Submitted: 12-28-2010 by Andrew
I bought the Adventure 14 this summer from Dicks Sporting Goods at a discount because one one of the handles was broken. At a big discount and with it on sale, I scored the canoe for $375!! The next day I called Mad River and told them one of the handles was broken. Not only did they send me a new one in about 5 days, but the sent me a pair of handles!!! Now I have an extra one in case anything ever happens to either one of them. How's that for customer service?
Ok enough about that and now about the canoe. I love this boat. I have taken it out at least ten times since purchasing it and most times I take it out on my own. I was also concerned with how I was going to handle getting it up on my jeep by myself. After some research I purchased a single person canoe loader that mounts to your trailer hitch. It's two steel bars that look like a "t" when mounted. The vertical bar is height adjustable so that the top can be flush with the height of your roof. The horizontal bar swings 360 degrees that is the genius of this device. Forget the bungee strap that comes with it because it is not sturdy enough to hold your canoe in place if your on a slant or hill. Get yourself an extra ratchet strap or clip strap to hold one end of the canoe on the swivel bar. Lift one end of the canoe up and place it on the t bar (practice this at home a few times to get used to doing this step yourself) and use the strap to hold the end in place. The one I purchased has guide holes for this purpose. Once the end is secure to the t bar, walk to the other end of the canoe, lift up and walk/swing the canoe around and place on the top of your vehicle. Keep on mind that in this step you will need about 15 feet of clearance on the swinging side so plan ahead. Then go ahead and strap on the adventure 14 with whatever method works best for your vehicle. I highly recommend this process for loading and unloading and it reduces the stress of wondering if your be able to get the canoe on and off your vehicle when you don't have a second set of hands around.
I have so modified the canoe slightly by adding two flush mount rod holders in the stern. About 15 bucks each at dicks and well worth it. It took about an hour to install both but it looks great and keeps your rods behind you and out of the way when not in use. The integrated rod holders work fine but they will be in your way which is why I went ahead and installed the flush mounts. I also installed a small plastic cleat on the inside of the gunwale for the small anchor I purchased. If you are using an anchor, there are not many options to tie onto which is why I installed the cleat. I'll warn potential buyers that this canoe (like most) will swing around even in a slight breeze especially when you have found the perfect fishing spot :-) so buy a small anchor to hold your boat in place. It's made a world of difference for me.
Agree the seats are very comfortable and are a major selling point for this boat. Took a few others out for several hour trips with zero complaints and only praise for the comfort. Be sure to secure the straps before loading on your vehicle or they will flop around on top of your vehicle which to me was a major annoyance. Just stuff them in the seat back and you'll be all set.
Stability is great. I have stood up and fished several times. You do need to get your balance at first but one you realize that it's not going to tip you just get more confident as you go. I have really loaded this boat up!! My wife in the front and me in the back, two kids on the middle seat and even put my youngest on a small stadium seat on the floor in front of me. 5 people no tipping. This was a short ride (45 minutes) but we all had a blast and really had no issues with stability. I don't recommend that setup for long trips for obvious reasons. Next spring I plan to take my dog for his first ride. He's about 70 lbs and should help weigh down the front of the canoe.
Not much more to say about the Adventure 14. It's a great fishing canoe that fits the bill for a reasonably priced boat for fishing solo or with the family. You will be less hesitant to modify it than a boat that you spend 3 or 4 times more for so modify away!! Next year I also plan to install a small trolling motor for times when I feel lazy about paddling!!