Old Town Discovery Sport 15 Canoe (FULL REVIEW) (2023)

When I’m out fishing out of my canoe, I oftenwish that I could move the boat without packing my gear away and using thepaddle. Square stern canoes are an excellent solution to this problem, as theyallow for easy mounting of an electric trolling motor, which is actuallyquieter than paddling and less disturbing to fish.

The Old Town Discovery Sport 15 is my favorite canoe with a square stern right now, so I decided to write this review to help you to make an informed decision about your next canoe buy.

Old Town Discovery Sport 15 Canoe (FULL REVIEW) (1)

Old Town Discovery Sport 15 Square-Stern Recreational Canoe, Green, 15 Feet 3...

  • With a square stern, the Discovery 15 can be paddled traditionally or motored with up to a 4-horsepower motor.
  • Enjoy a dry and confident ride thanks to the full-length stabilizing chines and generous beam.
  • Sit comfortably on the trio of durable, breathable, UV-resistant, nylon-webbed seats, which allow air to flow freely for all-day ease.
  • The durable three-layer polyethylene canoe frame also includes vinyl gunwales and easy-carrying handles.
  • Capacity when paddled is three people and 1,650 pounds, capacity with motor is four people or 800 pounds; measures 15 feet 3 inches and weighs 113 pounds....

Last update on 2023-03-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

(Video) Fishing The Skinny, Old Town Canoe Discovery Sport 15 My Sight Fishing Redfish Setup Canoe Setup!

Things to Consider Before Buying a Square Stern Canoe

Mounting a trolling motor on a canoe is a whole lot easier when you have a square stern. Without one, you need to cobble together a mount by attaching a spreader bar between the inside edges of your hull, and then mounting the motor off to one side of the canoe.

It’s neither an elegant solution nor a verypractical one as it’s harder to maneuver the boat when the motor isn’t directlybehind it.

However, not all square stern canoes areequal or suitable for all paddlers. Some people require a lighter weight boatwhile others are looking for maximum storage capacity. However, all squarestern canoes should be geared towards maximizing the fishing experience, asthis will be their primary purpose.

You can find more information on this subject in this article I wrote about the best square stern canoes.

If you’re not going fishing with your canoethough, a square stern will be a disadvantage as it usually makes the canoeheavier and limits you to a single direction of travel.

A few things that frequent anglers willwant to focus on when buying a square stern canoe:

  • Hull design
  • Capacity
  • Materials the canoe isconstructed from

For the most part, these three things willdictate the canoe’s performance.

Review of the Old Town Discovery Sport 15 Canoe

Old Town Discovery Sport 15 Canoe (FULL REVIEW) (2)

The Discovery Sport is one of the latestboats to come out of the canoe juggernaut that is Old Town and it does notdisappoint, especially with those wanting to do some fishing on their paddlingtrips.

It’s a square stern canoe, which means youcan easily mount a trolling motor on the rear to help with maneuvering betweenfishing holes. However, it’s also a solid canoe when the motor’s not runningand has an oarlock system that makes solo paddling a cinch.


  • Comes with mesh seats thatpromote airflow and are great for keeping your backside dry
  • Hull is very stable, even withnewbie paddlers
  • Three-layer polyethylene hullis more durable than most plastic canoes
  • Can carry three passengers
  • Oarlocks make solo paddlingpossible


  • Too heavy to be carried by justone person
  • Somewhat expensive
  • Feels cramped with threepassengers


The first thing to look at when buying a new canoe is how it performs in the water. However, I should start by saying that most fishing canoes are not designed for “performance” in the traditional sense of the word. They’re slow and less maneuverable compared to models designed for running fast-moving rivers. Yet, where they do excel is with stability and the Discovery Sport is no exception.

(Video) Motorized Hunting Canoe: Old Town Discovery Sport 15

Related Article: Most Stable Fishing Kayaks

The hull design of this canoe is a flatbottom with flared sides, which gives it incredible initial stability, evenwhen it’s fully loaded. It’s also got a moderate rocker, which helps it to keepa straight line when paddled or under motorized power, but the rocker also cutsdown on its maneuverability.

Overall, this is a middle of the roaddesign that’s intended to appeal to most paddlers by being moderatelymaneuverable while remaining fairly stable.

The Discovery Sport also comes with an oarsocket and lock system, a fantastic feature if you’re paddling alone. It’s atotally different experience paddling with the oarlocks, but if you’re not veryexperienced with solo paddling, the Discovery Sport’s 15-foot length can feelunwieldy without them.

It remains very stable under motorizedpower too, as the moderate rocker prevents the canoe from riding too high inthe water and losing it’s tracking ability. You’ll find that a four or fivehorsepower trolling motor will be just about right for the Discovery Sport as itdoesn’t need any more to get it going and a higher horsepower motor would justadd weight.

For more information on this topic, you can read here my article about my favorite trolling motors for canoes and kayaks.

Old Town Discovery Sport 15 Canoe (FULL REVIEW) (3)


Everyone wants a portable boat that theycan carry to the put-in point all by themselves, but that’s not alwayspossible.

The Discovery Sport is a heavy canoe, there’s no getting around it – it weighs in at 113 lb. Loading and unloading this canoe on top of your vehicle is going to be a two-person job, and an unpleasant one at that. Doing it solo is near impossible, but then again, the same could be said for getting it to the put-in point without a canoe/kayak cart. For tandem carry though, it has convenient grab handles at the bow and stern.

Its weight isn’t out of line for its sizethough, so this is more of a warning than a criticism of the model. You shouldhave a plan for how you’re going to get the canoe in and out of the water, andmaybe a trailer for towing it rather than mounting the Discovery Sport on your vehicle’sroof.


With a length of 15 feet, the DiscoverySport feels just right with two adult paddlers, but with all three seats occupiedit can feel crowded unless at least one of the passengers is a child.

(Video) Old Town Canoe + Yamaha Malta 3HP II

However, the canoe is capable of carrying800 lb in addition to a trolling motor, so there’s certainly nothing preventingthree adults and their gear from hitting the water.

The seats on the Discovery Sport are madefrom nylon webbing, which is supposed to have more give and feel morecomfortable than the hard plastic seats used on some canoes. For the most part,they are more comfortable and the mesh allows for greater airflow to dry out yourpants or shorts when they get wet.

However, I still wouldn’t call them comfortablefor all-day adventures. They’re not very wide and are especially uncomfortableif you’ve got a bad back. If that’s the case, you’ll want to look towardsaftermarket seats that provide back support. Most canoe anglers spend a fairamount of time standing up in the boat though, so having a less thancomfortable seat isn’t that big of a deal.

Old Town Discovery Sport 15 Canoe (FULL REVIEW) (4)


This boat is in the middle of the pack whenit comes to durability. Old Town utilizes a three-layer polyethylene for thehull, which is pretty solid under most conditions. If it were to fall off theroof of your car or get bent around a rock on a fast-flowing river, there couldbe catastrophic damage, but minor scrapes in shallow water won’t phase it.

The main issue with polyethylene is that itcan be warped and crack with long-term exposure to ultraviolet light. A day oreven a week out on the water isn’t going to hurt it, but if you leave this boatlying out in your yard between paddling trips, don’t expect it to have a longlifespan.

Polyethylene canoes won’t last for decadeslike aluminum; it will eventually wear down and substantial repairs topolyethylene are nearly impossible. Replacement is the only option.

Alternatives to the Discovery Sport 15

Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Discovery 158 Recreational Canoe Review

Old Town Discovery Sport 15 Canoe (FULL REVIEW) (5)

Old Town makes a model of the Discovery without the square stern that’s more suitable for non-anglers called the Discovery 158. It has many of the same great features seen on the Sport, but with only two seats and no mount for a trolling motor.

However, it does come with a yoke, which makes it easier to portage, as does its 87 lb weight (26 lb less than the Discovery Sport).

View on Amazon

(Video) Ultimate Fishing Canoe Setup

Sun Dolphin Scout SS Canoe Review

Old Town Discovery Sport 15 Canoe (FULL REVIEW) (6)

Another great option if you are in the market for a square stern canoe is theScout SS from Sun Dolphin. It’s about a foot shorter and considerably less expensive compared to the Discovery Sport.

It doesn’t have the mesh seats (hard plastic) and is molded from a less durable plastic that’s more prone to warping, but it could be a better choice if this is your first foray into square stern canoes.

View on Amazon

Grumman 17′ Square-Stern Canoe Review

Old Town Discovery Sport 15 Canoe (FULL REVIEW) (7)

If the Discovery Sport looks too cramped for your purposes, there’s also the Grumman 17’ Square Stern. This beast of a canoe has just two seats and a whole lot of space for gear in between them (and an 875 lb carrying capacity).

It’s also made from aluminum, which lasts much longer than the Discovery Sport’s polyethylene hull. It only weighs a few pounds more than the Discovery Sport, but it costs over twice as much as the Discovery Sport; it’s definitely for the more experienced paddler that knows what they’re looking for in a canoe.

You’ll also notice that the metal heats up and cools down quickly, necessitating some insulation between you and hull if you’re paddling from a kneeling position.

View on Amazon

Conclusion – Is the Discovery Sport for You?

Finding the right canoe can be a real challenge with dozens of features to pore over before making a purchase. The easiest way to decide whether theDiscovery Sport 15″ is a good fit for you is to consider how you’re going to use it.

  • Since it’s a square stern canoe and can accept a trolling motor, it’s actually not a bad choice for solo anglers, as the 15-foot length won’t be as much of a barrier to maneuverability.
  • It also has the oarlock system, which makes paddling much easier when you’re alone.
  • However, if you’re not mounting a motor on it, the Discovery Sport probably isn’t going to be a great choice. You’ll be limited to paddling in one direction with it.
  • If you need a moderately priced square stern that can fit up to three paddlers, it’s an excellent choice.

View on Amazon

(Video) Old Town Discovery Sport Canoe Mod


Are Old Town canoes stable? ›

RECREATION: Ideal for paddling calm water, these durable canoes are built for stability whether you're fishing or out with your family.

How much does a 15 ft old town canoe weigh? ›

Seat TypeNylon Web
Assembled Boat Weight114 lb | 51.7104 kg
12 more rows

What is my Old Town Discovery canoe made of? ›

Old Town Canoe's heavy but durable 17-foot canoe

That tough-as-nails three-layer construction is a sandwich comprised of closed cell foam surrounded by layers of high-density linear polyethylene. No worries about running up on shore or bumping rocks downriver—the Discovery can take a beating.

Are Old Town canoes fiberglass? ›

The same spirit of innovation led us to introduce lightweight fiberglass versions of our kayaks and canoes in the 1950s and '60s.

Which Old Town canoe is the most stable? ›

Flat-Bottom Canoes

Flat bottoms have lots of initial stability. They're great in flat water, and work well as fishing canoe. They're easy to turn, since most of the hull is above the water line.

What shape canoe is most stable? ›

Hull Shape

Flat canoe bottoms provide excellent initial stability. They're perfect for flatwater paddling and general canoeing fun. Flat-bottom boats tend to turn easily (since very little of the hull is below the water line), but they can be slow when fully loaded with gear.

How many people can fit in a 15 foot canoe? ›

Two-person canoes are longer than solos and range from around 15 feet all the way up to 17 feet. Although the canoe length makes it slightly more difficult to transport them out of the water, this additional length actually means they track far better in the water.

Does heavier person sit front or back canoe? ›

The back of the canoe is where the steering takes place. For this reason, the more experienced paddler, or more coordinated person, should be in the stern of the canoe. When there are only two canoeists, it is also better to have the heavier person in the back of the canoe.

How do you transport a 15 foot canoe? ›

Roof racks are a great option to transport a canoe because then you don't need a canoe trailer or car hitch to pull it. Also, on a roof rack there's less chance of the canoe moving around if it has been properly tied down and secured.

Which is lighter aluminum or fiberglass canoe? ›

Fiberglass material canoes are some of the lightest canoes on the market, making them easier to transport and carry from A to B. If you think you'll struggle to load your canoe or carry it down to the water, then a fiberglass composite canoe will be a better option for you as they're lighter than aluminum canoes.

What happened to Old Town canoes? ›

Old Town's trademark wood and canvas canoes have never gone out of production, although they are no longer built at Old Town Canoe. With the closing of the factory at Old Town, Maine, the company contracted with Island Falls Canoe, owned by Jerry Stelmok of Atkinson, to build and maintain its wooden canoes.

Do Old Town canoes float? ›

A three-layer Old Town canoe has foam sandwiched between layers of polyethylene, adding some degree of flotation. However, like any canoe, if it is filled with water, it will ride uselessly low in the water. Single-layer polyethylene canoes will float even lower when swamped.

How do I choose an old town canoe? ›

Stability and capacity is largely associated with length in width. The wider and longer the craft, the more stable it will be. The narrower the craft, the more efficient it will paddle. Consider how you intend to use the canoe to determine what length and width makes the most sense for your needs.

How do you care for an Old Town canoe? ›

HULL EXTERIOR: Wash with mild soap and water. You can also use Murphy's Oil Soap. To beautify, we suggest a vinyl protectant product such as Armor All®, 303 Products or Pledge. These are safe for use on any of our Polyethylene, Superlinear, Royalex® and Fiberglass canoes or kayaks.

What are the advantages of a fiberglass canoe? ›

Fiberglass canoes have a stiff body, and their tight construction helps them glide through the water easily for better performance. They are durable and can easily be repaired if they are scraped on river rocks.

What is the best length for a canoe? ›

The optimal length for a recreational family canoe is usually 16 or 17 feet to accommodate two paddlers, with the option of adding a third paddler in the middle. If you will only ever have two paddlers a 15ft canoe will work as well, but you won't be able to carry as much gear.

Is a flat bottom canoe more stable? ›

A canoe with a flat bottom hull feels steady when it's upright on calm water. Flat bottom hulls have good initial stability. Paddlers feel little oscillation because the hull's greatest possible width is in the water.

How much weight can an Old Town canoe hold? ›

16 ft Canoe Weight Limit Examples
Canoe Brand/ModelLengthMax Capacity
Hemlock Eagle 1616'5″900 lbs.
Old Town Saranac 16016′850 lbs
Old Town Guide 16016′1250 lbs
Mad River Explorer 16 FGX16'3″1100 lbs
6 more rows

What is the golden rule of canoeing? ›

Rotating your torso and every paddle stroke uses your upper body to power the stroke, not just the arms and the shoulders. In fact, think of the arms as just tuning the position of the paddle while the torso acts as the motor to drive each stroke. Torso rotation involves twisting at the waist to wind up your body.

Where should the strongest person sit in a canoe? ›

The stronger paddler should sit in the stern. Sometimes called the “pull-to,” the draw stroke is used to change the direction of the canoe. It can also be used to move the canoe sideways, such as when you're pulling alongside a dock.

What is the best canoe design for beginners? ›

One of the best canoes for beginners is the Discovery 133. This shorter, wider canoe is easy to handle and offers great stability. At the same time, its three-layer hull is a tough nut to crack. The nylon web seating is comfortable, making it easy for beginners to put time without cramping up or getting tired.

What is the best size of canoe for 2 people? ›

A two-person canoe will often be at least 14 feet 6 inches long. If you need room for two adults and a third party (maybe a child or dog) you'll want to go with a longer canoe that is 16 to 18 feet long. The length of the canoe can impact its performance. A general rule is the longer the canoe, the faster it will be.

How far can you canoe per hour? ›

Because taking no breaks and canoeing straight through on calm, still water, the average canoeist can paddle around 2.6 knots or 3 mph. Of course weather, physical condition of the person, and a canoe's speed can increase or decrease that time. But 3.5 hours to paddle a canoe 10 miles is just a guideline.

Can a 300lb person canoe? ›

While it's totally fine to paddle tandem, if you're over 300 lbs and really would like to paddle a canoe, I would urge you to get one of the large solo canoes we mentioned earlier in the article or a tandem canoe that is meant to also be used solo.

Is it better to kneel or sit in a canoe? ›

Plenty of canoeists stay seated all the time. But kneeling helps lower your center of gravity and helps you connect better with the canoe.

What is the 120 rule kayaking? ›

What's the 120 Rule? It's a rule paddlers use to decide when it's safe to paddle without wearing some form of immersion wear like a dry suit or wetsuit. Basically, you add the water and air temperatures together, and when the combined total is greater than 120° F, then it's safe to paddle without immersion wear.

How do you sit comfortably in a canoe? ›

When sitting or kneeling in your canoe keep a few things in mind:
  1. Keep you knees low or down allowing your torso to move independently of your hips and lower body. ...
  2. The canoe should be trim - although weighting the trailing (stern) end slightly makes straight line paddling easier.
Jun 30, 2013

Do you need a roof rack to transport a canoe? ›

If you have to transport a canoe on the roof of your vehicle without a roof rack, you can pad under the gunwales to prevent damage to either the boat or your roof by using a product like the NRS foam canoe block, Level Six sup stacker foam block, or even cutting a pool noodle lengthwise.

Where should you pack the heaviest items in a canoe? ›

Place the heaviest gear–usually food, stove fuel, and drinking water–near the center of the boat. Keep cameras, sunscreen, snacks, water bottles, and maps where you can reach them: in front of your feet, between your legs, or behind the seat.

How far can a canoe stick out of a truck? ›

California. California allows cargo to overhang a vehicle by 4 feet beyond the rear, 3 feet beyond the front and 4 inches beyond the side of the vehicle.

How long do aluminum canoes last? ›

Conversely, the aluminum canoe certainly still has its fans who boast that the metal watercraft can last decades (as aluminum is non-corrosive) even if stored outdoors, and that they are stable and durable for hardcore water sports enthusiasts as well as the novice vacationer who needs a reliable floatation device.

What are cheap canoes made of? ›

Cheap fiberglass canoes are made by spraying small pieces of fiberglass called 'chopped fiber' mixed with cheap polyester resin into a gel-coated mold. Chop fiber provides little structural integrity, thus canoe hulls tend to flop up & down as you paddle.

What color light should a canoe use at night? ›

The minimum requirement for kayaks and canoes (whether paddling or adrift) conforms with U.S. Coast Guard Rules for a "vessel under oars" requiring "an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision."

Are Old Town canoes still made in Maine? ›

All of our watercraft are still built by hand in Old Town, Maine, just as they were over 100 years ago.

What material is an Old Town Canoe made of? ›

Old Town creates extremely durable and high-quality boats made from Rotomolded Polyethylene. Polyethylene is a very durable and lightweight type of thermoplastic that is widely used for multiple types of products.

Do Old Town canoes have serial numbers? ›

On canoes the serial number is located up to 12" from the stern on the starboard side of the boat. The serial number on a wood canoe is stamped on the stem which is located on the inside of the boat at the bow and stern.

Which is more stable a canoe or kayak? ›

Kayaks are a lot more nimble and speedy than canoes, due to their shape, lighter weight and double-bladed paddle, which allows for quicker and more agile piloting than a canoe. Canoes, meanwhile, are more stable and harder to capsize.

Can you sleep under a canoe? ›

While sleeping, your low center of gravity will make for a very stable canoe, but it is always wise to wear your PFD on the water. You will barely notice it once you get tucked in beneath the Milky Way. Even if you plan to sleep in your boat all night, make camp on shore.

Can you canoe in heavy rain? ›

Kayaking in the rain can be perfectly safe, as long as you know the conditions you'll be paddling in and you plan ahead. You'll need to remember that if it's been raining for a while, the water levels may be significantly higher than normal.

How far can a beginner canoe? ›

How Far Can We Go?
Typical Paddling SpeedTypical Daily Distance
Novice, out of shape or young paddlers2-3 km/hr10-12 km
Intermediate Paddlers4-5 km/hr15-20 km
Advanced Paddlers6 km/hr20-30 km
Jul 17, 2006

What age is safe to canoe? ›

By the time children are about 8 years of age, many are ready to paddle the bow of either a kayak or canoe. Most are also capable of learning and executing paddling skills.

Can I leave my canoe outside in winter? ›

Prolonged exposure to cold or wet weather can cause some hull materials to oxidize and/or degrade. Again, storing your canoe indoors is the best protection. If you store your boat outside, make sure it's protected from precipitation and that rain or snow can't collect in the tarp and press down on the hull.

Should you wax a canoe? ›

Before putting the canoe away for the winter, clean and wax the outer hull, any good car wax with a UV inhibitor will do. The wax will protect it over the winter and you will discover any repairs that may be required. If you place a tarp over the canoe for the winter, ensure that the tarp is not touching the canoe.

What are the disadvantages of a canoe? ›

Canoe cons

The most significant disadvantages of canoes are their performance in the wind and waves, and the need to learn a few paddle strokes to control them efficiently. Canoes are usually harder to paddle in the wind than kayaks.

What type of canoe is the most stable? ›

Flat-Bottom Canoes

Flat bottoms have lots of initial stability. They're great in flat water, and work well as fishing canoe. They're easy to turn, since most of the hull is above the water line.

What disadvantages does fiberglass have? ›

  • Fiberglass insulation is not that much effective when there is a significant difference between the outside temperature & inside temperature because it keeps the heat inside and becomes less effective.
  • If it becomes wet, it loses its insulation qualities, making it ineffective.
Sep 19, 2018

Are flat bottom canoes stable? ›

A canoe with a flat bottom hull feels steady when it's upright on calm water. Flat bottom hulls have good initial stability. Paddlers feel little oscillation because the hull's greatest possible width is in the water.

Are canoes less stable than kayaks? ›

Kayaks are a lot more nimble and speedy than canoes, due to their shape, lighter weight and double-bladed paddle, which allows for quicker and more agile piloting than a canoe. Canoes, meanwhile, are more stable and harder to capsize.

Where should the heavier person sit in a canoe? ›

The back of the canoe is where the steering takes place. For this reason, the more experienced paddler, or more coordinated person, should be in the stern of the canoe. When there are only two canoeists, it is also better to have the heavier person in the back of the canoe.

How do you care for an Old Town Canoe? ›

HULL EXTERIOR: Wash with mild soap and water. You can also use Murphy's Oil Soap. To beautify, we suggest a vinyl protectant product such as Armor All®, 303 Products or Pledge. These are safe for use on any of our Polyethylene, Superlinear, Royalex® and Fiberglass canoes or kayaks.

Can canoes handle rough water? ›

It is possible to launch or land a canoe in waves and rough seas, however it's best to avoid these conditions altogether by getting off the water before waves build to a dangerous point. Even in perfectly calm weather, canoeists should be constantly assessing the shore for landing points, protection and campsites.

Do canoes flip easier than kayaks? ›

A canoe is stable and does not flip easily, vs a kayak.

What's easier to tip a kayak or canoe? ›

On the downside, kayaks are less stable, some people may have problems getting in and out of them, and they tend to tip over more easily than canoes of the same length.


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