16' 9"
Width (in)
Weight (lb)

Discovery 169 Description

At nearly 17 feet, the Discovery 169 is the longest in the Discovery series. Designed to go long distances, the Discovery 169 performs efficiently even when it is loaded with gear. The three layer construction is designed to take a beating. The Discovery 169 is a great choice for the recreational paddlers who may aspire to go longer distances or may need additional room and load capacity.

Discovery 169 Specs and Features

  • Structure: Rigid / Hard Shell
  • Seating Configuration: Tandem
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Where to Buy the Discovery 169

Old Town Canoe and Kayak
Discovery 169 Reviews

Read reviews for the Discovery 169 by Old Town Canoe and Kayak as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

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I bought my 169 last year as…

Submitted by: Xhammerhead on 7/1/2020
I bought my 169 last year as my first canoe, kayaking being most of my paddling experience. Moving to a canoe for the ability to bring my 90 lb. Labrador retriever along on outings. It’s a big boat for one paddler but totally manageable, the wind does get tricky. Very stable and plenty of room and yes, a bit heavy but the toughness is worth the weight. The dog loves our trips and gets very excited when she see me starting to load the boat on the vehicle. Looking forward to some longer outings and with a canoe like this I feel confident in it getting us there and back.

This canoe is tough as…

Submitted by: armyteam94 on 6/7/2019

This canoe is tough as nails. I bought mine used and paddled high country lakes, Snoqualmie, Snohomish and Skykomish rivers. At low water levels the canoe suffered a lot of scratches and even banked on rocks. This is the only canoe that can stand this type of abuse year after year. The large capacity along with its great turning and even keel make it a great fishing, still water and up to class 3 canoe. I have ran with the salmon, paddled on Bellingham bay and honed my skills at Big eddy. The 98 lbs with the molded seats is heavy but two can easily handle the extra 25-35 lbs of other high end canoes.


It is very nice handling in…

Submitted by: glennsmith on 11/1/2016

It is very nice handling in water. Seats are nice... a good two-man canoe. I love the 169. Very well made. Great buy for two people. I had great time in the 168. Ponds, lake and rivers where it is good to go with 160.


great in rivers. very nice…

Submitted by: glennsmith on 10/31/2016
great in rivers. very nice seat. i love this canoe. go nice just about any where anyone takes this canoe. lake is nice in canoe.

Great canoe for the part time…

Submitted by: paddler237137 on 9/24/2016
Great canoe for the part time paddler. Rugged, easy to move and store. Fits on my car easily. Got is at a yard sale. Would mind a new one.

I turned 60 last year and…

Submitted by: mr_h2o on 8/25/2016
I turned 60 last year and also had half of my spine fused together. So, like DAVEBRASK said in his review, carrying or loading my Discovery is very difficult. In fact, canoeing in general is tough now and I'm probably going to sell it, sadly.

The Discovery will go through anything, and mine has! For years, I had it set up with airbags and thigh straps for whitewater and did the Peshtigo, Wolf, Red in Wisconsin; many Michigan rivers, including Menominee (thru Piers Gorge), Paint, Ontanogan, Little Manistee, Pine; even did the New in WV. I also had Old Town's H2Pro solo whitewater boat (aka. The Bathtub), which I loved but sold for a C1, regretfully.

The Discovery can be done solo, as mentioned, with sitting reverse, or midsection with a kayak paddle, which feels and looks weird, but actually performs quite well.

If I had a good place to store it, I'd never sell it, even if I never used it again. It is such a fantastic boat & investment. You can't kill it!!


This canoe is interesting;…

Submitted by: ad2 on 8/24/2016
This canoe is interesting; very durable you could carry a very heavy load in it. It handles very well. If you have some weight it will take the wind very well. A little heavy at about 90lbs but once in the water handles good - also comfortable with lots of leg room.

The Old Town Discovery 169 is…

Submitted by: paddler237026 on 8/11/2016
The Old Town Discovery 169 is the USS Missouri of canoes. It is TOUGH. You can carry 1400 lbs in it and yet you can load/unload it from your vehicle either by yourself (with some difficulty) or with someone else (a lot easier). This difference between solo and more than one person is at the heart of the Discovery 169. With two people in it you can make it fly. With one person you are going to have to sit backwards behind the front thwart and work a bit. Maneuverability is also not going to be what you may be used to in smaller rigs. But stability!!! A man 6'-2" and 210 lbs can stand in the middle and overhead cast. With a little bit of acrobatics you can jump out and then climb back in without swamping the canoe. Primary and secondary stability are extremely good. And the traditional benefits of the famous three-layer Royalex hull are: Tough, easily slides over rocks, quiet for wildlife viewing, doesn't get hot or cold in either extreme and smash-ups can be repaired with heat. The superb canoe for a day paddle or a two week plus trek.

Took this boat whitewater…

Submitted by: KSoriano on 6/23/2016
Took this boat whitewater canoeing down Green River. Incredible handling and tracking with plenty of room and fixtures to haul and secure all the weekend gear for two. A little heavy but the sturdiness comes in handy in the rapids. It's 3 Poly and hold ups nicely against bumps and scrapes.

I used to rent the 169…

Submitted by: Skicanoe on 6/21/2016
I used to rent the 169 extensively for solo or tandem canoe camping trips, usually about three day trips. Many good reviews on this boat, basically a great traditional shape (one of the classics). The big drawback on the nearly indestructible Discovery line is weight. However the 169 is not much heavier than the shorter Discovery 158, and the better choice between the two for most. The 158 has a flatter floor (more oil canning), simpler shape. We bought the 158 because our state was threatening to require all boats, including canoes, over 16' to be registered and numbered, though ultimately non-livery canoes were excluded. The 169 does well in rough waters and rapids. The 158 is a bit easier to turn, maybe a little easier to solo though the 169 is a more efficient hull design. Neither boat is well suited for three adults.

My Old Town is great. I…

Submitted by: millerbri on 6/20/2016
My Old Town is great. I picked it for overnight trips because of large payload. It holds all my gear and handles well. It glides over obstacles that my friends canoe hangs up on. It is a little heavy but worth the weight when it comes to performance and payload. I shopped around and Old Town provides lots of information and accessories. Their customer support is great and the dealer had everything I needed.

My wife and I have been using…

Submitted by: superdave19 on 6/4/2016
My wife and I have been using our Old Town Discovery 169 canoe for many years canoeing the local rivers. We have paddled day trips, midnight floats as well as over night trips and this canoe as fulfilled all of our needs! It has plenty of room for us and ALL of our gear with room to spare. Even plenty of room when we bring our grandson.

The canoe treks very well on the water and is very tough (some of the rivers have tough obstacles to overcome)! Our friends have seen the worthiness of this canoe and has begun to purchase the same brand for themselves! Old Town is also easy to repair if needed and has lots of available accessories!! I cannot see myself going down the river in any other brand!! Great canoe!!!


I have had my discovery 169…

Submitted by: sscooper1 on 5/26/2016
I have had my discovery 169 for over 30 years. It looks as good as the day I bought it except for some bottom scratches. Capacity is great. Many trips with two additional people in low slung beach chairs. These things were definitely built to last. I have always kept stored inside. The poly will fade if stored outside. It does not do to well paddling solo.

We have used Discovery 169s…

Submitted by: davebrask on 5/19/2016
We have used Discovery 169s for wilderness treks with the scouts for years.

They easily hold gear and provisions for a 4-day trek. They're very stable. Track nicely.

If you have the webbed rather than bucket seat and you're a strong paddler, you can use them solo.

They are great for rapids-they slip and slide over rocks and take the abuse well. Once the scouts managed to fold an aluminum canoe over a pointed rocks in the rapids, but never one of these. You can scrape off some letters and change Discovery 169 to be Disco 69 if you're so inclined.

They are heavy; until I was 60 I could carry one solo on a level surface but now it is too hard on my back. One the other hand, they portage ok with two people, the back position in particular is comfortable with the sides of the canoe sitting on your shoulders; the front position is a little tougher. A 1/4 mile portage is ok, longer is a challenge. I would not take these on an intensive portaging trip, but I would everyplace else.


I owe my discover 169 twenty…

Submitted by: paddler236731 on 4/29/2016
I owe my discover 169 twenty plus years I love it. I solo often I go out loaded to the gill and the trick to stear that barge is simple. I sit low in the mid ship section and use kayak paddle by doing that the barge become a racer instead of a barge and it turn on a dime right paddle dirt in and left paddle back paddle deep WOW. I am an Eagle Scout just trick I pick up over the years LOL Be safe and have fun...Andy

Great boat, with a large load…

Submitted by: micmor on 4/27/2016
Great boat, with a large load capacity. I like to take this boat down a local river with some decent drops, and it handles very well. Tracking is ok, but since it is a flat bottom, it required a bit extra work to keep straight. All in all, I would love to have another just like it for friends.

The Discovery 169 is a good…

Submitted by: mthornto on 8/5/2015
The Discovery 169 is a good solid canoe with a mix of good handling characteristics and durability, along with carrying capacity to make it a good choice for camping trips. I've had mine many years and abused it a good bit and expect to get several more years of use. It is stored outside, so the sun is starting to impact the plastic, but it has handled many rocks and gravel with full loads and no significant damage. The only downside is that it is fairly heavy, but that's the trade off for the durability of a workhorse camping canoe which can handle rapids fairly well.

I used a mix of 169s and 174s…

Submitted by: sgbotsford on 6/27/2015
I used a mix of 169s and 174s on two expeditions. These are tough inexpensive canoes suitable for weekend trips to short (under 2-3 week) expeditions. They have a fairly straight keel line. If you want to turn them quickly you have to lean them hard. But this same keel makes them reasonable to use on a windy lake.

The crosslinked PVC hull is tough. The ones we had had kevlar bang strips, but no other protection, had been in service at Churchill River Outfitters for two years, and still looked good.

They are heavy: Something like 70 lbs for the 169 and close to 80 for the 174. This makes them a tough solo portage, but on trips we never get all the gear over in one go, so it's one trip for the canoe, one trip for the gear. Portaging with 2 is not difficult.

The 174 at 5" longer sounds like a trivial size difference. It's not. That 5" is all in the middle. It also has a couple inches more beam. On our trips this made a good match for some of the bigger people in our group. (240+ lbs) This would really come home when guys were puttering around solo in the bay after supper fishing and just cruising. The 174 seems to be about twice as much boat to horse around.

Not recommended for day trips where you are portaging a rapid multiple times to reshoot it. That's when a light canoe comes into it's own. But for trips where you are carrying 200 lbs of gear the difference between an 80 lb canoe and a 55 lb one is inconsequential.

Not recommended as a solo short trip canoe. The straight keel line makes them hard to turn. If you are into that niche, the solo expedition, might be worth a test drive.

They are tough. Sandpaper, A can of CPVC solvent cement and some scraps of CPVC could be the only repair kit you need. In terms of speed, they are intermediate between the fine lines of a fiber layup, and the bluntness forced on you by a royalex layup. The hulls are rigid, with little oilcanning. (I don't remember any)

They get a 9 because of the weight.


I inherited this canoe from…

Submitted by: ValRogers on 2/25/2015
I inherited this canoe from my dad. Didn't know what to expect having had no paddling experience, but I've been impressed with this boat. Have been out mostly on lakes for a couple of seasons. With my partner (also a novice) paddling in the bow, we were able to track straight and reasonably fast across a big lake with some wind, waves, and motorboat wakes. This gave us confidence. We've paddled with dad in the middle fishing and felt very stable. Cargo capacity is huge.

Only drawback is the weight. Just too much for a middle-aged petite woman, so I'm selling it for a lighter boat. Don't plan to do long expeditions, so don't need to carry gear for a week either. But I can tell its a well designed, quality-built craft and will provide many more years of excellent service.


Of all the canoes I've had…

Submitted by: paddler235860 on 9/18/2014
Of all the canoes I've had this one beats them all! I use this boat all year long.. in the summer I go under numerous multi day float trips in fact one over the summer the canoe flew out of my truck during transit going 50+ MPH and I had no damage whatsoever other than a couple scuffs on the paint... in the winter time I use it to run my trap line and duck hunt and I have it loaded way down with gear and this canoe can handle it all... I know I've had over 800 lbs and it's still just as stable and buoyant as it is unloaded

I have had numerous canoes…

Submitted by: VAyaker on 9/13/2014
I have had numerous canoes throughout our paddling lifetime. As a durable, easy to paddle, family-friendly there is no equal. You can pile almost as many people and gear into this boat as the vehicle that gets you there. We have been on family river trips where my wife and daughter paddled as my two grandsons spread out and slept in the bottom. I have bought and sold many canoes and kayaks, but this one will never be on the auction block.

The old reliable standard of…

Submitted by: paddler235865 on 8/21/2014
The old reliable standard of canoes. Been around for years, still the "go to" boat for the average canoeist. Big enough for multi-day trips, yet not too big for day trips. Good for up to Class III water. A little too heavy but a best buy for the money.

I have owned my Discovery 169…

Submitted by: amillionmi on 8/4/2014
I have owned my Discovery 169 for approx 8 years and absolutely love it!!! I use on may different rivers a year all over Michigan and I use it to fish out of at my local lake. All around a great design, stable, strong, dependable, and comfortable. Thanks Old Town!!

Each year we embark on a trip…

Submitted by: paddler235699 on 7/5/2014
Each year we embark on a trip in northern PA on Pine Creek. The 169 is the ideal vessel to handle maneuvering through various rocky/rapid portions and the tracking on smooth water is true. Combining an efficient use of space for enough cargo for a multiple day trip along with comfort into a durable, light design helps this trip go smoothly.
We are generally front-rear powered, but also very functional as a single paddler boat.

I purchased my first Old Town…

Submitted by: paddler235523 on 4/28/2014
I purchased my first Old Town Discovery canoe in 1990, a 174. It was a heavy canoe, but resisted scratches and damage like an Abrams Tank. In 1997 Old Town replaced it with a 169 because the 174's hull began to show haze cracks. Since they let me keep the old canoe, I fabricated a patch (Old Town required me to send them a 1'X1' section of the hull) of plywood screwed and glued to the inner hull after cutting the outer hull about 1" wider. Just this week I replaced the patch with a piece of aluminum. The outer hull is cracked and brittle, but still quite useable.

I cannot imagine using any other type of canoe. The only difference in the 169 and the 174 that I can tell is the better tracking of the 174. Love both canoes.


It's a whole lot of years ago…

Submitted by: grubfish on 9/4/2013
It's a whole lot of years ago now since we paddled a 169 but back in the 90's we rented two different ones. The first was seriously oil canned, permanently. We were trying out various canoes before a purchase and comparing Royalex with Poly, knowing we did not want fiberglass like our previous canoe had...

We found the 169 to be heavy out of the water and to handle like a slug in the water. They have Poly hulls not Royalex incidentally. A Mad River Explorer paddles faster and handles better, though still heavy out of the water (they do now make a lite version of the explorer FWIW). Our compromise canoe ended up being an Old Town Camper in the 16 ft version. 59 lb, more maneuverable and takes a fair load as well though not quite as much as the 169. We still own that canoe and my review is over in the Camper section dated back around 2001, though we bought it in '98.


For many years, my wife and I…

Submitted by: YakinHick on 8/5/2013
For many years, my wife and I paddled rental Discovery 169s on a river in Arkansas. The hull was made of layers of plastic and foam that I believe they called Royalex. That stuff was tough and was supposed to add flotation. The canoes I paddled had the molded plastic seat which was plenty comfortable on the backside. They paddled easily and hauled a lot of payload. My wife, two kids, me, a big cooler, and a dog made the trip many times. The Discovery 169 was pretty stable, too. After years of river trips, we only rolled a Discovery one time while trying to "rescue" the dog! The Discovery 169 was a good canoe for family river trips.

These canoes need to be kept…

Submitted by: paddler235198 on 7/27/2013
These canoes need to be kept far away from sunlight and in a controlled climate when stored from my experience... The outer poly coating has a tendency to crack all up real bad and the epoxy to repair this particular coating is very expensive... KEEP IT COVERED WHEN NOT IN USE AWAY FROM ANY SUNLIGHT.

Very stable boat. great for…

Submitted by: paddler235181 on 7/26/2013
Very stable boat. great for easy white water loaded with camping gear. Not the easiest boat to steer but it is like a tank when you bump into rocks. Tons of room can even take up to 4 people on flats.

I have an Old Town Discovery…

Submitted by: jcaruso on 7/24/2013
I have an Old Town Discovery 169. Great canoe very roomy, can easily put 4 adults into the boat with its high weight capacity. Used it for camping had to paddle into the sight and was able to bring everything necessary for a 3 day trip. Tents, cloths, food and fishing gear. Tracks very straight, built extremely well.

Only down side is the weight. At 72 lbs. and 16ft 9in the canoe is not manageable for one person, you will need two people to portage the canoe.


I have had the Discovery 169…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/24/2013
I have had the Discovery 169 canoe for about 18 years. Every year I do a long canoe camping trip into the Adirondack wilderness areas of Clear Pond or the seven carries area. I also do a few shorter trips. I use wheels to portage the canoe when I can, its heavy, but the weight is offset by the durability. I'm a pretty big guy so the portages are not an issue. I did get a canoe loader bar for the Thule racks. The landing areas of these campsites usually have rocks or gravel and the canoe is impervious to these conditions.

My main reason for keeping the canoe is the capacity. I always go with my son in the canoe. He was 5 when we started and now he is 22. I go in a group, and I'm always the guy carrying the extra gear my buddies can't fit into their boats. We don't travel light and usually with a dog to boot. My minimalist friends laugh at the amount of Stuff we take along.

The canoe tracks straight, handles river currents and obstacles. I love this boat. one point off for weight just to keep it real


I just bought my first Old…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/27/2013
I just bought my first Old Town Guide 169 from Dick's. Me, my son and grandson and all our gear for three days of the Shenandoah was nothing short of excellent. The Guide 169 performed as expected and more handling the class I and II rapids with ease to us beginners. It tracks very well. I don't think I will ever go back to Kayaking. I highly recommend this canoe. It gets 10 out of 10 stars.

I have whitewater canoed…

Submitted by: paddler234775 on 9/18/2012
I have whitewater canoed since the early 1980s. The Discovery 160 is the suburban of canoes... designed for lots of people and gear... tough and perfect for whitewater if you got two people, gear, and want stability. For camping it is great, it is so wide you can store gear and still cram some floatation in. Excellent for 3 people, or even 4 if one or two are kids (for flatwater, or class I, II).

Yes... you can take this canoe solo, although it was designed for lots of people and gear. If you go solo... it is somewhat of a bear, not too fast and you gotta call your route ahead of time cause it sure does NOT turn on a dime...you gotta be nimble with it, at times it is like steering the titanic, and if you miss a chute, you will never get back....but I almost like the challenge...plus the little kayaks are always amazed when this titanic comes plowing thru a class III in good order... but a great fun boat, will take a beating.

You certainly lose speed and maneuverability with this beast, but it has increased stability and I feel safer in this big canoe in whitewater, or especially in a marsh where there might be critters as big as you.


I bought this boat under…

Submitted by: paddler234346 on 11/4/2011
I bought this boat under unfavourable circumstances. I borrowed my neighbours 169 for a trip down the Stikine River in Northern BC. Long story short, the 2nd day of 12 it ended up hung up on a rock, and by the time it worked itself loose and I recovered it, it had a broken thwart, 2 broken gunwhales on the front, broken front seat, and mostly missing deck plate.
1/2 roll of duct tape later, we were using it as our solo canoe for the rest of the trip. This is a testament to the incredible toughness of these canoes.

The end of the story is that I bought a new Discovery 169 for my neighbour, and bought all the replacement parts for my "new" canoe from Old Town. I've been using it 7 years since with very few complaints.

One tip: if you buy new gunwhales, and they come to you in a "W" shape because they've been stored on 2 steel pegs for years, be sure to straighten them first! 'Ole 169 still isn't quite straight... :-) If I hadn't gone through all this, my first choice would have been the Tripper, even with the higher price. 2 reasons - slightly higher load capacity, and the vinyl interior lining.

One thing nobody has mentioned is that the polyethelene interior is nearly impossible to glue anything to! It won't bond with any of the usual glues you get with the vinyl accessories you might want to install for tie-downs, center seat, etc.

There is an answer, but it's difficult and relatively expensive - Tap Plastics sells a 2-part adhesive for HDPE/LDPE. BUT, using it involves heating your precious canoe with a blowtorch first (don't believe me? Watch the video on their website!). In the end, it does work.
In contrast, a Tripper is easy to glue to with the vinyl adhesives that most shops sell.

I rate the Discovery 169 8/10 because of the ability to handle whitewater, wilderness river tripping, OK lake handling, and super toughness.


My daughter and I just bought…

Submitted by: paddler234031 on 6/1/2011
My daughter and I just bought a used disco 169 a couple of weeks before Memorial day. We live in a mountain resort community with Lake Gregory about five miles from home. Now, I've read about a lot of fantastic comments about the disco and one major concern about the weight. I can attest to the accuracy of all those statements. However, with all the weight issue, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I just watched a guy on the same lake later in the afternoon paddling like a madman--in 12 mph wind--to keep his inflatable canoe in check while I used a basic J-stroke to hold my headline true and accurate with little to no effort at all. Here's the kicker (I'm all of 5'6" @ 170 lbs.). When he saw me muscling the canoe onto my SUV--which was not a big deal after I've worked out a method--He had the nerve to comment, "Go inflatable!" I looked at him and said, "You didn't look like you were having all that much fun out there." The guy just gave me a dirty look, and tossed his inflatable in the back of his truck and hauled off. I had 6 1/2 hours of fun and a few nice trout for supper, to boot.

I have had 2 dis 169 for over…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/25/2010
I have had 2 dis 169 for over 10 years now and love them. I have been reading on this site about how heavy they are but really I can load these things onto a Ford 250 4 wheel drive by myself. Its not that I'm extra strong because I'm almost 60 years old with a heart condition. Its more of a matter of learning how. But that's not the real purpose for writing here. I have found these canoes to be very stable and enjoyable to use. The thing that made me chose them is the beam which was the widest for the length. and also the load they will carry. After looking at many reviews on different makes and models I would still be buying this model. But that's me. I just wanted to put my two cents worth in.

I have a 1993 Disco 169…

Submitted by: paddler233590 on 5/16/2010
I have a 1993 Disco 169 bought used in 2002. This is a great canoe for weekend trips loaded with gear. Unloaded can be Tippy until you get use to it. Last Summer completed 36 miles in one day. Great Canoe for moving down river with a lot of gear. Be prepared for a workout when moving upriver or against wind in a lake. Overall, love the Disco 169 for being able to haul the 1000 lbs on the weekend camp trips.

Just bought this canoe in…

Submitted by: EDWARDGILSONESQ on 10/8/2009
Just bought this canoe in June and I love it. Plenty of room,cargo space,and handles well. To be sure,requires a lot of muscling to paddle solo, but the more you load it the more responsive it becomes. Think of it as a bus.

As with most folks…

Submitted by: paddler233277 on 8/3/2009
As with most folks complaints, this canoe is more of a barge than a true watercraft. I acquired this red, heavy, plastic canoe through R.E.I. around 1990. It has since gone through much use, abuse (not intentional), and hibernation. The fact that the keel (or lack of) tends to deform the hull when underway is the very fact that allows this craft to reach its intended destination carrying absurd amounts of cargo. It likes to be loaded. It is also not a ballet dancer. Steering a fully loaded oil tanker would be an easier proposition. that aside, it is an extremely forgiving example of a basic canoe, and if you haven't got the musculature required to move it when out of water, then ask for someone elses help! I highly recommend it to those traveling the flowing waters. However, if you are planning for traversing lakes or locations involving high winds, then, by all means, load it to the gills!!

I've been floating a…

Submitted by: paddler232950 on 11/24/2008
I've been floating a Discovery 169 for over fifteen years. I highly recommend this canoe. It is durable can take a heck of an impact. For the price, you won't find a better canoe.

I've owned my Old Town…

Submitted by: paddler232724 on 7/16/2008
I've owned my Old Town Discovery 169 since 1991. It has been a great canoe - extremely rugged, handles massive amounts of gear, and is a stable fishing platform. I've used it exclusively for river running in the Texas Hill Country and West Texas deserts. I've had it in rapids up to class III. It has bounced off thousands of river rocks and never flinched.

I recommend the D-169 for anyone wanting a solid built, relatively inexpensive canoe that can be loaded to the gills with gear. The hull will literally last for decades if stored out of the sun. If you plan to do a lot of river running in abrasive, rocky conditions, consider having kevlar skid plates professionally installed.

Look for another canoe if you want to go light and fast. This is not a racer - more like a Ford Superduty.


Great boat for bumping along…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 3/19/2008
Great boat for bumping along rocks! I have done this for years and other than very superficial scratches, no problems. I have more than gotten my money out of this boat and plan to use it for decades to come.

It is perfect for floating down rivers, scraping on rocks and have a great time. It is somewhat like paddling a barge when heavily weighed down with gear and trying to paddle all day long on lakes. This is likely from its wide profile (that and the flat bottom that give it incredible stability).

I have enjoyed this boat countless times on river trips. However, I am looking for an easier boat to paddle on week long trips on lakes.

Highly recommend this boat, with the above issues noted.


I've owned my 169 since the…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/19/2007
I've owned my 169 since the late 80s and have paddled every thing from flatwater to class 3 whitewater with it, solo and tandem. Aside from the overall weight of this boat, it is one of the best all around recreational canoes in it's price range. Stability is excellent, making it a great first canoe for kids to learn with. The high capacity hull will carry a big load of camp gear.

I own a 169 Discovery as of…

Submitted by: pilotwingz on 10/10/2006
I own a 169 Discovery as of recently and decided on it because of prior experiences with the Old Town polylink/superlink construction type ... My particular priority objective was the ability of these canoes to handle resonable whitewater ( worse case scenario ) with lots of rocks to go bango , as is always the case on the rivers I run down to go fishing for smallmouth in W. MD., VA., W.VA., and PA. ,... I mean , you got to go thru/over them when they are in the way !! ... These canoes do it real well !! ... they are stable , quiet , warm , bouyant , and carry loads ( we're gone a couple days or more at a time , with all you need for surviving in the outdoors )... in our waters these canoes have bounced off of , banged into , scraped over every kind of rock , dropped off ledges into the fast turbulant races , and even hung in the rips , without ever a concern ( or at least a big one ) that we wouldn't make out OK !!... So what about still water ?? Nice platform that goes where you put it at reasonable speed ( even in the wind )... I'll be honest with ya , I'm not sure if I can tell any difference at all between heavily loaded and bare minimums when it comes to handling and effort ... but I like it when it's loaded because that means I'll be in it and gone longer ... so if you think the name Discovery is a resonable one for a canoe , well I'm here to tell ya , that's right and she holds up to all that you can encounter while your in that place " discovering " , and for my money , that's what I want and need to feel safe and certain ... go for it , a tried and true canoe , yes !

i've had my discovery 169 for…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/19/2006
i've had my discovery 169 for about a year now.this is the fourth canoe that i have owned.it has been on countless day trips,many overnighters and a week long excursion from eagle rock to snowden(about 45 miles).i've paddled the 169 solo with no gear to several people loaded with gear.i'll definately say it handles better with some extra weight.i have'nt tipped it yet,although i almost did once,going over 3 or 4 consecutive shallow rock falls.a headwind blew another day on a solo day trip and i could not get down stream.i tried everything.i ended up getting out where i started.no one canoe will do everything but this one comes pretty close.of all the canoes that i have paddled,i like the 169 much better.a little tuff paddling solo at times and a bit heavy but a great all around canoe.i give it a ten.

Discovery 169. I own two of…

Submitted by: Mather on 5/10/2006
Discovery 169. I own two of them. They have been down Labrynth Canyon on the Green countless times, carrying youth groups on multi-day trips. They are almost indestructable. I have never had a problem steering them through the tight turns of the San Rafel or through the waves of the Great Salt Lake. A little heavy but they will carry anything and are quite stable.

I got my Discovery 169 in…

Submitted by: paddler231552 on 5/9/2006
I got my Discovery 169 in 1996 and have paddled it all over Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee on swamps, lakes, and whitewater up to Class III. I am a really big guy (6'4", 300 pounds) and I appreciate the stability of this boat and do not mind the extra weight when loading or portaging. I regularly fly-fish standing up in this canoe (I do not recommend that for beginners). Over 10 years, I've only flipped it once when I hit a 4 ft standing wave head-on and even then I would not have flipped if I could have steered avay from the rock at the bottom of the rapid. This is a very stable and durable canoe for family paddling and even moderate whitewater. The outside gets a little scratched up but after about 300 trips it has never leaked.

I have owned my 169 for…

Submitted by: wbptrp on 3/6/2006
I have owned my 169 for twelve years and love it. It is very stable and easy to paddle in both creeks and lakes. It has won several ameture canoe races. 10 yrs ago my brother, nephews and I decided to try it as a tobogan in deep snow. What an awsome ride. By the way, you have to lean the opposite of the way you want to turn. 4 yrs ago, we got anxoius and there wasn't quite enough snow. Long story short,I put a 42" rip in it. Much fiberglass and resin later it is still afloat and has won another half dozen ameture races. The only reason I gave it a 10 is because I couldn't give it a 20. I love it and will never part with it. Just too many good memories and many more I'm sure.

I bought my 16 9 Discovery in…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/21/2004
I bought my 16 9 Discovery in the late 80's. It's made of superlink 3,is red and is very heavy( 85 lbs). I never had it oil can,and boy can it carry a load. My kids were little at the time and it was great for them,as they could move around a little and it didn't tip. Last summer I gave it to my son(he'a 21) as it's getting a little heavy for me and my wife to lift onto the Jeep.Very rugged boat. We have other canoes,but when we want to carry a lot I miss it. Will give it an 8 due to weight and kind of slow.

My original review from a…

Submitted by: paddler229492 on 11/3/2003
My original review from a couple years ago is farther down this page. Regarding Marty's problem with oilcanning, I condsidered this to be typical of Royalex and polylink hulls (?). I wedged my 2-qt insulated water jug between the yoke and a closed cell foam pad (actually a "kickboard" kids use when learning to swim) laying on the bottom of the boat. This way I have the water handy for a drink, the kickboard could be used to hold on to for additional flotation in an emergency, and it cured the oilcanning problem. I also store my canoe upside down with this same setup(although the jug is empty), so the hull doesn't deform under it's own weight over time.

One thing that's become obvious over the two couple years I've owned the canoe is that many downriver canoes have more blunt bow shapes than my 169. This gives them more bouyancy to rise up over large (3 foot or higher) waves rather than plow through them and take on water, though I suppose their blunt noses are less efficient on flatwater. Anyway, I added flotation bags to the bow and stern of my 169, with nylon spray skirts over this same area of my hull, approximately 3 feet at each end of the canoe. I used a design similar to what Cliff Jacobsen has in his books. Next year I hope to confirm that this will keep some water out of the canoe in the Class III situations.


I have had a Disco 169 for…

Submitted by: imthenra on 9/16/2003
I have had a Disco 169 for almost 10 years now. The bottom looks like sandpaper but it is only in the outermost layer. This boat is heavy and at times can be more like paddling a barg than a canoe, but for secondary stability and an all purpose hull it cant be beat. I havent taken it through much whitewater, amybe a couple of low II's if that but for my purposes its been ideal. There hasn't been another canoe that has done as well for me. Its spectacular for swimming, fishing, hunting, trapping, etc. I have taken it with a friend on a two week excursion and have alwasy had plenty of room to spare. I do tend to travel light though. There are easier paddling, lighter weight canoes out there but in my opinion none combine all the attributes described above as well as the Disco 169, not for any money. Now only if Old Town could shave off a few pounds!!

I have owned a 169 for close…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/15/2003
I have owned a 169 for close to 15 years the first canoe i bought and i still plaesure in using it. Yes i bought it as a compromise boat. I originaly bought it down in Va Beach, it has seen white water on a few of the river in Va (the Maury, Cow and Calf pastures, Shanadoa and a few other i never learned the names of) not to mention the inumerable fishing trips on the local creeks in the lower tidewater area and of course a few excerions in to salt to catch a few waves. admittedly most of the white water i ended up being the camp barg but the boat had no problems just slide over the rocks and falls and only one did the size get in the way. Now as a fishing platform is where it shines the flat mid with the round high sides and low rockers provide for a mostly stable platform and when a larg boat( on the intercoastal ) put up a wake very recoverable one. Of coursethis boat does require some effort in its use but most once it is mastered it is an old friend not to sporty not to pretty but one that will never let you down when you need it.

I bought this canoe 4 years…

Submitted by: LGraubner on 7/28/2003
I bought this canoe 4 years ago at my local REI store. I was looking for a canoe for my family (3 young sons aged 2, 5 & 7 at the time) that wouldn't break the bank and would give us lots of fun paddling. The boat has been out lots on area lakes and slow rivers. It is heavy, ponderous and not nimble in the least.

But when I bought it, I didn't know why I would want more or less rocker, bow height, depth, etc. I was a canoe novice.

It carries a lot of gear (1,100 lbs.) which was good for a week-long trip on the Buffalo River in Arkansas. My oldest son is now 11 and we had to work to paddle this beast for a week. It wasn't as bad as some of the other boats in the trip and the high sides were good for some of the rapids we ran. I didn't get any water in the boat, even heavily loaded.

The boat weighs 85 lbs. which is simply too much. Maybe someday I'll give it to my teenage sons, but for now, I lend it to church groups and I've added more boats to my "fleet" to give me what I want in a canoe.

I recently paddled a Merrimack Kevlar 16' Prospector and ordered a NovaCraft 17' Prospector. The difference between those boats and my Old Town Discovery 169 is night and day.

I also built a 15' cedar strip Bob's Special. This boat is great for fishing and is also much more nimble than my Old Town.

I rate this boata 6 because I bought it in my ignorance and wish now I had purchased a lighter boat with more flexibility. At the same time, what did I expect. So now I own 5 kayaks and 3 canoes. I'm well on my way to owning my own fleet.


I have a new 169 it has been…

Submitted by: paddler230113 on 5/12/2003
I have a new 169 it has been on the water one time. While taking it out of the water my local outfitter commented on the bad oilcanning of the bottom. Being my first canoe i had thought it was normal and that the bottom bulging up was normal. Old town is not being very helpful about a replacement boat even though they agree that it is not normal and niether is the dealer Dicks sporting goods. Any one else have this oilcanning in their boat.

My wife and I have had our…

Submitted by: paddler229986 on 11/25/2002
My wife and I have had our 169 for about 7 months now and have had it on about 10 flat water lake trips and around 6 class I-III river trips. I have paddle many canoes and a few kayaks and as many of the others reviews state, this is a slow boat, but dang can it carry a load and take ALOT of abuse. We attemted a tight little run on the Marsh Fork of the Coal River when the water was running a little to low for a 16'9" boat and lost about a pound hull material scraping across the rocks, but at least the boat's a little lighter now!! We mainly use it as the support barge for my buddies when they run their kayaks on milder white water. This boat can carry enough beer for three kayakers and two other open boaters!! When and if this boat dies, I will definitly get another.

I have had a disco for thre…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 3/4/2002
I have had a disco for thre years now and it has seen and shruged off a great deal of abuse. Through short class 4 to 1100lbs of beer and gear on the saco, my disco takes it all in stride with its own slow meandering way. if you want speed and tracking get a touring canoe. If you want quick turning get a solo whitewater job. If you want one canoe for your family to do what ever they like (save portages) get a disco.

I'd have to agree with the…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 12/28/2001
I'd have to agree with the other reviews on this page. This is a fantastic, durable, flexible boat that can haul a load at a great price ( I got mine new for $525). The price you pay is a back ache from lifting it over head by yourself, and occasionally sore arms from paddling it long distances over flat water or god forbid up wind. All in all after 3 years using this boat in a variety of conditions up to some class II action and with a very young family of four in it for all of them, I think it's an excellent trade.

I just bought a 169 last…

Submitted by: paddler229492 on 10/15/2001
I just bought a 169 last month. First I wanted to learn how to lift/carry it by myself. Took a little doing (a Wenonah owners manual was pretty helpful), but now I feel OK with it, although I plan to get yoke pads (By the way, I'm a 42 year old man, 6 feet tall). Being new to canoeing, I took it out a couple times with my kids on a small lake. To me it seemed a little tippy with the kids shifting around, but then we practiced leaning it over in shallow water, and it had good secondary stability. Then towards late September, a friend and I took it on the Yellowstone River near Big Timber, Montana. The river flow was near record lows due to drought (about 1000 cubic feet per second), which made for some interesting paddling through short rapids, scraping over rocks in the shallows, etc. that would normally be drowned out by higher flows. We were kind of learning along the way, and at one point took in about 100 pounds of water by paddling though a standing wave. Afterward I kind of wished I'd gotten a Tripper, since it's bow depth is 25 inches versus the 23 inches for the 169. But I also understnd that the Crosslink is more abrasion resistant than the Royalex, which is important around here. Also, the 169 is 5 inches shorter than the Tripper, which is probably good for smaller rivers. Anyway, I'm glad I bought it, and I just got the book "Expedition Canoeing" by Cliff Jacobsen (2001 printing) and he had good things to say about the Discovery series, especially the 169. He says "performance on the water is about the same" as the "venerable" Tripper, which he calls a "top expedition canoe." Anyway, I'm looking forward to getting more experience, and trying my 169 on the Missouri, the Smith, the north Fork of the Flathead, and Yellowstone Park. One final quote from Mr. Jacobson - "If you want a good strong boat at a very low price, a Disco is the way to go.'

I just used my Disco 169 for…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/17/2001
I just used my Disco 169 for the first time in class 3+ water(Upper New River, WV, McCreery to Thurmond, 4' on the Hinton gauge). I had a head wind for most of the trip, and all the comments in other reviews about wind are absolutely true; I went through the first rapid sideways due to a gust of wind, but a 40# river boulder in the extreme bow cured a lot of that problem. In my opinion, the broad beam and fullness of the bow kept me from taking much water at all in some serious wave trains, where a far more maneuverable Dagger and an old Blue Hole(!) were bailing after each rapid. Ditto for it's good secondary stability, and the bottom didn't seem much more scratched than before, after several bump-downs through the numerous rock gardens on this run. She's slow, she's heavy, and she's rock solid.

No, this canoe will not set…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/14/2001
No, this canoe will not set any speed records, but it is rock solid. This canoe is heavy, but if your going to beat your canoe around, this will take the punishment. A good all around canoe, the 169 is stable enough for the whole family. We have had ours for 10 years and have no problems. If your looking for an all around canoe and don't need a lot of speed this canoe is a good choice.

I purchased a 169 two years…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/13/2001
I purchased a 169 two years ago and have since willfully abused it to no end. The hull has seen the rocks of the Androscoggin, the Saint John, the Pemi, countless small and large lakes,and it has been dragged around quite a bit. As a utility canoe it cant be beat. On the Saint John trip my brother in law and I loaded it with an estimated 300 lbs of gear, food, beer, and paddled way over a hundred miles. With a load the boat was great. Except for the scratches this canoe has come through unscathed. I'm looking forward to using this canoe for a long time to come. The boat is the heaviest canoe I own and I use it mostly on canoe camping trips with no long portages. With a light load it is brutal to paddle in the wind. Not that good on flat water without a load. Can't beat the price and value for the money.

I have had two Old Town…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/9/2001
I have had two Old Town Discovery 169 the first cracked and was replaced by Old Town at no cost to me the boat was ten years old at the time.The boat performs well on rivers and big lakes and is a good stabel platform two golden retreviers and a wife will agree no one has fliped it yet. Old Town stands by what thay build even after ten years.

My family bought a Discovery…

Submitted by: paddler228994 on 11/7/2000
My family bought a Discovery 169 ten years ago for an all-round family canoe. It is not the fastest, lightest, or easiest to paddle, but it is very close to being the best at hauling a huge load and living forever. We have used it for everything from slow water float trips with my wife, myself and three children aboard to class II white water. For someone looking for an extremely solid lager capacity canoe, the Discovery 169 is hard to beat.

Ah yes, the famous Old Towne…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/23/2000
Ah yes, the famous Old Towne advertisement with the canoe being crushed by a pick-up I believe. If they would have designed the bloody boat so that it would handle, you could manouver around things instead of bouncing off them, the boat could have been 20 pounds lighter, Don't get me wrong, there isn't a tougher boat on the market. Mine has been to hell and back on the boney rivers of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and has served me very well. It will handle a pile of gear and two adults in class 2 water with ease. A great boat to begin with, great to lend to your buddies, but since I got my M.R. it does'nt get used much any more.

This is the first canoe that…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/9/2000
This is the first canoe that I ever owned. My wife and 3 kids have taken it camping on lakes and on the White River with class I and II rapids here in Utah. It handled very well in all situations. I was able to load it with enough gear for 5 people on a 2 day trip. The only complaint I have is that it is so dang heavy. I can car top it by myself but it takes a lot of effort. It's well worth your money.

I bought my Discovery 169…

Submitted by: paddler228694 on 7/6/2000
I bought my Discovery 169 several years ago when I didn't own a boat. Now I have three kayaks, and the Discovery doesn't get used as much, but I still enjoy getting it out on the bay. My daughter is also starting to enjoy taking it out with friends.

The boat is large enough to carry a lot of stuff, which is what I want in a canoe. It easily carried my wife and I, our two kids (when they were younger) side-by-side behind her, and Cousin Kasey in a high-backed beach chair just aft of amidships, plus an ice chest and a couple of large dry bags. I've also had it out with 5 adults in calm water. No problem.

It paddles easily and is very tough. I've had it now for about 7 years and it looks almost as good as new.

Several of the families we've been paddling with lately have had Colemans. There's nothing wrong with Colemans, especially for the price, but I'm glad we spent a little more for the Discovery.

Speaking of price, I think this boat was a good deal. It's heavier than Royalex or Kevlar, but it was much cheaper. I got it on sale at REI for a little over $600. And it's just about indestructible. Yes, it is heavy. Trying to carry it by myself from the top of the van to the water is somewhat daunting. But my wife and I manage it together just fine. Last night my (now)12-year-old daughter and her 12-year-old girlfriend carried it up from the water to the van - about 100 yards - by themselves.

This is a good boat for a family, and reasonably priced.


Was my fist canoe. Loved it .…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/25/2000
Was my fist canoe. Loved it . Incredibly stable and did super in calm rivers and white water. Its a bit heavy for this female to get in and out of the water and back on my truck. Thats the only reason I'm looking to get a lighter boat. Would recomend it for someone that has a family or regular paddling partners (or is stronger than I am when it comes to lifting 80+ pounds of canoe over your head and onto a rack. Crosslink-3 holds up great and the inside lookes like new.

I have a family of 5 (3 girls…

Submitted by: paddler228435 on 1/28/2000
I have a family of 5 (3 girls ages 8 to 3). I bought the Discovery 169 to have some family fun on the nearby lake and to enjoy some calm river paddling/ camping. I made a good choice. The Discovery 169 will roll and lean as my 3 year-old lunges for a leaf, a duck feather or other treasure, but it remains stable and seems very hard to actually flip. At least we haven't flipped yet. I can handle the canoe well, unassisted from the stern seat, with 520 pounds of family on board. Moderate winds on the open lake didn't seem to bother me as much as I thought it would. And it even catches 5-pound fish. I can maneuver the 169 on top of my truck by myself (It is easier with just a little help). It seems pretty tough, although a sharp chunk of underwater concrete did put a pretty good scrape on the bow (I suppose any plastic-hull canoe would get hurt by that). All-in-all, the whole family loves the Discovery 169. It's exactly what I wanted, a durable, all-around work horse that handles reasonably well. And in dark green, it's probably the prettiest plastic canoe I've seen.

As a touring canoe, the 169…

Submitted by: paddler228286 on 9/18/1999
As a touring canoe, the 169 is all but perfect. A stable platform and low rocker make the boat difficult to tip and keep it tracking well on the lazy Shennandoah where mine has seen most of its use. At 16'9", the boat can handle all of the cargo one would need, this being proven by several day trips involving a case or more of beer. This boat could possibly see some class 2-3 whitewater, however, it does not turn smoothly if not piloted solo from the stern. The only heavy draw back to the discovery 169 would be the weight (sorry for the pun).

I use my discovery 169 for…

Submitted by: paddler228117 on 6/12/1999
I use my discovery 169 for canoe camping mainly on slow rivers and black water in the southern part of georgia . i love it. it isnt the fastest thing on the water, but if i were in a hurry i wouldnt use a canoe at all. i can carry a sinfull amount of cargo which makes for a more enjoyable time of roughing it smoothly. it is very stable and almost indestructable, it is a little heavy to portage but we dont have to do that verry often down here and when we do my partner and i manage it o k. this is also a great family play boat. as i said it is very stable and large enough for my wife and kids to swim from or to fish from or to just relax and day tour in. this is not the only boat i have but it is the most used.

This canoe is a compromise,…

Submitted by: paddler228112 on 6/7/1999
This canoe is a compromise, like any canoe. It is shaped as much as possible like the famous Old Town Tripper but made out of crosslinked polyethelene instead of Royalex. They made it shorter (16'9" instead of 17'2") to try to keep weight down but it is still very heavy (85lbs instead of 80lbs). It would not make a good tripping canoe for around here because of the portages. That polyethylene is extremely durable and abrasion resistant though (moreso even than Royalex) and this size and shape is a good general purpose one. I bought mine used from an outfitter where it was abused for five long seasons until it was so badly scratched on the bottom that they didn't feel they could rent it out any more. It cost me less than $350 and I don't worry about scratching it or drilling holes in it. I use it mostly for a solo whitewater playboat and, filled with two truck tubes and two full air bags held in by parachute cord laced through the holes I drilled in the gunwales it does a fine job with this. Of course the thing starts out weighing 85lbs and with the truck tires, bags, a small plywood deck on the front, and 50 feet of rescue rope shock corded to the back deck it weighs more like 110lbs but I rarely carry it. I take it off the roof of the car, throw it on the ground, and drag it where it needs to go. It handles shallow rocky rapids easily because it is big with a wide flat bottom that doesn't draw much water and slips easily over obstructions. It also turns reasonably quickly and is easy to draw sideways across the current. It is a little wide paddling from the middle and long arms help, but I installed a cane seat a little behind the front seat and paddle backwards sitting there or kneeling right up against the center thwart, depending on how rough things get and how important it is to be balalnced flat (draws less over shallows). With this canoe and two $18 Mohawk plastic/aluminum paddles, I have had a tremendous amount of fun (23 day trips last year and 6 so far this year on class 2,3, and 4 rapids on the Sandy, Swift, Webb, Androscoggin, Sheepscot, Kenduskeag, Kennebec, and Dead Rivers. I just went on the Kennebec River today (Harris Station to The Forks) where there are some huge waves (favorite for rafting trips) and I got a lot of funny looks and concerned questions from kayakers and catayakers (sp?). I'm sure one of those banana shaped solo whitewater boats would have been easier in the big waves, but it worked. By shifting the bags around and installing a snap-in seat I have gone on day trips with two people and even three people (I am recently married with a ten year old stepdaughter). I obviously couldn't do this with a specialized solo whitewater boat.

The bottom line is that this is an incredibly durable, inexpensive canoe which can serve a variety of functions. Any problems I have had have more to do with my limitations as a paddler than the canoe. I keep trying out faster, lighter, easier paddling canoes (Old Town Penobscot 16 and 17, Winona Sundowner Royalex 17) and eyeing a little solo whitewater canoe (Dagger w/bags) that was a trade-in at a local canoe store and nobody seems to want but so far, this canoe is performing well enough that I can't justify buying anything else so far.


This is a plastic sandwich…

Submitted by: paddler228087 on 5/9/1999
This is a plastic sandwich barge. It's great with the wife, kid, dog, cooler, tubes, etc. on a moving river. It holds alot and has never tipped (we swim out of it), slips over the shelf rocks (doesn't hang up). On a slow canal or lake, it is not a pleasure to paddle, it is heavy and does not have sharp entry lines. For the picnic barge it is great, it is not a high-performance unit. If I was buying again, I would look for an easier paddler.