Lighter than an OT Guide?

Maine paddler here. Have been poking around the site a bit and hope some of you folks with ample gear experience will weigh in.

Using an OT Guide, 14’6", since forever. Mostly solo, fishing/tripping, flat- and semifast-water.

Love the boat. Indestructible. However, last fall’s Bow trip reminded me just how heavy the thing is. Attean-Holeb portage was not fun.

So, I bought a Camper, also 14’6", this spring and have used it several times for fishing local ponds. Found quickly that while the weight reduction is very welcome, and I can still stand comfortably to fly-cast, the tracking and wind management characteristics of the flat bottom will probably be deal-breakers for any kind of trip use.

Sooooo, realizing that the heavier weight of the Guide actually is helpful for some of this, I still think the hull shape is playing a bigger role in my preference. What I would like to find is a similar shape (what, shallow arch for a substantial length of entry into a slightly round bottom?), mild rocker, in a lighter but still tough rig. I do like the chines, as I like to cant the boat over a bit when running small rips or paddling really still water, but I realize most better boats don’t sport them.

Anything out there look like a Guide but weigh 50# or less?

Thanks for any help and suggestions.


I’m in the same boat as you
literally. I have an OT guide 147. The weight is ridiculous at a listed 82 lbs. I’m debating as to whether strapping ballast into a 30 lb canoe would be the way to go, or something in the 40-50 lb range. Check out the thread I started yesterday on the Lincoln “Hideaway”. I’m interested in what your decision will be.

Most anything will come in lighter than

– Last Updated: Aug-03-15 11:44 AM EST –

a Guide, for its length...just my $.01
The choices, in-state, are not good...mostly OT's rental descendants scattered throughout stores. If possible you might want to go USED and drive to pick up.

Related issue: "chines"
The bulges you are referring to are sometimes called sponsons (not to be confused with the add-on variety that are mounted on short outriggers). All boats have chines, and the word chine only refers to the edge of the boat that includes the area close to (above and below) the waterline, rather than to the shape of that area.

You’ll find that sponson-less boats heel over just fine, probably better, than boats that have them. The in-water portion of a semi-eliptical hull actually becomes broader when heeled over, making the resistance to tipping increase in predictable fashion.

Have a raft of sub 15 foot boats
and all can be heeled to the rail without ejection. But cause they are narrow no need to.

Swift makes some nice boats and the nearest dealer is in CT.

Do you need ABS or poly?

I have a Colden Dragonfly and Colden Wildfire… former 14’6" and the latter 14’. Dragon 38 and Wild 34.

Wenonah Argosy sometimes pops up used. Dont try to heel it too much. You dont have to. ABS. 47 lbs.

From time to time one pops up on Uncle Henrys.

Old Town is the major player in Maine but others can be found if you look , wait and pounce.

Yes buy used. The Colden boats are new and not cheap. The Argosy I got used.

thanks! more?
Thanks to folks for chiming in. Maine certainly is dominated by OT, and for good reason. Quality goods, made to last, but maybe emphasizing durability over more refined design?

Glad to correct my vocab on the chines vs sponsons; and I think the stability of the Guide really comes from its length/width ratio, kind of a squat boat.

Great suggestions so far, although I’m now throwing my budget out the window (ha!). I also know all about having a ‘quiver’ of gear - done that with skis, climbing gear, have resisted for the most part too many fishing rods.

I really like the lines of all listed, although the Coldens and probably the Swift (if you have to ask how much, you probably can’t afford it?) are for when I learn to take better care of my stuff. The Wenonah Wilderness and Argosy look great, as does the Lincoln Hideaway. Used to be a Lincoln dealer in Freeport, I’ve never visited.

Keep it coming if you’re still reading.

As a thanks, here’s a trip report from last fall’s trip that really initiated this upgrade interest:

Oh, in terms of material. I will beach the boat onto sand/mud, I’m not above intentionally using rocks to vector/pinball through fastwater (might have to change this in something less tank-like than the Guide). So still looking for somewhat durable.


Good technique costs you nothing.
So, I suggest you start by giving up the habit of ramming your canoe into the beach. Doing that focuses wear and tear on the narrowest and sharpest part of the boat. Much worse that the occasional glancing blow from that boulder you didn’t dodge well. Instead, turn your canoe sideways to the beach in shin-deep water and get out or in there. Know as “wet-footing”, this takes a little practice and balance with proper technique (which a description of can be found on this website), and eliminates grinding your stems into submission.

Now, that frees you up for lighter, maybe less durable hull material.

If you have to make this one boat also available for tandem use, you might start by searching for a used Royalex OT Penobscot. I can just about guarantee you will like it, and it will be about 20 lbs lighter - and faster too. There are other similar canoes that you might find on the used market that would do just as well.

If you can spend a little more money, you can go even lighter. Seriously - unless you are doing class 2 and above whitewater, there is no reason why you should be afraid to use a light composite layup - unless you’re too lazy to learn the simple things that keep them from being needlessly damaged.

If your paddling is going to be all solo, you will benefit from switching to a true dedicated solo canoe. Solo canoes being less common than tandems, you might find it desirable to compromise on a used tandem in RX and a new composite solo - or paddle that Penobscot until you can find a good used solo.

history still speaks
and when you look at the Penobscot River outside of Old Town, it all makes sense.

That river has mean dynamited sharp pointed rocks from the logging days.