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To buy or not to buy???



Okay my first canoe buying experience was horrid the guy sold it out from underneath me after i was driving 2 hours to buy it!!!

So moving on from that I continued my search.
I came across an 16ft Allagash Old Town Canoe for sale for 440 with paddles and car foams.

His ad states.

Old Town Allagash 164 Canoe
Beefy 3 layer poly model - nearly indestructible
Length 16.4 - Width 37.5 - Max load 1000LBs of camp gear
Yoke with shoulder support
Two wooden/woven drop seats
Condition: Good
Comes with roof rack pads + 2 wooden paddles
Total package NEW is worth over $1100
Firm price - no trades
Thanks for looking!

I tried to do some research on that model of old town but couldn't come across much of anything, so i guess i am asking is it a good canoe and is it worth 440 used?

He will not come down on his price any i tried talking with him about it but no go on price budge.

any advice/opinions welcomed.

thanks again guys.



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Jul 25, 2012
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Well, here we go again! We are at a disadvantage in that you don't know what kind of canoer you will grow into be. Realizing that high summer isn't the best time to buy a used canoe, I'd still suggest using this summer to rent and get a feel for what you like and get a little experience. Then in the fall I'd guess that probably you could get more of a canoe for your money.

But you wanted to know about this canoe; did a google search for "old town allagash canoe" , good bit of information out there. I have an Old Town Camper in royalex, I think the materials are the same or pretty close. I like the canoe, but my stars, it's heavy! Mine is 65 pounds and that's just about the limit for me. When I'm rolling it up on my sholders or putting it on the roof of the truck, I'm very careful that I don't rip something in my back. That yoke thing that old town puts in their canoes is flat awful, maybe it comes with some kind of pad to lessen the pain. I replaced my yoke with one from "Teal" yoke. Now all that said, the material is famous for being tough! I did note that the seller isn't showing the bottom of the canoe, that's the part that develops the most scrapes and wear. Maybe somebody here on the site can tell you just how much wear is too much.

I still have the camper but I bought a lighter canoe to go on trips with. The idea of being on the backside of no where with my back all bunged up and a long way from home isn't something I wanted to do.

About those foam pads for the car top; I did a little write up about making a cheap roof rack, in part using those foam blocks. You can find it under the DIY section. The pads alone: I don't trust them. Mine tended to slip even though the canoe was snugged down tight.

Now about the price: as a bench mark check out the price of new canoes of similar materials and design. So many factors enter into the price of a used canoe, I don't think anyone can tell you what is right from a distance. It's really a balancing act between you and the seller. But if you know what a new one costs then at least you have an idea of at what point to say "to hell with it, I'll buy it new!"

I know I'm a crank about life vests, but it's such a crying shame to see some young person dead by drowning and all the sorrow for those people they leave behind. Cheap vest are not very comfortable and often get left laying in the bottom of the canoe. We humans aren't really aquatic kinds of animals and once an accident happens it's surprising how quickly a life is stolen away.

Best Wishes, Rob

P.S. I've had several "Error Invalid Server Response" alarms while typing this up. Yesterday a PM was lost to the same thing. We'll see what happens when I hit "post reply"!
Feb 29, 2012
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Schenectady, NY
Just for reference, I bought a Mohawk 13 XL, with bags, 3 years ago, in great shape. I paid $300 and was happy to do so.
$440 for a decent royalex (it is royalex, isn't it?) boat is not bad. That boat will likely outlast you!

BTW, I rarely BUY a boat...but I can't build my own royalex hulls!
Aug 22, 2013
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Red Lake, Ontario
3 layer poly is not royalex as far as I know. I have a MR Explorer in Triple Tough which is a 3 layer poly and not royalex and it weighs 86 pounds. I paid $1000 over 10 years ago and would keep it before selling it for $440. It's a great boat for hunting and fishing but boy do I hate carrying more than 50 meters.

Buy the boat, paddle the boat, learn from your purchase and as you add 2 and 3 and 4 and 5 more boats to your collection you'll fondly remember it as the first boat you bought.
Nov 29, 2012
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southwest Indiana
No, three layer rotomolded polyethylene is nothing like Royalex. It is tough but considerably heavier. The canoe previously called the Allagash 164 and Discovery 164 is now the Penobscot 164:


A three layer poly boat is less desirable than a Royalex boat, primarily because of the weight, but also because of a tendency for some three layer poly canoes to hog or otherwise deform over time, and the fact that it is difficult to repair poly or get outfitting to bond to it.

In my opinion, if the hull is in good condition, the boat is a quite reasonable general purpose tandem canoe and the price is acceptable IF one can accept the fact that it is going to weigh close to 80 lbs.
Sep 2, 2011
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Raymond, ME
If lots of lifting and lugging is not in the picture I would deem the boat reasonable for a first boat. But check the boat to make sure its not deformed.. In my home area that does not happen too often with poly boats as the area is almost all forest. (I can't grow flowers).

However it the boat goes by bye don't worry too much.. A Grumman is a pretty nice boat for a starter boat unless its broiling hot.
Jan 31, 2013
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Middle of the Florida paddling paradise
First off get a used rack for your car, truck, or van. Unless the canoe is across the street you need a way to get it safely home. Look for obvious damage and misshapen areas. Are the paddles any good or just cheep junk? Two good paddles can be worth an extra fifty dollars to the deal. Look for obvious damage and misshapen areas. Look up the weight of the canoe on the manufactures web site. Can you lift it? If it looks good and you can afford to lose a few dollars get it. Build a portage cart. They come in very handy for heavy boats. Heck even light boats. Use my cart to go from the back yard to the front yard. Remember you can all ways sell it again on Craig's list if it dose not fit your style or you out grow its capabilities. You may lose a few dollars but not that much. Consider the lost money rental fees if you do indeed lose a few dollars. Read about a guy who considered Craigs List his rental agent for canoes. Just keeps on buying and selling. Losing a little sometimes and gaining some back other times.

Oh and if you keep your eyes open any time of the year is a good time to buy a canoe. Just bought a Bell North Star for a decent price tonight. Not quite a two hour drive. Only one hour fifty minutes both ways. All most had it sold out from under me!!! A good canoe will go fast. Oh and HIGH summer here and it only took me three years to find this one.


cflcanoe, congrats on finding a NorthStar! I, too, looked for a few years before I found mine (Kevlar), and I drove two hours each way to get it - traded a MorningStar (BlackGold) for it. He got the better end of the deal but I've used the N'Star for a couple of Boundary Waters trips - much better than the M'Star for solo tripping.