Read reviews for the Guide 119 by Old Town Canoe and Kayak as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!
The 119 is relatively new to me. Bought used 2011 model. It is well-made and sturdy for the most part. The material is thicker and considerably more stiff than the flimsy-feeling Royalex on the Old Town Pack canoe. The Pack has tons of flex when on the water, like the entire bottom flexes up a lot, where the Guide feels fairly rigid. The "penalty" is that the 119 is a little heavier. The Pack has lower sides and is easier to paddle because of it. The 119 has more protection from waves, being a bit taller above the water.
Neither tracks well. Unless using a J stroke, you pretty much need to switch sides every stroke or two. Indeed , these boats are better suited for a double bladed kayak paddle. J stroke works fine, as long as you are happy to zigzag forward at a snail pace (which could be enjoyable if one is after after a rather slow and relaxed paddling experience). A double-bladed paddle needs to be quite long, mainly because otherwise it needs to be held more vertically, the top blade crossing over the open canoe, and dripping a lot of water inside. For this reason (and because of the somewhat taller than ideal for doublebladed paddling gunwales I prefer to use a single blade with the 119.
The 119 is short and wide, so it is not fast by any standard. But at slow speeds seems to glide nicely and goes straight when I stop paddling, so it is nice to paddle.
The factory seat is too low to allow my feet to go under it comfortably for kneeling (even barefoot). The front of the seat flexes down and causes sliding forward. A comfortable position that does not cause sliding is cross-legged. The high back rest is sturdy and comfortable. The bottom of the seat is also comfortable, but the front needs to be shimmed up to prevent the sliding. I plan to raise the seat an inch or two and rise the front maybe 1/2" higher than the rear to eliminate the sliding. And add kneeling pads. There is plenty of stability for me to raise the seat and not feel tippy.
I am 200lb, 6'4" and I can stand-up on flat water in the 119, but it feels a bit too lively to trust it to paddle upright or do anything else standing. Maybe a short person could be more stable standing. As a reference, I stand-up paddle board on a slightly narrower SUP that feels more stable. And I am comfortable paddling 19 " wide surfskis. I can see how a novice paddler might feel the 119 is a bit lively at first or even flip it by leaning to the side in a way a self-respecting kayaker would never attemput:). Sitting down, the stability is very good for me, both initial and secondary. When the weather warms-up I will test the tipping point and if I can paddle it standing up with a SUP paddle.
If stored upside down in the sun, the bottom will form a concave line along the keel front to back, so best to store this kanoe in the shade or handing down from the front and back handle to keep it straight. Careful heating with a heat gun and loading to straighten the bottom reduced that concavity, but it is hard to completely undo what several years in the sun had done to my particular canoe.
The gunwales are sturdy and do not flex much.
The stock seat position I think is about right for me, even though the trim is a little lighter in the front this way. Moving the weight forward, I think worsens the tracking as it rises the stern and let's it wander more than ideal. I only paddle the 119 unloaded, so with added weight this might change.
I had a chance to buy a Pack for a very reasonable price just after I bought the 119. Test-paddled both, and kept the 119 - feels sturdier, more freeboard for rougher days, not that much heavier. I felt the Pack paddled ever so slightly nicer due to the lower sides, but the overly flexible construction with bottom that popping-up forming a concave surface with the water was not confidence-inspiring and a put-off for me.
I have owned my Guide 119 for two years now. I've had it out on the water 7 or 8 times. Before the 119, I was solo paddling an OT Discovery 158. Since the 119, I've gotten a OT Camper 15 and a couple of kayaks. Now the 119 is kind of the odd-man-out. However, I do plan to take it out next time.
Initial stability is ok, secondary is pretty good. I had it out on the river and was casually chatting with my buddy as I looked over my shoulder. Well, the bow wasn't pointed directly downstream, the keel caught a rock just under the surface, and I got dumped. In shallow rivers, it's important to always stay alert in the 119.
I took the 119 out in some class III rapids. There was one wave train about 75 yards long. When I got to the end, the boat was 1/3 full of water and I had a hard time getting it to shore and keeping it upright at the same time. Fortunately, my friend was already on the bank bailing water out of his Guide 119. Mine was much worse since I had the cooler and I weigh about 50 pounds more than him.
Overall, it's a good boat and easy to paddle all day. I would keep it in the class I-II water, and preferably deep enough to keep the keel off the rocks, or at least keep it pointed downstream in shallow water.
Old Town is in the process of helping me with the guide 147. Old town is a great product and I will continue to use old town as my canoe of choice.
While paddling I did not feel tipsy. I did feel a little tipsy sitting still. I believe this is normal until you get used to any boat or canoe - muscle memory or something.
Now the bad, well not really bad just more of of a thing for me. Before I lowered the seat it was much easier to stand up and get out. I do feel like I am in a kayak again but it is something I will get used to. One day in the near future I will ditch the plastic seat for a flat seat and move it forward a bit and raise it again.
Pros: plenty of room even for a big guy like me, feels stable enough for a canoe, light weight, tracks well, plenty fast enough with kayak paddle, there is more...
Cons: the plastic seat does stink for the fisherman but since this is really a recreational boat it does what it is designed for - getting around and going down rivers.
These are my observations and opinions listed above. I am far from a professional. I have experience in several types of boats. I have canoed on and off for the last 15 years. This is my first canoe I have owned and over the last 5-6 years I have owned kayaks.
This is a great little boat and I look forward to keeping it on the water
Three mods will make this boat a pleasure to paddle:
1) We-no-nah adjustable footbrace
2) a flat strip of wood cut to fit under the gunwale at the boat's widest point, serving as a center thwart and allowing for a solo lift
3) a wedge of wood or plastic lumber which will drop the seat back 2", making for a more ergo seat and better paddling posture.
This Canoe is much more than I had expected and I can honestly say that it will be the last boat/Canoe that I will ever need to purchase. It handles like a dream on lakes and the local rivers in my area. I bought it on July 4th, 2014 and in the 3 weeks I've owned it, I have used it every 2 to 3 days. I can just pop it on top my car and go. There is more than enough room for my camping gear and fishing gear.
I have owned many types of boats and Canoes in my life, and by far this has to be the one I enjoy most.
Thanks Old Town