Please Help Me With My First Canoe Buy

-- Last Updated: Jul-27-14 3:42 AM EST --

Hello I am still new to canoeing. I used to canoe in a red coleman i used to own but got rid of because it was junk. That was many many years ago.
I am trying to get back into canoeing now that i am married and have a family. I want to take my son fishing and on lake paddles.
I have been looking all over on CL for months and finally found 3 that i can chose from and need some advise.

The first one is a Old Town 13' Discovery Sport canoe in good condition and only needs a few rivet put back in on the front. He wanted 400 but I talked him down to 350.

The second one is a Mid 1970's Old Town 17'2'' Tripper (not positive of the model?) Canoe They wanted 450 but are thinking on my offer of 350. The Serial Number is 210585, and His ad says
"Experienced canoe that has seen many lakes and rivers in Oregon. Has not been used in several years but in good shape. Has a 37'' beam and can carry a lot of weight. Has been in the family since new.

This is a Oltanar construction canoe - Royalex tri-laminate. A bit heavy but very tough.

Also comes with 3 wooden paddles made by Sawyer Woodworking Custom Paddles in Rogue River, OR."

The third is a Esquif Mistral 17.5 Canoe. I cant find much on them either. He is willing to take 200 for it but warned me that it has been told it becoming delamination but he doesn't know what that means he is new to boats. Is that something that's a major issue or can it easily be fixed??

I like the 13' because of length and because it has a square back and look harder to take on water and would probably better to fish out of. However it does weigh a ton like 93 pounds i believe. It is an older model they do not make the 13' anymore and i cannot find much info on them. What i could find people seemed to enjoy them, but they all comment on how it feels more like a boat rather than a canoe. Are front rivets hard to put back in?? i have never worked on a boat before.
It only hold 650 pounds from what i could find. so i couldn't take the family out in it.

The second one looks very nice. its supposed to have rolyex but i am unsure of that.
It is supposed to hold a lot of weight as well. I believe it something like 1200 lbs so i would be able to take the family out in this one.
I looks much better than the other 2 from what i can tell from the pics. I haven't seen any of the boats in person so its hard to judge the conditions from a picture. all three boats are about 2 hours drive from me in the other directions of one another.

The third is questionable i am unsure of the delamantion and don't know much about the brand. 200 for a decent floating canoe is a good price but makes me wonder if its priced low because of the delamantion.

uses would be mostly fishing and recreation paddling with the family, but I will be doing some solo canoeing as well. The waters would be on lakes and maybe very calm creeks only. Absolutely no rivers.

I hate paddling rivers in a canoe. I once had a major accident trying to do so which is the reason I will always always make sure everyone and myself wear life jackets in my canoe. If they object the don't ride simple as that.

I am in a major bind here and could use some advise as its almost time for me to make a decision.

Thanks for the help/advise


The tripper would be a good choice for a family canoe. It has a large carrying capacity and could comfortably carry a couple of adults and a couple of kids on day trips. It is a stable, versatile canoe. The first canoe I bought was a used 1979 Tripper which I still have.

The 13 ft model seems like it is designed for using a motor. I can’t imagine it being very pleasant to paddle a wide 13ft canoe.

The Esquif Mistral would be a great choice except for the delamination. That apparently is a common problem with early versions of the Mistral. The normal canoe repair materials don’t stick to the twintex material used on the Mistral. Others on this forum may have insight as to whether there is any practical way to repair the delamination.

P.S. Don’t take the Old Town weight limits literally - they give the weight that would result in 6 inches of freeboard, which is generally significantly more than a realistic weight for paddling.

I owned a Tripper. A real Tripper, not a
13’ joke. Excellent boat, though heavy. Very capabable.

Mistrals no longer “delaminate” often, but the repair is complicated and must be done by a factory rep.

Get a Wenonah Spirit II in Tuff Weave.

I haven’t seen the mistral so i am not sure of how bad the delamaniton is, but i have a feeling it may be bad if he will take 200… not sure i want to hassle with delamantion as i have no experience with it and don’t have money to get it properly fixed.

ARGH decisions decisions…So now I am thinking on the two old towns. They both seem heavy however i haven’t lifted them in person so i can only guesstimate.

Which of the two do you think would be less prone tipping wise?

The one thing that concerns me about the other one is that its from the 70’s will that have any effect on the condition and durability?

I wish there was a place to rent canoes here but almost all of the rental places i have talked with rent rowboats around here. There is one lake a few hours away from me that only rent aluminum canoes. Are aluminum canoes any good?

I know all about buyers remorse it has happened to me before over many things.

The Tripper is a sought after canoe

– Last Updated: Jul-27-14 11:23 AM EST –

A very capable canoe both in terms of family use and as the name implies, tripping. It is a sought out boat up here in the North East anyway, as it is relatively light for it's size and durability and fully capable in a rocky river situation or larger lake situation. It sounds heavy till you compare it with other rocky river capable canoes and some other materials in it's size range. Trippers do a whole lot of things well, track well, maneuver well, take some rough water well, take a payload well. Of the canoes you mention and the conditions accordingly, that is the one I would pick.

The 13' boat is just silly to compare it to any canoe or to the other two choices you have. It's an abomination of a mix between powered row boat and canoe semi shape. Yes people enjoy them but they usually row them or power them, not try and paddle them. It's not big enough for your family and too heavy to begin with for it's size. Call it some kind of boat but not a canoe. Your Coleman was more a canoe than that is. Well built yes but it isn't a real canoe and you said you want a canoe.

Delamination would turn me away, that simple. Nice boat but nuff said.


– Last Updated: Jul-27-14 1:45 PM EST –

function of paddler skill.. and keeping your head inside.

The boat here is an OT Tripper.

Esquif stands by their products. If the canoe were here and I was looking for a tandem I would grab the Mistral and send it or drive it back to Quebec. No big deal.. You're out west. Then its a big deal.

Don’t get the 13’ Discovery Sport unless you are planning to row or put a motor on it.

There are many old Trippers still in use - they are heavy but durable. The old royalex is pretty tough. If it doesn’t have hairline cracks in the inner or outer vinyl layers and the vinyl hasn’t been worn off to a major extent I wouldn’t worry too much about the age. Isn’t the serial number supposed to end with the year manufactured? The number you quoted ends in 85 so could it be from mid 80’s rather than mid 70’s? OT trippers are quite stable as canoes go. You can rock it but it would take some work to actually tip one over on flat water. On a lake in windy conditions paddling a large Tripper solo can be a challenge so if you anticipate a lot of solo paddling you may want to wait for a better choice. On the other hand, a smaller canoe that is easier to handle solo will not work as well for taking the family. For a stable family canoe the Tripper is hard to beat. I’d either get the tripper or wait and keep watching Craig’s list, etc. if you want to get a lighter more flatwater oriented canoe.

Another video
There are OT Trippers, OT Disco 169 and 174 canoes in this one. Plus is a worth while watch if you don’t know much about canoes or canoeing.

When more than one person wants to go, it has plenty of stability and space for a family. Going solo, I’d drop in a center seat and put some oarlocks on it and row, and avoid the problems of handling a large canoe solo on a windy lake.

ditto Wenonah’s Spirit II…
a good tandem…

Yes i was thinking of the 17 foot old town. Is it a tripper model??

I get confused because the flat back 13 footer is also a tripper model.

The 13 footer looks like it would be a sort of a PITA to deal with unless motor or rowed. I think I am going to pass on the 13’. I am definitely passing on the delamination one as that sounds like to much to handle for a starter canoe.

I think the 17’ fits my needs pretty well, but would it be really hard to solo without oaring it? If i end up soloing it it would just be me and the Labrador :slight_smile: so he can add some weight where needed.

Thanks guys for the help and advice. I think i might have gone with he 13’ and ended up regretting it.

I would love the get a kevlar one but they are just way to far out of my price range even used.

I am in the market for a used $300-$350 canoe.

Any more advice and suggestions also welcomed as i am still in the decision stage.

Solo paddle 17’ Tripper
is doable especially with ballast as great as a Lab, it just isn’t optimal.

Are you in Oregon?
There are usually a number of good canoes available on CL in the Portland area, if that’s near enough to you.

Is $350 the max on your budget? If that’s not the cap on your budget, then there are a few right now that might be of interest.

Old Town Penobscot canoe 17’ - $500 (Gladstone)

These pop up fairly often and usually for more money. It’s a good brand/model.

Canoe 17’ Wenonah Adirondack - $700 (Beaverton)

A little more spendy, but fairly priced if it’s in good condition.

I see the Tripper in the Salem area. If you’re outside the Portland area, there are some Old Town Campers in various locations across the state. The one in Roseburg for $350 is a great deal if it’s in good shape. The Campers that sell around here usually go for more than twice that. There’s a Camper in Veneta for $600 and one in Bend for $650. Also really good deals on Campers in good shape.

I like the Camper for fishing and lazy days on the lake. I think they’re great for flat water paddling where you aren’t wanting to go far or fast.

If the Tripper is close to home, that might be your best bet.

Good luck in your search. Let us know what you end up with.

yeah I am in Oregon. About the middle of it in the Willamette valley.

unfortunately 350 is my tops:(.

I saw a oldtown 14 come up a few hours ago but don’t know much about the 14 or which model it even is.

Otherwise i am looking at that oldtown 17’ tripper. He said he would take 375 for it.

If it’s not too far of a drive, maybe the Campers they have listed for $350 might be worth the trip.

It’s not quite all the way to Roseburg. It’s in Sutherlin.

The one in Newberg is an Old Town Guide 147. It’s polyethylene, which is a tough material, but heavy. Old Town’s website lists the weight at 82 pounds. Looks like they retail for $700.

If I had to pick between the Camper and the Guide, I’d go for the Camper. I’d take the Tripper over the Guide too.

Good luck.

OT Camper is a good choice too
I own one, have owned it since 1996. Good family canoe, slower than the tripper but capable none the less. Good fishing boat, 59 lb. I store seat backs and paddles right in it and still can get it on the truck lighter than the 17 Penobscot ( I loved the Penobscot once I lowered the back seat about 4 inches but we just used the Camper more so sold the Pen. Should have kept it !)… we had or a Tripper. It won’t track quite as well as a Tripper but you learn its ways. It’s 3 steps above the Coleman you know, less drag on the water and way lighter, has a gentle roll to it. No sudden tipping at all. I’ve taken it in class 1 and up to 2 rivers as well.

I just ran the Willamette River from Eugene to Salem with 7 friends. It was a lot of fun. There were some difficult spots due to strainers and we had a couple of swimmers. The Tripper would be well suited to that river. Just make sure you get some instruction first.

Nice that sounds like fun! do you guys belong to a club or was it just a few friends?

An old town camper 16 just popped up. I really like it but its 100 more dollars.

It weighs 21 pounds less but caries almost the same amount of weight like 200 lbs less.

should i try and scrape together the extra 100 and get the camper instead the weight dif is what matters to me, however then id have to get paddles where as the tripper comes with everything.

don’t base your purchase on
capacity… Old Town Tripper carries seven hundred pounds. The capacity OT cites is nonsense… six inches of freeboard is not enough when the s hits the fan.

The Camper being less voluminous maybe six.

Even if both paddlers are 200 lbs , that leaves lots of room for gear.

Even river campers seldom carry that much.