First Boat Advice

Hello all! I am considering purchasing an Old Town Next for my first personal boat. I managed to find a used one that had some work done by the owner and was wondering if you guys think it is a good deal or if I should steer clear. Thanks in advance!

I am not opposed to other options either. I am 6’3 220lbs. I want to be able to haul about 100lbs of gear with me. Mostly all flat water of NC.

Here’s the post.

When it first came out, Old Town positioned the Next as upscale canoe alternative to relatively inexpensive rec. kayaks - small, easy to get in and out of, and easy to paddle with a double blade. Price point was probably a little too high, and I don’t think it took off the way they hoped. To be honest, I have only seen one or two of them in my travels.

If you are happy to paddle with a double blade its probably fine. The rudder seems like overkill for 13’ boat. There will be room in the bow and stern for camping gear, so you can probably fit what you need. I’m about your size, and I paddle a 14’ solo boat with gear - plenty of room.

Wouldn’t be my first choice (I’m more of a single blader), but probably a good boat to start with. Good luck.

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I have several friends that paddle them because they are comfortable and easy to get in and out of. You might need to tweak the seat for your own feel. The seat will pop out of the track but a cross strap will cure that. That price isn’t a steal but it isn’t a bad deal considering what you are getting. I don’t know why you would need the rudder on a short boat.

There is also a Guide 147 for significantly less, so you have experience with that boat? Can it solo decently? Thanks for the help!

What do you think a reasonable price would be for that boat?

A longer boat like the 147 is going to handle the weight you intend to put in it and track better. I had a Guide 147 for several years and used to paddle tandem with my boyfriend so we had about 320 pounds in it — it was a good solid boat for both lake paddling and rivers up to class 2 whitewater that handled and tracked well. .

While I have never paddled a Next, I did research them when they first cane out and my impression is that they have a rather shallow draft and you may find the load you plan makes it unstable. I have a 13’ solo canoe now but I weigh 80 pounds less than you and have trouble imagining how it would handle so loaded down. The klunky high backed seat in the Next is, for me, counterintuitive to effective paddling, esoecially with a double blade. Typically solo pack canoes have low and backless seats to permit efficient paddling form. I think that the high price and the heavy weight of the Next made it a relative bust in the market. Old Town’s hopes of competing against rec boat kayaks never materialized.

I am a little surprised that nobody so far has suggested a 13’ boat is pretty small for a guy your size. I admit I am more involved in advising on kayak sizing and we would generally recommend 15’ and up kayaks for a big guy who wants to haul cargo.

Thanks for the reply! Is the 147 solo-able? Or would it need some seat modifications to make that doable? I was a bit concerned with the size as well. Thanks again!

There is an active forum member who has extensively modified a 147 for solo use — I am blanking on his name but you can do a search on this forum for “Old Town 147” posts and probably find his detailed description of what he did with his.

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@bud16415 is the member that modified his Old Guide 147.

Here is the thread mentioned: My Old Town Guide-147 - Advice -


DON’T DO IT ! Boats are a sickness that gets worse once you start. You will be forever looking for faster, sleeker, better fitting, more eye candy.
Having said that, I need to go boat shopping.


I would be that guy.

I bought the OT Guide147 and had no idea what it was or if it was right for me. We quickly found out we didn’t like going tandem and she wanted her own boat so we bought her a new OT Trip 10 that was a fairly open rec-kayak that wouldn’t really be much different than the OT Next.

I’m also a good size guy and the guide has molded plastic seats that make sitting backwards in the bow seat and paddling solo hard to do. I turned that seat around and messed around trying to get the canoe to float level and it would take most of that 100 pounds you plan on carrying as gear to do that. Without it you will be light in the bow and the wind will spin you around like nothing. I like to also haul some stuff but not always so I stripped everything out of the canoe and put a comfortable seat back where I wanted it and now have cargo area both in front and behind me. That is perfect because it lets you balance what you bring along and empty is also balanced. The problem then is the beam is about 38” at the center seat. In one way that is good because the canoe is rock stable but bad because very hard to paddle with a single blade and most double blade kayak paddles are too short. What worked perfect for me is a 260cm kayak double blade. I made an extender for the paddle I had but longer doubles are out there if you look.

I couldn’t be happier with the outcome and it looks like a lot of work and was drawn out over some time because I didn’t know what I wanted or what I was doing but if I were to do another knowing what I know now it would be an easy weekend project.

Sitting in the center of a tandem that has a weight capacity of around 900 lbs that also has no keel line and a flat bottom lets you go thru very shallow water that even most of the rec-kayaks here will hang up on. So in our sometimes shallow river it has worked out great. On the other hand not drawing much water on open lakes means you have to be trimmed level to not get blown around.

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I wouldn’t mess with it.

By the way, the Guide 147 is nearly 2" deeper and 7" wider than the NEXT. It has TWICE the rated cargo capacity (900 pounds versus 450 pounds). Much better displacement volume for the expected load. If you have 350 pounds of you and your gear in the NEXT you would be riding low and have very little freeboard. Very vulnerable to capsizing.

Just a suggestion to think about when you are starting out paddling. 100 lbs of stuff is a lot for one person. Having camp comforts and other items are nice to have, but I have found that the more gear you have, the gear owns you, and going on trips you become an equipment manager. After many years of camping, backpacking and water trips I have become a minimalist. Just take the essential safety items, food , water, tiny tent, tiny sleeping bag and ground pad. Most of your stuff can fit in two bags that are easy to throw in the vehicle and go. Much easier to pack and unpack, and less of an issue when things go south.

Very true. I was quite surprised when I went from the bow seat backwards to the center seat how much more stable the Guide 147 became. The width is a plus for a working boat. I won’t be winning any races but then again I don’t care to. The ideal setup for me would be a lighter weight canoe about the same length and designed to be a pack canoe solo. It would have the tumblehome hull shape that would be well suited for a somewhat shorter double blade. Being say 30 lbs lighter would be nice for loading and unloading but once on the water I don’t think I would notice the weight difference. All my canoeing is in a body of water that is continuous so I’m not needing to carry it overland much and when I do I have a folding kayak dolly I strap on that I take with me on the water.

I paid 150 bucks for the Guide used off a neighbor and another 25 for a Wal-Mart stadium seat back I modified into a canoe seat. The thwarts were made from some old aluminum tent poles I had that the canvas went back to nature 45 years ago. I cut them to length and smashed the ends flat in the bench vice and drilled them clamped to the gunwales as assembled. I added way more thwarts than needed because I like them to define spaces and then I use them to strap or tie gear in. It saved me drilling the sides of the hull and adding loops like they do in Europe. I did drill the bow and stern for grab loops something I would strongly suggest people do. Also I would suggest adding a bow and stern painter line. I tied mine off the loops and later moved them to the handles as I didn’t like trailing a line outside the boat that could snag. If I’m going to need to do any serious lining I clip them to the grab loops.

As much as I would like a pack canoe already set up to solo the cost is pretty steep and the odds of finding one used pretty slim.

My camping gear is actually very light but I plan to use this to haul gear for duck hunting as well so I threw the 100 lbs out as a safety net type number. You are very correct though, going lighter is always a more enjoyable trip assuming your bases are covered. Thanks!

Thank you for the help! Your guide is beautiful!

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In terms of gear I agree light is better and if you look at what touring bikers use is inspirational. Canoes are less critical than peddling up a mountain with extra weight. If you look at the European canoe pages they commonly take along a cast iron Dutch oven along with some heavy tents and other luxury items. It is a bit of a different lifestyle.

One thing I found is when you are the one canoe like mine set up to be a barge and everyone else you paddle with has small rec-kayaks it is easy to become the person people ask if you will haul their cooler etc. We mostly do down river floats so it is not that big of a deal and if I’m the one with their food and drinks chances are they stay around.

Someone new will have to figure out the weight penalty / reward for gear.

Thanks it is really a workboat that is a work in progress.

One thing about a boat like the OT Guide 147 and being lightly used when I got it, I’m not afraid to use it and let it take on normal wear. If I were to buy one of the fancy expensive pack canoes I would be jumping out and lining it thru every shallow spot. We sometimes launch or extract over a dirt or rocky bank or have to shove off from a boat ramp. I store it outside all year and we have some nasty winters and hot summers.

I don’t baby it other than a couple times a season and before I put it on the rack for the winter I wipe it down with some wool wax spray. I got it to use and have fun in.

Offer him $500. Cash. Ben Franklin’s have a way of working. Look at what Bud did to the Guide. If you can do that you might be better off.