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Discovery 158

by Old Town Canoe and Kayak

For over 25 years the Discovery 158 has been one of our best selling canoes. If you're looking for a tough and rugged canoe, the Discovery 158 is it! Our Three Layer construction is designed to take a beating. But, the Discovery 158 is also designed to perform well on the water. Agile, stable and easy to handle, the Discovery 158 is a nice choice for the outdoor enthusiast.

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Reviews

I've had my discovery by "Old Town" for a while now…

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I've had my discovery by "Old Town" for a while now. I don't think I could have made a better choice. I've had it in maybe class IV rapids, lazy rivers and flat water. It may not be the best for any of these applications but has performed very well in my opinion in all theatres. I've had it loaded down with camping gear for two with two fat old men. Done the dad thing with me, two kids, cooler and tackle and had no problems. The seat supports do a little groaning but the webbing still looks great! The finish and hardware on the seats has held up extremely well. I have not been kind to her so the shell has taken some damage but nothing you shouldn't expect for the amount of usage.
Overall a great canoe and a very good value.

The Old Town Discovery 158 is a tough as nails boat that…

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The Old Town Discovery 158 is a tough as nails boat that can haul a lot of gear. The boat is stable and beginner friendly. There is a reason this boat is a favorite for rental fleets.

My disco is over 20 years old and has survived a very hard life. It has spent its life stored outdoors in the sun and has run many thousands of miles of rivers from class II whitewater to flatwater rivers and lakes.

The boat is made of polylink 3. This material is a polyethelene hull with a foam core. the foam core adds stiffness to the canoe. The seats are molded plastic, but some boats have wood seats. The yoke is ash and the rails are rubber.

The polylink 3 material is extremely tough and plenty stiff for a canoe. The disadvantage is the material is heavy compared to composite canoes, but if you are able to handle loading and unloading a 75lb boat, Polylink 3 is a perfectly good choice. Exposure to sun has started to take a toll on my boat, but this is after 20 years of being stored outdoors upside down on saw horses.

The boat has a fairly flat bottom with moderate rocker. This means that the boat has a good deal of initial stability, but tends to slide a little when turned sharply. The Discovery 158 does not have great secondary stability and if leaned over too far, it does not increase resistance to further leaning. The maneuverability is acceptable. Handling is improved by the arched or slight v bottom profile on the Old Town Penobscot, which alleviates the problem of sliding during turns and provides some increased secondary stability at the cost of primary stability.

The canoe holds a decent speed when paddled tandem. We usually average between 3 and 3.2 knots on long trips. Solo the canoe paddles between 2.3 and 2.5 knots on long trips.

The disco will easily carry enough gear for a several week expedition and is a great choice for a low budget flat water expedition canoe or paddling the pond at the cabin. It will last a lifetime if stored indoors and will handle the abuse of hitting rocks, stumps or other submerged objects.

Old Town still makes some great products, and one should think very hard about the Penobscot or the Discovery 158 if looking for a durable, affordable canoe to take on weekend or week long camping trips into the wilderness.

The Discovery 158 canoe is a strong and reliable canoe. The three…

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The Discovery 158 canoe is a strong and reliable canoe. The three layer construction is designed to take a beating. But, the Discovery 158 is also designed to perform well on the water. It is fast, not wobbly and is easy to handle. This Discovery 158 is a nice choice for the outdoor enthusiast. It features comfortable and durable nylon web seats, ash carrying yoke and thwart, vinyl gunwales, comfortable carrying handles, extremely durable three layer polyethylene. The hull bottom is shallow arch; sides are straight and rocker moderate. Overall, It is an excellent canoe for a recreationist. It gives a various variety of colors for a personal appeal. The length, depth and width is ideal for comfort for all tall or small sizes of canoers. I would recommend it to all. It is an excellent product.

An excellent overall canoe, we've owned ours for over twenty years. Extremely…

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An excellent overall canoe, we've owned ours for over twenty years. Extremely tough, and preforms well on the water. We use it almost exclusively on rivers, with it's lack of a keel and heavy weight, it would be a poor choice for a lake canoe. Suitable for two or solo, I used to use it extensively for canoe camping. Our older one has the molded seats, we drilled a hole in each so they would drain. I see they now come with webbed seats instead, and they have shaved about eight pounds off the boat down to a still heavy eighty pounds. Really, the weight is the one real problem with this boat. It has to be moved with care to avoid injury, my wrist is still not fully recovered from when a partner let it flop over on me while carrying it almost twenty years ago.

An excellent overall canoe, we've owned ours for over twenty years. Extremely…

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An excellent overall canoe, we've owned ours for over twenty years. Extremely tough, and preforms well on the water. We use it almost exclusively on rivers, with it's lack of a keel and heavy weight, it would be a poor choice for a lake canoe. Suitable for two or solo, I used to use it extensively for canoe camping. Our older one has the molded seats, we drilled a hole in each so they would drain. I see they now come with webbed seats instead, and they have shaved about eight pounds off the boat down to a still heavy eighty pounds. Really, the weight is the one real problem with this boat. It has to be moved with care to avoid injury, my wrist is still not fully recovered from when a partner let it flop over on me while carrying it almost twenty years ago.

I purchased 6 of these canoes for staff training in Level 1…

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I purchased 6 of these canoes for staff training in Level 1 and 2 ACA agendas. The are tough and durable and handle well. Comfortable for most paddlers of all skill types. Heavy but will take an anticipated beating for years.

I've paddled these canoes roughly ten times through a local outfitter I…

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I've paddled these canoes roughly ten times through a local outfitter I visit often. I cannot say enough about these canoes, they are simply great for their price range. Large enough to haul ample amounts of gear and pleasure to canoe in lazy rivers. I've never had them on water ranging water but i'd say they would perform well on waters up to class III. The ones I paddled were made from polyethylene and were heavy, but tough as nails too.

I love this canoe! It has plenty of room for my gear…

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I love this canoe! It has plenty of room for my gear, tracks well, and takes a beating. I expect to own this boat for many years.

I love this canoe, I thought it would be to big to…

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I love this canoe, I thought it would be to big to solo, but I was wrong. I soloed this canoe down the green River for a three day trip, it handled very well floating all the way to class 3/4 rapids. Tracks well, maneuvers well, and best of all, even when taking on water it still stays afloat. Only thing I changed was I added a third seat closers to the center, I am 6'2 250 pounds.

Fun! Just the right size to handle both small lakes and rivers…

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Fun! Just the right size to handle both small lakes and rivers. Easy for one person with lots of room for equipment. Loading on and off the Jeep is no problem. Light enough for portages using the ash yoke (85lbs). Almost 20 years old it takes a beating but never loses its classic style.

I have owned my Old Towne Discovery for over a decade.…

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I have owned my Old Towne Discovery for over a decade. I purchased it second hand and have used for camping trips and many times on the Chattahoochee over rocks. It roomy, stable and almost indestructible. The only negative is that is a bit of a slug. On long trips, like the Boundary Waters and overnight river trips we use my freinds's Old Towne Penobscot as it is longer and more efficient. The wicker seats needed replacing after more than a decade.

Love this canoe for overnighters on big, calm rivers. My only advice…

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Love this canoe for overnighters on big, calm rivers. My only advice is not to overload it an a swift and curling river such as the Buffalo in TN. I may, or may not, have done such resulting in an overturned canoe wedged in a tree in the middle of the river. My dog really enjoys the room up front to run around and I have no fears of flipping it...

Going on year 25 with my 158. It still looks great…

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Going on year 25 with my 158. It still looks great. I've had to refinish the wood cross supports twice in those 25 years, but the wood is still good and looks great with the new finish. This is a very stable canoe that can haul camping gear. I like to fish out of it as well. With excited kids in the front, I have never flipped.

If you are looking for a fast, agile canoe, this isn't it. If you want a safe durable and easy to control canoe, buy the 158.

Great Canoe! The first thing you'll always hear about this canoe is…

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Great Canoe!

The first thing you'll always hear about this canoe is that it weighs 80 pounds. I'm here to tell you that it only weighs 80 pounds. I'm 6'2"/220Lbs and I can solo a long portage using the yoke... no problem. Two adults of any size can easily carry this boat over-head or by the handles (with a few breaks) for any short to moderate distance. Add a caddy and the portage weight is moot. You just have to be smart about how you carry it, and plan your portage wisely.

Getting it up on the racks is easy with two people who communicate well. If you're solo, then lift one end at a time. Using the yoke I can solo it right on to the racks of my truck... granted I'm tall.

In the water this canoe is great. Because of the weight it's not my first pick for the annual "Race around the Lake" event; but, it is perfect for a fun day trip around the lake, harbor, river, or even ocean. It is one stable boat that requires a pretty serious mistake to capsize.

It can also haul over a half ton of paddlers, pets, food and gear for those trips lasting more than a day. It is equally maneuverable solo, with two adults, with three adults, or with two adults and two kids.

I've found the three-layer polyethylene hull to be nearly indestructible. I've scarred mine severely upon hitting rocky beaches with no serious damage to the hull's structural strength or seaworthiness. The vinyl gunwales are durable and make sliding onto/off racks effortless. If you take care of it, it will look like new for years. If you abuse it and neglect it, it will look like crap; but, it will still function great for decades to come.

The newer version high-backed seats are not for me. I prefer no-back or weaved benches which allows for paddling stern-first while soloing.

Overall, this is one of the best "first canoe," "family canoe," or "leave it at the cabin and forget it - no-worries" canoe you can own.

A fine canoe for all purpose canoeing. It can take a lot…

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A fine canoe for all purpose canoeing. It can take a lot of abuse by kids of all ages. I got mine as a livery sell-off so it had already been through much. It has good looking lines, seems easy to paddle in lake or stream, but it seems to be getting heavier every year. It might be me though.

Good all around durable 2-person canoe at affordable price. Built in…

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Good all around durable 2-person canoe at affordable price. Built in handles at each end. However, it is heavy, approx. 82 to 87 lbs. Thus, difficult to carry by 1 person. I also like to use it on camping trips. Easy to load a lot of gear in it.

I purchased the Discovery 158 last year and have been nothing but…

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I purchased the Discovery 158 last year and have been nothing but delighted with it. I solo a lot with a dog and it has proved to be very stable with a highly active dog in the bow. Other than being a little on the heavy side I have no complaints and would suggest this canoe for anyone. Get outside and enjoy life.

The Discovery is an excellent canoe. I purchased mine in 1986 and…

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The Discovery is an excellent canoe. I purchased mine in 1986 and had it for 20 years before selling it.

The canoe is exceptionally stable. I often stood in the canoe to cast when fishing. It is an awesome tripping canoe, capable of carrying 1,100 lbs. It was, however, heavy, which made portaging the canoe tiring.

My canoe had the bench seat, which allowed me to solo paddle the canoe backwards by sitting in the bow seat. Contrary to what has been written, the newer model is not a good solo canoe. The contoured seats and backrests prevent solo paddlers from paddling the canoe backwards. Paddling solo from the stern seat is doable, but it raises the bow high out of the water, which on windy days will turn the bow into a sail.

If you need a great family canoe, this is the ideal canoe to get. It's very stable, something you want in a family canoe, especially if you have little tikes along. If, however, most of your canoeing will be done solo, look at an Old Town model with webbed seats instead.

I had one throughout the 1990s. Have paddled one solo through multi-day…

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I had one throughout the 1990s. Have paddled one solo through multi-day whitewater trips such as Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande and Lower Pecos. I paddled solo from the back seat and had my gear forward. The canoe is durable, but I have gone to mainly using a Royalex canoe now because it is more possible to repair it with epoxy and the weight is much less (that gets more important when I am older and it is harder loading a boat on the truck.

Very tough. If you need a canoe for all types of paddling…

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Very tough. If you need a canoe for all types of paddling, this is it. Tandem or solo. Lakes, rivers, or muddy swamps. This canoe will be your new best friend!

The 'usual boat' for my husband and I is a 20-year-old Old…

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The 'usual boat' for my husband and I is a 20-year-old Old Town Discovery 158. We've been taking it to the chert-bottomed Ozark streams since we got married...usually tied on the roof rack of a 1997 Escort wagon. Despite the length of service, this plastic, keel-less 15'8" tandem has served admirably in every season except winter. For two years, it was our transport of choice to a remote creek off the Current River where I did my undergraduate geology thesis by paddling a half-mile from the put in just north of the confluence with Jack's Fork River.

The Discovery 158 may be a little old in design, and a touch heavy for one middle-aged person to line up on a compact car (it can be done, with a little knowledge of leverage) but this boat is very maneuverable for a tandem. We've only dumped it once...when it got hung up mid-boat under a camping load on an invisible submerged rock. We've put hundreds of miles on this canoe, and it's still got hundreds of good miles in it. Recommended for a tandem paddling couple who does overnight gravelbar camping.

I have used my Discovery 158 in saltwater backwaters free of any…

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I have used my Discovery 158 in saltwater backwaters free of any current and on Class II rivers (moderate difficulty). The Three Layer Polyethylene hull allows you to slide over mangrove roots or shallow river rocks with minimal drag and barely audible noise. Only razor sharp saltwater scallops have ever sliced the skin of the hull and they did not need repairing.

A nearly three foot beam (width) makes it a relatively stable craft and straight sides allow for ample space for camping gear while maintaining a shallow draft. Should the boat fill with water (it can happen), floatation is in the hull rather than under the seats or in the bow and stern freeing up those areas for additional storage.

The contoured Ash crossbar makes for a comfortable back rest when canoeing solo in a kneeling position. Speaking of soloing, I found the Discovery 158 responsive when using a single-blade paddle or as I prefer, a double-bladed paddle in both still waters and in moderate river rapids.

Overall, the Discovery 158 offers forgiveness to the beginner and yet well suited for the skilled canoeist.

The old standby. This canoe is the standard for a reason. It…

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The old standby. This canoe is the standard for a reason. It is tried and true, mine is going on 20 years of hard use and still is ready to go at a moments notice.

This is the canoe that got me into paddlesports. I knew nothing…

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This is the canoe that got me into paddlesports. I knew nothing at all when I bought this on E-bay. Didn't even know that I needed a solo canoe for what I wanted to do. Luckily, the next thing I bought was a pfd, and I set out to learn.

This canoe is everything the reviews say it is and more. I have rolled it over alone and with a buddy (who now has his own boats), but I did learn. Mine is a 1991 which was stored inside before I bought it and I took good care of it afterward, as a result it still looks like new. It is good for almost everything you would want a canoe for and is indestructible. It is reasonably priced and carries a tremendous load, but I personally think that it has beautiful lines of the older canoe's. That is why I would never sell it even though I have bought 5 more boats of different makes for different purposes. You cannot go wrong with this canoe.

My Old Town 158 is a war wagon. It is great…

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My Old Town 158 is a war wagon. It is great to take on a slow river or lake. Wonderful of kids that want to move around the canoe, very stable. Fun to fish from, I have stood up in this canoe to cast. The 158 takes a huge beating and stays in great shape and very functional. I would never sell mine and as very happy to loan it to others thinking about buying a canoe and just want to see what they are like. Very safe for kids, dogs and whatever you wish to bring with you.

I got a Discovery 158 5 years ago used from an outfitter…

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I got a Discovery 158 5 years ago used from an outfitter for $275 and it is a great family canoe for local lakes and rivers. I bought portage pads from Piragis that bolt on to the thwart and I don't have too much trouble portaging shorter distances (half mile or less) but this certainly isn't the canoe to take to the Boundary Waters.

It's very stable for the kids and it is a tank. If I'm worried about a tricky landing and the kids dumping us out, I can ram the bow right up on shore and I have no concerns about how the boat will handle it. You won't win any races in this boat but it is a good all around family trooper. Using the bent shaft paddles on the lakes seems to help quite a bit and I paddle it solo by turning it around backwards and kneeling while resting against the tractor seats. I'm not running races or doing anything worse than class II all over Ohio - for that, I couldn't ask for a better boat and value.

Just got this canoe used and we took it out last night…

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Just got this canoe used and we took it out last night on the Grand River. My wife and I were able to paddle against the current quite well and the canoe is very stable. The only downside, which is why I gave it a 7, is that it is very heavy. Our next canoe will be a ultra-light, but not for a few more years. Until then, the Discovery will do just fine.

We use these every year for 4-day trips. On the lake-portage…

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We use these every year for 4-day trips. On the lake-portage trips the weight is tough but with two carrying one bow one stern on your shoulders they aren't bad. I can carry one alone only in level ground but none of the kids can. For river trips including rapids up to class 3 they are great. Stable, indestructible, carry tons of gear - load 'em up doesn't matter.

Super canoe. My wife and I hired one for a three day…

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Super canoe. My wife and I hired one for a three day canoe trip down the River Obra in Poland, Europe, back in the summer. We managed to handle fallen trees with ease and the canoe looked pretty much the same at the end of the trip. We plan to buy one for ourselves in the spring.

Rented 3 of these boats at Blackwater Outdoor Adventures in Saint George…

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Rented 3 of these boats at Blackwater Outdoor Adventures in Saint George, West Virginia for a 4 mile trip down The Cheat River. My parents are late 50's and had not been in canoe in decades, they had no problem at all with this very stable canoe. The Cheat River is wide and slow moving so my experience in this boat was limited to couple hours of calm river paddling. Paddling effort is minimal to really get this boat cruising along nicely. I would buy one if I came across one used but thus far my 2 17 footers (Coleman and Osage) still feel the most stable of all things I have paddled.

Had my Discovery 158 for 3 years now, it is my 3rd…

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Had my Discovery 158 for 3 years now, it is my 3rd canoe. It has been a great all around canoe. tough as nails and handles well on flat water rivers loaded down (800 lbs+ people and gear) Have had it on class III+ WW and performed very well. I did add a center flotation bag for WW though. Only draw back is weight, but superlink 3 is stronger than polylink or royalex so I think the little bit of added weight is offset by the durability of this canoe. I would definitely buy again, an absolute bargain for the price.

This is a great canoe for families. It takes a beating…

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This is a great canoe for families. It takes a beating and can hold 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 kids with no problem. It is very stable. BUT it is very heavy and take 2 adults to handle it off and on the vehicle. One could manage but its difficult.

I guided on these canoes for months, not regular tourists, but kids…

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I guided on these canoes for months, not regular tourists, but kids whose only canoeist skill was to hit, scrape, smash, drag, and do their absolute best to trash one of these bad boyz. They FAILED! They're about 5yrs old and have mistreated in every way possible worse than anyone reading this and they are immortal! Minus one for weight though.

This boat is not good for whitewater. I put a hole…

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This boat is not good for whitewater. I put a hole in the bottom of one today.

Adequate beginner canoe, it takes a beating. However, it is slow…

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Adequate beginner canoe, it takes a beating. However, it is slow, heavy and lacks secondary stability. It was my first canoe and I don't miss it. Spend a little more on a nice roylex boat.

Great first canoe for just about anyone or nice "beater" boat for…

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Great first canoe for just about anyone or nice "beater" boat for someone with another canoe. This boat can take a beating and is ready for more. It'll glide right over rocks and won't show much abuse. No wonder its the canoe many river outfitters use. I've paddled it on class II rivers without any problems, and it tracks fairly well on flat water as well. Initial stability is excellent. Would work great for fishing or even taking the kids along. The only drawback is its weight as others have mentioned. It can be difficult to portage or car top alone. The weight can be easily overlooked once you see the price tag and factor in its durability.

A bit slow on flat water, but strong enough for our hamburg…

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A bit slow on flat water, but strong enough for our hamburg lake, the alster. Perfect with kids, dogs and other blizzards. I bought my discovery last year and we scratched a few stones since then, but I think the material is quite tough enough to scratch some more. The only real bad thing is the weight-roundabout 36 kilograms.

We've had our Discovery 158 ABS for 12 years and have dragged…

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We've had our Discovery 158 ABS for 12 years and have dragged it over every rock in OH. Low water in the summer is not a problem unless we have heavier people. It skims over rocks that hang up aluminum and scratched a hole in our new Royalex Tripper. We've had it on lakes in Canada and Maine. It has carried enough gear for week long trips with kids without a problem. On big class II water I'm not as comfortable but it's been stable and maneuverable for everything else. Great boat

For my needs - a teriffic all purpose canoe…

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For my needs - a teriffic all purpose canoe.

For the money, this boat is excellent! It's very durable, tracks…

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For the money, this boat is excellent! It's very durable, tracks well, turns well, and can even handle moderate whitewater. The only draw back would be it's weight (80lbs). Other than that it's an excellent boat. I use mine for everything: fishing, photography, touring, running moderate whitewater, etc. Here are a few suggestions though! Loose the plastic seats and get either web or cane seats. Also skid plates are a wonderful idea if you live near the coast(oyster shells) or are planning to do a fair amount of whitewater.

Tough boat. Slamed a rock once and it only left a…

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Tough boat. Slamed a rock once and it only left a little dent. It will hold a lot of gear but then it takes a lot of water to float. Not a good choice if you have low water conditions unless you don't mind dragging.

It's a tank. Heavy, flat bottomed, and virtually indestructable but definately…

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It's a tank. Heavy, flat bottomed, and virtually indestructable but definately not a graceful boat. It's slow on flat water and doesn't lean well (because of flat bottom) in WW. Some folks report "oil canning" problems in the middle of the hull. It's a fine beginner boat but, if you find out you really like the sport, you'll probably regret not buy a better boat.

I doubt I'll ever sell mine as it is my first canoe and will be a good "loaner" but, I wouldn't buy another. Save your money for another month or so and buy a better canoe...there really is a difference. They say, "buying the good stuff only hurts once." It's true.

This is a great all around general purpose boat. I can…

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This is a great all around general purpose boat. I can haul all the gear I need and find it does well in whitewater as well. The Crosslink material will long at last me and bounces back for more punishment. The only drawback is it's weight, 80 pds. For a long portage this would probably kill me, but that's why they make portage carts!

Great beginner boat. Tends to take in water if you get…

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Great beginner boat. Tends to take in water if you get it on class III rapids and it's a bit on the heavy side. Tracks well in flat water. If you ever need the secondary stability you can expect a nice swim.

An excellent everything boat. Have used my for class III rapids and…

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An excellent everything boat. Have used my for class III rapids and lots of lake and estuary paddling. Stable, slight rocker okay for spinning into eddies, tracks fairly well on lakes. Takes a beating! If your boating needs are more specific (e.g. only lakes), you can do better. If you want a boat for any occassion, this is a great choice.

Sturdy canoe, very stable, holds a lot of gear, easy to manuever…

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Sturdy canoe, very stable, holds a lot of gear, easy to manuever, unsinkable construction. Great family canoe. Only drawback - heavy to carry - 80 lbs.

First canoe I had--essentially bombproof. Very good general purpose, from tripping to…

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First canoe I had--essentially bombproof. Very good general purpose, from tripping to moderate WW. Not good at leaning to turn, secondary stability lacks somewhat. Overall, a good boat.

Cross-link 3 material pretty sturdy can handle moderate whitewater or quiet lakes…

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Cross-link 3 material pretty sturdy can handle moderate whitewater or quiet lakes. Somewhat on the heavy side (80lbs) but two people can manage portage. Can hold 980lbs. Got mine in dark green looks great Old Towne is definite quality worth the price.