Old Town Guide 119 Canoe


Before you go check out the Old Town Canoe website and come back to me saying there is no such boat, let me clarify a little bit. The Guide 119 is a custom version of the Discovery 119 that is made, in the camouflage color pattern available in the Guide series, exclusively for Dick’s Sporting Goods.

My Story: A number of years back, I purchased a blemished Old Town Canoe Discovery 119k from a local canoe and kayak shop for $600. It was the first canoe that I had ever purchased myself and I fell in love with it. Being the avid fly fisherman that I am, I found it to be the perfect boat for getting to the warm water fishes that hide under the overhanging brush in the ponds, lakes and rivers of central North Carolina. I had several kayaks at the time and they quickly started to accumulate dust from disuse after this purchase. In the end I decided to sell all my kayaks. I eventually met my future wife and after we got married, the Discovery 119k got used a bit less than I would have liked. However, with the arrival of my first child, the boat became neglected to the point that I felt I would rather someone else use it than it not get used at all. That is where I made my mistake. I sold it to a good friend and semi-regular fishing buddy knowing that I would be able to use it when I wanted. He was in possession of it for a year or two when it was stolen from his backyard. It’s out there somewhere, and if I ever find it, rest assured the twit that swiped it will get his due.

All that said, I sorely missed that little red 119k. I even tried replacing it with a recreational kayak of similar length but it just wasn’t the same. One day I was in Dick’s Sporting Good’s when I looked up and saw a little Old Town Canoe sitting on the top of the camping accessories shelf. I thought to myself that it was a Discovery 119 despite the fact that it was in camouflage colors, had a molded plastic seat, and said Guide 119 on the side. What amazed me most about it was the $399 price tag hanging on it. When I got home, I hopped on the web and went straight to the Dick’s site to get more info but it wasn’t there. I next went to the Old Town site only to find it missing there, too. I did find the Discovery and it was exactly the same boat as the one in the store, but the camo color was not listed as an option. So I called Johnson Outdoors (OTC’s parent company) and started asking questions. The canoe on the shelf at Dick’s was indeed a Discovery that was molded in the Guide Series Camo exclusively for Dick’s and was only available there. Part of the agreement between OTC and Dick’s prevents it from being listed on either website so it is only available in the actual stores. At this point, I had decided that I had to replace my old Discovery and I might actually be able to afford to do so if I sold my kayak. So I talked the wife into holding a yard sale that Saturday and I listed the kayak as an item that would be available during the sale in the ad on Craigslist. Sure enough it sold, along with a crap load of other items that made it the the best yard sale we have ever had.

That afternoon I drove over to Dick’s with the money from the kayak sale and a ScoreCard rewards voucher for $50. I walked in and there was a sign on the boat I wanted that said it was on sale for $350. Woo Hoo… SOLD!┬áNow I have my new OTC Discovery/Guide that I will never let go even if it does not get used. I’ve rigged it the way I feel works for the way I currently fish and I take it out regularly.

Review: I’m not sure that I need to tell you that I love this boat after the story above, so here is some info on it’s capabilities and such. I have found that this is a very stable boat, especially with the currently installed seat. It paddles with little effort and tracks well for an experienced paddler. A less experienced paddler would find the use of a long (240-250cm) double bladed paddle easier. It is very agile and sits high in the water which allows for getting into those places a lot of other boats just can’t reach. I’ve done several long paddles (in my old Discovery 119) that required overnight gear to be brought along and it handled great with the extra weight.

Specs: Length: 11′ 9″ / 3.6 m Width: 32.5″ / 82.6 cm Width at 4″ Waterline Bow Height: 19″ / 48.3 cm Depth: 13.5″ / 34.3 cm Weight: 43 lbs / 19.5 kg Max Load Range: 450 – 500 lbs /204.1 – 226.8 kg Material: Three Layer Superliner

Modifications: I mentioned above that I had made several modifications to my Guide. Here’s the rundown:

  • Seat Pad – My seat pad is a simple piece of 1/2″ minicell foam from the local paddle shop that I cut into the shape and fastened with panel retainers from the auto parts shop.
  • Tackle and cup holders – I installed a Seachoice Cockpit Organizer and Cruisin’ Caddy to provide a bit of close to hand storage and a place to hold the beer. I was able to find these items in gray directly from the manufacturer but can’t seem to find the link right now.
  • GPS holder – I fabricated a flip out arm that holds the handlebar mount for my Garmin Venture HC GPS. I use it when doing long paddles or when marking fishing spots.
  • Anchor Trolley – I mounted small two deck mount pulleys to the gunnals. One to the bow and on to the stern on the right side. With a length of line looped through them and a carabiner attached in the middle to run the anchor line through I can adjust the anchor position so the boat sits in the current as desired.
  • Bungees – As with any boat, bungees get added to fasten things down. I’ve added several including one to hold the paddle on the front thwart and another that keeps the seat closed when on the roof rack.
About Ratings

11 thoughts on “Old Town Guide 119 Canoe

  1. Hi…not sure of your name my NC friend. Couldn’t find it on the site. Thanks so much for your great review of the Old Town 119. I plan to purchase one from a Dick’s Store here in NJ soon but wondered what you thought about the seat since that is the only concern I have seen in other reviews. I saw it at Dick’s and kind of liked the seat with the backrest. I thought it sat a bit low and figured I would put a cushion under it but here is what one of the review guys said, “One trip on the water and I couldn’t stay in the plastic seat. Slid right out. Read all the reviews and tried several things. Finally took the seat out and figured I would just sit on a cushion.”
    Did you have any experience like this or is this his isolated opinion?

    Thanks Again!!! Bob Smith, NJ

    1. I have a attached a piece of 1/2″ minicell foam as a seat cushion with Panel Fasterners. They can usually be found at ACE Hardware. This improved the comfort of the seat and eliminated the sliding problem, which was minimal for me. I have to say that I actually love the seat and the backrest now but it took me a while to get used to it being there. I would not take it out.

      Here is a shot of my current seat setup…

  2. I know it’s a solo, but have you tried taking along another person? I’ll be going solo about 90% of the time and need something light weight, but I’d like to be able to take my wife (she’s about 100 lbs)and grandkids along for short rides on occasion.

    1. I would not recommend an additional person in this boat. Go with something in the 14′ range if you are gonna need the occasional ability to carry a passenger.

    1. Darryl, I rarely paddle with others and my primary use is for fishing nowadays. Generally stated a canoe is not as fast as a kayak but that can be somewhat offset by the use of a double bladed paddle with the 119. That will eliminate the need to switch handedness with a single blade. Speed also is dependent on the paddling skill and style of the paddler. Wind is often a problem with canoes. They have higher beams therefore they have more sail area. The paddler also sits higher which also increases the sail area. All that said, the 119 has a low profile for a canoe and is not greatly effected by the wind relative to other canoes that I own or have paddled over the years.

  3. I am heading down to dicks in the morning. I live in virginia and always come into the 3rd man out syndrom. everytime we want to go canoing it is always 3 or 5 or 7 people wanting to go. I have other old town canoes which hold 2 people , so a canoe built for 1 is always good for the 3rd man out.  Old towne canoes rock, ive been using only them since around 1976 and the quality is awesome. Thanks for your review.     Michael

  4. Nice boat,  I have tried every Dicks in my area (within 100 miles), and can not find one.  Looks like Im gonna have to pay the $240. shipping charge.

  5. I have the same boat. Ive owned several two man canoes,jon boats and a kayak. This is my favorite small boat yet!! Perfect for rivers where you have to carry a boat in and out up muddy banks and what not.Light weight,roomy for a big cooler full of beer and camping supplies as you stated! In the winter you can get in and out with big mudd\mulk boots on which you cant in a kayak. Kill on the botttom keeps boat truckin straight when wind picks up and paddles good with a double ended kayak paddle. Added a cup holder similiar to yours and a padded seat that fits over the plastic one. Also put a storage bag that mounts to the bottom of seat and hangs down bellow it. I strap a 2.7hp cruise n carry on the back left side and that thing is a blast to fly around in. Great one boat no doubt!!

  6. I've had my 119 for about 2 months now and love the boat.  I moved the seat forward about 4 inches and a bit lower to improve stability.  I also made a kneeling thwart that I mounted about 4 inches toward the center of the front thwart.  I hung a dowel from webbing from this thwart which works great as a foot brace when seated and tucks over the forward thwart when kneeling.  I kneel in a reverse position from seated when in faster water.   I now use a double blade paddle almost exclusively even though I've always been a traditional canoeist in the past; it's just more efficient with this boat.  I want to post about my boat so that other people see positive reviews.  Other's reviews helped me decide to give the 119 a try and I'm sure glad that I did.  What a great boat for the $!

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