Submitted: 03-08-2011 by trekkerforrest
I've had my Pack for 30 years and although we have other canoes in our fleet this is the one I use 90% of the time, from river and creek cruising to the Boundary Waters to exploring the coastal waters of Virginia and the Carolinas.
I bought the Old Town skirt and flotation bags and installed the snaps and tie-downs. I take it down Class II and III and have never rolled it, and take it across Burntside Lake and the other big lakes in the Boundary Waters when the wind is up and whitecaps racing, and have never had a problem. I installed the Old Town oarlocks and on big lakes or coastal waters often I'll turn and row it for greater power against the wind or waves. Occasionally we do use the Old Town sailing kit and on Burntside Lake, Pamlico Sound, Chespeake Bay or Kentucky Lake we can really fly.
As did most of you, I lowered the seat and paddle kneeling most of the time. I cemented in the kneeling pads and straps which help a lot in whitewater. I added the Old Town padded yoke, which makes portaging in the Boundary Waters a piece of cake. Without the flotation bags I can carry enough for a seven day trip with no problem. I never bought a kayaking paddle or double ended canoe paddle; I just use my Bending Branches canoe paddle with a J or C stroke. I do disagree with some who indict its stability. I can roll the Pack over to the gunwale and paddle it all the way across a lake on windless days. We have a lot of tight creeks and small rivers in our area and the Pack out manuevers a lot of supposed whitewater canoes and kayaks. Being designed for whitewater, they have obvious advantages, but the Pack is so quick I can thread around a lot of the problems they need their advantages to deal with.
I did add the folding back padded canoe seat I bought in Ely and during those long river pools or quiet lake days when I get tired of kneeling it sure makes life nice. I added the Old Town skid plates, we take care of the hull, we store the Pack out of the sun, and after 30 years the Royalex is still in great shape. It's not really even faded much, despite the annual saltwater trips.
All considered, I think this is one of the great canoes ever made, and one that gets a lot less publicity than it deserves.