OT vs. MRC


I have 17 feet handmade (fiber-) canoe for my familycruising. We made many nice trips with my wife and few kids at some streams and lakes in Finland (north Europe).

Now I like to buy shorter canoe for my wife and me. Maybe I use it by solo sometimes also.

Two models are interested; Old Town Guide 147 and Mad River Explorer 14 TT (St. Croix). I allready read all product reviews for those canoes, but did not get help enough. Guide 147 and Exp 14 are lowcost canoes and those models are offer directly from store in Finland.

I think, this is the best forum to find that kind of information. If somebody have experience to OT Guide 147 and MR Explorer 14 TT, please lett me know the results.

Target for my new canoe will be streams ja class I-II whitewater, one or two persons less than 7 days.

Best waters


I reviewed this recently here. It’s an excellent river boat for one or two. If two paddlers, I’d probably only use it for 2-3 days. A one week trip for two would be pushing it. Layup is tough, heavy. Tracking stinks, but stable and turns easily. WW

I just bought the MR 14TT
I’m getting it from REI. It was $549. I don’t get it until July 15th so I’ll post after that. I am hopeful! Dwayne

Time is running out
So Mrc leading 2-0.

Please give me more info, I have 3 weeks time to our anniversary. It is our 10th a-day.

Product rewiews -board tell Mrc Explorer 14 TT is very stable, but tracking is desperate. How about Old Town Guide 147, is it more/better tranking?


Guide 147

– Last Updated: Jul-07-04 6:08 AM EST –

I own a Guide 147 and found the canoe to be everything I wanted. Stable (my son can stand in it to cast), easy to paddle and will hold lots of gear for extended day trips or weekend camping. The boat will track well with proper paddling technique. Glide is incredible, it will glide forever. The tractor type seats are comfortable and the Crosslink 3 hull is as tough as they come. The only negatives to the canoe are it's weight, 75 lbs, not fun to cartop by yourself, but easy with two people. The bow seat is a little too far forward for a long legged paddler, but the seat can easily be moved back.

Picked up my MRC 14TT today
REI came through a week early so I picked up my boat today as well as a Bent Branches Arrow paddle. I won’t get a chance to paddle it until Saturday. I did have to get it off the top of the car, 1990 Pathfinder, and it worked out fine. It’s supposed to weigh in at 69 pounds and it feels about like that. I’m sure with practice the technique will get better. I’ll post after Saturday. This is my first boat so I don’t have a lot to compare to? It’s a good looking boat for what that’s worth. Impressive shallow V with a little rocker. Quality looks to be very good. There are a couple of bumps in the layup inside but nothing that set off red flags. I’ll be paddling from Specht’s down to Bigfoot with my 7 year old.

BTW the folks at REI in Austin were helpful and the store had a good selection of euipment as far as paddles, dry bags, etc.

One question - MRC recomends 303 protectant so I picked a bottle up. When I got home I read a thread about it and someone else said it ran off of the boat one night while sitting on top of his car. Does this stuff work? Is there a particular method of application that works? The bottle had limited instructions.

Dwayne Scates

The excess will run off if you don’t
buff it off according to directions. It will get on your windshield and foul your wipers.

Wish you could get an ABS boat, maybe
an Old Town Penobscot 16, or a Mad River Explorer 15 or 16. The St. Croix and the OT 147 are slower than the Penobscot and Explorers, and do not handle as well. Who was it above, saying that one of these boats will glide and glide?? Maybe due to its weight.

Ok, I did the research or so I thought before purchasing a poly boat. I was on a budget so it was a good option even with the weight penalty. What I didn’t count on is not being able to outfit it with D-Rings, Paddle, and Rod holders. I haven’t even got it on the water yet and I’m disappointed with the news that there is no reliable adhesive to attach accessories to a poly boat. Even if it is “Triple Tough” what good does it do me if it goes over and all of my gear floats out? I know I can strap it to the yoke but that won’t keep it in place when things get rough.

Any ideas?

I don’t think it should change an opinion between poly boats like the OT147 or the MRC 14TT but, it might make one rethink and consider buying a used Royalex boat.


O.T.Guide not built for turning.
You’ll have a hard time in classI-II because the boat is designed so that it doesn’t lean. It’s designed to go straight and be very stable for fishing and hunting.

What canoes do the stores in your area sell? Some of the manufacturers will ship directly to you. Maybe there’s a club in your area. Can you rent some canoes to try?

Maybe you can give your wife a nice card with a picture of a canoe and then enjoy a nice dinner and canoe shopping together. Maybe I’m different, but this wife wants to be part of the decision. I also picked out my own paddle and PFD.

Best wishes on a long life paddling together!

Wife and canoe
Picture comes clear,

now I have some idea when I go to the store. Shure my fiwe like to be part of the decision, but this is gift to her. We will enjoy that dinner “whit canoe”.

Maybe I will tell, what happens, when she soo the gift.


Good News & Bad
Well, I told you I’d report after our first trip so here goes:

First, fit and finish - I’m a little disappointed. Keep in mind I have little to compare to here. There was a section of 3 small blemished in the finish. It didn’t look structural and I knew after the first trip down the river it would be decorated with scratches so I took delivery. Maybe my expectations shouldn’t be so high but, I’m thinking a new boat for a new price shouldn’t have those?

Paddling Performance - again not a hugh frame of reference here, just friends and rental boats. For what I’m doing, river day-tripping and I & II water, VERY Impresive. I paddled it with my 7 old and when things got sketchy he pulled his paddle in and knelt down to watch. I was able to get it turned in the right direction and it responded well to power strokes. We even got into a pretty solid class II a little sideways and we didn’t go over. I can see why people wouldn’t use this as a lake boat or for pure speed. It’s twitchy. I’m sure I’ll get used to it but it did take quite a few corrective strokes. This same tendency seems to make it work very well in rough water though? If I were going to paddle it by myself a lot I’d consider a kayak paddle.

Problems - The deck covers/hand hold at the stern of the boat came with a loose rivet that popped out on our first three hour trip. Here’s the one that really got me, literally… The second rapid we hit was a solid class II, not a II+, but a solid II. We went through a standing 1 1/2 - 2’ wave and when the stern dropped my seat snapped in half. The front portion of the frame literally snapped in half so there I was in the middle of a pretty challenging section, my son kneeling down in the bow and screaming, having fun but screaming, and I’m laying on my back. Not good. I need some feedback here because I’m starting to get a complex. I’m 6’ 200 lbs, really. I can’t believe this happened. I’ve gone over 3 - 4 foot falls in a friends OT and he’s 260 and neither one of us has damaged a seat. I’m hopeful that MRC will warranty this since it’s brand new? I’ll keep you posted.

So there you go. I’ll be happy if MRC warranties the seat and I’ll go buy some stainless pop rivets and fix the deck plate. I also found a local outfitter that says he has experience putting D-Rings into a poly boat. Something about flames and polyurathane?

I’ll let you know. Dwayne

The Seat Broke?
Was it the seat, or the arch-like frame? I weigh in at 255-265 and have owned the same boat, no problems. But a rivet AND the seat or support, would probably give me a bad taste in my mouth! I used to own this same boat with no problems in 2+ years paddling. Only sold it 'cause I had 4 tandem canoes at the time. Hate to hear you’ve had problems. Also saddens me to think the former “Cadillac” of canoe makers, seem to be turning out a few Yugos! WW

The Frame
It was the front of the horizontal support of the frame. I’m not ready to write it off just yet. Let’s hope it was a manufacturing defect. It looked fine, the webbing didn’t fail. I really liked the way the boat handled, when I was sitting on a seat, in white water. The problem is I bought it at the closest REI, 90 miles away, so I may have to take it back there for them to inspect. I’ll call Confluence on Monday and let you know. Dwayne

And I Thought Those Supports…
…were stronger than most. I wonder if it was damageg in shipping? Hope they treat you right! WW

If you think a mad river explorer is twitchy, I’d be afraid to think how you’d feel if you paddled an OT Appalachian, Swift Dumoine or an Esquif Canyon!

End of the mission
Thanks for everybody, who wrote some answers. Today I tested Mrc 14TT. I thing, tracking was not so poor. It is very easy to handle, “can turn on coing” (and whit out oil cannig)

I bought Mrc and gave it to my wife. She was very surpised and happy. We go few kilometers by flat water and she was still happy!

Only negative point was a color. Canoe is green and she likes to black canoes. Aaagh!

Next weekend we have to get short trip at some nice river, pivately.


Congrats & Good news!
Congratulations on the new boat! I enjoyed my first trip out with my with the exception of the seat issue.

I am pleased to report that I spoke with Tony with Confluence today, apparently the parent company of Mad River. I sent pics so he could see what happened. He looked at them while we were speaking. He agreed that the seat should not have broken. I explained that I lived 100 miles from where I picked up the boat and he was happy to ship a new seat to my home. Customer service is a rare thing and I appreciate being able to work with a company that takes care of consumers!

How was the fit and finish on your boat? Any loose rivets in the deckplates? Make sure you tighten up the hardware as mine was a little loose.

I would also make sure to strap, and carry it via the grab loops that actually go through the canoe instead of the deckplates even though they do have handholds.

More good news - this is not coming from Confluence and they can’t recomend this method due to warranty issues but, there is a way to adhere D-Rings to this boat. They may not stay forever but for at least a few years at a time. A local outfitter with a lot of experience said it involves a little flame, just enough to heat the material and polyurethane resin.

Congrats and good luck on your first trip! Dwayne

Bumped for first time buyer to look at