Submitted: 03-18-2008 by RJ
I am rating this as a recreational canoe not as a white water canoe or high performance canoe. That is why I am rating it high. It gives you tremendous recreation opportunities for the money.
I am an experienced paddler and have canoed lakes, rivers (including the ice cold Nantahala in a suicidal run in a flat water canoe) and lakes and small ponds. I have four canoes including a 21 ft aluminum, 17 ft Old Town, 12 ft Old Town and 15 ft Bell.
The 14' Adventurer is more affordable yet as versatile as all but the Bell, and much more comfortable to paddle. The seat and seat back are simply awesome. Tracking is exceptional. Stability with the elliptical cross section is absolutely superb.
Don't believe reviews saying this canoe is not stable - while canoeing down the Oconee River in South Georgia today my friend and I experienced 30 mile winds with gusts of ferocious intensity. We were able to keep the boat on track into the face of the wind without too much effort. Advancing in the face of the wind however did take tremendous effort. Were able to keep up enough speed to avoid being swept around or beached on sandbars. At the end of the day we were pretty well shot and attempted to put the canoe on the top of my explorer. The canoe is heavy but hoisting it up is quite doable even for 55 year olds. Did Ok until a burst of wind lifted the canoe off the explorer and on top of me. I was knocked into the river while the canoe bounced off the concrete ramp like a rubber ball. The Adventurer had a good scrape on the rudder but no splits or serious damage. I am worse for wear but am still alive to write this note. This is a tough little canoe.
Two more points about this canoe: I also took it out in a small pond with a skiddish lady friend. She was afraid to move because canoes seem unstable to her compared to the ski boat she is used to but it really paddled well and was quite stable. Finally this canoe is easy to paddle backwards in rivers when un-snagging fishing lines
Major pluses – Comfortable molded Seats, adjustable well positioned seat backs, middle seat for tackle box, soft carrying handles, canoe tracking (thanks to two longitudinal grooves on floor of boat), tying off an anchor from soft handle (center line of boat so no rocking), elliptical canoe cross section so hands don’t scrape on side while paddling, Stability (drove right through white caps, motorized boat wakes didn’t phase us). Part of reason boat is stable is that you sit in center of molded seats so two paddlers can’t shift weight suddenly side to side and rock boat. 14 foot boat fits in pickup with out too much weight overhang (boat does not bounce). "cabin" for front paddler is quite spacious.
Plus – cup holders – (too wide for coke bottle – need koozie or spacer) – rod holder – (not deep enough – need PVC extension ) . Can add tarp around boat lip to keep rain out.
Minus – It is difficult for front paddler to turn around and grab stuff behind him. Not to much of a problem in 14 footer because back paddler can hand it forward. With molded seats aimed forward and the stern rudder shape a solo paddler cannot sit in front seat turned backward to better distribute weight like you can with a canoe with cane seats and two pointy ends. Only choice for a single paddler is sit in back and put a weight on front seat. (Can use two gallon jugs filled with water which is fifteen pounds ). Needs a couple of holes drilled in molded seats pieces for tie downs. There are no thwarts to tie coolers and clothes down in case boat swamps. Forget an overnight campout with a lot of gear. Space is a premium. Canoe will never match three ply polyethelene for toughness – get over it.
Hard to clean out canoe because when it is turned upside down the lip holds water. There is a small drain plug over stern rudder so you can empty water slowly.
Overall the canoe is great. Bought this one at Dicks sporting goods for a friend. It was missing one of the plastic seat hinge pins. Mad River answered phone in person and sent replacement the same day.