Good buy?

We recently bought a house in southeast Texas on a bayou. I’m thinking about getting a canoe for me and my young son to paddle around in front of the house. A guy is selling a 17’ Old Town Tripper in my area. He doens’t know the year, estimates late 70s/early 80s. He wants $300. That seems pricey for a 30-year old boat considering our needs and that you can buy a new one (Pelican) at Wal-Mart for 350. As I am brand new to this world, can anyone tell me if that is a good deal? I appreciate any input.


I sold our 1978 Tripper in 1998 for $350
and it was a bargain at that price. In your case, you have to decide whether 30 year old Royalex might be too brittle for your purposes. (It would be if you were going to give the boat hard use in whitewater,)

The Tripper hull design is slowish but dry on lakes, and nicely maneuverable and dry on rivers. It is a heavy boat, about 80 pounds. Until you get old like me, and reluctant to heft and load heavy boats, you might be very happy with a Tripper.

As for buying a Pelican or other cheap canoe for $300, I often see Pelicans wrapped around trees and rocks on Georgia rivers. I’ve never seen a Tripper wrapped, although it must have happened sometime, somewhere.

Just remember
you get what you pay for.

Yes, the Tripper may be 30 years old but for 300 bucks, its a steal. If you’re considering a Pelican canoe, I doubt that your paddling will include remote canadian rivers or Class II+ whitewater.

However, if you’re looking for a boat that is historically considered one of the best expedition canoes for the normal tripping/paddling that do, I’d buy that boat in a heartbeat.

HUGE difference between the old town and the Pelican.

I would gladly pay the money for the Old Town over a new Pelican any day.

Only you can decide whether …
… $300 for a used canoe that’s old but a decent design is a better deal than $350 for a new Pelican. Pelicans, like the Colemans which preceded them, are made of the cheapest materials possible and, unless something has really changed, have a hull shape which was designed with only one goal in mind - to allow 100s of them to be stacked like soup bowls during warehousing and transport. For some people, that’s good enough.

Trippers is a classic canoe used
in many serious expeditions. Read Cliff Jacobson’s “Expedition Canoeing” to read Tripper reviews. The Disco 169 is a Tripper in a different layup. Don’t know about the price though but would much rather have a Tripper than a poorly designed, cheap canoe. Good luck on your canoe quest.