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Tandem canoe for wild river with some level I and II water (maybe a III).

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Hi all,

I am looking for a canoe that would be good for tripping - we would like to build up to doing the length of our local river, some 75-100 miles (depending on the trip). There are a bit of level 1 and 2 whitewater, and some patches of level 3 when it rains.

We test paddled a discovery 158 - and we weren't equipped right of course - and paddling some water that did a 2' drop off, we capsized, boat filled with water, and we got to test our life jackets. We had capsized twice just getting in too. lol.

I am not sure it's the best boat for us. The seller wants $500 including paddles and life jackets. What's concerning is the canoe was manufactured in 1995. It has a ton of scratches and several gray spots showing. He says it was stored in his garage - he only used it when the kids were young, and on lakes. Is this old of a polyethelene canoe safe? He said we could always rig the boat with some flotation devices and it would be usable in the river. Sound right?

Our budget is $2000 but my wife would really like to be closer to $1000. I want to just get the Esquif Pocket Canyon and take some lessons at Southwest Adventures nearby.

Any recommendations or advice (or suggestion on that discovery 158) would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Mike in Cornville, AZ
 
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The Disco is not a bad canoe, but 500 for an old poly is way too much. I ran a lot of big stuff with my 16' 6"Disco, and didn't mind bouncing it off rocks either. Since you are already looking at Esquif, check out their Prospecteur model, they are producing it in the equivalent of royalex, it's a pretty good all round canoe.
 
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The Disco is not a bad canoe, but 500 for an old poly is way too much. I ran a lot of big stuff with my 16' 6"Disco, and didn't mind bouncing it off rocks either. Since you are already looking at Esquif, check out their Prospecteur model, they are producing it in the equivalent of royalex, it's a pretty good all round canoe.

I could offer him less for the disco if the age really isn't an issue. I've read that 25 years is way beyond the expected life of a poly canoe. Is that just internet misinfo?
 
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Depends how it was stored I suppose. Most things will degrade if stored outside in the sun, but poly canoes are known to be very tough. If it's in decent shape, I'd offer him 250. Be a good caneo to play around in until you decide if it's something you want to keep doing.
 
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Just looked up the price for a new poly disco. $999.00 canadian, so that's about 700 bucks American. So 500 for an old poly is stretching it.
 
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I would be more inclined to look for an Aluminum. Not the worries of hull decay.

As you will be doing a river system, assuming minimal portaging. I'd search for a good used Aluminum !

You can use it for years, and still get most of your money back out of it later !

$400 dollars around here will get you a decent Alumicraft.

Jim
 
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Just looked up the price for a new poly disco. $999.00 canadian, so that's about 700 bucks American. So 500 for an old poly is stretching it.

It's $999 here in the USA.

Depends how it was stored I suppose. Most things will degrade if stored outside in the sun, but poly canoes are known to be very tough. If it's in decent shape, I'd offer him 250. Be a good caneo to play around in until you decide if it's something you want to keep doing.

Is the discovery 158 going to get us a lot wetter (and more capsizing like we did) then a canoe like the esquif canyon?
 
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Esquif doesn't list the bow ans stern measurements which is interesting, but it is 2 inches deeper in the midship than the Discovery 158.They both have Shallow Arch hauls but I would imagine the Canyon has a higher bow and stern, which should in theory keep you dryer.
 
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Hi all,
We had capsized twice just getting in too. lol.

No one has talked about paddler weight yet. What kind of load are you putting in the boat? Why did you capsize when getting in? I'm guessing lack of experience but over loading would make it worse.

I'd be inclined to just say pickup whatever canoe gets you out on the water. It probably won't be ideal but at this point you don't really know what you want/need (no one does when just starting). If you end up not paddling very often it won't matter what you've got. If you get bit by the bug you'll quickly learn what you do/don't like about the boat you've got and you can go from there.

Alan
 
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No one has talked about paddler weight yet. What kind of load are you putting in the boat? Why did you capsize when getting in?

Alan

Great questions!

1. Weight:

I am 275 lbs, and my wife is 165 lbs.

2. Gear:

We had our lunch in a small cooler (1 cu ft), two water bottles, and a portage cart.

3. Capsizing:

I know we got it in wrong. I didn't want to lay it on all the rocks at the put in place, and there was this "chute" leading down. I think all the kayakers use it. I slid the boat in there, my wife went out to the bow, and then I slipped on the mud landing one foot in the stern and she went over. Then we tried to get back in on the water. I did successfully but my wife capsized it when she did. On the capsize on the rapids, the boat leaned over too far when we went over the drop, and the second water started pouring over the edge it was over. No flotation of course.

-----------

Price Update:

We can have the boat for $300 no extras included, and I am welcome to check the hull integrity with a hammer, if it cracks or breaks he'll toss it but if it's good it is mine. LOL. Is that a valid test?

For the full price I would get life vests, paddles, the folding cart, and two stands.

I am pretty sure this guy is not trying to con us - he lives 2 blocks away in the same community.

For that matter I still have the canoe in my yard.

:)

But is the discovery just going to be scary hell on our river for two beginners?
 
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But is the discovery just going to be scary hell on our river for two beginners?

I've never paddled a Disco but I'd think it should be fine. Maybe even just what you need to start with.

You were also talking about a Pocket Canyon, which I've also never paddled. I think that would be a poor choice at this point. Probably less newbie friendly.

I think the Disco sounds like a good deal. Maybe not if you had to drive 2 hours to get it but at only 2 blocks away and all accessories I don't see how you can go wrong. If you don't like it resell the boat for $300 and keep all the accessories.

Alan
 
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I agree with Alan. I haven't paddled a Disco 158 either but all the mainstream Old Towns are family friendly and not inherently tippy. If you're able to handle the weight of the boat to get it to and from the water you're good to go. The gray spots may be areas where the outer skin has been abraded and may eventually require covering with fiberglass or some other fabric...the repair is pretty easy and cheap and anyone can do it. When you get into a canoe remember to step onto the centerline of the boat so it doesn't move around under you. If either or both of you are able to kneel then do it...you will gain a LOT of stability and control; kneeling is especially helpful in difficult sections like a two foot drop. If and when you bump an obstacle like a big rock then lean towards the obstacle even if your intuition is to lean away from it. Remember to keep your head inside the gunwales; if your head goes outside the gunwales the rest of your body follows. Stay away from sharks, crocodiles and people that drink alcohol while paddling. ;)
 
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The Pocket Canyon is a good boat, it's a Class II/III boat with a large capacity for gear, suitable for long down river trips involving big water.

Personally at barely 5'8" sub-150lbs it too big for me! Also not the fastest boat on the flats.

Added.....

I just noticed "tandem", the Pocket Canyon is usually paddled solo for extended tripping, as a tandem it might be too small for anything other than short trips.
 
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I did the hammer test, giving it a good hard blow. No break, no crack, just a small ding. WOW. This polyethylene stuff is pretty dang durable. I feel a lot more confident having given it a good blow.

Of course, it's my canoe now.

I am running to the bank now - the governor is shutting down the whole state at 5pm.
 
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I like big canoes for tripping, at least 17 feet, 14-15 inches deep with some rocker so they will turn in fast water.
The Old Town 169 is a decent tripping boat at 16'9". I would not go any smaller than that.
Old Town Tripper, big Wenonah, Sawyers, Bell, Souris, there are lots of good ones used.
Modern canoes are short and beamy and doggy to paddle.
A 17 foot aluminum would do fine and they are always around.
 
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