Mad River boats

-- Last Updated: Jan-17-04 1:58 AM EST --

I'm looking at buying the Mad River Freedom Solo. Is it the same boat as the MR Guide?

Does anyone have any thoughts on this boat? I'm looking for a good solo tripper with enough volume to take myself and my dog for a week or more. Ideally, it would track well on flat water, run rapids (up to class III) with ease, and have good initial stability (read - dog). Of course, don't we all want the best of all worlds. Did I mention it should play nicely and be able to take me down narrow rivers and creeks ?(I live in SW BC)

Thanks! bf

ps... also thinking about Nova Craft Supersolo or whatever their solo boat is. If I can get it here

The Supernova is a fine boat, I used to have one and would not mind getting another one someday!It will handle a good load of gear and handles very well. Where in BC are you at?

Cheers…Joe O’


Hope you get lots of suggestions…

– Last Updated: Jan-17-04 11:45 AM EST –

I'm going to be watching this thread very closely to see the responses & suggestions.

If I read your inquiry right, you want a boat that will:

1. Haul you, a dog, and a weeks worth of gear.
2. Track well, and have good stability.
3. Play on narrow rivers and creeks.
4. Run class III

That sounds like a pretty special boat! I want one of those too!

P.S. You're right about the name change on the MR Guide. I own a Guide (until recently owned two), and in my opinion, with the right paddler in it, the Guide will do everything you want. On the other hand; if you try to do class III with yourself, your dog, and a weeks worth of gear in a Guide; you had better be a damn good paddler!
Sounds like you want 2 different boats rolled into one.


check out Clipper
I’m only familiar with my friends’ 18’ Clipper Tripper, but they make the boats in BC. They do have tripping boats with rocker. Keep us posted on your findings.

We have Mowhawk Odyssey 14’. They are large volume boats that are supposed to do what you want thru classII. We can’t confirm that because we just got them and haven’t put them to the test.

Prospector style boats look interesting. We are looking into adding one of those to the fleet.

Cipper Prospector 14
The best Clipper for solo river running/ tripping would be the 14’ Prospector. I have not paddled this one yet but it does look pretty good and should make a nice river canoe. Tracking will be loose though as it should be for

river-tripping/ river-running. For a tighter tracking, flatwater solo canoe, the Solitude from Clipper is another nice canoe.


I live in Pemberton

And as I understand it (I’m new here as of this winter) there are a lot of small rivers and stuff here (Whistler, Squamish, etc). Mostly kayak country, actually. I’ve never kayaked, and would prefer to stick to my canoeing. Besides, where would the dog go in a little squirtboat?

I haven’t put much thought into the Prospector 14’, I’ll take a look on the web. I guess my initial feeling is that the prospectors I’m familiar with are 16’ and 17’, and as you get down to such a small boat as a 14, then how can it still be considered a prospector?

And yes, Bob, I would like to have a couple boats in one! I don’t have space for a lot of boats, and you got my needs down pretty well. The only thing you may have missed is a good tracker on flatwater. :slight_smile:

Thanks for your input, folks, please keep those opinions comin’!


I’m with Bob. You may be asking for too
many things at once. I have a Guide, and it can handle class 2 and occasional 3 as long as there are pauses for bailing or dumping. But put a week’s gear and a dog in it, and continuous class 2 such as that on most of the Nantahala is going to become difficult. If you could go up a little in overall carrying capacity, you will be able to run long rapids and stay dry. Also, while the Guide may handle better than many longer boats when lightly loaded, once it is full of gear, it will turn less well than some boats a foot longer.

Been on the Elaho and Squamish in your area, but in a raft. Better be DARN GOOD paddler to do these rivers in a canoe. You’ll need floatation bags and I wouldn’t do these rivers alone, but in the company of some other very skilled paddlers who have rescue gear and know how to use it. It is a BEAUTIFUL area and hope to make it back there some day. Not trying to scare you off, just don’t want to see your name here in a thread “Paddler Dies in B.C.!” take care. WW

Clipper Prospector
I have paddled Clipper’s 14 ft. Prospector and found that it tracked quite well even when unloaded. Should do even better with camping gear and a doggy passenger because its free board would reduced and it would be less subject to cross winds and waves.

I agree, WW
Thanks for the input, WW. While I consider myself an intermediate ww paddler and canoe tripper, I am the first to acknowledge that I have a lot to learn. I’m aware of my limitations, and if there is any doubt, I won’t paddle it (when I’m solo). I wouldn’t paddle anything more than class III without backup, but if I have someone experienced to back me up, I often volunteer to be the ‘probe’ down class III - IV.

All this being said, I do need to know more about the water I’m paddling in. I’m meeting someone next week from the area that can give me a good idea of what I’ll be in for in the spring, in terms of playing. But I do know that there are a few rivers around that are suitable for solo tripping with a pooch, and I’m not limited to just staying around here for my trips, either. The choice of a solo boat is sort of a ifestyle choice. ie If I have the boat, I’ll find the right river to take it down.

So the search continues. I’ve looked at the Clipper 14’ prospector, but notice it doesn’t come in Royalex. Not sure why. The Mohawks seem to be difficult to get - aren’t they made waaay down in the States? I’m worried shipping from US to Can might be problematic.

But I have looked at the Swift Raven, sounds great, but they don’t have enough pictures or drawings on their website. I like to see.

So I think my choices are, Swift Raven, NovaCraft Supernova, and the MR Freedom Solo. Anybody have any more opines on any or all of these boat that they’d like to share? Any other boats I have missed?

Thank you all very much for your input.

The Clipper Prospector is a fine boat,
but has significantly less whitewater capability than the Mad River Guide. The Guide was designed as a dual purpose boat by a guy (Jim Henry) who often raced open boat slalom himself.

If you want a faster, lighter boat, buy a Kevlar Guide/Freedom. If you primarily want a river boat for class 1-2 (3) whitewater, get the ABS Guide/Freedom.

Mohawk shipping
Mohawk is in FL and only sells from the factory, but they seem to have the shipping thing down. They were great to deal with. If shipping is your question, call them. They will give you a straight answer. All this said, I don’t think the Odyssey will do classIII-IV. I don’t do classIII-IV on purpose anymore.:slight_smile: They do have dedicated WW models, but there goes the tracking…

As far as space for boats…a canoe in a cradle can make a nice coffee table…

Wasn’t Trying to be “Wet Blanket”…
…Blackfly. Just want you to stay safe. The Novacraft Supernova, IMHO, just has too little stability to carry your canine friend. The MR Guide, would, probably, but not safely in those rapids. As for Mohawk, No problem with shipping, but the distance for me wasn’t what you would have. I’d look at something along the lines of an Odyssey 15 if you do check out Mohawk. Good people to deal with. To borrow a line from the movie “Jaws,” though, on those rivers, with your pup, “I think we need a bigger boat!” Take care. WW

The Supernova is a fine boat
I have one. It has very little initial stability. The secondary is very good and it will handle a good load plus the whitewater. Will it be good for you and a dog—I don’t know. I suppose it depends on the dogs activities. While the boat doesn’t easily go over, it is a very active boat.

The guide is also a good boat. Nice design and paddles well.

I hope you realize you are asking a lot from one boat. While either of these would be fine up through class II, getting into class III with the dog and a full load you will have your work cut out for you. I hope you are very good with a paddle in your hands.

how bout a wenonah rendevous

It has a lot of what you want.

OK My thoughts
I agree with both Bob and others… to a degree.

I personally think the boat you are looking for is maybe a Guide, or a Supernova, or a Mowawk Odyssey, or something like that. That all said, these boats will run Class II and the occasionaly III with some bailing… but there are limited canoes regardless of length that can run Class III after Class III with a full load. In addition, a you’d never be able to stop and enjoy running the Class III drops in a loaded boat. Even Bill Mason understood that a loaded canoe should not be used to run that level of whitewater. So why not use the portage trail to carry your gear around the rapids, and then run the boat through enjoying the rapids, stopping to play and surf the waves… then reload the cano at the bottom and continue your run. A Guide, or a Supernova, or a Swift Raven would do this fine… but attacking 6 foot standing waves with a dog and 100# of gear in the boat sounds like far too much work for me.


Found the Rendezvous too hard to turn.
Much harder to turn than the MR Guide. I hope Wenonah will try a Rendezvous II because their first attempt had some good ideas. However they did not realize how much speed and tracking they had to trade away to get true maneuverability.

A little more…
When I run class III or above, it is in a Mad River Outrage X; no load, no dog, and fully rigged for whitewater. It does great; I love it! If you want to run class III, I think you need to get a whitewater boat.

If you’re going to keep it down in the class II range, I think the Guide would be a fine choice; even with you, a dog, and some gear. If you’re a good enough paddler you could run some low class III in a Guide; if you have it outfitted for whitewater, and leave the dog & gear at home, or on the riverbank. I know it will do class III because I’ve done it & seen other do it too.

Not the best there is, but it will do it!

I have owned & paddled a Mohawk 15 on flatwater & on class II & III. The reason I have my Outrage X is bacause the Mohawk 15 (in my opinion) peaks at high class II. It’s too long for big, class III drops & the bow submarines; it’s a bear to make headway or manuever if you take on water, and it can take on “a lot”. On big, class III standing waves it also submarines in the troughs; it’s too long & has too little rocker. You go over the top of a 5 to 6 foot standing wave & as you drop down the backside of the wave the back 8 or 9 feet is still playing catch up! Also too long for dodging boulders in fast twisting, turning, narrow sections of whitewater. On flatwater you had better not miss too many strokes or you’ll be at the river’s beck & call. The Guide (in the hands of a good paddler) will outmanuever an Odyssey 15 with ease, will keep up with an Odyssey 15 on the flats & may even pass it.

Not sure that the Odyssey 14 has enough volume for your proposed load? I personally think the Odyssey 14 may be a decent canoe for class I & II, with gear for a dayfloat, overnight, or 2 or 3 days worth of gear. Ask me in a week or two & I’ll let you know.


Thanks for all the advice!
And perhaps an apology is warranted! I should have said that I don’t intend on paddling C-III’s with my pooch and gear. I almost always unload and run em empty. Sorry for any confusion.

But it looks like I’ll go with a guide, it seems to be the most suited towards what I want to do. You folks are great! Thank you SO much for the suggestions and comments posted here. I will let you all know what I eventually end up with (be the next month or so), and how it works out with Willie! (the pooch)



I noticed…
Noticed you were into photography. Down the river, so to speak, post some photos of yourself, the boat you choose, and your dog too.

Preferably out on the river.

Good luck,