I only have one real gripe about this canoe, regardless of how it is used. That gripe involves the molded plastic seats.The seat backs are adjustable for back support but can flop forward into the folded position on their, which seems to happen just as you are entering the canoe and trying to sit down. Rather annoying! Some bungee cord takes car of that but I feel that it is something Old Town could address by incorporating the bungee into the seat's design. Secondly, the plastic seats get slippery when one us wearing wet nylon shorts or swim wear. I found that i would have to constantly readjust my position because the seat profile would cause me to slip forward and slightly downward in the seat, which caused some strain on my lower back. A good seat pad can alleviate this and provide some extra comfort.
Finally, where the seats are concerned, their profiles are pretty bulky and I felt I couldn't kneel to paddle because I was worried that my feet would get caught between the bottom of the seat and and the canoe, especially with foot wear on. While I mostly paddle seated, I like the option of occasionally going to my knees to relieve back strain or raise my height to scout for submerged obstacles.
Aside from the seats, the Guide 147 is a good family canoe for recreational use. It is stable enough and roomy enough to comfortably hold 2 adults and a dog or a couple smaller children. It will also hold those same two adults and enough gear for a week-end trip, possibly even enough for a week long trip if the adults are the kind who pack lean and mean.
On my last outing in the Guide 147 we ended up having to deal with a decent chop and small white caps. Our direction of travel happened to match the wind direction so it wasn't too bad paddling to shelter. However, I think the canoe has a tendency to weather cock in strong wind because we ended up broadside to the waves a couple times when the stern paddler took a momentary break. Not the most ideal situation but since we didn't broach it appears that the canoe can handle it with experienced paddlers aboard.
The Guide is pretty robust, which can be an advantage where heavily stained waters hide submerged obstacles or most landing sites are really rocky. However that robustness comes at a distinct weight cost that can make its self evident when portaging or crossing beaver dams.
Where portaging is concerned, it's doable with the Guide as long as the distance is measured in yards, instead of miles, and the trail isn't too rough or terrain allows the use of a cart. The shape and and position of the molded seats makes a two man shoulder carry awkward, which my brother and I felt ruled out the kind of wilderness portage that involves a couple miles and poor trails or outright bushwhacking.
Overall, I feel the Guide 147 is a good recreational and general purpose canoe whose only real flaw is the seats, which can be remedied pretty easily and cheaply with bungee cord and seat pads. That being said the really adventure minded paddlers might want to look elsewhere as the canoe's weight could becoming a limiting factor.
The pad itself is foam with a removable ripstop nylon cover, convenient for cleaning. The pad was firm enough to be supportive get had just enough give to alleviate pressure points. The pad was thick enough to do the job without noticeably raising the paddler's center of gravity.The cover had enough texture to grip wet nylon shorts so there was no uncomfortable slipping and sliding like I've experienced in the unpadded, molded plastic seats Old Town uses.
I have struggled with lower back pain for years and a seat can make or break an experience for me. This pad did an admirable job of keeping me comfortable while being unobtrusive. If I spent more time paddling a canoe instead of SOT kayaks I would probably buy my own.
They are very stable, I am 6' and approx. 215 lb. and I feel confident stand-up paddling in calm water. They track well for their size but I have to paddle harder to keep up with larger kayaks, which I anticipated from the get go.
My major beefs are that the front rod holders cause reels to drag in the water and the molded in foot rest. Adjustable footrest models are now offered by Malibu now, though. The Mini-X is well suited to throwing in a truck, van or larger SUV and getting on the water on the spur of the moment.