mad river adventure or old town saranac

Hello all.

I am looking for a canoe for the family (2 adults, child age 5, child age 3) and I think I narrowed it down to the Mad River Adventure 16 or the Old Town Saranac 160.

I wanted to get some opinions and real life usage on the better option.

main areas of concern:

  1. Keeping the kids contained as best as possible. They like to shuffle around a lot and have a tendency to lean over the sides.
  2. Stability. My wife and I are both very green on the canoe front. does one offer the “feeling” of being more stable than the other?
  3. Car topping. For the most part, it will be my wife and I loading, but at times it might be myself. Does one offer any advantage over the other?

    The canoe will mostly be used for paddling around local lakes and fishing with the kids.

    Thanks for your time.

I would consider getting a “real” canoe
instead. The Adventure and Saranac are heavy, and full of little pseudo-conveniences. They don’t have much glide. The Adventure has seat structures that keep you from kneeling. Kneeling is a safety practice for couples with little kids in the boat.

I know both those boats are “cheap”, but if you pinch your pennies for a while, you can get a real canoe such as a Wenonah Spirit II in Tufweave.

The secret to having the kids safe
is not to keep them constrained but let them dangle over the side.

For that you need a well designed hull that has outstanding stability when tipped so that you do not all go out of the boat. Its called secondary stability.

Your kids can move around then and you stay upright. Its always good to plan for an upset. Give the kids some three years. They will be paddling on their own and love to capsize. (Adults never do). Give em a boat that they have a chance to flip back over and reenter.

The rolling cooler canoes are difficult to reenter and rescue in.

The Old Town Discovery series is justifiably popular with youth camps.

And before taking your kids out you and your wife ought to get a little past the green stage. Take a lesson at least in how to rescue yourselves. Having your first capsize with the kids involved is not a happy thing.

You may think that with a wide flat bottom boat that you won’t dump,but it does and you will be so much better equipped to deal with the situation if you have a little experience under your belt.

Thanks for the feedback. The Wenonah Spirit II is a sweet ride, def more for the serious type and a bit out of our price range.

Yeah, sorry I meant enough room for the kids to lean over without taking everybody with them. We will definitely have it out several times before we take the kids for sure. We have both canoed before but not with any regularity.

Thanks again for the feedback.