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Submitted: 04-09-2013 by tdaniel
I have owned my Mad River Adventure 16 for about five years. I have an older version that has a symetrical bow and stern. Overall I think it does a pretty decent job for what it is designed to do: paddle winding rivers and calm lakes on day trips. Its whitewater capabilities are better than one might think- class II and III rapids are possible by experienced paddlers.
It lacks a strong sense of initial stability. While a section of the hull bottom is flattened and grooved the ends of the boat are veed. The result is a boat with great secondary stability but only so so initial stability. This is somewhat surprising for an entry level boat. My wife, who is a novice paddler, complains that the canoe feels tippy to her compared to some other canoes we have paddled. It is precisely this quality that makes the boat a joy to paddle. No, not because I like terrorizing my wife, but because the boat can be heeled and turned at will, which experienced paddlers will enjoy.
The plastic is quite durable but heavy. The molded in seats and cupholders make it difficult to kneel in the boat or paddle comfortably solo from the bow seat. The boat has no thwarts for portaging. This is best done with wheels or not at all. It will take two healthy adults to load the canoe onto the roof of a car. The seat backs are nice but I think the seats are too high to instill confidence for novice paddlers or for paddling in rough conditions such as whitecaps.
So what you get is a canoe designed for intermediate paddlers but that is marketed and made with materials that you would expect in an entry level boat. Overall its a good performer if you're looking to do tandem day trips. Overnights are possible but there are better suited canoes for that endeavor since the freeboard and handling is greatly reduced.
I've paddled this canoe on section one of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail in NY and on the New, Greenbrier, and Coal Rivers located in WV. In GA I've paddled it in the Okefenokee swamp. It has done admirably in all of these venues considering I picked it up on clearance (it had a ding in it) from Dicks Sporting Goods for $350.00 Expect to pay a bit more than that for a newer unblemished model.
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