Please help me make my first canoe decision!!!

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Hello I am still new to canoeing. I used to canoe in a red coleman i used to own but got rid of because it was junk. That was many many years ago.
I am trying to get back into canoeing now that i am married and have a family. I want to take my son fishing and on lake paddles.
I have been looking all over on CL for months and finally found 3 that i can chose from and need some advise.

The first one is a Old Town 13' Discovery Sport canoe in good condition and only needs a few rivet put back in on the front. He wanted 400 but I talked him down to 350.



The second one is a Mid 1970's Old Town 17'2'' Tripper (not positive of the model?) Canoe They wanted 450 but are thinking on my offer of 350. The Serial Number is 210585, and His ad says
"Experienced canoe that has seen many lakes and rivers in Oregon. Has not been used in several years but in good shape. Has a 37'' beam and can carry a lot of weight. Has been in the family since new.

This is a Oltanar construction canoe - Royalex tri-laminate. A bit heavy but very tough.

Also comes with 3 wooden paddles made by Sawyer Woodworking Custom Paddles in Rogue River, OR."



The third is a
Esquif Mistral 17.5 Canoe. I cant find much on them either. He is willing to take 200 for it but warned me that it has [FONT=arial, sans-serif] been told it becoming delamination but he doesn't know what that means he is new to boats. Is that something that's a major issue or can it easily be fixed??[/FONT]


I like the 13' because of length and because it has a square back and look harder to take on water and would probably better to fish out of. However it does weigh a ton like 93 pounds i believe. It is an older model they do not make the 13' anymore and i cannot find much info on them. What i could find people seemed to enjoy them, but they all comment on how it feels more like a boat rather than a canoe. Are front rivets hard to put back in?? i have never worked on a boat before.
It only hold 650 pounds from what i could find. so i couldn't take the family out in it.

The second one looks very nice. its supposed to have rolyex but i am unsure of that.
It is supposed to hold a lot of weight as well. I believe it something like 1200 lbs so i would be able to take the family out in this one.
I looks much better than the other 2 from what i can tell from the pics. I haven't seen any of the boats in person so its hard to judge the conditions from a picture. all three boats are about 2 hours drive from me in the other directions of one another.

The third is questionable i am unsure of the delamantion and don't know much about the brand. 200 for a decent floating canoe is a good price but makes me wonder if its priced low because of the delamantion.

uses would be mostly fishing and recreation paddling with the family, but I will be doing some solo canoeing as well. The waters would be on lakes and maybe very calm creeks only. Absolutely no rivers.

I hate paddling rivers in a canoe. I once had a major accident trying to do so which is the reason I will always always make sure everyone and myself wear life jackets in my canoe. If they object the don't ride simple as that.

I am in a major bind here and could use some advise as its almost time for me to make a decision.

Thanks for the help/advise

JP
 
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The Mistral is a quality canoe, one that most dedicated canoe trippers would be happy to own. At 200 bucks it is a steal. However, if it is delaminating, it could be problematic. I recall there were some problems with twintex when it first came out. It sounds like you are relatively inexperienced with canoeing, so the downside might be the 3 inches of rocker the Mistral has, which might give you some problems initially as you learn to paddle. However, if you plan to continue to canoe and extend yourself with long trips with portages, the Mistral is the answer.

However, In my opinion, the canoe that would probably work the best for you is the tripper. It is a big, stable canoe that will take a lot of abuse. Perfect for a family canoe and a fishing platform.

Don't bother with that 13 foot square stern, it is not a good option for a family canoe. It is short and wide, will paddle like a pig, and in the end, will be too small for a family canoe.
 
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No doubt you'll soon have replies from people who know a lot more about canoes than me, but until then this is what I think.
First: Good on you for seeing that everybody wears a PFD. Scrap the sports boat, it isn't a canoe. Now maybe if you wanted a small fishing boat it'd be something to consider.
To my mind, the big "Y" in the road between canoes and all other water craft is can you carry it for a pretty long distance? I'm not suggesting that any of us enjoy portaging our canoes but doing so allows access to some pretty neat places.

The canoe that seems to be coming apart. Nope. Too many wild cards in that one, especially for someone getting started.

Now, the Old Town Tripper. Or what ever it really is, find out the model type for sure and look up reviews on line. See what the weight is and can you manage that? Now, we're talking portage and getting it up on your car rack by yourself. I'd be conservative in how much you can lift, a bunged up back will stay with you.

"It's almost time for me to make a decision" boy, have I ever been there and done that! Going off not much, it sounds like you're getting all hot and sweaty thinking about getting a canoe; the second half of that process is called "buyers remorse". If you can (I never could) back off and depressurize the situation. Is there some place where you can get some experience by renting? When you really get down to it, how many of your family will want to go with you? I know that I'd make plans/dreams of family outings that by and large fell apart once I tried to implement them. The reason that's important is a canoe for solo can be very different than for a family.

Just some thoughts,

Best Wishes, Rob
 
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It is late July, Summer is running out, come Autumn there should be more canoes available on CL to choose from, might want to just set awhile and see what else comes along that better suits your needs.

Just a thought.
 
G

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Although the Mistral is in many ways the better designed canoe the delaminating material (Twintex) can only be repaired properly by the manufacturer and a very few outfitters* with the experience, technique and equipment. I’d pass on that one unless you can get an estimate on the repair costs beforehand.

*In the US I believe the only outfitter trained by Esquif with the equipment to perform Twintex repairs is Blue Mountain Outfitters near Harrisburg PA.

The OT Disco Sport is exactly as Memaquay describes – too short, too wide and unsuitable for family use.

The OT Tripper is a longstanding design. It is heavy and somewhat beamy. Still, if the Royalex hull material seems in good shape it is the best of those three choices for the activities you describe. $450 is at the high end for a 30 year old canoe that originally retailed in the $900 range.
 
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The Old Town Tripper IS the model. If the Esquif is delaminating ( as others mentioned early ones did) it may be a hassle for you to get it fixed though Esquif has outstanding factory service. Esquif is a Quebecois manufacturer of mostly river canoes. I have paddled a Mistral and do like it. Esquif is becoming well known for good canoes in New England..they now dominate the whitewater scene.

The 37 inch width of the Old Town is the gunwale width.. The waterline width is 35.5 inches, actually on the slender side. Put side to side with my Swift Dumoine the latter seemed to be a fat pig on an Allagash trip.

I'm guessing you are out west. Here the Tripper really rules. Its quite a versatile boat if you can lift it.. You can solo it , you can pole it.. Its a good river runner yet does fine on lakes.
 
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I vote for the tripper as well. I own two. They are very rugged and need little or no care or maintenance. A 17 foot canoe is a great compromise. The tripper is very stable and has lots of room. Some call it the pick up truck of the north.
 
G

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I haven't seen the mistral so i am not sure of how bad the delamaniton is, but i have a feeling it may be bad if he will take 200.... not sure i want to hassle with delamantion as i have no experience with it and don't have money to get it properly fixed.

ARGH decisions decisions....So now I am thinking on the two old towns. They both seem heavy however i haven't lifted them in person so i can only guesstimate.

Which of the two do you think would be less prone tipping wise?
The one thing that concerns me about the other one is that its from the 70's will that have any effect on the condition and durability?


I wish there was a place to rent canoes here but almost all of the rental places i have talked with rent rowboats around here. There is one lake a few hours away from me that only rent aluminum canoes. Are aluminum canoes any good?
I know all about buyers remorse it has happened to me before over many things.



here is the 17' old town it is the yellow one in the pics bellow.
 
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The tripper doesn't look too bad from the pics, although that colour is sure banana like. In my mind there should be one more thwart in that tripper, either behind the front seat or in-between the rear seat and the centre thwart. You would want to have a close look at it. See if there are any cracks in the skin. Indentations and scratches are normal, but any cracks that expose the next layer are not good. I'd look to see if there are a couple of drill holes in the gunwales somewhere that would indicate that there was another thwart. And personally, I wouldn't pay more than 300 bucks for that canoe, although perhaps you live in an area where there aren't many canoes.

Once again, I wouldn't personally be interested in that 13 foot bathtub.
 
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Just noticed your other questions….good aluminum canoes would be very good for your purposes too. Once again, a lot depends on design. If the tripper was stored out of the sun light, it should be in good shape. The hull looks pretty shiny, maybe they rubbed something on it. "Tippiness" is somewhat subjective. The tripper would not be a tippy canoe in my opinion. The bathtub…..well, it's a bathtub.
 
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You seem to be agonizing about the price. I agree that the 13 foot boat is a pig. The delaminating boat should be passed on. That leaves the Tripper which is 40 years old. You are a lake paddler and have chosen one of the slowest boats around. It is beamy with full entry lines. Trippers are durable and carry a load. If this one has not been stored outside it might make a good first boat. But there are so many better choices for lake paddling. Take the plunge and get yourself a canoe and don't worry so much about it.
 
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Those photos are a help. On the tripper is that yellow an issue color? If it's been painted I'd really be suspicious. I'm tempted to say that it's just about a rule that we start out with some canoe and then upgrade to a better one once we have a clearer idea of our requirements.
If you inspect it looking for all those things Memaquay listed, later you could probably get your money back out of it when/if you wanted to sell it.

You know your own physical abilities better than we can; you might want to check out U-Tube for how to roll a canoe up on your shoulders. I'd guess that at the worst that Tripper will be under 100 pounds. Do you think you can handle that? This, by the way, is not the time to be brave but honestly realistic. I can tell you right up front that it's too much for me.

Best Wishes, Rob
 
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I just noticed the "Old Town" decal on the side of the canoe, not a sure thing but maybe it hasn't been painted!
 
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Pretty much any canoe you choose will be an improvement over that Coleman (except Pelican & Sun Dolphin). I used to have a Coleman 17' and paddled it everywhere, even took it to the BWCA. It did a great job. But, when I finally upgraded to an Old Town Discovery 158, I noticed I can paddle easier, faster, handling is far better and maneuver a lot better.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Of the three, the Old Town Tripper would be my clear choice for a family lake canoe. Yellow was an original color on this venerable model, which is still popular, and a second thwart may not be necessary with those gunwale-to-gunwale plastic seats. It will be heavy, but lots of us have started out with long and heavy family canoes. The Tripper is almost flat-bottomed and is hence quite stable for fishing, even standing (near the middle). $350 would seem like a good deal to me, especially since it includes three decent quality wood paddles, which could cost $75-$125 each new.

A 13 foot canoe is too short and has too little capacity for more than one adult.

The Esquif Mistral is primarily a river canoe, having a lot of rocker for easy turnability. That means it will be harder to paddle straight on lakes. It must be in really bad shape to be selling for that little.

I personally prefer a very lightweight Kevlar or carbon composite canoe for family or any other flat water purpose. But, even used, a decent one will probably be at least $1000.

For the money and to get you on the water this season, the Tripper is a very reasonable and respectable first family canoe.
 
G

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Yes i was thinking of the 17 foot old town. Is it a tripper model??

I get confused because the flat back 13 footer is also a tripper model.

I don't mind the yellow color. I was thinking of naming my canoe anyhow and yellow fits what i was thinking of Summer Dreams, Summers Promise, Sun Bandit, or Sunfox.
So the yellow goes along great with it :D!

What about solo use on the 17' would that be hard to do? when soloing it would probably just be me and my Lab, and he can add some weight to places needed
:p.


​He said he would get back to me before Tuesday with my offer after he ta to see if he would accept it after he talks with his wife. He was originally asking 500!!!(wow that's outrageous for an older canoe that's almost enough to get me a good mad river or a wino-nah used). I really hope he takes my 350 offer though because i do like it and it fits my color i wanted and it comes with those nice paddles.

​I think I will just pass on the square butt one. It looks like a tub and probably floats like one. And i doubt it would be good for a starter canoe especially if i wanted to take more than just my son out.

Thank you guys for your advice and opinions it really helps.

JP

 
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