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Reviews for Traveler Canoe by Mad River Canoe


Rated: 9/10 Based On: 7 Reviews

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12-23-2013
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have owned a Kevlar MRC Traveler since 1990, although I must admit I haven't paddled mine for a couple of years now. This boat is a modification of the Jim Henry Screamer, which was a downriver racing boat. As such, it is straight-keeled and quite sea worthy.

It is very large in volume, probably too large for most individuals paddling unloaded, as it will catch quite a bit of wind. It is quite fast for its size and can be heeled quite confidently, which is fortunate because due to its waterline length and straight keel line, you need to heel it to get it to turn well.

Not a very nimble river boat, like most downriver racers, and I find it is easier to maneuver downriver using back ferries and side slips and keeping an eye well downstream. It does have very pleasing lines to look at.

I used to paddle this boat solo and unloaded many miles on a flat water lake, and with the sliding seat back all they way, I could put one of my kids in front of me on a small folding chair and paddled many river and lake miles like that. I also tried running this boat down some rather technical Class II whitewater one time, which worked less well, but both the boat and I survived.

If one is looking for a large volume solo canoe to paddle loaded, or with a sizable dog, there are few better. But having too much windage (for most) for a good lake canoe, and lacking sufficient maneuverability to make a great river canoe, there are probably better choices for most folks these days.

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02-10-2013
Submitted by: PKSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     As a long time Traveler fan and veteran of the NFCT (Northern Forest Canoe Trail), I agree with every single statement posted here. The Traveler is an elegant boat, and fast. You can sit your partner right in front of you on the floor, and the boat is still balanced for a quick cruise with minimal gear. And there's enough volume in the boat for a big person to trip for a week or more. She tracks very well, so the implications of a tight whitewater situation demand some respect--the boat is not highly maneuverable in a tight situation. And in fiberglass, she is cruelly heavy! How I would love to have this boat in a kevlar layup. I've replaced the wood twice on my traveler, and it is my go to boat for big lake tripping and fly fishing. She is infinitely more fun than the Explorer, of course, and the paddling experience is way beyond compare--as you would expect. The Explorer with a knee brace is a dog in comparison (except in whitewater) and I am a proud defender of the Explorer... I own six of them and use them as solo boats often. My boat of choice for the NFCT was a MR Guide, which is a real dog on flatwater. I would have taken a kevlar Traveler had I owned one, but it would have taken a real beating in the bony rivers of the Northeast.
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10-22-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The Mad River Traveler is a big volume solo canoe. It has been out of production for quite a long time and there were not a lot of them made. So, they are somewhat hard to find. I have used my Traveler mainly for canoeing with my dog. Unlike my Bell Magic, where I have to be very careful to keep my dog still, my dog can move around and goof off in the Traveler. It has a lot of primary stability. The secondary stability is equally good. I can roll the gunwales down to the water and bring it back up no problem. It is difficult to find information on the Traveler, so here are some measurements:
Bow Depth 18.5"
Center Depth 13.5"
Stern Depth 17"
Width 27 3/4"
Length 16'2"

The most similar canoe on the market to the Traveler is probably the Swift Shearwater. I find that I do use the sliding seat to adjust trim, mostly when I am facing the wind from a different direction. It is very easy to slide the seat forward or back while paddling. The Traveler is not 16’6” as some people have posted in prior reviews. It is 16’2”. My Traveler has beautiful straight grain ash gunwales. I wish they still made them like this. When I compare the quality of ash used between my newer Bell canoe and my old Mad River Traveler-it makes me sick to see the difference. The Traveler’s ash gunwales are truly beautiful, Bell not so nice. The Traveler is not as fast as a Bell Magic, but otherwise I find paddling the two canoes quite similar. I can sit and switch or paddle Canadian style with the Traveler.

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09-25-2004
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I own a kevlar traveller and would be hard pressed to find a better boat for any but bony river conditions. I use it primarily on rivers and race it in the Maine, Kenduskeag Stream Race. Runs real dry, and is maneuverable enough for the 16 mile K race. The buoyancy is so good I can head right into some pretty big waves. The best improvement I made was to install a Wenonah adjustable pedestal seat. Proper trim helps to negate the effects of the strongest canoeable wind. I find it stable enough to pole and use it for fishing. Self rescue is a an acquired skill with this deep hull and don't count on getting back in unless you have previously worked out a system.
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01-02-2004
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     A nine because nothing's perfect but the Traveler is near perfect only surpassed by wood canvas canoes. I use this canoe on a lake near my house when I try to Freestyle and it works lovely. I find the Traveler, which I could buy of a friend who couldn't paddle anymore, very responsive and very fast (with the right paddle, a Shawn & Tenney). Indeed without load and with wind it is more cumbersome to steer but with enough technique it surely can be done. This boat is however no beginners' canoe because the demand on your technique is formidable. It is truly a pitty that Mad River Canoe does not continue to build this canoe (but that is also valid for the Slipper old model, pre-1995).
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01-21-2002
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 8 of 10

     I love my traveler. It's a fairly heavy boat, fiberglass, and over 50 pounds, and from experience I can tell you that as a shallow river boat it sucks. Now, that being said, on the Adrondack lakes, it is a dream. Being long (16'6") and narrow it requires no effort to propel. Not the fastest of handlers, it is still more than adequat for the lakes and ponds of northern New York. When loaded with gear and sitting lower in the water, you can say, "Wind? There's a Wind?" It has beautiful lines and with the removeable carry thwart in place, no problem to move around on land. I wouldn't hesitate to use it in deeper rivers (Lower Genesse, Racquette) even with a good current, but keep away from areas where quick handling is necessary. Also, being fiberglass, shallow rocky waters make for a sad looking hull. :-( Well, ya lives and ya learns.
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12-28-2000
Submitted by: TC
Rating: 8 of 10

     No longer made, the Traveler is a large solo boat. But being so long and with a straight keel, it's not real versatile. When paddling it unloaded it can be windblown. The lines are beautiful and it handles very well - tracking and turning with a slight lean. It works great daytripping with a heavy person, or for long trips when heavily loaded. I have paddled it in flood conditions on whitewater rivers with a load of gear and it worked great.
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