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Reviews for Revelation Canoe by Mad River Canoe

Rated: 8.71/10 Based On: 17 Reviews

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Submitted by: peterpaddlerSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The less than 10 reviews here are a reflection of misplaced expectations placed on the Revelation. This is a high volume workhorse for expedition purposes. It cannot be all things to all people. The thing is, the more experience you do have, the more you will understand and appreciate a boat of this nature, even when it is not used for its specific purpose. Let me have a Revelation for extended tripping in the Everglades, flatwater/whitewater on the Allagash, or cooler cruising on the Delaware.
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Submitted by: HenrySend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     This is the best river tripping canoe I have ever paddled (and I have paddled a lot of them). I've been on 8 trips of 10 days or more with this boat, and it is great. It is well made and is faster than every other gear hauling river tripping canoe. If you want to paddle class II & III+ rivers with a ton of gear, then this is the only boat you should look at. I believe that its most similar current incarnation in the Mad River lineup is the Freedom 17. Enjoy!!!
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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     I used this boat for extended river tripping for several years. I found the construction/quality to be great compared to other boats I've owned. However, this boat is slow compared to everything else out there and wet in the rapids. I added a spray skirt but have since moved to a Starburst and I'm much happier.
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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Excellent boat for wilderness tripping. It's not the lightest boat around but certainly manageable on a portage. I carried one for five miles with a 2,000' elevation drop. It's not the fastest boat around either, but it is faster than an Explorer or an Old Town Tripper. And the hull is stiffer. Where it excels is in providing a stable dry ride in big water with maneuverability unmatched in 17' canoes. We've paddled them fully loaded for tripping in large volume grade 3 rapids as well as mid volume grade 3 plus.
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Submitted by: PointSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Yeah its a heavy boat, but a 174 OT Discovery is just as heavy. The Revelation is great in moving water. I've taken mine on the Batiscan, Spanish and Dumoine Rivers. It operates fine in Class III if you know what you are doing and scout well. If you are planning on a long wilderness trip, with some whitewater this is an excellent boat. The guys who bring 16' MR Explorers always look real cramped.
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Submitted by: SmittySend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     This is a great family canoe. I will soon be adding a custom made middle seat to hold more kids. We just got back from a weeklong fishing trip down the Buffalo River in Arkansas. This boat is a great for rivers. This boat held our gear with ease and still performed wonderfully. It is so spacious and comfortable. My son and I boath stand up to fish, stretch or observe coming rapids. Of course with all this stability and room there are tradeoffs. The weight is one. I wish Madriver would tumblehome (curve in) their gunnels a bit at the paddling areas. That would really make this a swell boat. I love the boat and the ash gunnels are really eyecatching. It will stay in my stable of canoes until it no longer floats.
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Submitted by: Jerry GSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have owned my duck hunter, which is the revelation hull for about 5 years. i have taken it on several BWCA trips and to Canada 4 times on rivers and lakes. I feel this is a great tripping canoe that can do most things well, perhaps none excellently. I use this canoe as my go to canoe on trips where I am uncertain of conditions. Why, because this canoe will not fail in tough situations. If you are going into the Canadian Bush you need a rugged, tough canoe that will not fail. this canoe does that. On flatwater it is slow but stable and great for fishing and hauling gear. On rivers it is stable and even though I have gone down rapids in reverse I have never had this canoe tip on me. Its biggest drawback is on portages. I can portage this canoe one half mile without any trouble. I have portaged it one mile. It is heavy. But then, portaging has a lot to do with technique. I am only 5'8" and 52, but have no problem portaging it. Shorter portages are not a problem. Nevertheless, you need to be able to portage a 78 lb. canoe if you plan to use it for tripping. My hull has held up reasonably well but after 5 years I may put skidplates on the bow and stern. The overall workmanship is great and durable. I highly recommend this canoe as a general purpose tripping boat.
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Submitted by: SPRSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     STRENGTHS: This boat is an excellent canoe for family, fishing, & heavy tripping on Class I-II rivers. This canoe has tons of initial and final stability and incredible room and weight capacity for camping gear. The little ones and/or a dog will have a hard time turning this canoe over. It's great for fishing - nice and stable when someone gets excited. This boat is at its best when floating class I-II rivers - it is very dry in waves (due to flair) and stable when running ledges (due to 37"+ width). This boat is very manueverable for a 17' tandem due to generous rocker. I like standing in the boat to read the upcoming rapids. Mine is cherry red with ash gunnels and it's beautiful to look at. Mad River makes a fine looking boat. This is our second canoe and we use it for river trips and as a guest canoe when friends come along - this boat is great for beginners on a river.

WEAKNESSES: As is always the case in canoe design there are always tradeoffs. Lots of room, capacity, and stability mean this boat is BIG, HEAVY, and SLOW. We call ours "MOBY". You need a strong back for loading and handling this boat. This boat is not a good flatwater tripping boat unless you're going on short trips or need a ton of room for kids/dogs/gear. The extra width in the front causes paddling to be uncomfortable in the bow for long flatwater tripping (unless the bow paddler is tall) and also slows the boat on flat water. This canoe is definitely not a cruiser - it needs current. Generous rocker means that flatwater tracking suffers. Heavy wind and waves really slow the boat on a lake.

VERDICT: Mad River lists this canoe in the "Moving Water" section of their catalog and state that it is great for families. That is an accurate description and it delivers exactly what is promised. This canoe is PERFECT for heavy figity loads (dogs,kids,excited fishermen) and is TERRIFIC for running all types of class I-II rapids. The stabilty is also handy for non-canoeing friends, kids, dogs, etc. on short flatwater trips. Be sure you can handle the 78 lb weight before purchasing.

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Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     The first thing to know before buying the Revelation is to realize that it is designed for RIVER tripping. It will not track (or go in a straight line) well because it has 3" of rocker (raised bow and stern). This boat is designed to give the paddler a mix of quick maneuverability, stability, and tracking. What that means is that it will do all of these things well, it will not excel at any of them.

With that said, If you want a canoe with acceptable speed and tracking, and very good maneuverability, intial stability, and secondary stability, than this is the boat for you. This boat will gobble up gear, and never lose a bit of it's performance. However, do not plan on paddling this boat by yourself. With a freeboard capacity of 1200 lbs, its like a cork with only one person. I have owned this boat for year and have used it on many trips, both flatwater and moving. Although it is slow compared to my friends' flatwater boats, I can run rivers without the arm strain of trying to turn a boat with a keel.

The only thing I don't love about this boat was that it was only available with wooden or aluminum gunwales. I would have been much happier with vinyl because it is easier to care for and more indestructable than wood, and much better looking than aluminum. Mine is the color cherry, with ash gunwales, and it looks like a piece of art.

Below you will see this boat compared to a log, and a diving platform. If you want straight line tracking and speed, buy a composite boat with a full keel and slight to no rocker (From Mad River, look at the Lamoille, or the Malicite). But if you want to trip on moving water (I have had mine in class III whitewater), than definately look at this boat.

By all means, you should paddle every boat before you buy it. Buying a boat before you've paddled it, is like buying a car without driving it. Most companies do demos all over the country throughout the summer.

P.S. I am not a Mad River representative, I do however work in a store that sells boats (although not Mad River canoes), and love their products.

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Submitted by: ---
Rating: 6 of 10

     I owned one briefly and sold it. Like many Mad Rivers it is a ponderous beast that is very slow. One needs current from behind to enjoy this canoe at all.
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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 5 of 10

     This royalex canoe is beautifully crafted, with nicely carved woodwork. One would think it an art piece. Paddling it on flatwater even down stream is a different story and one without much pleasure. My paddling partner described it as giving her the same feel as she gets from paddling over a dense mat of aquatic weeds. For me it is like paddling a log. In a good cruiser the canoe glides, but this is more like a slow ardourous process.

I have noted reviews where it would make a good diving platform. And would be a good freighter, but I would not recommend it to someone who likes to cruise. It might serve as a barge carrying a large load.

A really good friend got one in mint condition for $500.00 and sold it for $500.00 within a year. He would not paddle it when he had it when he had a choice; avoiding it like the plague. He has many boats and has never sold one that I know. When he and his girlfriend were paddling with us they had a hard time keeping up, something that never happened before.

I am sure there are things it would be good at but one of them is not paddling for pleasure or cruising that is for sure. I cannot believe the high numbers of the previous reviews. And strongly recommend you paddle this before you buy it. There are many great canoes out there that will bring your great pleasure, this one is not one I would recommend.

The rating of a 5 is mostly because of the craftsmanship and the woodwork. I give it a 0 for the design and paddling pleasure.

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Submitted by: TrapperSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Royalex. Tons of fun for river trips. Manuevers extremely well even loaded. Great seconndary stability. Tracks ok (but not great) on flatwater. I've owned Wenonah and Old Towne - this is probably the best boat around for river tripping.
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Submitted by: wildernesswebbSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Stable with or without a load. Good to fish from. Doesn't oilcan like most royalex canoes. Only drawback is weight, which is a fair trade-off for all of it's other attributes.
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Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     Essentially a 17ft Royalex Explorer which does everything well - stable platform but also cruises and does whitewater as big river tripper. Only problem is a little heavy but mad river tends to overbuild their boats so a reasonable trade-off for such durability.
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Submitted by: John MillsSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Used this canoe in lakes and rivers. Handled well in current and extreme wind conditions. Four adults were in the boat and it handled like a champ.
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Submitted by: W.F.R.Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Our's is Royalex,green with vinyl gunwales. We bought this canoe for paddling and fishing. We are very satisfied with it's service.
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Submitted by: Walter R.Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Mine: Royalex, green with ash gunwales, medium rocker, symmetrical hull with light V-bottom and flared ends: Very stable, stiff, medium heavy, runs dry in big waves; carries parents, two children and a lot of gear with ease. An ideal family tripping canoe with beeing a little bit more a whitewater canoe than a lake tripper (full ends/rocker/V-bottom - good, but not excessive speed on flat water). Beautiful just to look at.
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