Old Town Discovery 119

Looking at the Discovery 119 solo canoe as I want to replace my kayak. Want to do some flat water, river and lakes camping. Would this be a good boat? I like the weight and the price…

My first solo canoe was roughly similar
in size. At times, its small size made it fun to paddle, but it didn’t carry much camping gear, and when it was loaded with camping gear, it didn’t cover ground or keep up with other boats very well.

The Disco 119 is really kind of a toy canoe. I hope your budget lets you look at some solo canoes in the 14 to 15 foot range, such as the Wenonah Argosy or Vagabond.

Used tripping solos can go for a similar price. There is a reason canoe trippers buy a longer boat for camping. They are quicker…handy for when waves kick up and you need to get somewhere. They handle a lot more gear while maintaining safe freeboard.

They are designed for bigger water.

The Disco is a pond boat made for carrying into the backcountry over bushwhacks. Fishing. Its kind of like the canoe equivalent of rec kayak.

Weight. For a less than 12 foot boat the Disco is a hog. Pack canoes are usually much lighter but more $$ unless you can buy them used.

Now as to it being a toy. No its not. It IS possible using very accurate judgment to circumnavigate Lake Michigan in a sub twelve foot boat. I just attended a presentation where two gals in a homemade dugout canoe sailed and paddled their eleven foot craft around all of Lake Michigans shores.

So there are other options out there. The plus for little boats is that one tends to use them more as they are less of a hassle to load and walk with.

You didn’t mention location but from your moniker the Adirondacks are likely… Give a thought as to how you would portage the 119. You can’t use the seat; its too far back…

Its probably not a wise choice for Long Lake and Raquette and those sort of lakes.

Thank you for the insight… I have always been partial to Old Town canoes. I use to have a Discovery 164 and I loved it but ever since I lost more than 100 lbs I couldn’t lift it… Trying a solo Wenonah next Monday. Paddling place claims its about $900 which is still budget friendly but I might have to wait a bit longer. We live a few hours from the ADK’s and that is one of my places I love to paddle. Planning a trip next year on part of the NFCT in New Hampshire.

the disco 158 is an option. I have this canoe and solo it often. Just through a little weight up front or squat between yoke and thwart. I use a canoe cart so the weight isnt really an issue.

If you want a solo canoe…
get a solo canoe, not a small tandem. Sure, you can paddle a small tandem solo, but it won’t handle like a solo and it won’t be as much fun. Plus, one of the beauties of solo canoes is that they ARE light. No solo canoe should weigh more than 45 pounds. So why get a tandem Disco that will weigh a lot more than that?

There are better choices than a Disco 119. It’s a decent boat for small waters, and I know several guys who like them for floating and fishing. But they ARE heavy for their size, I hate the molded seat, and they are slow. You’d find the Vagabond, in whatever material you can get it in these days, is a much better canoe. I’ve got two Royalex Vagabonds, an old beat up one for skinny water and shoals to drag over, and a new one. I wouldn’t trade them for much of anything for paddling class I rivers and smaller lakes.

Had one
and sold it. Stick with a kayak if you like to paddle seated.

The “seated” aspect is arguable
I paddle while kneeling most of the time, but not everyone does. No matter what, many of the reasons a person might prefer a canoe over a kayak remain the same regardless of the paddling position.

Old Town Discovery 119
Hi guys, thank you for all your input. I’m excited to say I just scored a mint condition Old Town Pack for $350.00. Been thinking hard and I am going to keep the kayak and next year invest in either a proper solo canoe or and Old Town canoe for my sons and I to trip with. Either way I think it’s safe to say one cannot have too many boats. They all serve a purpose. Anyone have a OT Pack?

$350 is a great price for the OT Pack. I tried one a while back, and it was so tippy I couldn’t wait to get off of it.

It’s tippy…
because the seat is placed too far back. The 119 seat is placed a little farther forward, near the widest part of the canoe, and even though the hull shape is very similar between the two, the 119 feels more stable as is. I owned a Pack long enough to wear out the bottom, install skid plates, and wear through the skid plates (doing a LOT of bony creeks). Like you, when I first got it I thought it was pretty tippy feeling, but I moved the seat forward to where the front edge of the seat was just about at the center of the canoe, and it made all the difference in the world. It became a very initially stable canoe, and even tracked better.

And I think the whole kneeling thing is a bit overrated and maybe even snobbish. Depends a lot on what you want to do with the canoe, but I’ve never felt the need nor the wish to do much kneeling, except in a few instances when I was going through whitewater with good sized irregular wave trains and really needed to lower my center of gravity. And for me, sitting in a canoe, with the higher seat position more like sitting on a chair, is far more comfortable than sitting in the average kayak with your legs out in front like you’re sitting on the floor. My back can’t take that for long, nor can my knees take kneeling for long.

My final review on the Pack, with the seat moved forward, is that it’s a slow canoe and doesn’t do all that well on flatwater, but is great for small rivers and creeks. And you can make it do better tracking on flatwater by using a double bladed paddle. All in all, it was far from the best solo canoe I’ve ever owned, but it was fun and the light weight alone makes it a much better choice than the 119.

Discovery 119
Thank you for the insight. Would have never thought of moving seat forward. Interesting….

If you move the seat so the front

– Last Updated: Jun-11-14 8:22 AM EST –

edge is at center of the boat you have committed to using either sweep strokes or a long double blade. If you are heavy you will make the bow heavy and the boat less controllable as the front gets pitched down.

Kneeling is not a snob thing nor over rated. If the OP is paddling some ADK lakes which are big, the waves are big and choppy and your seat is high you really have to. Part of the "tippy" feeling mentioned is not the boat at all..Heck its a barge.. Its that sitting high is inherently unstable. The Pack has IMO a seat that is a compromise. Its not low enough for pure sitters but does not allow for kneeling.

If the OP feels sitting high is unstable then perhaps a Hornbeck pack canoe is in order. Its a double blade creature. Its a whole lot better performing too and half the weight or more.

Moving the seat forward may make you feel more stable but its going to compromise handling.

So the solution to "tippy" is to not hold you body stiffly, but do keep your torso upright and keep your head inside the gunwales.

And lower the seat. Don't move that one forward. You will be double blading but with a shorter paddle. Over the miles you will appreciate that.

River paddlers in other parts of the country can float. I have never heard of an ADK paddler referring to any sort of float trip.

I keep hearing anectdotal stuff from paddlers all over the US..I think where you are paddling is an important determination of what you are paddling.

Look at Adirondack boats if you want to paddle the ADKS.. Environment does inflence design.

The OT Pack was designed for small Maine ponds and fishing and hunting and dragging.

Good point on the ADK…
I can see kneeling as being desirable or necessary in big lake wave action.

However, having spent a LOT of time in the Pack as I said, I can say that moving the seat forward did not compromise handling, nor did it require using a long double blade or making sweep strokes. it ain’t THAT wide a canoe even in the center. The forward seat position actually made the canoe track better without much real effect on maneuverability. It was still a very responsive, maneuverable canoe. I’m not a heavy person, but I found no indication that moving the seat forward made the boat bow heavy, either. After all, if you ARE sitting instead of kneeling, your weight is still centered just aft of center. If kneeling, however, it would put your weight too far forward, which is another good point you had.

All in all, based on years and many miles of experience in the Pack, I found that for my purposes, sitting and not kneeling, paddling smaller lakes and class I-II rivers, moving the seat forward vastly improved the stability and handling of the Pack. I now realize that in the Adirondacks that might not be so, but only because you might be required to kneel a lot more than I ever did.

I still say they’re both toys, the D119
and the Pack.

There’s no standard for “toy”, but very small with low capacity and limited ability to really DO anything can be considered a toy.

Old Town Discovery 119
Trust me when I say I’m confused about a canoe. I’m picking up the OT Pack on Monday and definitely plan to play. However I have drooled for years over the Penobscott 17 and I think I will invest in one come Spring. From what I understand OT has stockpiled enough royalex to make it through 2015.

I love all the input, suggestions and ideas you have thrown at me and I really appreciate it.


You’ll like the Penobscot.
I’ve owned three Penobscot 16s, and have paddled the 17s. One of the best Royalex tandems ever made, in my opinion.