Used Old Town Discovery 169 - $300 - have some questions

Our family is just getting into paddling, and we’re contemplating getting a cheap, used canoe to get us started on small local lakes and rivers. There is an Old Town Discovery on Marketplace near us for $300. Here is the description from the seller:

"This canoe has seen some action, but does not leak. It’s had a few repairs which are pictured. Comes with 2 brand new paddles. "

The “repairs” are what has me questioning this as we are very new to this and have only rented canoes on our handful of river trips here in Missouri. I’m not even sure what questions to ask regarding the repairs. Here is a picture of the repairs:

For anyone with more knowledge than me (which is probably about everyone on this forum), does this picture concern you? What questions would you ask the seller about the repairs? Does the price seem fair?

Any input or advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

It looks like it took some good hits and the scrapes have been repaired and it looks like it has what I call hogs or dents where the hull has bulged in a little.

The hull is 3 layers of poly and the center is a thicker layer that is foam and I doubt the cuts went thru the outer layer.

Around here this year with covid any type of paddle boats were hard to find and people were asking top dollar for the most part. These OT canoes are not light but will really take a beating and keep going.

I bought an OT Guide 147 this spring that was made around 2000 for 150 bucks and I thought that was a great deal. On the side of the one you are looking at is a HIN number stamped into the hull and the last two numbers of it will be the year it was made.

Without looking it over real close I would offer them 200 for it and see if they take it. That will get you on the water and in a year or two you will know more what type you might want to move up to.

Welcome to the community.

Great, thanks so much for the feedback! We’d love to get something to get us out on the water more often than having to rent, and we also need to figure out how we’re going to navigate this with our three kids (8, 5, 2) as they’re all still pretty young and very inexperienced, so I figured if I could get something decent this cheap it would be worth the risk, and exactly as you said, buy us some time to see how much we like it and see what we can invest in in the future as the kids get older and are able to actively participate.

Thanks again!

Personally, I would look elsewhere. It is impossible for me to say from the photo exactly what kind of repair was done and what type of damage the strips are covering. The “dents” are far worse than one would expect from casual use suggesting strongly that the boat has been pinned. If so, the foam core may well be cracked. There could also be cracks in the interior solid PE layer not shown in the photo.

Repairs to three layer polyethylene boats are not easy because most adhesives will not bond strongly to PE. West System G Flex epoxy will bond decently (not superbly) but an even adequate bond requires that the hull surface first be properly pretreated by flame oxidizing it right before the epoxy is applied.

If G Flex epoxy was not used for this repair or if the hull surface was not first pretreated as described I would not trust it to hold up no matter what it looks like now.


It is always imposable to know even if we were there seeing it in person. For sure I would look to see what damage came thru to the inside in weighing out the likely hood of it being ok for casual use. You could always asked who made the repairs and what products and methods were used and I would also if it is local press in by hand really hard along all the repaired area to feel if I felt hinging in the material.

@pblanc has a million times more experience with repairs than I do so I have to defer to his suggestion that the hull has some chance of being compromised.

You need to weigh cost and what you will be using it for into the big picture. You don’t want to be 5 miles into a 10 mile river trip and start leaking with 3 little kids on board and on the other hand it may work for you without problems till the kids are out of school. It is an unknown. The other way to look at it is there are always canoes popping up on the used market and this years season is drawing to an end for us fair weather boaters. So you have all winter to keep your eyes open.

Ether way you found the forum and if you keep looking keep checking in.

The trouble with canoes is they are out there fairly cheap and if you are not a DIY type person if you bought this for even 100 bucks and needed to spend 400 to have it repaired if it wasn’t done right you could likely go buy something way better for 500.

The 169 Old Town is a kind of a baby Tripper and a good hull for an all around canoe. It can handle some rivers. I rented a couple of them once for the technical Trinity River in California.

The 3way Polylink construction of these boats is very sturdy. They used to drop them off the top of the Old Town building in Maine onto pavement. This canoe has had some really rough treatment. It may have been wrapped. I agree with pblanc to pass on it. YOu can do better.

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Thanks so much for all the help everyone. Trying to learn on the fly here as a beginner. Gonna pass on this one and have my eye on a few more at the moment. Just kinda eager to get something before the weather turns cold for the year. We’d like to start getting the kids out on small lakes and get used to being in a canoe before getting on the river with them. Trying to balance our desire for getting something quickly while not making a dumb purchase or being too overeager. This site is a wealth of information - thanks again!

I have an Old Town Discovery 169 that I bought used over thirty years ago. I paid $300 for mine back then. I have used it on rivers and lakes from New Jersey to South Carolina. Those canoes are heavy but almost indestructible. They will carry quite a lot of weight as I had my wife and three kids all in it on a float down a very tame river and we had no problems. That canoe model is not a bad place to start at all. But I agree with those that say to stay away from that particular one. My Discovery has taken some pretty rough banging around at times and hasn’t showed any more than surface scratches. It is still going strong.

I was so happy with the 169 that I bought a Discovery 119 for solo paddles. I am very happy with it also for the kind of paddling I do.

If you have a canoe livery anywhere near you give them a try. If you pick through the used canoes they turn over you might find a good buy on something in much better shape than that one.

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Its hard to tell from the photo. I don’t like the big dents, that hull looks sun bleached and could be brittle and the patches are scary. Looks to me like this one was wrapped pretty good. What do the gunwales and the inside look like.
I buy fixer uppers all the time, but I would have to think twice on this one.


The question becomes would you buy it say the guy wanted 50 bucks or you were driving by and it was on the curb with a free sign on it would you haul it home.

I would at least pull over and check it out looking at both the inside and outside and pushing on those dents to see if popped back and forth like the foam core was pulverized.

Many people wouldn’t be caught dead in it just because it looks bad.

Others without any boat and if it doesn’t leak and can get them out fishing on a small lake or pond would love it.

The OT I bought this spring was scrapped up and no repairs and nothing I wouldn’t expect on a 20 year old canoe. It did have a hog in the center that looked to cover a 2’x3’ area caused by sitting 12 months on top of a woodpile. It was the only concern I had and I was told it wouldn’t stop me from paddling it. I didn’t like it and I braced it out and let the sun warm it and I was able to get it back to original shape. The ones shown don’t look like they would cause problems paddling. But I agree they look like they were caused by impact or pinning. :canoe: