Advice on buying a canoe

I am a newcomer and I am determined to buy a canoe. My choice is limited to price and brand. I live in Portugal and after doing a bit of research I got to the conclusion that the only easily accessible brand here is Old Town Canoe. I am planning to use the boat in dams/reservoirs and calm water rivers.

Right now my choice is narrowed to two boats. Old Town Discovery 158 and Old Town Guide 147 which have an identical price tag. I still have a few doubts which I would appreciate any help. Unfortunately trying the boats first is not an option.

  1. Both canoes are tandem boats, but I will be using the boat solo many times. Will it handle identically as with two persons?

  2. The Discovery 158 boat is slightly lengthier (1’ or 20 cm) and higher (bow height) (3") that the Guide 147. Will this influence the boat’s speed? and its resistance to wind significantly?

  3. Both boats are Moderately rochered. The Discovery 158 boat has a shallow arch bottom and straight sides, whereas the Guide 147 has a flat bottom and straight sides as well. I am inclined to think that the Discovery 158 is more stable than the Guide 147. Am I correct? (In big dams/reservoirs I can expect waves from passing motor boats and sometimes a bit of wind too.

    Thanks in advance for any help.

    Warmest regards, from Portugal,


The 158 may be OK. The 147, as I recall
is too wide for its length. If you could afford it, I would recommend getting an Old Town Penobscot 16’ in Royalex, as it will be better for solo and tandem.

Discovery 158
This boat is essentially the 16’ Camper in plastic. It is used by many liveries and summer camps. It is a better all around canoe than the 147 Guide. The 147 is so wide in the center that it is harder to solo; not impossible, but not pleasant. You will be much happier for your usage in the 158.


Luis, have you checked this GB site?

They’re closer to you and facing the same sort of import issues.

We have had a Discovery for 20

– Last Updated: Jul-25-10 6:25 AM EST –

years, and it is a do all boat, and very reliable.
The only thing I have against it is, it is very heavy.
If the Discovery you are looking at has tractor style seats, you can do what I used to do when I paddled it solo, and just put some weight in the bow.
If it has cross cain seats, you can just paddle it from the bow seat, (as if the stern was the bow)

jack L