Old Royalex vs. Newer Polyethylene Canoe for a first time used canoe purchase

Hello, first time poster here. I am looking to buy my first (used) canoe, and am torn between a couple local options. I plan on using this canoe for lakes, easy rivers, and occasional larger bodies (NJ coastal saltwater bays) most of the time, as that is what is close by, but definitely plan on working up to Class II - III whitewater river trips.

On on hand, there are a couple newer (1995 and newer, don’t know the year on some) Old Town Discovery canoes around, both 164 and 169, that from what I understand are great boats. On the other hand, there is a 1979 Old Town Tripper made of Royalex. I haven’t been able to look at any of them yet, but from the pictures and assurances of the sellers, they all seem to be in really nice shape. All of them are in the same price range.

So my question is: All the canoes’ conditions being equal, what would be the recommendation: The almost 40-year-old Royalex Tripper, or the much newer polyethylene Discoveries?

Thanks so much for your help!


40 year old OT Trippers can be great shape if stored out of the sun… The RX used back then was very thick. Its a heavy beast so portaging it is no fun. There are still alot of them around here in Maine and in service.
The DIscos are mostly flatwater boats. Not for class 3. Polyethylene they will deform if stored upside down and supported only at the ends and exposed to the sun… That will make the middle sag . When you turn the boat over it will be hogged with a bulge upwards and will be harder to turn. If you go that route support the middle as well as the ends and store in the shade. Those boats will be heavy too.

Never trust a seller. All boats are in great shape. Go look at them.

All else being equal, I would go with the Tripper by a mile.

Thanks for the advice! I’m going to look at a Discovery 169 in about an hour, and the Tripper this evening (hopefully). I’ll keep the hogging and bulge in mind while looking at them.

The Discovery comes with Bending Branches Loon paddles, while the Tripper comes with none. About the same asking price, and with the paddles at $75 a piece the Discovery might be a better entry for my wife and I to start canoeing.

And, in reality, most of the canoeing we will do, at least at first, will be on flatwater/slightly choppy water and very tame South Jersey rivers.

I’ll decide when I see them both, and any more advice will be greatly appreciated! Thanks again!

All paddles are not alike… If a paddle does not fit you or is too heavy it is a waste of money. You really should spend your money on the best paddles that fit you and your wife and the best fitting PFD’s. Paddles that come in a package are coming cause the seller wants to get rid of them… They may not suit you at all. BB Loons are a good entry paddle IF they are the suitable length for you and also your wife .

@pblanc said:
All else being equal, I would go with the Tripper by a mile.

I concur


Poly boats are heavy beasts. RX can be too but here’s another vote for it.

Went with the Tripper! It was in way better shape and was definitely lighter. I can’t wait to try it out. Thanks for all the advice!


Good choice.

A classic!