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Submitted: 12-11-2007 by JamesH

I do not own a Mad River Explorer, but have used them on both the John Day River in Oregon and the North Platte in Wyoming -- rivers where problems can lead to a long, long, hike out.

The person who said the Explorer 16 is unstable may not fully understand canoe design. Some canoes, especially "family" and lake canoes, have high initial stability -- they feel firm and non-tippy. But once they lean beyond a certain point, they go over in a flash because they have no secondary stability.

The Mad River Explorer is designed for secondary stability because it is a down-river canoe, not really recommended for lake use (although experienced paddlers can handle it just fine on lakes). Secondary stability means it feels tippy, it leans a lot, but you'll find that it's harder to lean it so far that you tip over. It leans a ways, then resists going any farther, because of the way the hull is curved (it's a shallow arch with a soft chine, to be technical).

If you want a river boat that won't tip easily, this is a great boat. I found it to be maneuverable and just tons o' fun. It is family friendly, too...on a river. If you're looking for a boat to fish on the lake, especially if you like to stand up to cast, this won't be your boat.

I give it a 9 instead of 10 because it's heavier than I'd like, and I have to portage too often. But lighter in its Royalex layup than it's TT form.

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