Submitted: 11-04-2011 by MR
I bought this boat under unfavourable circumstances. I borrowed my neighbours 169 for a trip down the Stikine River in Northern BC. Long story short, the 2nd day of 12 it ended up hung up on a rock, and by the time it worked itself loose and I recovered it, it had a broken thwart, 2 broken gunwhales on the front, broken front seat, and mostly missing deck plate.
1/2 roll of duct tape later, we were using it as our solo canoe for the rest of the trip. This is a testament to the incredible toughness of these canoes.
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.