Mad River Liberty

Does anyone have any thoughts about Mad River’s Liberty canoe? I don’t know much about the boat but have a chance to purchase a nice one.

I am 6’2" tall and weigh 200 lbs. I am looking for a solo canoe to use for free style canoing as well as solo tripping on smaller lakes and ponds (Adirondacks). I don’t need a hard tracker but would like to be able to paddle the boat straight when needed. I live very near water so I don’t mind paddling every day to get my skill level where it needs to be. I currently paddle a Kajaksport Artisan Millenium kayak daily, but I want to expand my horizons, thus a canoe. I am 57 years old so I really don’t want to kneel much. Your collective knowledge is appreciated.

MRC Liberty
The Liberty is a cut down version of the Independence. The staff cut most of a foot out of the center, bonded it together and made another boat; despicably refusing Jim Henry, the Indy’s designer, royalties.

Turns out they glued it together with a little more rocker so Liberty was always a better boat than Indy.

That said, it’s still 30 wide at the rails amidships and semi V hulled. It was always an OK touring boat, except MRC marketed it to women, and the width just didn’t work for most females.

All in all, there are reasons the design isn’t being built. A decent solo starter? Sure. A FreeStyle boat? You’ll be frustrated.

Liberty thoughts
CEWilson’s comments are, as usual, filled with good info. Our family had one of these boats for about 10 years (ours was fiberglass, but it was available in a kevlar layup, too). We purchased it as a gift for our daughter (it was to be her first solo); she is petite and the boat was just too beamy for her to get a clean stroke. It hung in the garage for a few years and then I took it out for a spin early one morning. It fit my 5’11" 240 lb body much better and I used it gently for 4-5 years, eventually selling it to some nice folks from Florida, right here on It is fine for light tripping, works well for sit and switch w/a bent shaft, but always seemed happier with a straight. It isn’t much of a freestyler, as CEWilson says, but it WILL turn. It is, in my opinion, a very good boat for newer solo canoers to sharpen their skills. Paddle on!