Hoping for some advice on a Mad River canoe

Hi All,

I’m communicating with someone looking to sell a Mad River. They have it listed as an 18’ kevlar, but say in the listing that it weighs 75-85lbs. Those two things don’t add up so I asked for a picture of the HIN and they sent it: MAD89535M83J-K. From what I can tell it was made in May of 83 and the -K means it is a kevlar boat. I can’t seem to find any other specific information about it. If it is a kevlar boat it should be much lighter than listed, shouldn’t it?

It is about 4 hours away from me so I’m trying to find out as much as I can before I commit to a trip that may end up a goose chase.



Any thoughts?

You are correct in that the boat was certified (built) in May of 1983. The HIN listed, assuming it is correct, is of the “model year format” as denoted by the “M” character and the “J” denotes a May certification. And MRC did append a “-K” to the end of the 12 character HIN for their Kevlar hulls.

The fact that the weight is listed as 75-85 lbs makes me think that it is a guesstimate. The overall length might be as well. As for the weight, MRC used all fabric layups for some of their early Kevlar canoes and those hulls are a good bit heavier than one would expect from today’s designs and construction methods. For example, my MRC Kevlar Explorer dates back to the early 1980s. It is an all fabric layup with gel coat, and the 16’ 4" hull weights right around 55 lbs.

I do not have any MRC catalog dating back to earlier than 1990 but if the canoe is in the neighborhood of 18 feet and was built in 1983 there are only a few possible models it could be. Back then there was an 18 1/2 foot Kevlar MRC Voyageur which was discontinued in 1983. MRC subsequently came out with a 17 1/2 foot Kevlar/Airex Voyageur model the following year, the weight for which was listed at 59 lbs in a 1990 catalog. But again, that was a hybrid model incorporating Airex foam and a foot shorter than the original Voyageur. So an all fabric 18 1/2’ Voyageur could certainly have been 15 lbs heavier.

MRC also made a 17’ 6" long Northwoods tandem in Kevlar back then which was discontinued in 1984. I have read that the listed weight for the Kevlar version of that canoe was 64 lbs. There was also the 18’ 4" long Lamoille, but I don’t believe that MRC introduced that design until 1984.

I would ask the seller to actually take a tape to the hull and measure overall length from tip of stem to tip of stem. A lot of people selling older canoes which have been long out of production, and for which even archived catalogs are unavailable, do not recall the model of the canoe and simply take a guess at the overall length which is often off by 6" or more.

Yeah sounds like they have no idea as to actual weight…

Thank you. This is all great information. The person listing it is doing so for a friend and I’ve offered up my cell number for them to call but they don’t seem interested. Too many unknowns for me to commit to making a 8hr round trip.

I very much appreciate the information.