If you don't have a ton of money to spend on different boats for different situations and you need one good multi-purpose canoe, this is the one! It's fast enough for slow rivers (with my kayak paddle I can keep up with the 'yakkers easily unless there's a strong wind). But it does also work on *small* rapids. I've had it on smallish Class 2's with no problems. It combines the best of both speed and maneuverability. It is also friendly to us smaller paddlers. My boat is Royalex and only weighs 39 lbs. so it's super-easy to lift and carry too.
I don't seem to have any trouble carrying gear for a camping trip. My Duluth pack sticks up above the gunwales some but that's about it.
Definitely consider lowering the seat in this boat. Mine is a 2000 model year, and after I dropped the seat a couple of inches there was a noticeable increase in comfort and performance.
The only thing I wish was different was the color choices. I would like to see them offer the boat in red. I got stuck with ivory (it was a demo so I had to take what they had--couldnt get a spruce one). The ivory is butt-ugly but not enough for me to dock a point from my review rating, LOL.
If I had to buy my first solo canoe all over again, I'd be looking for a Sandpiper.