Read reviews for the Discovery 158 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.