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Reviews for Discovery 158 Canoe by Old Town Canoe


Rated: 8.35/10 Based On: 31 Reviews


Discovery 158 Canoe by Old Town Canoe

Length: 15' 8" - Width: 35.5" - Starting at: $899.99
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03-28-2014
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     The Discovery is an excellent canoe. I purchased mine in 1986 and had it for 20 years before selling it.

The canoe is exceptionally stable. I often stood in the canoe to cast when fishing. It is an awesome tripping canoe, capable of carrying 1,100 lbs. It was, however, heavy, which made portaging the canoe tiring.

My canoe had the bench seat, which allowed me to solo paddle the canoe backwards by sitting in the bow seat. Contrary to what has been written, the newer model is not a good solo canoe. The contoured seats and backrests prevent solo paddlers from paddling the canoe backwards. Paddling solo from the stern seat is doable, but it raises the bow high out of the water, which on windy days will turn the bow into a sail.

If you need a great family canoe, this is the ideal canoe to get. It's very stable, something you want in a family canoe, especially if you have little tikes along. If, however, most of your canoeing will be done solo, look at an Old Town model with webbed seats instead.

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03-27-2014
Submitted by: MarkSend Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     I had one throughout the 1990s. Have paddled one solo through multi-day whitewater trips such as Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande and Lower Pecos. I paddled solo from the back seat and had my gear forward. The canoe is durable, but I have gone to mainly using a Royalex canoe now because it is more possible to repair it with epoxy and the weight is much less (that gets more important when I am older and it is harder loading a boat on the truck.
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03-23-2014
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Very tough. If you need a canoe for all types of paddling, this is it. Tandem or solo. Lakes, rivers, or muddy swamps. This canoe will be your new best friend!
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08-19-2013
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     The 'usual boat' for my husband and I is a 20-year-old Old Town Discovery 158. We've been taking it to the chert-bottomed Ozark streams since we got married...usually tied on the roof rack of a 1997 Escort wagon. Despite the length of service, this plastic, keel-less 15'8" tandem has served admirably in every season except winter. For two years, it was our transport of choice to a remote creek off the Current River where I did my undergraduate geology thesis by paddling a half-mile from the put in just north of the confluence with Jack's Fork River.

The Discovery 158 may be a little old in design, and a touch heavy for one middle-aged person to line up on a compact car (it can be done, with a little knowledge of leverage) but this boat is very maneuverable for a tandem. We've only dumped it once...when it got hung up mid-boat under a camping load on an invisible submerged rock. We've put hundreds of miles on this canoe, and it's still got hundreds of good miles in it. Recommended for a tandem paddling couple who does overnight gravelbar camping.

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07-27-2013
Submitted by: John S. StewartSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have used my Discovery 158 in saltwater backwaters free of any current and on Class II rivers (moderate difficulty). The Three Layer Polyethylene hull allows you to slide over mangrove roots or shallow river rocks with minimal drag and barely audible noise. Only razor sharp saltwater scallops have ever sliced the skin of the hull and they did not need repairing.

A nearly three foot beam (width) makes it a relatively stable craft and straight sides allow for ample space for camping gear while maintaining a shallow draft. Should the boat fill with water (it can happen), floatation is in the hull rather than under the seats or in the bow and stern freeing up those areas for additional storage.

The contoured Ash crossbar makes for a comfortable back rest when canoeing solo in a kneeling position. Speaking of soloing, I found the Discovery 158 responsive when using a single-blade paddle or as I prefer, a double-bladed paddle in both still waters and in moderate river rapids.

Overall, the Discovery 158 offers forgiveness to the beginner and yet well suited for the skilled canoeist.

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07-17-2013
Submitted by: BJSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The old standby. This canoe is the standard for a reason. It is tried and true, mine is going on 20 years of hard use and still is ready to go at a moments notice.
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07-13-2012
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     This is the canoe that got me into paddlesports. I knew nothing at all when I bought this on E-bay. Didn't even know that I needed a solo canoe for what I wanted to do. Luckily, the next thing I bought was a pfd, and I set out to learn.

This canoe is everything the reviews say it is and more. I have rolled it over alone and with a buddy (who now has his own boats), but I did learn. Mine is a 1991 which was stored inside before I bought it and I took good care of it afterward, as a result it still looks like new. It is good for almost everything you would want a canoe for and is indestructible. It is reasonably priced and carries a tremendous load, but I personally think that it has beautiful lines of the older canoe's. That is why I would never sell it even though I have bought 5 more boats of different makes for different purposes. You cannot go wrong with this canoe.

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08-01-2011
Submitted by: PauloSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My Old Town 158 is a war wagon. It is great to take on a slow river or lake. Wonderful of kids that want to move around the canoe, very stable. Fun to fish from, I have stood up in this canoe to cast. The 158 takes a huge beating and stays in great shape and very functional. I would never sell mine and as very happy to loan it to others thinking about buying a canoe and just want to see what they are like. Very safe for kids, dogs and whatever you wish to bring with you.
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08-04-2009
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I got a Discovery 158 5 years ago used from an outfitter for $275 and it is a great family canoe for local lakes and rivers. I bought portage pads from Piragis that bolt on to the thwart and I don't have too much trouble portaging shorter distances (half mile or less) but this certainly isn't the canoe to take to the Boundary Waters.

It's very stable for the kids and it is a tank. If I'm worried about a tricky landing and the kids dumping us out, I can ram the bow right up on shore and I have no concerns about how the boat will handle it. You won't win any races in this boat but it is a good all around family trooper. Using the bent shaft paddles on the lakes seems to help quite a bit and I paddle it solo by turning it around backwards and kneeling while resting against the tractor seats. I'm not running races or doing anything worse than class II all over Ohio - for that, I couldn't ask for a better boat and value.

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07-29-2009
Submitted by: OctavianSend Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     Just got this canoe used and we took it out last night on the Grand River. My wife and I were able to paddle against the current quite well and the canoe is very stable. The only downside, which is why I gave it a 7, is that it is very heavy. Our next canoe will be a ultra-light, but not for a few more years. Until then, the Discovery will do just fine.
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02-23-2009
Submitted by: daveSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     We use these every year for 4-day trips. On the lake-portage trips the weight is tough but with two carrying one bow one stern on your shoulders they aren't bad. I can carry one alone only in level ground but none of the kids can. For river trips including rapids up to class 3 they are great. Stable, indestructible, carry tons of gear - load 'em up doesn't matter.
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01-02-2008
Submitted by: HansSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Super canoe. My wife and I hired one for a three day canoe trip down the River Obra in Poland, Europe, back in the summer. We managed to handle fallen trees with ease and the canoe looked pretty much the same at the end of the trip. We plan to buy one for ourselves in the spring.
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09-07-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Rented 3 of these boats at Blackwater Outdoor Adventures in Saint George, West Virginia for a 4 mile trip down The Cheat River. My parents are late 50's and had not been in canoe in decades, they had no problem at all with this very stable canoe. The Cheat River is wide and slow moving so my experience in this boat was limited to couple hours of calm river paddling. Paddling effort is minimal to really get this boat cruising along nicely. I would buy one if I came across one used but thus far my 2 17 footers (Coleman and Osage) still feel the most stable of all things I have paddled.
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03-21-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Had my Discovery 158 for 3 years now, it is my 3rd canoe. It has been a great all around canoe. tough as nails and handles well on flat water rivers loaded down (800 lbs+ people and gear) Have had it on class III+ WW and performed very well. I did add a center flotation bag for WW though. Only draw back is weight, but superlink 3 is stronger than polylink or royalex so I think the little bit of added weight is offset by the durability of this canoe. I would definitely buy again, an absolute bargain for the price.
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06-22-2006
Submitted by: macSend Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     This is a great canoe for families. It takes a beating and can hold 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 kids with no problem. It is very stable. BUT it is very heavy and take 2 adults to handle it off and on the vehicle. One could manage but its difficult.
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09-23-2004
Submitted by: KevinSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I guided on these canoes for months, not regular tourists, but kids whose only canoeist skill was to hit, scrape, smash, drag, and do their absolute best to trash one of these bad boyz. They FAILED! They're about 5yrs old and have mistreated in every way possible worse than anyone reading this and they are immortal! Minus one for weight though.
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07-26-2004
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 3 of 10

     This boat is not good for whitewater. I put a hole in the bottom of one today.
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01-06-2004
Submitted by: Ed LeahySend Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     Adequate beginner canoe, it takes a beating. However, it is slow, heavy and lacks secondary stability. It was my first canoe and I don't miss it. Spend a little more on a nice roylex boat.
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07-31-2001
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Great first canoe for just about anyone or nice "beater" boat for someone with another canoe. This boat can take a beating and is ready for more. It'll glide right over rocks and won't show much abuse. No wonder its the canoe many river outfitters use. I've paddled it on class II rivers without any problems, and it tracks fairly well on flat water as well. Initial stability is excellent. Would work great for fishing or even taking the kids along. The only drawback is its weight as others have mentioned. It can be difficult to portage or car top alone. The weight can be easily overlooked once you see the price tag and factor in its durability.
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06-27-2001
Submitted by: StefanSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     A bit slow on flat water, but strong enough for our hamburg lake, the alster. Perfect with kids, dogs and other blizzards. I bought my discovery last year and we scratched a few stones since then, but I think the material is quite tough enough to scratch some more. The only real bad thing is the weight-roundabout 36 kilograms.
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03-19-2001
Submitted by: mm
Rating: 9 of 10

     We've had our Discovery 158 ABS for 12 years and have dragged it over every rock in OH. Low water in the summer is not a problem unless we have heavier people. It skims over rocks that hang up aluminum and scratched a hole in our new Royalex Tripper. We've had it on lakes in Canada and Maine. It has carried enough gear for week long trips with kids without a problem. On big class II water I'm not as comfortable but it's been stable and maneuverable for everything else. Great boat
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02-06-2001
Submitted by: SteveSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     For my needs - a teriffic all purpose canoe.
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11-02-2000
Submitted by: Jason T.
Rating: 9 of 10

     For the money, this boat is excellent! It's very durable, tracks well, turns well, and can even handle moderate whitewater. The only draw back would be it's weight (80lbs). Other than that it's an excellent boat. I use mine for everything: fishing, photography, touring, running moderate whitewater, etc. Here are a few suggestions though! Loose the plastic seats and get either web or cane seats. Also skid plates are a wonderful idea if you live near the coast(oyster shells) or are planning to do a fair amount of whitewater.
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07-06-2000
Submitted by: Hubert S.Send Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     Tough boat. Slamed a rock once and it only left a little dent. It will hold a lot of gear but then it takes a lot of water to float. Not a good choice if you have low water conditions unless you don't mind dragging.
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03-22-2000
Submitted by: FlectorSend Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     It's a tank. Heavy, flat bottomed, and virtually indestructable but definately not a graceful boat. It's slow on flat water and doesn't lean well (because of flat bottom) in WW. Some folks report "oil canning" problems in the middle of the hull. It's a fine beginner boat but, if you find out you really like the sport, you'll probably regret not buy a better boat.

I doubt I'll ever sell mine as it is my first canoe and will be a good "loaner" but, I wouldn't buy another. Save your money for another month or so and buy a better canoe...there really is a difference. They say, "buying the good stuff only hurts once." It's true.

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11-10-1999
Submitted by: JSCanoeSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     This is a great all around general purpose boat. I can haul all the gear I need and find it does well in whitewater as well. The Crosslink material will long at last me and bounces back for more punishment. The only drawback is it's weight, 80 pds. For a long portage this would probably kill me, but that's why they make portage carts!
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08-10-1999
Submitted by: Doug W.Send Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     Great beginner boat. Tends to take in water if you get it on class III rapids and it's a bit on the heavy side. Tracks well in flat water. If you ever need the secondary stability you can expect a nice swim.
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07-27-1999
Submitted by: MitchSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     An excellent everything boat. Have used my for class III rapids and lots of lake and estuary paddling. Stable, slight rocker okay for spinning into eddies, tracks fairly well on lakes. Takes a beating! If your boating needs are more specific (e.g. only lakes), you can do better. If you want a boat for any occassion, this is a great choice.
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07-27-1999
Submitted by: Gary G.
Rating: 9 of 10

     Sturdy canoe, very stable, holds a lot of gear, easy to manuever, unsinkable construction. Great family canoe. Only drawback - heavy to carry - 80 lbs.
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05-25-1999
Submitted by: SteveSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     First canoe I had--essentially bombproof. Very good general purpose, from tripping to moderate WW. Not good at leaning to turn, secondary stability lacks somewhat. Overall, a good boat.
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10-07-1998
Submitted by: Jen s.Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Cross-link 3 material pretty sturdy can handle moderate whitewater or quiet lakes. Somewhat on the heavy side (80lbs) but two people can manage portage. Can hold 980lbs. Got mine in dark green looks great Old Towne is definite quality worth the price.
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