Submitted: 09-20-2007 by lindquistadam
Let me start by saying that I am a kayaker first, then a canoe person - so that you know my bias right up front.
3 years ago, we started doing an annual week-long trip into the Boundary Waters. For the first 2 years, we were paddling and portaging an aluminum Grumman that I hated (other than the duct tape repair capabilities). Last year, we bought a used Kevlar MN II from an outfitter that was honest about what he liked and disliked about this boat.
Here's the deal - the front end is tight for the front paddler and extra leg room would be nice - but the boat is very fast and that front end is why. I personally like the fact that the gunnels are close and I can get a paddle in the water without stretching to the side. I paddle the front because I prefer it and my wife really doesn't like how tight it is. For us it works, for others, you may want to rent one to see before you buy.
The boat is stable! I don't know what people who are complaining about that in other reviews are comparing to. We paddle with a 50 pound dog that moves from side to side constantly and the boat barely moves. It's almost as stable as my kayaks in my opinion.
Both my wife and I can portage this boat easily. It is well balanced and super light. If you packed like a backpacker for week, you should be able to portage and pack in one trip. Since we have a boat that was a rental, we can see how it wears and the issues of abuse. There are a few patches and some slight flexing where the kevlar attaches at the gunnel. It doesn't affect performance, but I think if you want kevlar it's good to know how to do repairs. I don't care for the way that front seat slide lock works, although it has never shifted during paddling.
I really like this boat, but think that you should do an on-the-water comparison of others out there and find the one that fits what you want to do. There is no such thing as a perfect boat. I have modified every boat I have ever owned to meet my needs (9 so far)!