All Around Canoe on a College Budget?

A little background to help with this canoe search:
I wouldn’t called myself a seasoned paddler but I have some trips under my belt. Did parts of the buffalo in Arkansas on two separate occasions and have covered a good majority of the buffalo in Tennessee on four different trips throughout my childhood. I’ve also done some whitewater rafting on the Ocoee here in Tennessee in high school.

Recently I picked up a Dagger Juice 7.1 and a Perception Proline Arc off a friend of mine that was getting out of kayaking due to little space after getting married. I quickly learned a lot about what I should have been looking for in a boat for myself along with the fact that I’m better off in a canoe. I picked them up to do some river trips on the buffalo here in Tennessee with my girlfriend (or any friend that was up to it if she couldn’t go) along with the Red River, Cumberland, and a few other local rivers. Quickly I realized I had no idea what I had just purchase and on a seven mile night run down a very slow moving river, I quickly realized the nightmare I had gotten into and have since made the decision to sell them (still in the process of doing so).

I did this for two reasons:

  1. The way they handle in slow moving water was less than ideal, especially for my girlfriend who hadn’t kayaked before and quite honestly prefers a canoe.
  2. I’m a heavy built guy at 6’4 230lbs. I sank the perception and fitting in the Dagger was more of entertainment for everyone else around me.

After scouring this forum for the past couple of days, it has been both a wealth of knowledge yet an information overload which brings me here. I’m on a fairly restricted budget as the money from the kayaks will go to fund this purchase and I’m also a college student so outdoor equipment sadly comes second to school.

This canoe will be used for tandem day/weekend trips down mild flowing/winding rivers that are shallow and sometimes a little rocky. Most distances will be around 10 miles as nothing but fun leisure trips. The most we will be carrying will be a cooler, backpacks, fishing rods, and a tent for those weekend trips but for day trips it will just be a cooler and some fishing rods. We will also take it out on the Cumberland river here and there and a lake every now and then. Basically, we need an all around canoe.

I preface this by saying that I understand cheap and budget don’t always translate to getting the “best” but I’m a firm believe in stretching my dollar as much as possible. With that said, what will be the best bang for the buck for a canoe to fit my needs? I don’t mind an Aluminum canoe after reading many of the pros and cons BUT I have seen plenty of recommendations towards the Old Town Discovery line (along with their other lines) along with other plastic hull boats so I want to explore those options too. Also, given that I’ll be playing around in the used market for this, what should I be looking for, looking our for, etc?

I recently found a Discovery 158 for $450 obo that caught my eye but I thought I would post here first to see what options others would have.

Thank you all in advance for your help!

It sounds like a Royalex boat might be best since you would never have to worry about rocks…or look for a composite boat in a tough lay-up. Composite boats are typically noticeably more efficient than Royalex on slower sections. Fortunately the toughest boats are often least expensive with the only downside being weight…and you are big and young so you could manage a heavier boat. One challenge you may have is trim…getting the boat level in the water…since you weigh a bunch more than your main passenger. Bigger boats will usually be less sensitive to this. Overall it sounds like you should test paddle with your girlfriend and I think you will quickly decide whether you like the boat. The disco 158 is a fine choice if you paddle it and like it. Something like a Wenonah Spirit 2 in Royalex or Tuffweave seems ideal for you.

Than you for the response. From what I have found, the Royalex boats tend to just be a touch out of my price range while the composite boats tend to be right around what I’m looking to spend. We have paddled before I believe in an Old Town rental and seemed to do just fine. Wish I had known the model we were in to help narrow my search now…

What length of boat should I be looking at as well? I keep seeing the recommendation to go towards an OT Discovery 169 if it’s within your price range so would this be sound advice for me as well to go to a longer length or should a 158 or other canoes of comparable size be more up my alley?

Also, I’m by no means against a Old Town Saranac 146 or the guide series, I’ve just always been pointed in the direction of the discovery line so that’s why I ask. I looked into the Spirit 2 as mentioned above and found one a little out of my price range (not looking to spend more the $600 if possible unless it includes jackets and paddles).

I’ve got 8 canoes and have paddled a lot of boats but I have no personal experience in Old Towns other than a Penobscot 16. All the boats you are considering seem suitable…they are all friendly and broadly capable boats that can handle a big load. If your normal load is well over 500 pounds (like 550-600 or more) then the 169 is best. The length to width ratio gives you some sense of efficiency…and the waterline width alone is a good rough indicator. As waterline width narrows boats are more efficient and even an inch is significant. I’d avoid short/fat boats (146) given your size. I looked at boats on Craigslist in Tennessee out of curiosity and it sure looks like Royalex boats are expensive in your area, so you may need a road trip to find a boat that fits your needs. I’m in SW Michigan and I think there are lots more used boats that fit your needs around here (let’s say from Madison to Ann Arbor). In my experience weight is important since you never want to hesitate to use your boat due to it being a pain to load it on your car…and the 169 is listed at 91 pounds on Old Town site. That is a heavy boat!

Think about this: We harvest trees, mill them laboriously into veneers and straight sticks of wood, and then stick them back together into a canoe shape. Why don’t we just start with the tree and go straight to a boat? That’s the…

From what I recall of a college budget. Dollars and location come before specific models…

Homemade :slight_smile:

Does anybody information on this product? where i can get it cheaper?

I have just received two excellent separate reviews on this product. Should be good?

Find yourself a Disco 174 or aluminum canoe. In the Midwest you should be able to find one for $300-400. If you have can redemption in your state the cost would be 300 to 400 plastic grocery bags full of beer cans.