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Name: Elkhunt

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This is an update. I posted a 3 day trip I took down the Willamette (Harrisburg to Salem 100m) and the Pack worked fantastically, both in handling and gear capacity. Stable and handled the rare "whitewater" with ease. Last week I took it from the "headwater" of the Willamette to Eugene, about 15 miles, with much more current and white water. Again it worked great and kept me on top during the 4 hour trip. Great boat with, but must have a kayak paddle.

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

My son and I took my kayaks fishing in a Cascade lake last a couple weeks ago, and after two days in my Hurricane Tampico 140L I reached the conclusion it's not made for fishing. Too cramped, no gear or rod holders and lots of lower back pain. I have used a 16' Grumman for 30 years, but it's just too big to haul by myself and too hard to get into some of the water we boat. So I came back home open to other options, and started surfing Craigslist only to find a like new OT Pack.

Frankly I'd not heard of this boat and came to this site only to learn it's beloved by most of you (thanks for the advice). So I zipped across town made an offer ($500) and bought the little Pack, that still wore factory stickers and the clear plastic on the emblem! I live on water, so I came home and took it for a test drive. I loved it immediately, my old Werner Skagit 240 moved it along at a smooth clip and it tracks fairly well, with only a little bow wiggle on power strokes but nothing annoying. I tried my favorite canoe paddle... that was frustrating, in my opinion it's not designed for a single.

I chose the Pack for all the reasons you've already read, with it's light weight leading the list. I did not find the seat too high, but I ordered a sitbacker so I did lower it about 3" and that worked great. My paddle was throwing a little too much water on board, so I picked up a Bending Branches Slice 280, the boat now stays nice and dry and no shaft knock on the gunwales even at a fairly relaxed angle.

I like to tinker, so I drew up a plan for a new front thwart/foot brace/rod holder/tackle shelf/bungee deck. I dropped $10 on Ash and went to work. The new thwart came out great and only added 5#. I can now lock my feet in and it has firmed my paddle stroke up nicely. See picture 1, picture 2 on Photobucket

The little craft is far more maneuverable than any of my Kayaks, it turns on it's axis and is responsive without being unstable. I will add an anchor trolley and then take it to a new steelhead hole my son found on the MacKenzie (I can carry it upstream of the hole and drift in). Living in Oregon, with lots of great options, I needed a boat I could manhandle by myself and a seating position that did not aggravate my lower back, I have found that boat. Besides fishing, I am sure I will camp out of it, backpacking gear will be an easy load with lots of room to spare. I don't see the Pack or my old Grumman ever leaving my fleet.