Tripper 172 Description

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Tripper 172 Reviews

Read reviews for the Tripper 172 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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Great stable canoe. Can…

Submitted by: paddler550640 on 9/4/2019

Great stable canoe. Can easily carry lots of gear. Very stable. Just a bit heavy.


Great canoe. can carry a lot…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/4/2019

Great canoe. can carry a lot of gear. a bit heavy thought


I bought my Tripper in the…

Submitted by: paddler528508 on 7/15/2019

I bought my Tripper in the spring of 1976. It has been on countless trips on the rivers and creeks of Maryland , Virginia, and W. Virginia. On camping trips we have carried 2 coolers, tent, chairs and other friends gear as well and the boat still handled well in 2+ whitewater. I put kevlar skid plates on bow and stern back in the 80's, and new gunwales after using the boat for sleigh riding!! We took our two kids down the Shennandoah back in late 90's, and now my grown son and his friends canoe camp on the rivers around Harpers Ferry. The toughness and durability of this canoe can't be matched.


I bought my tripper in 1995…

Submitted by: paddler471646 on 10/3/2018

I bought my tripper in 1995 and it is now 2018, It was used. I have been on many rivers, loaded down, and it is a great boat. It survived oyster shells, drunken marsh rides in the late 90's, intentional collisions with jealous kayakers and many other potential canoe-ending situations. I don't know if it is the fastest and I don't really care... but I do know that I felt safe in the Okefenokee surrounded by massive alligators. Paddling any canoe is good for the soul. Paddling this canoe made many memories with my friends and with my family. I respect any product that lasts 25-30 years. Thanks Old Town.


The Tripper was the first…

Submitted by: paddler449420 on 7/5/2018

The Tripper was the first canoe we ever purchased. Thank god for its stability. Back in 1995 I took my son canoeing on a reservoir in upstate NY. In my inexperience, in the rain, we asked some boaters for a tow (don't EVER do this folks)..... My son, the dog and I were practically standing on the right gunwale to keep the left one out of the water as we motored along at 10 knots. I learned a lot that trip, but not least that we could count on this canoe to stay upright in the absolute worst conditions. Since then, it's been our go-to canoe for families and heavy water. We have other canoes and kayaks, but we trust the Tripper above all.


Grand theft canoe

Submitted by: paddler364205 on 9/18/2017

I practically stole this canoe in 2016 for $130. The previous owner used it for many years in whitewater. The small ropes and remnants of adhesive tie downs for extra flotation are telltale signs, along with the crease in the royalex midship on one side. There are brand new gunwales and Kevlar skidplates installed too! My girlfriend and I take our canoe out as often as possible on lakes, ponds and rivers. One of our greatest trips was under the Old North Bridge on the Concord River, the location of the "shot heard 'round the world". We mostly paddle empty and the wind does have an effect on direction, but the fun factor outweighs any of the canoes shortcomings (I.e. +/-80lbs). I believe it was made in the late 80's-early 90's and has many, many more years of life in it.


Tough heavy and wonderful

Submitted by: Dennis-Stinnett on 6/5/2017

We bought our royalex tripper in 1995. Took the kids out on the James river here in Virginia and always felt safe. Been all over the state with lots of cargo and never any problem. Still have it and it's almost like new. Scuffs and stuff reminds me of the trips we have taken. I did install the rub strips on front and back. Best thing I did for it. Thanks to the Appomattox river canoe company in Farmville Virginia for steering us into a big heavy safe canoe for my family. Thanks


The Old Town Tripper is the…

Submitted by: paddler442262 on 9/8/2015
The Old Town Tripper is the perfect all around canoe. It's built for wilderness camping and with its 1300 pound capacity it can handle all the gear you would ever dream of taking along. Its sharp entry line makes it reasonable fast and easy to paddle. Being a large boat it is very stable and perfect for beginners. The shallow arch hull design gives it excellent secondary stability, (meaning you remain very stable even when leaned on its side.) It has moderate rocker, which together with the shallow arch design make it a surprisingly good boat for whitewater.

I bought mine new in 1987, and have paddled it extensively on Class II-III stuff, and on a small handful of Class IV rapids too. Its hull is made of Royalex which makes it extremely durable. Believe me, I've hit a LOT of big rocks including one memorable collision on Devil's Jump on the Big South Fork. That left a little scar, but that's it.

For a long boat, it turns well. Credit that again to the moderate rocker, plus the fact that it has no keel. (Unless you plan on paddling nothing but lakes, I would not own a boat with a keel. Just don't do it.)

The only negatives I would note are that it is heavy to portage (about 85 pounds) but that's to be expected of a high volume 17 foot long boat with a 15" depth. That depth can also work against you on a windy lake. Learn to treat the wind as you would current, and it becomes much less of an issue.

In summary, the Old Town Tripper is just a great all around boat. I've owned many boats but my Tripper has always been our favorite. I've literally paddled it on hundreds of trips and probably over 2,000 miles. She still looks good for her age, but more importantly she still performs like new.


HEAVY, slow; the Station…

Submitted by: paddler235590 on 6/16/2014
HEAVY, slow; the Station wagon of canoes. Stable and reliable, paddling the BWCA in early May right after ice out, it's nice to feel the security of this tank of a canoe.
The Portage.....well it's the price you pay

Great boat (mine's about 35…

Submitted by: paddler235511 on 4/21/2014
Great boat (mine's about 35 years old). Single-handing it in the wind on a lake, what I do is sit on the deck amidships with only a throwable float cushion under me. This trims the boat so it doesn't weathervane. If I move a little more forward, the stern'll start to trail out a bit in the wind, heading the bow up so I make more progress forward and less drift sideways.

I actually love the way it feels solo in light to moderate airs - a bit like flying or walking on the water. I often stand midships with a long paddle.

I use a trolling motor sometimes and that works well too. It's nice to motor upriver using the bow as a stern, then change seats to the real stern and paddle down. The boat trims nicely with the battery, motor, anchor & chain at the other end.


I'm on my third 17' Old Town…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/2/2014
I'm on my third 17' Old Town Tripper. I purchased my first one when I was 18 years old. Unfortunately I wrapped that canoe on a rock in a class IV rapid in the French Broad River. Even though the gunwales and one of the thwarts took a beating, I was still able to finish the trip.

This Tripper is THE workhorse of expedition canoes. When you build something right, you don't need to change it. The Tripper is a perfect example of what a canoe should be in every way.


I have owned and paddled a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/26/2013
I have owned and paddled a Tripper 172 for over 25 years. It is big and not the fastest, but it will carry a big load and still get you there dry. I regularly solo it and if the load is balanced out, it is no problem. I always wind up carrying everyone's extra gear and it only helps the Tripper perform better. It will turn on a dime loaded or empty, but does track better loaded down. With the high stems it will weathervane if you don't keep it into the wind. With the rocker and fullness in the bow and stern it handles whitewater very well.

It is one tough boat that will carry a big load though most anything you put it through without a problem, it is very forgiving, you can't beat it for a river expedition boat. I have lighter and faster boats, but if the river is rocky and challenging this is my ride.


This is an addendum to the…

Submitted by: paddler442262 on 5/3/2012
This is an addendum to the review I posted 10 years ago.
I wouldn't have thought it possible, but I actually love my Tripper more today than when I first wrote about her. This year mark's her 25th anniversary and she's still in great shape. I don't paddle much Class III stuff anymore, but still run Class II several times a year and take her canoe camping too. The front skid plate needs replacing, but after 25 years, approximately 200 trips, and nearly 2,000 miles I won't complain about a little maintenance.

There's really only two things you need to know about the Tripper - first, when I bought it my canoeing mentor chastised me saying it was too long and too hard to turn. That was in 1987 before he'd ever paddled it. Now that he has paddled it a few times he no longer says such things. Secondly, as an avid canoeing evangelist I have recruited more than a few people to the sport over the years. Many of my paddling friends fell in love with canoeing in the Tripper and I hear them comment all the time that they wish they had one.


I bought a used Tripper made…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/9/2012
I bought a used Tripper made from something called Oltanor.(I think). On a float on the Buffalo River in Arkansas my canoe got wrapped around a rock. I was ahead of it in a kayak. When I saw it all of my gear was floating down toward me and I starting grabbing it, wondering how I was going to get it someplace where I could bring my car. I noticed three or four people helping my friend try to get it off the rock. It was pinned by the current and shaped like a horseshoe. I didn't see them get it free, but it had popped itself back into canoe shape. Amazing! We loaded it back up and continued our float. It has a slight wrinkle as the only evidence of what happened. Thirty-two years later it's still good as new. Magic canoe!

I've used my tripper strictly…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 2/1/2012
I've used my tripper strictly in the ocean and find it a wonderful craft. I've had it in some really rough weather with no problems.

I agree with all the people…

Submitted by: paddler234306 on 9/28/2011
I agree with all the people who said the Tripper is a great boat. I have taken mine on big lakes in Canada, Rivers in the USA, Potomac, Shenandoah, and into the swamps in NC. The only issue I have is when it's not loaded it's hard to keep straight in the wind, as you cross the bigger rivers or lakes. Other than that it's a great boat.

Purchased my fiberglass…

Submitted by: paddler233533 on 4/7/2010
Purchased my fiberglass Tripper in 1972 from Chicagoland Canoe Base. Also purchased a sailing rig which has been her primary source of propulsion. She has a proper hull design and is capable of surprising performance. Our tours of the FL keys to the Canadian Lakes speak to her versatility and adaptability. I am currently in the process of adding a Front Rowing system and expect the same excellence. When the vessel's hull is properly designed, performance is sure to follow. The tripper has withstood the challenge of poling, paddling, motoring and sailing. I eagerly anticipate her rowing career.

Lakes to class IV, our…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/1/2009
Lakes to class IV, our tripper has seen it all. I bought my Tripper used 17 years ago to take the dog out on a local lake and fish. Within a few months, trips down the local class II Haw inspired a love for whitewater that's never abated and grown to Class V kayaking.

I still love taking the Tripper down Class III and low IV, such as the Youghiogheny or French Broad's section IX. I have no idea how many times it has been down Frank Bell's rapid. We've never had a problem other than severe heart palpitations. We've even popped an ender there, which is absolutely terrifying from the stern of a 17' boat.

Probably unique in the Tripper world, our boat has foam saddles with thigh straps, footpegs, and the mandatory drink holders. With a 60" center bag, 36" bow bag and 24" stern bag, it floats high even when rolled. -- Yes, a tripper can even be rolled. A slow roll is surprising easy as long as no one is in the bow, allowing the bow to rise so that you don't have to fight the width at the center.

For whitewater, you definitely have to anticipate required moves in heavy water well in advance. It feels a bit like guiding an aircraft carrier at times, but you can still make it dance with well timed powerful strokes as long as you are not fighting heavy current. There's not much like the feeling of arcing the boat into a massive green tongue at the entrance of a large rapid and feeling the acceleration then slicing through huge holes without slowing down.

Loaded with camping gear, paddling the 2 year old around the lake, or making the bowman scream as we drop over Kayaker's Ledge, the Tripper is truly the most versatile river craft I've ever seen. If I had to select one boat, I'd give up our whitewater and sea kayaks and another canoe for the Tripper. No question. Thanks Old Town.


This is an addendum to my…

Submitted by: paddler232471 on 4/24/2008
This is an addendum to my review dated 3/3/2008, regarding the average cruising speed in the Tripper. I mentioned that our average speed, after deducting for the resistance from wind, tides and waves was about 2.3 mph. This figure may be useful for general trip planning purposes in coastal waters, but it may give a misleading impression of the average paddling speed of the Tripper under calm conditions. When there was no wind, waves or current, our average paddling speed was about 3.5 mph. Furthermore, if we were paddling downwind with an 8 to 10 mph wind and 1 foot waves behind us, we could make about 4 mph with relatively little effort. Clearly, then, the Tripper is not as slow as our average cruising speed in wind and waves would make it appear. The point to be made is that the Tripper, although excellent for carrying a heavy load and paddling in rough conditions, will be more affected by the resistance offered by wind and waves than longer and narrower boats designed for speed.

My wife and I bought the…

Submitted by: paddler232471 on 3/3/2008
My wife and I bought the Tripper in 1978. It was our first purchase as a married couple and one of the best.

We have rated it a ten because it performs so well for what it was designed to do. It is superb for carrying two or more people and heavy loads safely through rough conditions. On the other hand, it is not an ideal boat for fast day cruising on large open bodies of water, where speed, lightness and the ability to make headway against strong winds are the primary needs.

We have used the Tripper primarily for day cruising on the Maine coast and we are generally paddling with a light load. The typical conditions in summer are calm with small seas until about 1 or 2 in the afternoon, then there are usually winds up to about 15 mph and seas 1-2 feet until sundown. In the spring and fall, the winds tend to blow all day and night, although there are periods of calm.

The Tripper can handle waves of almost any size so long as they are not actually breaking and the paddlers understand proper bracing and leaning techniques. We have paddled forwards, backwards and in circles in wind driven waves and standing waves without trouble, even with the waves broadside. If broadside to a wave, just brace and lean into the wave if it looks big and steep.

We have thirty years of data that show that our average cruising speed in the Tripper is about 2.3 mph. This is the ground speed, which takes into account the average reduction in overall forward progress due to tidal currents, wave action and the wind. Someone considering the Tripper for use on open bodies of water should know that my wife and I have found that we cannot paddle the Tripper forward against headwinds once whitecaps form, which is about 12-15 mph. Remember, however, that our boat is lightly loaded and that we are not very big people or especially strong.

Some special characteristics of the Tripper are that it is comfortable, stable and dry. We have paddled it all day without getting out of the boat, since it is spacious and stable enough for napping, eating lunch and adjusting clothing when it is anchored in an area of calm water.

We don't recommend the Tripper for open water cruising unless the winds are light, because it makes much more sense to use a faster canoe for this purpose; nor do we recommend the Tripper when there is portaging to be done, since it weighs a hefty 80 pounds. For most other uses, however, it is excellent.


Great boat. I have had a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/2/2008
Great boat. I have had a royalex tripper I bought from an outfitter in the boundary waters back 20 year ago when I used to guide. Paid 150 for it. It's been everywhere. I got sick of portaging it as I got old, so I stripped the hull and laid up a kevlar hull on it- sweetness- it weighs 46 pounds outfitted!! Too delicate for whitewater though. That's why the old green royalex one is being reassembled in the shed now.

If you are an all around…

Submitted by: paddler232153 on 7/6/2007
If you are an all around canoeist, tripping, white water or knocking around on your local pond and only have the coin for one absolutely bomb proof boat, the Old Town Tripper is the boat for you. I have been paddling one for 25 years, I have owned several other boats, but I always come back to big red.

I chose the Tripper for…

Submitted by: paddler231928 on 2/9/2007
I chose the Tripper for camping, fishing, and dealing with the occasional "swift" place. Not much "white" water in MS, although one will encounter small drop-offs, swift gravel bars and many submerged logs, snags, and stumps that can require quick handling at times. This canoe really halls my camping stuff easily. It paddles easily and tracks well loaded or empty. I paddle alone most of the time (or with the Lab sitting in the front) and never have felt awkward or unstable. I'm sure other canoes are faster and more responsive in the rough stuff, but I would not trade. For what I do, (camp and river float fish), this canoe is the real deal. I even tried a 3hp Evinrude on a side mount. I had the feeling that I was flying (because I was), it actually got up and planed out. I know this was very wrong, and I can hear all the "purists" wretching in disbelief as they read this at the thought of a gasoline motor. Hey, I had to create my own whitewater. I only tell you because the canoe handled it well. Though I would not recommend this to others. If one required a motor, a small trolling motor would be more than enough and safer too. There, that's my story. The dog and I love the Tripper, and the friends that have been float fishing with me haven't been complaining either.

I purchased a new Old Town…

Submitted by: rufessor on 8/30/2006
I purchased a new Old Town Tripper 172 this spring. After using it for the last 3 months for tripping as well as recreational canoeing and fishing, it ROCKS. This canoe is by far and away the most sea worthy, versitaile, canoe I have ever been in. Although I would not describe myself as a grizzled vetran of thousands of canoe trips, I also am not a rank beginner and have spent time tripping on the ocean in Alaskas inside passage, on rivers, on lakes reservoirs etc etc. I purchased the tripper specifically as a multi purpose craft and it has meet/exceeded my lofty expectations. I read the other reviews and people mention that it is a beast, or heavy, or whatever. I am not entirely certain how many people spend 2-3K on a kevlar canoe, but for those of us willing to part with 1,000 dollars or so the tripper is the same weight as any other canoe in that price range (of similar dimension) and in my hands feels very very light on the water. I can easily put it on my truck unassisted but would need some help for extended carries. My wife and I were on a large reservoir tripping with another few boats and were the fastest boat in thr group.... by a LONG way. The tripper is NOT slow, its just not a racing canoe. It tracks very well (especially when loaded) and is a joy to paddle responding well to a measured distance pace. I average 3.5-3.8 mph at a relatively leisurly pace, this is a distance eating pace and is measured with a very expensive GPS over a 2 hr moving average on a large lake with light winds, we were fishing so we were constantly changing direction and thus with/against the wind for equal times since we finished where we started. ANyhow, STABLE, easy to paddle, tracks well, durable, and actually not that heavy.... the best of all worlds....

20 yr old oldtown royalex…

Submitted by: paddler230575 on 5/20/2004
20 yr old oldtown royalex tripper. We have gone everywhere in this canoe. While heavy as we have configured it with skidplates (85+lbs) and a beast on a 200+rod portage, it is industructable. We breached in class 2 rapids with it and it bounched back. Class 3 no problem. Drop it down a small cliff, a-ok. In flatwater, while slow it can carry more gear than any other canoe i know and still handle 3 ft white caps in a thunderstorm in the middle of the bwca. It is a beast, but one you'll tell stories about for years!

I have two Trippers, and have…

Submitted by: paddler230560 on 5/17/2004
I have two Trippers, and have had them for many years. They are tough, large volume canoes capable of carrying an enormous amount of gear. One of mine has cane seats, the other has the plastic seats. I prefer the plastic ones because they do not need periodic replacements and because the cane seats are mounted with dowels and long #10 bolts. That method of mounting is not terribly sturdy. However, Crazy Creek canoe chairs and most aftermarket seat backs can not be used on the plastic seats. Despite the length, the Trippers turn easily. Due to the depth, they can be a task in cross winds. These are not fast canoes, but they do what they are designed to do well. If you want to stand in a canoe, the Tripper is ideal. These canoes are too heavy for all but the shortest portages, and they are difficult to cartop. Few canoes will take the abuse a Tripper will take. In almost twenty years, I have only added skid plates and done the usual replacement of cane seats. Trippers are very popular canoes, but most people who own them really do not need the capacity and would be happier with the Penobscot 17 or similar canoe.

For whitewater, rocky…

Submitted by: paddler230361 on 9/17/2003
For whitewater, rocky streams, and moving water, this canoe is a tough act to follow. On flat water the oil-canning middle of the hull robs forward speed and wastes energy and the high stems tend to make the boat weather-cock so you spend as much time making it go straight as you do forward. Turns on a dime, very roomy, and stable. The seats are great. For a wilderness boat I would highly recommend it. P.S. Add the kevlar skid plates...good investment.

It took me about 2 months of…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/17/2002
It took me about 2 months of investigation to pick our first canoe. My wife and I drove several hundred miles test paddling numerous brands and models. As an engineer, I was interested in an optimum hull geometry and material for our needs. We have numerous lakes within an hours drive of our home, ranging in size from 26 acres to several thousand acres. We have little interest in whitewater above class 2. But in case we mistakenly put ourselves into some class 2 to 3 whitewater, I wanted a proven hull integrity we could count on. My wife and I are both big people, and I knew the two of us, plus a days gear, and fishing gear, would average around 535# to 575#.

We liked the Penebscot 17 ft, but wanted more initial stability plus more space for gear and leg room. the Camper 16 ft. was more stable, but too small for our needs.

We are very glad we picked the Tripper!. I'm very glad I selected the Aqua Bound Carbon fiber Edge paddles as well, after accurately determining the proper lengths for us. Very light weight , very responsive to "J" and "c" correction strokes when I'm the only one paddling while my wife takes pictures of the eagles or uses the binoculars. With just an average paddling effort, we amazing glide silently PAST fishing boats running their electric trolling motors. Still new at this, sometimes we set a faster pace just to humble some of the louder fisherman breaking the otherwise peaceful beauty of the lake we're on. it's also fun to slowly push deep into the lily pads for some excelent fishing the their electric trolling motors get fouled up on and their boats may bottom out on.

Once, so far, the winds kicked up to 20-25 mph, and we obviously did have to work a little harder, but so did all the trolling motors we PASSED. For safety, I installed the foam outrigger unit in the Cabela's catalog. The stability increase is amazing for the rather small foam floats. We keep them in a maximum up postion because we find we don't ussually rock the canoe too much, and their never in the way while paddling or fishing. The 80# Royalex rides on top of our Suburban, and really isn't too bad to lift with the pull-out helper bar on our Thule rack.

The Tripper's bow is a great combination of a traditional graceful curve plus a rather narrow edge ssimilar to the Penebscot. It tracks well due to it's 17'-2" length, and turns like the Camper which is far easier than the Penebscot. These product reviews helped me a lot, and I hope our comments return the favor. We love our Tripper as equipted because we can relax,have fun, and sneak right up on nature, with minimal effort!


I bought my Old Town Tripper…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 11/29/2001
I bought my Old Town Tripper new nearly 15 years ago for $625 and it has been one of the best purchases I have ever made. Despite hundreds of miles of paddling, the boat is in as good as shape today as the day I bought it. Bright yellow with black vinyl trim and recurved ends, the boat reminded me of a banana. So early on I obtained some giant "Chiquita Banana" stickers which still adorn both port and starboard sides of the bow. The boat's various scrapes and scratches are merely the "bruises" on my banana boat.

I have paddled my Tripper on parts of the Big South Fork of the Cumberland, Cumby below the Falls, Elkhorn, Obed, Nantahala, Hiwassee, and other area streams in the Kentucky region; mostly class II but some III and one or two IV's. For a long boat, it turns remarkably well. The boat has enough lift in the ends to catch those tight eddies. The high sides are a blessing in staying dry in large waves. However, the sharp entry line of the boat tends to knife into waves and can result in some dampness. I have found that by quartering into the waves at a slight angle I stay quite dry and as a bonus my line of sight is improved as well. With its generous volume and shallow arch hull design, the boat is very stable and remains very stable while leaning into turns. I love, repeat, LOVE the shallow arch design. In addition to maintaining stability while leaned, the shallow arch adds greatly to the rigidity of the hull virtually eliminating any "oil-canning".

I have outfitted my Tripper with solid core foam saddles that I carved with an electric carving knife. (I recently hollowed out a hole in the foam to hold my favorite beverage. Stays cold forever and never spills! It only took me 14 years to make that discovery.)

I think that the Tripper is a great whitewater boat, but where it really shines is on the overnight trips. My wife and I take everything camping. It's embarrassing really. I mean two full size coolers and a smaller one to boot, a huge tent, full size lantern and stove, 5 gal. water jug, a couple of lounge chairs, fishing equipment, food and all the tools - shovel, saw, axe etc. etc. etc..... The Tripper takes it all with ease. The boat is rated at 1100 lbs with 6" of freeboard. In my experience, I think that 1100 lbs is quite conservative. It's 18 wheels short of a semi. It will flat out haul a load.

On flat water the boat paddles easily (due to the sharp entry line) and its length makes it pretty fast. I can't say enough about it. Suffice it to say that I will never get rid of it voluntarily. I'm gonna have to die or somebody's gonna have to steal it under cover of night. God help my wife if we ever divorced and she tried to get my Tripper in the settlement.

To sum up: The 17 foot, 2 inch Old Town Tripper is a great boat for any purpose. Some people may complain about its 80 lb weight, but I rarely go places where long portages are required. If you've never paddled one, then your missing out on a great experience. Happy paddling!


I have owned a wood trim…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/9/2001
I have owned a wood trim tripper for more than 20 years. It has a a fewbattle scars for sure. I have paddled it on everything from the Upper Hudson to the Allagash. I have also owned a MR Exployer and an Old Town Wood Canvas. My tripper is one of my prized possessions. It is battle scared to be sure but it is still a thing of beauty, in my eyes anyway. It has lovely traditional lines. It looks like a canoe should look. This boat is a wonderful boat for everything except trips with numerous long carries. It is a great white water boat both tandem, and even solo. It will handle class 4 white water just fine. It responds well to the pole as well. It is the best boat one could possible own for extended trips where white water will be encountered. It is a terrific boat on lakes so long as it is loaded. The wind can be a problem on a lake crossing empty. If your primary use is flatwater tripping with lots of portages don't buy a Tripper, or any royalex hull for that matter. If you want to run any whitewater, on trips or on local rivers, get a Tripper. In my judgment the Tripper is superior to the Mad River Exployer. Old Town's are better put together. Also, the hull just seems to perform better all around, especially when paddled tandem.

I bought this boat in 1976…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 11/26/2000
I bought this boat in 1976 when the whole ABS concept was still developing from a brand new dealer who at the time was operating out of an old jail. I paid a lot more for it than I would have for a lighter hull in aluminum, but happily found right away that I'd made the right choice. After my first outing I immediately lowered both seats to provide kneeling support and that made it even more comfortable. It seems like it has all the room of an SUV, and when loaded is faster than when empty since it oilcans less and has less windage. It's good in crosswinds because of these factors, too.

In the northwest we paddle all year but usually in water too cold to swim in, and aside from wood this was the first canoe I'd seen where the cold did not penetrate the hull, similar to the heavy, sea-going cedar canoes made by the Willits brothers in Tacoma I'd paddled as a camp counselor in the San Juan Islands. This is a huge advantage, to have that kind of thermal insulation without the vulnerability and cost of wood in a hull that will only leak if you shoot it first.

I lived on a small river in those days and could canoe anytime I wished, and among other things found the boat to be a great bird-watching platform because of its high-sided (you can lay down out of sight) and quiet hull.

I made my first circuit (100 Km) of the Bowron Lake chain in it without a portaging yoke for some reason, and of course bought one the minute I got home. I cut the old thwart down to use as a second thwart about 2 feet aft of the yoke and found it had much less oil-canning and hull flexing than before. It became stiff enough that I then could add a sail, Old Town's lateen rig which steps through the bow seat and which needs reasonably stiff sides for the lee boards to work right (they mount, of course, on what becomes an additional thwart when clamped onto the gunwhale). It really goes as a sailboat, to the point that I decided to take all that crap along on my next long wilderness trip. It worked beautifully, though my partner wasn't always sure about it. But the high sides allow it to heel and really rip along on a reach.

I down-rate it one point for low bouyancy when capsized, lack of hull stiffness and heaviness compared to what's available today, although not many other boats have survived as long (25 to 30 years) during a period of such intense design development. It's very versatile and a good choice for folks who want to do a lot of different things with the same hull. The stiffness can be increased a bit with a second thwart, and one can install permanent flotation in the bow and stern, although I prefer to always wear a good PFD to float the crew and have long, floating painters to work the boat toward shore for rescue. It's a freighter, after all, and with nearly a half-ton of capacity a loaded boat in capsize is best handled on the beach.

I also have an Old Town "Hunter" in Royalex, a 14'2" hull designed more for moving than flat water, similar in concept to the Tripper and like it a delight to paddle solo or double. Royalex seems ideal for salt water applications, warm and quiet as wood, as durable (or more so) than glass or aluminum. Pity they no longer make this model, though I'd imagine they still have the mold.


I have had my Tripper for…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/12/2000
I have had my Tripper for over 10 years and without doubt this is one sturdy and major capacity canoe. My canoe has been used to transport two hunters, 100+ decoys, my lab and assorted "stuff" to the duck blinds. Stumps have not phased the hull beyond minor scratches and dings. Even in high winds and 2-3 foot waves it will maintained track and initial stability. This is a two paddle canoe that has performed well for years and I recommend it highly if you have large capacity needs.

The Tripper is perhaps the…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/11/2000
The Tripper is perhaps the most versatile boat that I have ever paddled. Its decent on flatwater, though sometimes a bit sluggish, but for anything wilderness tripping related, its unbeatable. I've been to 'the bay' in a tripper and it was by far the most stable loaded to capacity in whitewater of any other boat I've paddled. And its rocker, was great for maneauverability in whitewater as well. The Tripper also preforms decently as a playboat (dare i say!) Though not designed as a playboat, if the paddlers move closer to the center, it surfs amazingly well, and with some added flotation, I've run technical class III in it. All in all, if you wish to paddle those for north rivers, or just goof around, the Tripper is a great choice!

We have had a red tripper for…

Submitted by: paddler228836 on 8/16/2000
We have had a red tripper for about five years. It has mostly been used for family recreation. Some lakes for fishing and several trips down the Guadalupe river. It still gets many compliments, it seems very durable and I would recommend this canoe

Just bought a Tripper and…

Submitted by: paddler228332 on 10/19/1999
Just bought a Tripper and took it down class 2 rapids over the weekend. The boat handled perfectly in the whitewater with two adults and a pre-teen on board. It also tracked beautifully on the flat sections. I can't wait to do some canoe camping with it this fall. An expensive boat at just under a thousand dollars, but actually an exceptional value considering its reputation and observed performance.

Had the chance to paddle the…

Submitted by: paddler228166 on 7/7/1999
Had the chance to paddle the "famous tripper" during a tripping expedition. I owned a Mad River Explorer at the time. The tripper responded as well as my Explorer in most every aspect. For heavy water I would go with the Explorer. For class II I would take the Tripper - although not speedy it still paddles reasonably well for a white water hull. Will go down in history as a "classic" if it has not already reached that pinacle already.

Very stable, very tough, on…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/6/1999
Very stable, very tough, on rocks, and in the wind. They prefer to go down river, good rocker, lots of freeboard, lots of thick plastic. They're a bit fat, a bit flat, a bit loose in the middle and so more than a bit piggish in lakes. Boy it really hurts to carry these beasts. All said and told though, I've hauled, surfed, sailed, poled, draged, and generally beat more than my share of them and for that they hold a soft spot in my heart.

One of the great canoes of…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 3/29/1999
One of the great canoes of all time! My Tripper took me down waterways from the Chapleau-Nemegosenda to the Allagash to the Thousand Islands. I love this canoe.

I remember crossing Chamberlain Lake when the remnants of hurricane Bob hit us at mid-lake. The Tripper quartered perfectly and kept us dry despite some very BIG rollers. I feel like it saved my life.

It handled the Chase rapids well enough to allow us time to rescue a family with two brand new Malecites wrapped around rocks in midstream. Our two Trippers ferried out to the submerged and fully wrapped Malecites several times until we could rope them up and coax them off the rocks.

On a hundred mile trip up (or down) the Chapleau, the Tripper took so much abuse, I was amazed at how little evidence the Oltonar hull showed of its ordeal. Incredible and indestructible.

Oltonar/Royalex? After paddling next to 14-foot alligator with BIG teeth down in the Everglades, I prefer THICK, slippery Oltonar to thin, tooth-catching Kevlar. Same thing applies to big ole bears... I have much more confidence in thick, slippery Oltonar than thin brittle Kevlar.

Comfort? Forget cane and give me those Old Town vinyl seats any day of the week! Also, the width of the Tripper allows luxury gear that makes canoe camping so much more enjoyable than backpack or kayak camping. I still like a cooler full of steaks or lobster on ice to freeze dried Cacciatore.

Speed? We couldn't beat those Malecites AFTER we pulled them off the rocks and duct-taped them back together! So if you want speed forget the Tripper. But if you want to get to the destination in a reasonable time, in safety and comfort, this is one of the best canoes ever built.

Every canoe is a compromise. The Tripper rates a 10 for wilderness and expedition canoeing. It has the best balance of features that are important to me. I have felt this way for some 20 years and I still highly recommend this boat.

Brianne Elizabeth Corbett


Utilitarian. Not a very…

Submitted by: paddler227982 on 1/14/1999
Utilitarian. Not a very glamorous word, is it? No sex appeal. No hint of thrills, licit or otherwise. A word that lies on the page like lead -- heavy, dull, inert.

Well, maybe. Remember _The Merchant of Venice_. "All that glisters is not gold." Treasure can sometimes be found even in lead. If your circumstances are such that you have to make one boat do all things, then utilitarian isn't so bad. Consider....

Working a mountain lake for landlocked salmon, just after ice-out. You get a strike on a Grey Ghost. Your rod-tip bends almost double, and you strip line from your reel as fast as you can make your half-frozen hands work. Later, much later, when you horse your fish over to the boat to release the hook, you realize you're just about sitting on the gunwale. There's still ice in the water. The boat is still floating right side up.

A month later. A whitewater weekend. The runoff-swollen river's bank-full, and the standing waves are curling back on themselves with a noise like the jaws of Hell. You look toward the bank. You can see bits of broken boat in the trees. You look forward again, and there's a hole bigger than a bus at the base of the chute. "We're going in!" you scream.... Two heartbeats later, you're parked in an eddy only the bow-paddler saw. You sit quietly, waiting for your pulse to drop below 120.

Another two months pass. A summer picnic with two friends, a fire pan and a full cooler. You load one-third of a ton without worrying about putting the gunwales under. You find a sand beach even the jet-skis can't reach. Chilled chardonnay, baguette and brie. Grilled trout. Fresh fruit and crisp berry tart. Life doesn't get any better than this.

August. You've gone "up North." Everything you need for the next month -- just about everything you own -- is in the boat. It's late afternoon, you're tired, and you've got just one more scratchy little rapid to run. No problem. An hour later, when you've levered your pretzeled boat off a mid-river rock, hauled it into the shore eddy and stomped the bottom out into some semblance of canoe-shape again, you've learned to see the golden treasure hidden in that leaden word "utilitarian."

OK. The Old Town Tripper is utilitarian. It's heavy, unfashionably thick about the middle, and made of that most unromantic of materials -- plastic. It's also stable, capacious, quick to respond to the paddle, and as close to indestructible as anything made by human hands can be. There are prettier boats, there are lighter boats, and there are faster boats. No doubt about it. But there aren't any better boats. Period.