It was back in 2012 that I spied an Old Town Pack canoe sitting on top of a shed in someones’ backyard as we would pass by it every day at work. Fast forward to 2013 and it had not moved in a year so I stopped and knocked on the door. After chatting with the gentleman for a little he sold me the canoe and that started my love affair with light weight solo canoes.
I loved this boat at 12 feet long and only weighing 33 pounds it was easily handled on and off the water. However my curiosity into lighter, quicker canoes was starting to peak. In 2015 I test paddled several brands of ultra light weight carbon/kevlar pack canoes made by Hornbeck, Adirondack Canoe Company, Slipstream Watercraft and Swift. I eventually purchased a Hornbeck “New Tricks” 12. This boat was 12 feet long, very narrow and only weighed 18 pounds and was extremely quick on the water, I was in love. Once I took delivery of this new boat I thought to myself I’ll never use the Old Town again so I sold it. I have regretted that decision ever since.
I currently own 5 canoes and back in mid November a Craigslist add popped up for an Old Town Pack canoe for sale, as luck would have it literally 10 minutes from my home. Now in today’s market this canoe is hot since Old Town stopped making it several years ago. It is affordable, light weight and pretty much bullet proof. It is made from a material called Royalex which isn’t produced anymore as well. If you didn’t jump on this it would be gone in an instant. I emailed the seller and picked it up the next day.
The weather and my schedule did not permit me a chance to get it out on the water until recently. I ventured out on a foggy but warm December 31st here in the Southern Tier of New York for a little while. The lake I went to was half covered with a thin sheet of ice but the rest was open. I spent an hour just enjoying the new boat and the calm and I was literally in shock that it was so warm this late in the year.
Below you’ll find several images of my Old Town canoe and a recent video from my outing on New Years Eve. I wish you all a Happy & Healthy New Year.
September 9th 2021: Just coming off an overnight canoe camping trip to a lean-to in the St. Regis Canoe Area of New York’s Adirondack mountains (https://youtu.be/JeK0CwD7YKA) it was “New Canoe Day” for me. Earlier in the year I had ordered a Northstar Canoes “Northwind Solo” in the starlite layup. It was delivered to Raquette River Outfitters in Tupper Lake, NY in late August.
After picking up my canoe almost immediately I hit a small pond outside of Lake Placid, NY to get some time in my Northstar “Northwind Solo”. Later the same day I took it on a small section of the Chubb River also in Lake Placid where I tried to paddle over a beaver dam, I was successful! The next day I would spend some time paddling the canoe on the same pond but this time loaded with about 60#’s of gear. To date I have yet to take it on an extended trip. Although I am currently thinking I’ll be bringing it with me on my trip to Algonquin Park next summer.
My thoughts: The canoe is a dream to paddle, I love it. The tumblehome is great, it tracks amazingly, the glide is phenomenal, I just love how it handles and how it feels. The boats construction is solid and rigid. This canoe in my personal opinion is pretty much a do it all canoe, one of the best solo canoes I’ve paddled.
Why I opted for the starlite layup:#1. Cost #2. Ease of maintenance #3. Weight
My only complaint: The “Plastic” decks or end caps, they look cheap.
Northstar Northwind Solo specs: 15’6” Length 30” Max width, 26.5” at the 3” waterline and gunwale 17” Bow Height, 12” center height, 15” stern height 2.5” bow rocker, 1.5” stern rocker Weight: 27 Starlite / 29 Blacklite / 41 IXP Optimal Load: 170–340 lbs Displacement: 2” WL : 175 lbs 3” WL : 265 lbs 4” WL : 370 lbs
In October 2020 my wife and I along with some family and friends were in Lake Placid, NY for a long weekend enjoying some beautiful mid October weather. In October of this year 2021 I was in Lake Placid with a friend spending time canoeing and just taking in the amazing weather and fall color we were treated to.
Below are two images of the same location taken 361 days apart. I’m fascinated by the difference a year makes!