Need advice on canoe

Hey gang, I know this subject proly get’s worn out, but I need some advice. I currently own an OT Discovery 16’9. I’m looking to buy a longer canoe. I’ve been looking at the OT Penobscot 186 or the Tripper 172. I like the length of the penobscot better, yet for some reason I like the design of the tripper better as it has the higher and more rounded bow and stern. Can anyone give me some advice as to which might suit my needs better? I’m mainly looking for a canoe that will haul my wife and me and all our gear for river trips lasting 3-5 days, and occassionaly our 5yr old son for the same length of time. The tripper 20’ is also a thought, but seems as though that length would be too much on even a slow moving river?

I’m not limited to only OT, I’m simply refering to the listed canoe’s as I don’t have much knowledge of other reputable manufacturers.

The Penobscot 186 is a fun boat to paddle. I expected it to be a bit of a slug, but it has pretty decent speed and is surprisingly maneuverable for a boat that big. I’ve only paddled it empty, so I’ll let someone else chime in on how it handles with a load.

Disco 169=Tripper172
The Disco 169 is the Tripper in Polylink 3 instead of Royalex and the boat shrinks that much when it comes out of the mold. That is what the Old Town rep told me about the Disco 169 and he said it applied to the Disco 164 and Penobscot 17.

There will very little gained except a few pounds of weight going from the 169 to a Tripper.

The longer 186 Penobscot will paddle faster, hold more, and track better. It will turn a bit slower, but on a wide slow river will not be a big obstacle to getting somewhere.

If you want a bigger boat that will haul more, go much faster, and weigh less, almost 30# less look at Wenonah’s Minnesota 3 at 20’. It is 40# less than the Tripper XL and a lot faster. It will not haul what the TripperXL can carry, but if your hauling that much stuff, its time to get a pontoon boat. It will be a lot easier to carry to and from the river, and to load.

I have the Minnesota IV and its 23’ long, weighs an honest 64# with yoke and 4 seats and flies in the water. The original Minnesota II, that all the longer and shorter derivatives come from, would not hold much more than your Disco 169 even though it is almost two feet longer. Your 169 is fuller, it gets wide faster and has a wider midsection. It would be faster than the 186 Penobscot and turn as well, but would not gain you additional cargo room.

Thats my 2 cents worth from a tripping standpoint.


You already have the right boat
I think your boat is fine for two adults and a 5 year old for a 3 to 5 day trip. I start packing less stuff if it all won’t fit in the boat. In another year I’d give the Five year old an Old Town Pack canoe. When he get tired you can tow him. When he gets really tired he can rest in the front of the big canoe while you and mom each paddle solo. Two smaller canoes make things more flexible than one big canoe. Also I don’t think two folks can enjoy paddling a canoe with more load than a Disco 169 will carry.

Take your time and have fun.

Bell Alaskan
Try a Bell Alaskan. I use mine for the exact missions you are describing. It’s a fantastic boat that does just about anything you could ask of it.

Slow moving rivers or fast moving rivers

If you are planning to paddle in slow moving rivers and you need big canoe, Wenonah Champlain might be worth of concideration. It is fast and can haul much gear. It is quite manouverable despite of its size too.

But it is so big canoe that it would not be nice to paddle it unloaded when it gets really windy.