Mad River Explorer 16.5' from 1984

Hi, I am new to canoes and want to purchase this one for my husband to take our young kids fishing on the lake and light recreational use. Is this a good canoe for that and fairly priced? Thank you for your help!

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A great boat. The price is steep. I would start around 1200.

Yep. Great boat! Too high on the price. At the very least, see if the seller will include paddles and PFDs.
BTW, your husband is a lucky guy!

I agree with the above comments. I have a 1985 kevlar Explorer, and it’s a great boat. Unfortunately, with everyone seemingly discovering the outdoors this summer, good boats are at a premium and it’s a seller’s market. It looks to be in good shape, and it’s a boat that you can paddle as a family for many years to come, so spending a little more is easier to amortize in the long run.

Thank you, would you consider $1400 with aluminum paddles acceptable? Here is what he said has been replaced:
“I installed 2 new seats with the modern webbed kind instead of the original cane. I replaced the thwart with a carry yoke. I caulked 2 small area about the size of a nickel under the end guards that were a little soft, so I treated with wood stabilizer, filler, and sealant. Thats it, otherwise its original.”

The boat appears to be in very good condition. The age though always concerns me because we don’t know how much exposure the canoe has had to UV exposure. This boat is 36 years old. You can get some idea about how much life is left in the lay-up by pressing on it lightly with your fingers.

That is a nice canoe, nicer than the ones I usually buy. I would not spend $1400 for a canoe that old, but it is probably close to the market price. Forge ahead if you like it, just realize there is some risk in buying old canoes.

Last year I bought a 1987 Old Town Canadienne, a fast kevlar boat no longer made. It had one crunch in the bow and a couple of small cracks. I paid $250 for it and repaired it.

I think $1400 is acceptable. If you get it, and your husband and kids like it, it will be a great investment that you can use for years. If they don’t like it, you should be able to get all or most of your money back if you choose to sell it down the line, assuming you keep it in good condition. Granted, prices are high right now, but that is a very highly regarded model and will never totally devalue even if the market goes back down.

As others have said, it is an excellent all-around tandem canoe design, made during the golden years of the original Mad River Canoe Company. I have a Kevlar Explorer of almost exactly the same vintage and it is still going strong. That boat will weigh in at around 54-55 lbs. Back then MRC used an all Kevlar cloth layup for their Kevlar Explorers without any core or ribs which made for a very strong boat but not the lightest.

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