Which Canoe

I am new to canoeing and am trying to decide between an OT Discovery 169 or an OT Penobscot 164. The canoe would be used for camping trips as a tandem and occaisionaly solo on slow rivers and lakes.

164 nicer

– Last Updated: Jun-26-08 9:26 PM EST –

the 164 is a nicer boat to paddle.

169 is bigger.

if you require a big and stable boat for loads over 500lbs, dogs, third passengers, or serious whitewater, go with the 169.

If you will do shorter, lighter trips, and want a better solo, go with the 164.

If you will do more lake-tripping and still want some load capacity, the 174 is another option.

If you spend a bit more, the penobscots and trippers these are based on (made in Royalex) are a bit lighter, a bit stiffer, and are repairable.

good luck.


– Last Updated: Jun-26-08 9:12 AM EST –

The Disco is a big polyethelene boat, weighs a ton, tough to solo. It's a bit easier to turn than the Penobscot.
The Penobscot is a bit smaller, lighter, sleeker, faster and made of royalex. It solos reasonably well for a tandem boat. It's often used as a whitewater race boat.

Royalex can be easier to outfit than poly since most adhesives will not stick well to poly. A royalex boat will be stiffer and more efficient than a poly boat of similar design. IMO poly is tougher and may outlast royalex if there are many rocks involved.

So unless you need the added room or durability of the Disco I'd recomend the Penobscot.

Paddling a Discovery is like padding a bath tub. Go with the Penobscot.

Don’t be fooled!
Those crafty New Englanders have re-named the discovery series.

The Penobscot 164 is the former Discovery 164 - Poly.

The Penobscot is the Penobscot - Royalex.

Poly is inferior to Royalex because it is heavier and can’t be repaired. However, it is tough, and cheap, and paddles similarly. It is also quite good at taking abrasion.

If you are looking for reviews and such, the discovery 164 is your Penobscot 164.

What sort of tub?
I agree that the 169 is a dumpy boat. All that unsupported bottom really is floppy. My impression of the 164 was better, though I don’t have too much experience in one. I like the 174, and would rate it in the middle among boats of that price. It at least has similar lines to a Penobscot and is under 40" wide!

Briansnat, when you claim the disco’s to be tubs, do you mean all of them, or a particular model?

That’s downright deceitful!
I wondered when this new “Penobscott 164” model came into being. This thead is the first time I’ve heard of it.

Neither of those mentioned
Both are pretty horrible canoes. Look further.

Local availablity may be
the reason he started his search with those models.

CE, What other suggestions for a 16-17 footer would you make in the same price range, approx $1000-1200?

I admit, I have a 16’ Penobscot in Royalex, and have a lot of fun with it. However, I am curious to hear a more knowledgable person’s opinion (like CE). This might give the original poster an idea of where to broaden his search.


What sort of waterways?
I agree that the all-plastic canoes aren’t the greatest for flatwater. I do like a poly canoe, though, when routinely running low-water-rock gardens.

I don’t know enough about North Carolina. What sort of water will you be on? If it is deep, lakes and such, fibreglass is still a good option.

I like the Evergreen Willow and Maple, if they are available they are a bargain.