Read reviews for the Guide 160 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!
It is an excellent fishing platform, with built in spots for rod holders. Made of plastic and weighing in at about 37kg, it is still light enough for me to put on the top of my 4wd by myself. It is highly durable, can take a knock, and is finished well. On the water, it is stable, at 1m wide, and with a step in the chine, it will gain extra stability the more you load it up.
It is SLOW compared to other canoes. But if you're on your own time (who isn't on their own time when they're in a canoe?), you will get to where you're going. Mine went out 280 days last year(would have been more but I broke my rib), this year I'm going for tours with two different people along the Thames just above London twice and even a trip along the Svartälven in Sweden in August. The canoe will do it all, it's not as fast as some canoes but it still gets there.
Of course, if you're one of those slightly inadequate equipment obsessives, you'll want something that costs more money, shinier and made of more esoteric materials. But if you just want to go paddling, this will do the job and won't give you any trouble.
Flat water fishing is its strength. But it is slow, turns like a tank - no worse than that, and has no final stability - once it starts to tip it goes quickly. Plus, 85lbs is tough to load after a while. The Discovery series is much better for a little more $. You will learn more and enjoy it for a longer period of time (better glide and maneuverability). But it is still much better than a Coleman or Pelican.
I have taken this canoe up to the BWCA on many occasions, and that's when the weight becomes an issue. Portaging is NOT fun, but it gives me an incentive to get in shape. One of these days I'll get a kevlar speedster for these trips and all will be well. Although, they too, have their downsides.
On one trip, we were plodding across a lake and two kevlar boats raced past and beat us to the landing. Well, this landing was particularly rocky and both of them put holes in their canoes. We bored in at full steam and hit every rock we possibly could. Picked up our canoe, now with a couple more scratches, and went on our merry way while the other boaters went about patching up their canoes. It IS a tank, and I expect it will last a lifetime or two.
We have a large family and the canoe successfully provided safe fun for my wife and 6 kids, ages 3 to 10 (including twins) on a local reservoir.
The boat was easy to maneuver, stable and a real joy. When it was my turn to paddle, it responded well to 4 little kids paddling + me (I only took 4 of the kids). I was able to also paddle solo with the kids in the canoe. It responded very well, much better than I remembered an aluminum rental responding.
The only slight minus is the 83 pound weight. However, we purchased a Thule rack with an "outrigger" that works as a pivot point to load and unload the canoe off of our 7 foot high van. Using this, today I was able to unload the canoe solo. (However, it probably helps that at 6 feet tall I just barely didn't need a step-stool.)
You can't go wrong if you are looking for a great family canoe for still water.
I wanted something very stable (secondary stability), good tracking, durable, big enough for my family, small enough for solo, and low price. It may be too big for some to solo, but it's OK for me.
The 2 kids (age 9 & 12) do quite well in it fishing. For now, I bungy cord a 'low to the ground' type lawn chair just ahead of the thwart for a 3rd seat.
It is quite heavy to load by myself, so I purchased a 4 wheeled canoe dolly that straps on either end of the canoe. Due to the more oval shape at the bow & stern, I had to add some padding to the dolly to get a tight fit. Now, I can strap it on, walk it to my car, flip it over on the other set of wheels and roll it onto the car roof.
I don't have a roof rack, so I attach those foam canoe pads to the gunwales and put a 'roller' underneath which allows me to put one end on the car roof. I then pick up the end on the ground and the roller moves the canoe forward until it falls off onto the hood. The 'roller' is a long broom handle type of stick, covered with black 1" foam insulating covers used for your home's water pipes. It isn't ideal but it makes solo loading much easier.
In order to fish the Wisconsin River by myself, I purchased a MinnKota Endura 55 transom trolling motor. I flip the boat around, sitting in the bow and put the battery in the stern. Plenty of power to go several miles upstream and float back.
Lastly I purchased two SitBacker chairs. They are very comfortable and fit the molded seats, even if used backwards for solo canoeing.
1. The front seat is too close to the front of the canoe, making my wifes feet be jammed up into the bow when we travel. I am going to buy an aftermarket wicker seat and drill some new holes in the gunnels to move the front seat back about six inches so she'll shut up about it... the reasonfor this is that Old Towne uses the same molded seat for all it's so equipped canoes, and the Guide boat gets wider quicker, which mean the standard seat has to be bolted in closer to the front of the boat. Also, you can't sit backward comfortably in the molded seat, but not a complaint for me, cuse when I solo, I always have gear in the front keeping the nose down.
2. There is no readily available aftermarket seat that will fit in the middle of the boat like the other Old Townes, again due to the width of the boat. If you want a middle seat (a good idea-this boat can take it) you have to buy a wood and wicker one, cut chop and drill and fit. Other Old Townes can use the plastic aftermarket seat that Old Towne sells that can be snapped down on top of the gunnels and removed just as fast, which is way cool if you have an unexpedted or short notice third party...
Other than those two specific things, this boat is a classic FOR WHAT IT WAS DESIGNED FOR! If you intend on using it outside it's designed parameters, you will hate the boat and rate it low. It is not a Discovery 168 or a Expedition boat, this is not your choice. I f you want safe, stable, fishing, day or two day tripping slow ater boat, go for it!
We purchase the 160 to accommodate both of us and our three kids. We were not disappointed at all with the performance and stability. Our oldest (7 years) loves to lean over the gunwale - and you hardly notice.
The problem (as stated in the other review) is that we ALWAYS kept the canoe on its gunwales. We too had some unconformity in the hull and gunwales and were told at purchase that the canoe would regain its shape...
...Wrong. I finally decided to exchange it for a Penobscot 16. The kids can fish from our Boston Whaler, and learn how to stay balanced in the new canoe - it will serve them well in the future. My wife and I can sneak off for fairly good solo paddles (she could not lift the 160), and my Canoe says "Old Town" on the sides now.
The 160 performance in the water was great for its designed intention. However, after seeing this other review I decided that Poly Link at these dimensions might pose a manufacturing challenge that leaves Old Town inconsistent at best...
Complaints: I bought the boat at Bass Pro Shop and a few days after bringing it home I noticed the gunwales were really warped. (Flat on one side, bowed on the other.) Now, this is likely my fault because I did store it leaning on it's side the first day I had it. One day only. Since then it is upsidedown on sawhorses. I called Old Town and they said in hot weather it should pop back into shape. It didn't. I called Bass Pro and they said I could bring it in to exchange it. The manager about fell over when he saw all the scratches on it, he apparently has never seen a well used canoe before! They did exchage it though. I guess that's the advantage of buying a brand name.
The only other complaint is that the sides are fairly short, so going through rapids and rough water we take on quite a bit of water. That's what the bail bucket is for, but you're going to get wet!
Hull has a very deep stabilizing chines just below the waterline. You can not tip this canoe if you do the polka on roller skates while floating down the river. However, at close to max weight allowance she turns like a drunk playing dizzy bat (see above tale of the Big Manistee rock).
Paddling solo is very do-able. I'd recommend sitting backwards on the bow seat, and paddlin' in reverse. The keel and the chines do produce some hydrodynamic effects that can only be described as "funky," but this is a good boat.