Carbon in Kevlar MR Explorers

Did Mad River every use any carbon in its kevlar Explorers? It seems like I read about it someplace but can’t remember any details.

I don’t think so
They did make what they referred to as a Kevlar/Airex hybrid Explorer, basically a foam-cored canoe.

but they did make a bunch of carbon Malecites and Explorers near the end of their days in Vermont.

Pure carbon, or some combo?
Pure carbon is not smart for a general purpose canoe, especially one like the Explorer that might be used on whitewater. They could save money by using Kevlar on the inside and keep the low weight and stiffness.

Bell Chestnut
comes in a carbon/kevlar composition. Poled with my buddy RavensJester yesterday, and that’s what his is. (Blackcrystal? maybe).

Don’t know about the Explorer…
but the 30th Anniversary Malecite with “hybrid Carbon/Kevlar hull” appears in the 2001 Mad River catalog. It appears to be carbon on the inside and Kevlar(with gel coat) on the outside. Looks as if that solid black interior would be pretty hot on a sunny summer day.

Go to and scroll down.

Would they really be that stupid?!?
Way back in the 80s it was already established that you put the carbon or the S-glass OUTSIDE and the Kevlar INSIDE. I own or have owned three Mad River canoes, the first made for me personally by Jim Henry in 1973, I’ve met Kay Henry and some of the reps. I just can’t believe they would do exactly the WRONG THING.

Carbon or glass go outside because they have excellent strength in compression, and they don’t fuzz when they wear. (Carbon has good strength in tension, too, but is brittle.) Kevlar goes inside because it has excellent strength in tension, though it has mediocre strength in compression, and it fuzzes when it wears.

A boat with carbon inside, Kevlar outside, will have a hot interior, will fuzz on the exterior, and when hit hard, the Kevlar will give way so that the carbon snaps.

Bell’s very successful Blackgold layup
has always been carbon outside, Kevlar inside. The only thing I have against carbon outside is that it wears much faster than S-glass. Carbon is the softest stuff one can use, while S-glass is the hardest. One alternative is to use a layer of S-glass, a layer of carbon, and then two layers of Kevlar inside.

I have a slalom boat, a Dagger Zealot, with an experimental super-rigid layup with S-glass outside and carbon inside. The outside is very hard and, with my conservative (inept) paddling, has not checked or chipped. But if I ever hit anything really hard, the boat is going to shatter into several pieces. If I had ordered one rather than buying from a competitor, I would have specified S-glass outside and Kevlar inside.

Found the boat via the link, and rather
than “stupid” they were being “special” as in “Isn’t that special ?!?” They did put carbon inside, because they wanted it to show and sell. They could have put it outside, but that would mean no slick gelcoat. So they end up with a canoe that weighs several pounds more than it needs to. We have a 16’ 8", 16 inch deep, glass/Nylon/Kevlar Bluewater that weighs only 48 pounds, is plenty stiff, and will take a big crunching hit much better than that spiffy Malecite.