Discovery 174 Description

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Old Town Canoe and Kayak
Discovery 174 Reviews

Read reviews for the Discovery 174 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 the Discovery 174…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/30/2021

I bought the Discovery 174 in 1989, it's been in white water, it's been to Canada,. Love it ! Carries more weight than you probably want to portage, And extremely stable. You'll fall out before you capsize !


Purchased the Discovery 7…

Submitted by: paddler236872 on 6/16/2016
Purchased the Discovery 7 years ago. The canoe handles great in white water. You can cut a corner on a dime. We paddle the Bonaventure in 2015 / 90 miles for five days. Plenty of room for gear but the best part the Discovery 174 handled great and came through the Class III's as smooth as silk. We used back ferrying technique on the river. Took the canoe through the toughest spots where we sat back and enjoyed the ride. It is a tough and high endurance canoe. It is a heavy canoe for portaging. One thing we notice: when we lined the canoe, the Discovery 174 is extremely stable and easy to handle in rough water. Two guys can line this canoe easily. It is a solid boat. Would purchase another without hesitation.

The Discovery 174 has been a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/4/2015
The Discovery 174 has been a great canoe in rough water and rapids: I canoed alone twice in rough conditions (18 inch turbulence and waves) and was able to see my way through it. It handled way better than all the other smaller canoes I've been in. I had to compensate for the bow blowing around, but no problems. Love the canoe, but it can be a heavy portage alone.

This is a great canoe if you…

Submitted by: mptherrien on 9/8/2015
This is a great canoe if you need to haul a lot of gear or people. We've had a ball with two adults paddling and two kids with plenty of room to roam in between. I've been through the Allagash with it carried a week worth of provisions and it's taken all the bumps the rocks in Churchill Rapids could through at us with barely a dent to be seen. Great boat for tripping.

Great canoe. Easy to handle.…

Submitted by: smervol on 9/8/2015
Great canoe. Easy to handle. Not too heavy. Tracks straight. Great for lakes and rivers. Wouldn't run Rapids in it but otherwise a great canoe. Great for fishing which is what I mostly do. Room for gear on overnight trips.

We have used this canoe on…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/15/2015
We have used this canoe on numerous adventures and we have found it to be durable and able to haul heavy loads with stability. It is not heavy to portage. It can haul 3 people.

I have the Discovery 174 and…

Submitted by: paddler229496 on 10/8/2014
I have the Discovery 174 and I have had some of the most wonderful times heading down the rivers of Ireland with friends and taking on the weirs. I like it because you can carry quite a bit too, box tent change of clothes. It's such a pleasure to pitch a tent by the river bank open a bottle of wine and soak in the sounds of nature as the sun goes down.

I would agree the big drawback is that in a strong wind it is almost impossible to paddle alone. Still a great canoe.


I've had this canoe since…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/14/2014
I've had this canoe since 1986 and love it. This canoe is made to carry some weight and paddles better when your carrying that weight ( the initial stability calms down... and there's always plenty of secondary... you'd have to purposely try to tip this canoe over in calm water. Aluminum canoes (I've had a couple) are flat bottom and give lots of initial stability and no false sense of security. The crosslink is slippery on the rocks and insulates you from cold water (Aluminum canoes fail here also).

The boy scouts borrowed it for a Boundary Waters trip and loved all the gear it would hold... but not so much on the portaging. Yes, it's a bit heavy, but for what its intended for the weight is acceptable. This is a great "freighter" for tripping or for family's.


I have had my Discovery 174…

Submitted by: lokes on 8/9/2013
I have had my Discovery 174 since 1986 and it still slips over rocks in shallow water like it was oiled. It tracks well and has good stability. It maneuvers well for such a long boat, but it is a little awkward solo. Great for tripping and fishing.

This boat may be heavy by…

Submitted by: Draco on 7/29/2013
This boat may be heavy by some standards, at a little over 80 lbs, but that's not bad for a 17 foot plus canoe. The material is very tough, a fair tradeoff for the weight and price.

It handles very well for its size. It feels a little unstable at first, but the low initial stability is what allows it to turn well. The secondary stability is great, so after just a few minutes you get comfortable and have fun. It's large enough that my wife and I can both flyfish from it at the same time.


We've had this canoe for over…

Submitted by: slcfireguy on 7/27/2013
We've had this canoe for over 20 years. Had it on lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams. It's always handled well and is very versatile. We've done flat water and whitewater with it. Have had it full of water, and it doesn't sink. Have flipped it a few times. It's very durable. Had it loaded with gear, and it handles great. This is a great canoe!

Bought our Old Town 174.…

Submitted by: mikeo208 on 5/19/2013
Bought our Old Town 174. 1986. two adults, 3 kids, and a golden retriever and we never turned it over. Very stable. My only complaint was the screw heads along the vinyl gunnels scraped along our aluminum canoe rack. Plus the 80#.

I received an Old Town…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/10/2012
I received an Old Town Discovery 174 as a gift about 3 weeks ago from a friend who hadn't used it in a number of years. The thwart and yoke had rotted out of it but the rest of it was in good shape. After cleaning it up and ordering and receiving the thwart, yoke and attaching hardware and putting them on, I put it out on the pond we live on with my wife and daughter and we had a blast. It's easy to paddle and turn even when I'm in it solo. I've never owned a canoe so this is a treat for me and I've had fun with it. It is a bit on the heavy side but it doesn't take much to move it from the rack to the water since it's only about 5 feet and the rack is low to the ground. My wife doesn't even complain when she helps me move it. It's still manageable by myself putting it in and taking it out of the water. I would buy another in a heartbeat.

Some reviewers mention the…

Submitted by: Wrangler on 7/20/2012
Some reviewers mention the bottom bulging in the 174.This causes negative rocker and makes any soft,flat bottomed canoe steer like a pig. This is easily remedied by jamming an old plastic milk crate under the centre thwart.Even better if the crate sits on a couple of light timbers about 3' long.Crate is also useful for keeping odds and ends in one place.

We purchased our Discovery…

Submitted by: paddler234649 on 7/9/2012
We purchased our Discovery 174 approx. 25 years ago as a young family with two small kids and a dog and loved every outing with it! It is unsinkable as we tried! We had our two kids try to topple it when climbing in and out as it rocked back and forth nicely, and did not capsize. A sure safety bet for a family. We found it very comfortable and large enough to carry 2 adults and 2 kids, a dog, a cooler and an anchor. Our Old Town Discovery saw lots of action on chopping lakes and slower streams. It was a dream to maneuver! Just wish it was lighter as we head into our 60's we do have some difficulty lifting it onto the truck cab.

We've had our Discovery 174…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/2/2012
We've had our Discovery 174 for over 15 years and use it for both lakes and rivers. It's tough, stable and turns well (if you take a little time to learn how). The grand-kids (13 and 6) use it on the winding river running into our lake without any problems.

I bought two 174s in '92 from…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/5/2011
I bought two 174s in '92 from a livery I worked for- at the time they were at least 10 years old and had seen a LOT of action (Chippewa River, 3 nearby colleges and a bunch of Class 2 gravel ripples). I am sadly looking for a slightly smaller replacement, since the 80# is a little heavier at 50 than it was at 30, and it's a lot of boat for my 9 and 11 year old paddling partners in higher winds and waves. That aside, if it weighed 65#, I'd never need another boat...and it's almost 30 yrs old!

This is THE BEST canoe I've…

Submitted by: paddler233616 on 6/1/2010
This is THE BEST canoe I've ever owned and I've owned a few. Every other canoe I was afraid to stand in or lean over in because they would always dump me out! My 174 is the most stable tip-proof and sink-proof craft. I even filled it 3/4 with water and it was still floating down the river. Great family craft, my dog jumps in and out and it never tips over.

I bought my 174 as a…

Submitted by: paddler233022 on 2/16/2009
I bought my 174 as a photography platform, as I do professional photos. The canoe has been in the water constantly for the last 3 years (4 to 5 times a week through the spring/summer/fall) and always has handled whatever happens...and believe me, from glass to light chop to surfing 3 1/2 foot whitecaps this boat has been in it all! I work alone or maybe with a model and have always had no problem loading it on a full size Dodge truck roof. I have canoe companies wanting to let me use their boats for free, but I would rather BUY another 174 from Old Towne instead (if they wouldn't sponsor me...HINT HINT). If, you couldn't guess, I have loved this canoe, used it in the most extreme conditions with all types of loads and have never had it fail me.

I've had my 174 for 10 years.…

Submitted by: paddler232835 on 8/20/2008
I've had my 174 for 10 years. Was a kayaker previously (class IV boater) though I've done some V. Have had the D 174 down III+ solo and w/ 12yo daughter. Managed to surf the boat as well as stair step eddies w/o problem.
Tracks well. Takes abuse.
Cons: Center caved in. Heavy. Seats aren't easily reversible so solo trip can become uncomfortable.

Purchased a used 174 that…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/29/2008
Purchased a used 174 that turned out to be a 1988 model. Scratches on the bottom but perfect in every other way. Loaded down with me (240lb, wife... lets just say over 150lbs, and two kids each about 60lbs). Me in the rear and can control it fine. I originally thought it was too much boat for us, but now I have fallen in love with it. I can move it myself, but my wife's help doesn't go without appreciation. Very stable, smooth, and easy ride for lake, pond, and slow river. Very happy with my purchase.

I bought my discovery used…

Submitted by: Shockahawn on 4/23/2008
I bought my discovery used from a local livery. It clearly has had a great deal of use, but it still has lots of life left. It is a bit on the heavy side, but what do you expect for 17' craft? Other canoes of this length could certainly weigh a lot more. Pretty stable on the water and not real difficult to control. My discovery has done everything I have asked it to and could certainly handle a whole lot more. I gotta give it a ten for versatility, durability, and overall value.

A gift from my wife 7 years…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/27/2007
A gift from my wife 7 years ago; a used 174. I make several river runs each year, mostly I hunt, fish or trip with it. Have rowed it, mostly paddle solo. Pulled wet dogs aboard, 55 lbs dry. Into head wind, move to middle, put gear in bow - no problem - just a little extra sweat.

Stable, Fast, Reliable & Tough. Great family canoe. Draw back as noted in previous reviews is weight, only applies when on land not in water.


I have had this canoe for…

Submitted by: paddler230880 on 11/17/2004
I have had this canoe for about one year and have enjoyed paddling, rowing and driving it under the power of my 5hp Mercury Outboard engine. While not an expert in canoes, I have no problems turning this flat bottom canoe with either my 7' oars or with paddles. I have gone down rivers with it and hit rocks very hard with the canoe loaded with camping gear. It just bounced off the rocks, no problem. With the outboard, I made my own bracket and have clocked it at 15mph. At that speed, with my 5hp, it is quiet enough for normal conversation. Once up on a plane, it gets quite stable. In order to get it to plane, I put my 60lb son in the front seat while I sit on my knees near the first cross member. It runs almost flat on the water. In order to turn, we just lean to one side and it turns a nice 50' radius turn. It acts just like a giant single water ski!

I've had my sternwheels for a…

Submitted by: paddler230847 on 10/17/2004
I've had my sternwheels for a couple of months now and I like them. At first I had problems getting them to stay on but then I attached a couple of bungie cords from the axle to the combing of the cockpit of my kayak (14.5' Perception Carolina also a 13.5' Perception America). This works great. It doesn't slip and best of all I get my kayak from the car to the water and back. I think it is easier than having someone carrying the other end of the kayak. The wheels are lightweight and fit inside the rear water tight compartment on days that I don't have a lot of other stuff in there. Sometimes they slip and the wheels rub but after a little adjustment I'm ready to go again. I imagine that other wheels work better but all of the other carts that I have seen are significantly more expensive.

I purchased the Discovery 174…

Submitted by: paddler230493 on 3/31/2004
I purchased the Discovery 174 in 2002. It tracks well is fast even in heavy headwind me and my 10 year old had no problems I have stood up in it it is very stable I have had 5 people in it no problem with the load. The bottom had concaved in and maintained that shape oldtown took it back as a defect I got a penobscot 17 to avoid that problem again and for the lighter weight. I am not as happy with the penobscot it does not have the great stability or the speed. I give it an 8 due to the defect & the weight I would reccomend this canoe to anyone who does not have to lift & carry it.

I've had my 17.4 Discovery…

Submitted by: paddler230299 on 8/4/2003
I've had my 17.4 Discovery for about 4 years and had used it only twice because I found it to be too heavy and very difficult to cart around on top of the car. I must admit, I bought it on looks, without any thought to function. It was an impulse purchase while visiting the factory at Old Town. It clearly was the wrong canoe for carting around. This year I have been able to store the canoe at the Riverfront Recapture boat house by the Connecticut River in Hartford and now use it several times a week. It is the perfect canoe for the river. I only have to carry it about 50 yards to the water. It is a great leisure craft. Perfect for winding down and relaxing. I take people out on it who would be reluctant to venture out on a smaller canoe. Yes, under windy conditions, it can sail and can be hard to turn. By personal choice, most days, it is the slowest craft on the river. However, it handles the wakes from motor boats without a problem and is stable enough for me to take pictures with confidence. At the same time, when I want to, I can make it turn at will and with the long waterline, I can really cruise. It is a water version of a pickup truck with a kick.

I've had my 174 for ten…

Submitted by: paddler230249 on 7/11/2003
I've had my 174 for ten years. I take it 2-3 tmes a year into the boundary waters of minnesota, yes it is heavy (84-85#s) but it does any thing I want it to do. It out runs aluminium canoes, doesn't hangup on rocks (in the rivers or on the lakes), and is more durable than kevlar. It's o'so quiet.

Have found the 174 to be one…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/4/2003
Have found the 174 to be one of those canoes that you either love or hate. To the novice, I think the boat probably feels slow and difficult to turn. To the more experienced paddler, however, the boat can really fly when you have a tandem working in stride. I have run several class IIIs with the 174 and made them easily. Have wrapped a rock in a rapids with the boat and had it hold together where I think an aluminum canoe would have crumpled. The 174 does sail in the wind and you do bump a lot of rocks, but when you're driving the equivalent of an M1 tank, who cares? Carries a lot and gets the job done.

WOW! The reviews I read are…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/3/2002
WOW! The reviews I read are all over the board. I don't understand it. I have owned my 174 for well over a decade and have NEVER paddled a better tandem canoe!

Some reviewers have said she's slow...???...compared to WHAT? She is one of the fastest, easiest paddling boats I've seen in almost 50 years. She passes every other canoe I've encountered, and that's with one paddler, taking it easy, and one passenger in the bow. Its fun watching the expression on the kids' faces in the next boat over, digging in as I slide on by.

True, she takes a wide turning radius or a good bow paddler, but what do you want from a 17 foot, straight keeled boat? Every design is a compromise, and the 174 took efficiency over maneuverability. Nevertheless, I can turn her well enough to handle the upper Delaware without trouble, or the Fulton Chain, or the Raquette River, or the Allagash.

Capacity? I've had her out with 4 adults aboard. She just gets better as you load her down. Stability? Versatility? She's been out on New Jersey's Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers, in Sandy Hook Bay, New York's Lake George, and the keys of Everglades National Park, as well as all of the rivers mentioned...and NEVER turned turtle or gave any reason for complaint.

But she belongs IN the water. On land, she's a pig. At 88 pounds, portaging or loading her on my SUV is a pain in the back...literally. Of course, I'm pushing 57, and it used to be a whole lot easier...maybe time will push me into a lighter boat, but it will not be easy to find another I like as well. Meanwhile, if I'm alone and carrying, I'll take my 50 pound sea kayak.


Bought my Discovery 174 about…

Submitted by: wwillard on 3/13/2002
Bought my Discovery 174 about two years ago. I knew what I was buying since I had done research. I wanted a large capacity boat for flat water/tripping. So, yes, it handles like a sail boat in windy conditions on a larger span of water. With two adults or one adult and two teens it handles superbly under windy conditions. I solo a lot and have learned how to maneuver. No problem. I've even done class 3 rapids and come out dry most of the time. (To be sure this is not your whitewater canoe, but I could only buy one.) Realizing the weight, I built a cart to help with getting it to my truck. Works like a charm. Built like a tank? Sure. But that's what I wanted and I'm quite happy with mine!

I'm a little surprised at…

Submitted by: lindab on 6/27/2001
I'm a little surprised at some of the negative reviews on the 174. We have had one for several years and I love it! This thing paddles well and is very stable. It glides over rocks in very shallow water while other people we were with were scrapping bottom. It bounces off rocks and large boulders without damage. We have only used it with 2-3 people. I suspect that using it as a solo would be more difficult. I only give it a 9 because it is heavier than our Wenonah canoe.

The 174 is a great canoe if…

Submitted by: paddler229266 on 6/6/2001
The 174 is a great canoe if you have some experience. It tracks well and if you know how to handle it can trun really well for a large canoe. It is a smooth ride and is can be paddled by one man with a little work. It is darn near impossible to flip and can take on some pretty big water if you know how to handle a large boat. If not, it will take a while to get used to.

I had to rent the 174 the…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/11/2000
I had to rent the 174 the past two trips on the greenbrier and thought I was losing touch with my canoeing karma. Would not, could not turn the thing to avoid rocks. Without a load it sits high and catches the wind like a sail. Class II w/o load and trying to avoid dumping was impossible. Really too bad as the more inexperienced of our group had such a tough time they are not rushing out to canoe again. Our 158 handles moving water much better and still holds enough for a week trip.

I borrowed my neighbors…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/7/2000
I borrowed my neighbors discovery. It was the largest canoe I have used. I have to say that I was a little disappointed. On a slow river, the canoe was very sluggish in the water and did not respond well. It tracks moderately well, but if it starts to get off center, then it is very tough to get straight again. The discovery is built like a tank, but also performs like one too.

We do a lot of canoeing down…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/12/2000
We do a lot of canoeing down the Namekagon, Brule, and Totogatic Rivers in Northwest Wisconsin. There are a lot of rocks that we bounce off of and the Old Town Discovery 174 can handle everything that we throw at it. It is tough, durable, and forgiving. It is quiet going over rocks and I would recommend it to anybody. There is plenty of room for gear, plus it looks good.

I think the 174 is fine boat…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 3/21/2000
I think the 174 is fine boat it handles rough water with ease. I've run Class III water with it and it handled it fine. It is a very strong canoe. The crosslink 3 weights 85 pout ands and it can be managed with practice. I've beet mine bad and it's still in ex cond. buy one and enjoy.

We use the 174 for our…

Submitted by: paddler228436 on 1/28/2000
We use the 174 for our wilderness tripping school. It is slow, heavy, but industrutible so its great for kids and inexperienced adults. It is a great canoe for the inexperience paddler. If you are an experienced paddler you will hate the canoe as it is very low on performance.

I've had my Discovery 174 for…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/12/1999
I've had my Discovery 174 for 10 years now and thousands of miles. It holds more gear than anyone should carry, and I've even taken it on weeklong solo trips on class I-II water with no problems. It slides over rocks like they were greased! The boat doesn't turn easily, is a bit slow, but a very good general purpose barge, and a good value for the money. At about 80 pounds , I would not want to portage it! Take this boat where you wouldn't want to take your kevlar boat.

My Disco 174 is made of Cross…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/13/1999
My Disco 174 is made of Cross Link 3 and is quite heavy. This really doesn't cause a problem b/c I'm a big guy and I usually only do day trips. It does make it difficult to hoist it up on the roof of the car. I'm very pleased with the way it handles. It is quick ( even when soloing ) holds a line well ( as far as I can tell...all of the paddlers I have taken it out with have been weaklings, so I had to compensate for them ) and stable. This might be attributed to the web seat option that I chose, which lowered the center of gravity. It takes some effort to turn though. I have a problem with this crosslink though. It could stand to be much more stiff in the middle. When I go through waves, I can see the keel flexing. All in all, I think it's a beautiful and comfortable ( all plastic trim i.e. no sharp edges ) canoe.