Next Canoe Advice

Short of it, I have a Discovery 164 I bought in 1995. Used it often but then life (kids!! work!) were a little too demanding. Didn’t get to use it often. My kids are now 9, 13, 15 and along with a medium and a large dog I am looking for a second canoe to take on family trips. Trip length 3-10 days in primitive camping areas like Allagash in ME.

I have been very happy with Old Town and would gladly take another. But it has been an extensive time since I bought a canoe so I figured best to ask. I have looked on Craigslist but I see prices are sky high for used. For example, I checked out a Guide that was shorter than I wanted but 900lb carry capacity I figured I’d check it out. Seller wanted $680 for a 1k new and I said $550 and I’ll take it but I cant see more than that. Good luck and we parted.

With my past experience, which is limited, I was thinking new Discovery but 169 instead of 164.

What are your thoughts? Future use is largely the northeast, mainly lakes for day trips and primitive camping trips with dogs. I do want to get out to the Boundary Waters for a few trips and I hope some other great destinations so I do not want to limite myself. Whitewater will NOT be by design! Not the intention of this floater :slight_smile: I’ll go kayak and no gear for that kinda fun!


Go big. Whatever is close, decent quality, decent price.

Yes, prices seem to be high these days. The $680 probably wasn’t unreasonable for now. Certainly not as nuts as the $1,100 being asked for what looks like a “properly” used Old Town Appalachian in the classifieds here. There is a Disco 169 listed at $750 but I’m guessing it’s well south of you to make it worthwhile.

When you go the Boundary Waters, seriously consider renting Kevlar or Carbon canoes. Much friendlier on the portages.

I have rented a 169 for use on a technical river. They are kind of a baby Tripper, good in moving water but really heavy. For the BWCA, rent a kevlar boat. Lot of portaging to contend with,

I highly recommend searching high and low for an Old Town Canadienne. 17ft 2in., fiberglass, and fantastically designed by Ralph Frese. I have two (found one on the classifieds, here), and absolutely love them. With sharp lines, they track beautifully, empty or fully loaded, and are wonderfully stable with a tripping load. I’ve used them in Boundary Waters, and on extended trips on the Wisconsin River. Simply the finest in quality and design.

Here are how some others feel about them: Canadienne Reviews - Old Town Canoe and Kayak |… |

***Ralph told me that the Penobscot was molded in Royalex after the Canadienne. As much as I love my Penobscots for river running and camping fun, rotomolded canoes cannot match the tracking and seaworthiness of fiberglass or Kevlar. Good luck, and happy hunting…this is worth the effort!

You may have better luck looking on OfferUp or the Facebook Marketplace. Good luck on your hunt!

Thanks for all the good advice.

Old Town Discovery 169 are great boats, very seaworthy and tough, I would bring one anywhere. They are not the same as a 164, and will preform differently. They are slightly scalled down OT Tripper which was an absolute work horse in wild places, and I trust them more than any other canoe. That being said Trippers/Disco 169’s are more oriented to maneuverability, white water, and waves. They aren’t great for easy tracking. An OT Penobscot 174 might be a better option. They will have a little more space for gear and dogs, and track straighter. Both of these boats are heavy though. Wenonah makes some big canoes, like the Minnesota 3&4. These would be a good option for carrying more than two people. I’ve put about two thousand miles on an MN 3 and they are great for covering distance, but have the sea keeping ability of a rock. Waves are a no-go in them, and most likely any other canoe that has ansimilar hull shape. The MN 2 is a popular BWCA boat, but I suspect that they have the similar seaworthyness, again not being a boat for any kind of waves. These are really light weight kevlar boats as well.

It sounds like you are getting a little older and would probably benefit from a light boat if you are going to portage, especially if you would be carrying both boats yourself. Carrying an 85lb+ Old Town or other plastic canoe is only worth it if you need their toughness.

Nova Craft would be the first place I would look for a tough seaworthy light weight boat. They are expensive though. They also make there Prospector series in plastic, which is less expensive but heavy. These are similar to OT Trippers in usability. Wenonah makes great light weight boats. Esquif, Northstar, and Mad River also make good canoes. There are other out there though.

If cost is an issue you are probably stuck with plastic/polyethylene/ or similar heavy materials. If you can afford a composit boat I would look for one other those though.

With all the great advice I am rethinking the weight factor. Maybe I should reverse my thought process and ask for a recommended light weight canoe tripper that is primarily for me and 2 dogs and can be used tandem a few times a year for short 2-5 day trips with my kids or others.

Budget? You have some great options between $2k and 3k. You could be under 40 lbs

I’m a ok with 3k. Nova Prospector 17ft is what I am currently checking into. I’m ok with waiting and would end up renting for this season as I doubt most manufacturers are able to keep their products in inventory. Rather wait and get what i want for the next 20 years than rush and be dissapointed.

17 is a big boat. I’d seriously consider a little smaller.

Good point Mike.

At that size, you are talking 1000 pound weight ratings. With just you and two dogs, it will be very underloaded and sitting pretty high, taking a lot of wind

Do not believe the cargo capacities touted by Old Town.
The boats you are discussing are not very fast and really heavy. There are better boats out there. Check the used market. The 169 is the best hull shape for rivers.