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!
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.
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!!
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!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.