Submitted: 04-13-2009 by sw
No boat can do everything.
In 48 yrs have paddled kevlar, R84 (current favorite boat), royalex, glass, aluminum, wannabe glass, john boat, and 23' sailboat (miles vs tide when becalmed.) Paddled the MR rx explorer on class 1 ww. Double and solo. For me it paddled well solo u/s into bottom of class 4 falls.
Carry? My pickup guy carried it downstairs to the water himself. He only has 1 leg. He also owns a livery of them and it is the most reliable durable boat he has used.
Loved the MR malecite but chose RavenWorks (sorry closed up) 17' R84. Same form as Malecite but 1' longer. R84 is royalex minus 1 layer with skin of glass for sharper entry.
My 5 yo daughter walks back and forth the length of Daddy's boat. No fear. Generally I teach kids in Mohawk glass Mohawk Royalex or tin cans. (Mohawk folded two years ago.)
Go rent borrow and talk to every canoeist on the river. Go to dealer/ distributor and rent a demo.
Watch craigslist for used boat at half new price.
Bell 17.6' kevlar was the easiest fastest boat I ever paddled.
Before you buy graphite or kevlar think about the emotional toll for spouse and kids when it gets dinged scratched or busted in the garage.