Anybody used an Old Town Pathfinder?

Discussion in 'Paddling' started by ALwoodsman, Feb 27, 2018.

  1. ALwoodsman

    ALwoodsman Tracker

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    I ran across a used Old Town Pathfinder canoe that I'm considering. It's made from Royalex and much lighter than my current one. Any feedback?
     
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  2. SLaRoy

    SLaRoy Supporter Supporter

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    I have not paddled a pathfinder, but have paddled a royalex old town Penobscot extensively. I love the royalex for its resilience and use that canoe for any river paddling. The pathfinder is a shorter canoe with a wide beam. It will not be a fast canoe but it should be plenty stable.

    What will you be using this canoe for?
     
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  3. FreeMe

    FreeMe Guide

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    I haven't paddled one either. A friend of mine has one and loves it. 36" max beam isn't all that wide for a tandem, but 14'10" is on the short side. Capacity will be on the small side, but OTOH, it should be a pretty maneuverable boat. Cruising speed will be less than a longer canoe, but it will take less effort to get it up to its comfortable speed. I had a 14' by 38" tandem for a while, and it was a decent tandem for me and the wife (~165 lbs and 125 lbs) with a day-tripping load. Also pretty easy to paddle solo - although it didn't track as well as my longer and narrower solo (14' 7" by 28").

    The Pathfinder apparently is a shorter version of the 16' Camper. Flat-bottomed and fairly deep, it will tend to get pushed around by the wind. Should be an easy boat to get used to though if you're new to canoeing.

    BTW - the Penobscot that SLaRoy mentions is (was) Old Town's best royalex tandem, IMO. Fast and light - but somewhat lacking in that confidence inspiring primary stability which the Pathfinder and Camper both have. Its secondary stability is very good though, which cannot be said of the Camper.
     
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  4. ALwoodsman

    ALwoodsman Tracker

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    I will be using it for fishing and camping. Mostly on the creeks that we have around here which require some maneuvering but no white water. I have had a OT Guide 147 for close to 20 years and it is very close to the size of the Pathfinder. The guide has worked out well for everything that I need it for, I am wanting something lighter.
     
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  5. NJStricker

    NJStricker Supporter Supporter

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    I used a Pathfinder that size back in the 1990's up in Illinois for doing marshbird surveys. We often had to stand for those, so the wide, flat bottom made for a stable platform, especially when you pushed the front half of the canoe into the cattails. The shorter length will make it a little more maneuverable, so it should work well for fishing on slow water.

    We also used Mohawk canoes on that job. Lighter than OT for the same size, but the cross section was more rounded and so not quite as stable. They were terrific solo canoes, fast and maneuverable.

    I currently have a Penobscot that I bought used. Original owner had it outfitted for whitewater, and it has some wrinkles from where he wrapped it around a boulder and got pinned by the water. It still tracks well. The Royalex is tough stuff.
     
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  6. ALwoodsman

    ALwoodsman Tracker

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    I was wanting a Mohawk but they are no longer making canoes due to Royalex being discontinued.
     
  7. FreeMe

    FreeMe Guide

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    Sounds like you should get that Pathfinder if the price is good. My experience in the Camper showed that the flat bottom was an advantage in shallow streams, due to its minimal draft. It also was quite maneuverable for a 16' canoe with little or no rocker. Rough water is where the flat bottom is a significant disadvantage. I think you will find that it compares well with the Guide, but is much easier to lift and carry. If the price is right, you can't go far wrong. They aren't making royalex canoes anymore, and the makers with comparable replacements are few and more expensive than RX was. If you don't like it, you should be able to recover your money without much trouble. Just make sure there aren't any brittle spots in the hull. There should be no crunchy or crackly sounds when you push on it anywhere. Check the bottom well, as that is where most of the stress will be. Even if you do see evidence of the foam layer getting brittle, it's still probably usable - just indicates a bottom-dollar price.
     
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  8. ALwoodsman

    ALwoodsman Tracker

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    Thanks for the input. It may not be the best price at $850 but it is rare to run across any decent used canoes in this area and I have always wanted a Royalex canoe. Now anything else that compares in weight is 2 grand and up.
     
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  9. Bobsdock

    Bobsdock So long, and thanks for all the fish Supporter

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    The old town pathfinder is a great boat if I could afford it I would buy it.
    Enjoy brother.
     
  10. FreeMe

    FreeMe Guide

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    That is on the high end for RX. I hope it is in excellent condition. If so, it is not unreasonable in today's market.
     
  11. ALwoodsman

    ALwoodsman Tracker

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    Yeah, it's got a few dings on the bow but other than that it looks like it's in great shape. The thing is around here it is hard to find any top end canoes for sale. Most people by the cheap ones from Dick's and decide to sell them the next year.
     
  12. FreeMe

    FreeMe Guide

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    Same thing was going on here, so I understand. I have waited for years to buy a particular used canoe (or anything like it). Overpaid for a desirable boat (a beat up Penobscot) early on, but then was able to bide my time for others and hold out for good prices while paddling that one. Once you have something you can use, it's a lot easier to be picky.
     
  13. ALwoodsman

    ALwoodsman Tracker

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    Well, I took it out for the first time this weekend. First time out I went solo with nothing but a rod and tackle box. It paddled and maneuvered easy but without any weight in the front tracking was terrible. Even with me sitting on the front seat with the canoe backwards. It worked out a lot better with my wife in the front. I have a solo canoe so I think this one will work out great for what I need. I love the lighter material.
     
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  14. werewolf won

    werewolf won TANSTAAFL Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I have it’s slightly shorter stable mate the Hunter. My Hunter is from 1983 and is still going strong today. I put Old Town’s Kevlar skid plate kit on the bow and that has worked out very well too.

    I did take the seats out of it and pulled the sides in around five inches to give the boat a rounded bottom and a lot of tumblehome in the sides. Outfitted now with a single seat and thwart it is one of my favorite solo canoes. As long as the one you are looking at was stored properly: out of the sun, upside down, it should give you lots of service and pleasure.
     
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  15. VanGo

    VanGo poi'-ā-mä Supporter

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    Just picked up a pathfinder and curious to hear more about some of these mods you mentioned. J
     
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  16. werewolf won

    werewolf won TANSTAAFL Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Let me know how I can help.
     
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  17. VanGo

    VanGo poi'-ā-mä Supporter

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    To start doing some research on the Kevlar skids- these are sold out on the old town site...
     
  18. Luchtaine

    Luchtaine MOA #22 Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    I picked up a pathfinder this spring as well. Using it for a trip ‘‘this weekend paddled tandem. @werewolf won you mentioned that pulling in the sides of your hunter by 5” rounded the bottom more. I never would have thought to try this. The royalex seems flexible and readily oil cans so I can see it possibly working. A mod like that would vastly improve the canoes solo paddling ability.
     
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  19. VanGo

    VanGo poi'-ā-mä Supporter

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    Can a 2 part epoxy work on RX?
     
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  20. Luchtaine

    Luchtaine MOA #22 Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    From what I have read G-Flex from west marine is the preferred adhesive for RX
     
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  21. VanGo

    VanGo poi'-ā-mä Supporter

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    I was reading where could mask off the bow/stern area for the skids and apply an epoxy to act as a skid- why not??
     
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  22. Luchtaine

    Luchtaine MOA #22 Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Anything helps. Kevlar or fiberglass cloth with the g-flex just gives it an added wear surface. The kit they sell seems bulky and unless you use the Kevlar would add weight. I think if it was scaled back some it would be just as effective without the bulk.
     
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  23. VanGo

    VanGo poi'-ā-mä Supporter

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  24. FreeMe

    FreeMe Guide

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    Epoxy, by itself, isn't very strong - but it is resistant to abrasion. If you only need to cover a small and shallow scuff (say, a couple inches), you can get by for a while with just that.

    I advise against the kevlar felt kits. Epoxy (G-flex is best) with glass cloth is plenty strong and abrasion resistant, and adds little weight or bulk.
     
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