canoe requires little effort to make it fly.

Turning the canoe is not all that difficult, except fast down river travel in tight situations. But I didn't buy the canoe to do a lot of turning. I bought this canoe for lake touring and BWCA camping and fishing. This canoe requires good balance, for it likes to lean at the slightest movement. Of course, that could be my 250 pounds of fat. You can tell I bought the canoe for exercise, too. For piece of mind, I bought stabilizer floats on the Internet from Spring Creek Outfitters ( in Mt. Iron, Minnesota. They turned this canoe into a stable boat and were well worth the money.

The only negative with the Penobscot 17 is that it scratches too easily. But the scratches are merely cosmetic, only roughing up the vinyl skin.


This is a good canoe for a…

Submitted by: paddler229045 on 1/2/2001
This is a good canoe for a Royalex canoe, it's a canoe that wants to go but I wouldn't put maneuverability as one of its strong points while underway at faster speeds. IMO it needs to be slowed a bit if you expect to turn with any nimbleness. However, if you want to get down river and do it in a hurry it will do that and as long as you read the river well and your bow person can execute a good draw, you can certainly tack or chop your way across current without hesitation. This thing goes where you aim it, be that on a river or on a lake. It's not meant to "play" in (as rock garden boats do); it means business, though if you stop or just drift it can be turned fairly well.

The Penobscot 17 is at home on rougher lakes, it goes well in class II water but you need to read a river well as mentioned already. We have owned ours for only a few outings and it's winter now, so for now I have to rate this as an 8 because I don't know it well enough yet. Just as with our Old Town Camper (not comparing canoes here as these are two completely different acting boats), I will say the rear seat needs lowering to suit me, but I'm tall and weigh 230 lbs, so I generally like to lower the center of gravity. The Penobscot 17 is great in the wind, I've even soloed it on a lake in the wind (sitting on padding about mid ship where I could lean forward or back to effect track), it quarters to the wind or with the wind and water very well and stays on track very well with power on or off. Also, the Penobscot 17 has volume for loading and paddles well loaded, though we haven't fully tested it out in this way as yet, especially on a river. We intend to use this canoe for down river running and packing in to camp, for a few days at a time. Same for lakes crossing and general touring or packing, so we hope it works out well, if not it will be for sale at the end of next season!


All you people that ranked…

Submitted by: paddler228970 on 10/20/2000
All you people that ranked this boat high need to paddle some other boats.this boat does nothing well. it is purely a utilitarian is another example old town's outdated designs with modern sales and marketing.if your looking for the elusive so called all around boat please look elsewhere. i still rate it a 3 because it at least could float the inlaws to the opposite shore.

This canoe is a great…

Submitted by: paddler228758 on 7/19/2000
This canoe is a great compromise for those who want both a down river boat and a tripper. Payload capacity is great, with lots of room for kids and gear. The down river maneuverability is its weakness, at 17' with moderate rocker, complex rapids are a challenge. I have run lots of Class I and II rapids with no difficulty, and a half dozen ligitimate Class III's without dumping it (and with a 10 year old bow man). Rapids higher than Class III would likely require floatation bags unless you're really good. For flat water, this canoe tracks very well and glides effortlessly. Its has great stability for squirmy kids. If you're intent is downriver running only, with lots of intense rapids, there are better boats. As a tripper or lake runner, this boat is excellent. For a compromise between down river and flat water, I give it a 9 rating, as this is a difficult compromise to achieve. The Penobscot 17 serves these purposes well. Happy canoeing!

The Penobscot 17 is a great…

Submitted by: paddler228465 on 2/28/2000
The Penobscot 17 is a great canoe. I've used mine in the Boundary Waters, on many of Indiana's rivers and lakes. It is a very diverse canoe with the ability to go on a week or two trip and then turn around and go to the local lake for a day of paddling and picknicking. It will carry me, my spouse, our two dogs and a niece or nephew pretty comfortably. It will also haul all the gear for an excursion and still paddle like a dream. It is a great canoe if you want to be able to do a lot of different things. A good and experienced paddler could probably maneuver the Penobscot 17 through a resonably difficult course, but for the average paddler a shorter canoe would serve the task better.

This canoe is fast and great…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 2/17/2000
This canoe is fast and great for tripping. Best canoe for the money. I've used it for family outings, duck hunting and wilderness tripping. weights 65 lbs.

Penobscot 17 Royelex. My…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/18/2000
Penobscot 17 Royelex. My first canoe. Performed better than I expected. Am not dissapointed in it's performance at all. Am surprised at how easy it is scratched. Bought a skid plate but was told it would hurt it's performance. Haven't dumpted it yet but need to see what it will take. Will find out sooner or later, I'm sure!

This is the "family…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/1/1999
This is the "family van" of canoes. Our crew, two adults and two seven year old boys, have found this canoe to be great for "high adventure". We encounter white cap waves on the lakes at Algonquin and it handled like a dream. It can take a 1100lb. load with no problems and it is light enough [65lbs.] for my wife to help me take it off the roof of our van.

I love this canoe! Fast,…

Submitted by: paddler228196 on 7/25/1999
I love this canoe! Fast, tracks well, maneuverable, light and hauls a ton. So far, I've used it mostly on lakes; but in wind and choppy water it's proven to be stable and easy to handle. I've yet to tip it, even with a couple fidgety kids riding as passengers. I can't think of a better boat.

A favorite among whitewater…

Submitted by: paddler228019 on 3/15/1999
A favorite among whitewater downriver racers because of its handling this boat also makes a fine boat to take camping on trips over a week. This is an excellent all around boat. Would opt for nylon webbed seats instead of cane to improve durability.