tough decision

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After doing tons of research on the canoe I'd like, I've broken it down to 2. Mad River Journey 158 or the Old Town Discovery 158.

I like everything about the Discovery 158, except the seats and I wish it was a bit wider. At 35.5", seems narrow compared to others. True it would coast through the waters easily.

The Journey 156 has a 37" width. Nicer for fishing and perhaps more stable? I love the seats, but I've read reviews that the hull scratches easily. And, since it is 2" shorter than the Discovery, perhaps it doesnt track as well.

Open for suggestions. Let me hear your input.........
 
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The seats are way better on the MR. I don't think one is going to paddle allot different then the other. One slightly slower and more stable then the other. Don't know if you will be able to tell the difference if you are a beginner. Don't know if I could tell much difference between the two. You can't paddle solo from the bow with the roto molded seats. Maybe that's the deal breaker with the Old town.
 
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I'm only familiar with the Disco, but if you are just fishing, either would be fine.
These canoes are made out of polyethylene, which makes them bomb proof, but also very heavy for their size. Compared to other hulls, they often are kind of "floppy" too, which means the bottom of the canoe might move up and down as you paddle. This is known as oil canning. I have the 16'6 version of the Disco, and have put it to hell and back. However, it is the canoe I usually lend out to other people. I will use it if I am banging down a river with no portages. If there is a significant price difference, got with the cheaper one.

35 to 36 inches is about the average width of a tripping canoe. 37 inches on 15'6" canoe is getting pretty beamy.

Forgot to mention, first thing I did with the disco was take the roto seats out and install my own seats.
 
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OP hasn't stated intended use or anticipated burden, his size, partner's size, gear, so it's difficult to give meaningful advise. Secondly, the two hulls posited are as close to very poor choices as a guy can come. Poorly designed in a miserable medium, either will be a pain to car top or carry to the beach for their lifespan, which will be unmercifully long.

A better designed and constructed used canoe would be a better choice. Data on OP's location would help determine potential options, but surely there must be a used Wenonah Spirit II or MRC Explorer in ABS available somewhere close. Paddling.net has a huge used boat database and even Craigs list has boats among other potentials.
 
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Ha ha ha, Charlie, you don't mince words.
Poorly designed in a miserable medium, either will be a pain to car top or carry to the beach for their lifespan, which will be unmercifully long.

Meo, to be truthful, many in canoeing community have a low opinion of the types of canoe you have mentioned, but if you have a strong back, and the price is right, don't let our opinions defer your learning curve. It is helpful sometimes if you can find a place to paddle and carry some of the canoes you are looking at before you buy. I'm still a fan of poly canoes when abuse is the main thing on the menu.
 
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I am with Charlie on this one. If you are going to carry this canoe at all, get a lighter craft. It is very true in my experience that a light canoe is a canoe that gets used.
 
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OP hasn't stated intended use or anticipated burden, his size, partner's size, gear, so it's difficult to give meaningful advise. Secondly, the two hulls posited are as close to very poor choices as a guy can come. Poorly designed in a miserable medium, either will be a pain to car top or carry to the beach for their lifespan, which will be unmercifully long.

A better designed and constructed used canoe would be a better choice. Data on OP's location would help determine potential options, but surely there must be a used Wenonah Spirit II or MRC Explorer in ABS available somewhere close. Paddling.net has a huge used boat database and even Craigs list has boats among other potentials.

I basically agree but if the choices in front of you are all that is available, you can still have fun. We tripped for several years with a 15 foot Grumman in Algonquin and Quetico. That experience taught us what we needed in a canoe..we needed narrower, longer and lighter. Most of us I suspect learned from experience and were't anointed with knowledge from the Canoe God.

Blessedly back in those dark ages there was no Internet either. Otherwise we might have been afflicted by Buyers Confusion and Paralysis.

Check out used.. after the first use of a new canoe its used anyway. And canoes do depreciate right after they are out the door of the store.
 
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I would hazard a guess that many of us started paddling in canoes that we would now consider too wide, too heavy or too poorly designed. If you have budget in mind and it gets you started sometimes that is the cost of admission.

In the choice between a new Journey or Disco I pick would chose neither and spend some time looking for a used canoe. The big-box Journey or Disco will always be there if you strike out used.

If you go to the Craiglist boats section and search “canoe” you’ll find that a large percentage are inexpensive poly canoes. This is both good and bad.

Good because it is easy to pick up a used one, often for a few hundred dollars, sometimes as a full kit with paddles and PFDs. Good because you can probably resell it a few years later for the same money.

Bad because there is a reason so many are for sale. Look at Craigslisted canoes for a couple of weeks, note which inexpensive poly canoes appear time after time after time. Avoid them.

In the budget priced used canoe category don’t overlook an inexpensive Grumman or other aluminum canoe if you find one. I’d take a well designed aluminum canoe any day over some of the low-cost late-model poly canoes with molded seats and gunwales.

I don’t know how to poll that question, but I doubt I’d be in the minority.
 
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All good advice that I will take into consideration. It seems though, most canoeist say the only 'good' canoe is a Royalex. True it is light weight. But I plan on the canoe being in the water more than on my back. I used to own a Coleman Ram X 17. I think a Discovery 158 would be quite an upgrade. As far as use, I need something rugged.

But I guess if Royalex is the only decent material, then I'll keep looking.
 
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Royalex is not the only good material! Carbon fiber and Kevlar and glass and some new composites are "best" for flatwater and even some whitewater (depending on who makes the boat)

You haven't said a whit about where you plan to paddle but I am guessing rivers. I sense that there is a budget and that is why I haven't mentioned composites.

I don't have my aluminum canoe that I got 45 years ago. But a friend of mine in Connecticut does. And I still paddle it now and then down there. I think you didn't get the message about aluminum.

Poly has some advantages. Cheap to make.. Not cheap to fix. Not terribly adaptable. Deforms regularly in the sun.. remember how your Coleman might have become lower in the ends? Poly canoes over time have a tendency to sag at the ends and hog in the middle too.
 
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The questions Charlie Wilson posed are known as qualifying questions and should always be addressed by salespeople and consumers. Intended use dictates the starting point in the selection of a boat (or car, house,entertainment system,. . .). I can understand meopilite's feeling that the Discovery 158 is quite an upgrade--it is, in his experience. And if his intended purpose does not include portaging any more than the parking lot to a stream or lake, light weight and the ability to toss it up on his shoulders for long periods is not a necessity. If he is not paddling for several miles a day, hull efficiency is also less important. If he is fishing, initial stability may take precedent over secondary stability. If he will be in protected waters and small stream a shorter boat with moderate rocker will fit the bill over a long hull that "rides on rails". Meopilite, we can't give you any worthwhile advice if you haven't given those qualifying questions much thought. In fact, I would disregard ALL of the advice contained in this thread. Why?, because if you have read any canoeing discussion about "the best boat advice" you would soon discover that none of us can agree on which is the best boat, and we never will. Heck, most of us have a stable of canoes to choose from for each time we go out.

I can assure you that we have big hearts that go with our big heads--that our love for the sport spills into the advice we give (in spite of our bickering and off topic spats). We would rather see you in a boat that you cannot wait to get out on the water right about NOW (cabin fever is gnawing at our souls) than one that would seem to be too much trouble to take out of storage.

Let us know, or at least help you to find, the answers to Charlie's questions so that we can be a helpful resource, as you had hoped we would be when you started this thread. In the end, you will be the one to decide which boat or material is best for you. If your dominant restraint is financial, finding a used boat (which many of us do prefer to do) is a better way around that constraint. One, it gets you into a better boat for the same or less money, and two, if it ends up being the wrong boat, you can get most, if not all, of your investment back. Another good piece of advice given in this thread is to look on Craigslist and Paddleswap for the boats that are listed most for cheap--there is a good reason that they are that way. The owners don't use them or want them for various reasons. Why are you replacing the Coleman, other people are more than happy with that boat? As evidenced by Paddleing.net:
http://www.paddling.net/Reviews/showReviews.html?prod=212
In my experience, I have had 3 brand new boats and over a dozen used boats. with a little bit of time and energy I have restored the like-new look and feel to used boats and take pride in them. Honestly, I gather you really want a new boat, and that newness wears off rather quickly__I may be wrong about this. If so, the good news is that the used boat market is about to get really good and if you are ready for it, you will score a prized boat through diligence and preparation. I wish you the best and if you decide on one of the two boats you researched, you will be happier in the end than you were last season. I have two used hulls that are calling to me, good luck.
 
G

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Royalex is not the only good material!

Poly has some advantages. Cheap to make.. Not cheap to fix. Not terribly adaptable. Deforms regularly in the sun.. remember how your Coleman might have become lower in the ends? Poly canoes over time have a tendency to sag at the ends and hog in the middle too.

With the advent of G/flex poly canoes have at least become less difficult to repair or outfit, and there are some whose design and construction is less likely to hog, sag or deform.

Unfortunately for the OP’s criteria the ones that do tend to hog, sag or deform are the ones with wide beams and flattish bottoms.

I would stay away from any canoe on which the seats are a molded-in-place part of the hull. That inexpensive design “feature” precludes any alteration of the seat depth, placement or orientation.

In general I would stay away from any poly design that requires molded kiss-offs between the seats or “thwarts” and the floor. Or any design that requires an internal keelson of aluminum tubing or the like.

An old Grumman 15 or 17 actually weighs less than many late model poly boats, and as long as you don’t wrap it on a rock it will last a lifetime.

There is an inherent bias in asking canoe enthusiasts about inexpensive poly canoes. If nothing else watching the used canoes on Craigslist is an education in what constitutes undesirable weight, poor design and (sometimes overly ambitious) pricing.

If you find something used and suitable at 50% of retail spend the money you saved on a half-decent paddle and a comfortable PFD.
 
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As far as what type of canoeing: Mostly lakes. Some slow moving river use. Sometimes solo, sometimes with a partner. Fishing, sightseeing, hunting, trapping. Hunting and trapping are hard on a canoe, so durability is a must. Might be times I canoe out to an island in the middle of a lake to camp overnight.

BTW... I'd like a green canoe.
 
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I'd bet you can get a good used aluminum canoe for 300 bucks. I'm selling off some in our stable for less than that. Aluminum canoes are perfect for hunting and trapping, and if you can find a 16 footer, it will probably be lighter than the poly canoe.
 
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Meo, unless your skills and paddling interests are fixed, you would do well to get something that has reasonably good resale potential in your area. And paddle other boats, like the Spirit II, or a Mad River Explorer, Dagger (now Mad River) Legend 16, Nova Craft Pal, or any number of other Royalex boats. Royalex is really tough and it can be repaired easily. As far as the boat being in the water more than on your back, it doesn't take much for a too-heavy boat to become a little-used boat, and for a strong back to become wrenched. Speaking from experience here.
 
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Still do not have data on burden or location, at least by region?

I certainly did not intend to leave the impression that RX is the "best" or even a good material for canoes. I think it's too heavy, too soft, impossible to mold in sophisticated shapes, tough to repair; all around, a pretty mediocre medium for paddlecraft. I'm not a huge fan of fiberglass, due to weight and breakage, or aramids due to their hydroscopic chemistry. The last aluminum canoe I had was fed to the Golden Goat

I'm a carbon fan. A wide-ish 16 ft Carbon tandem can be had in the mid 30 lb range, Kevlar just over 40, Fiberglass at 60 and RX at 70lbs. Tough to tell about the real weights of the two proposed craft because factual data is not published. Completely ignoring on-water performance, which would someone rather pick up over their head and load on a pick-up truck or van? Answer the same question in another decade, and then another decade after that.

Then there is the issue pf how well the boat paddles, we may not be racing, but efficiency is always desirable, particularly as we age.

OP should be able to find a used Kev composite well under half the weight of the originally mentioned PE boats at about the same price. Most of us progress over time, changing to higher performance and lighter weight paddlecraft. I've owned over thirty canoes in my all too short life, intend to buy a dozen more, almost all lighter, stronger and faster/more efficient than the previous ones. A useful mantra.
 
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Meopilite, you'll find it interesting to know that Charlie is one of the most influential canoe designer/builders of the solo canoe movement. So you might not see eye to eye with his philosophy. He's a great resource for many of the nuances of canoe design--I have made inquiries of him. Of course, he just disrespected all of my boats since I have aluminum, poly, Royalex, goldenglass, and kevlar/spectra boats in my stable. But no Carbon or graphite despite my back issues (Spondylolythesis and herniated disc L-5/sacrum). I'm not sure he has your budget in mind, either. If you are budgeting approx. $900 for a boat, a used royalex will be in your price range. A used aluminum canoe would be less and you wouldn't have to concern yourself with scratches. I remember being 14 years old and hoisting a Grumman 17'er on my shoulders and portaging 340 rods with it--some days more than that. I couldn't have been much over 100# myself back then. Sore shoulders, that's what I remember. But only for the first couple of days.

Gavia mentioned a couple of good royalex choices along with the Tahoe that would be similar to what you are looking at. What kind of hunting and trapping? And where are you located geographically?

I PM'd you, check your notifications/mailbox.
 
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Glenn MacGrady

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After doing tons of research on the canoe I'd like, I've broken it down to 2. Mad River Journey 158 or the Old Town Discovery 158.

I like everything about the Discovery 158, except the seats and I wish it was a bit wider. At 35.5", seems narrow compared to others. True it would coast through the waters easily.

The OP has already engaged in methodological research that is meaningful to him, and has narrowed his his field to two boats. And what he mainly hears here is to get neither of them. I think these are both reasonable first canoes for lake use with a minimum of carries. Indeed, you can just drag these tough poly canoes.

Meopilite, I suggest you go with your gut feel about the seats and the the width. I (like others here) agree with your gut feel about the seats. Web seats are easier to raise, lower and move than molded seats. Also, you can sit backwards on a bow cane seat to paddle solo. In fact, I'd add the Mad River wide cane seat as a third and solo seat. The Mad River is also a little lighter. The difference in speed will be negligible for hulls of such similar size.

My first canoe was a Mad River tandem and I enjoyed it immensely. I added a third, wide cane seat in the middle. If and when you become a canoe snob or slut -- take your pick of nouns -- you can always get a lighter or faster canoe.

I vote for the Mad River.
 
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I also vote for the Mad River Journey. The seats are the reason. Now to add more controversy. It dose not matter what you paddle as long as you get out on the water and have a good time. PS. Can i stand back and watch as you stir up more discussion as you ask about paddles?
 
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