Mad River Quest

I purchased a used Mad River Quest (1990-1997) Canoe about 2 years ago and have a few questions.

Does anyone own or have any experience with a Quest?

My wife doesn’t want to participate in a “stability test”, so I am interested in hearing opinions regarding initial and secondary stability. It seems rather tipsy with both of us in it, but so does my OT Pack with me in it and the Pack can be leaned on it’s side to the point were water comes in without tipping.

The following is from the brochure:

This comfortable canoe has a contemporary, asymmetrical hull shape that is increasingly flared for added seaworthiness The V entry, designed for easy tracking gives way to a shallow arch bottom providing performance you would not expect in a recreational canoe. For maximum weight savings, the Quest can he equipped with our aluminum gunwale system.

The affordable Quest, with its durable Royalex Lightweight hull, is a small, performance oriented canoe. Weighing far less than polyethylene canoes, the Mad River Quest paddles easily and glides quickly on ponds, lakes and smooth-flowing rivers. Children and adults will feel secure on casual outings around the summer cottage or on weekend camping trips. The highly maneuverable Quest can be easily paddled solo by installing a center cane seat or kneeling thwart. Designer: Jim Henry

Hull Configuration:

Slight Rocker


Shallow Arch w/Flare

6" Freeboard Capacity:

640 lbs.

Average Weight:

RL w/alum 54 lbs.

RL w/Ash 56 lbs.

Length: 14’7"

Gunwale Width: 35"

4" Water line Width:31.5"

Depth At Canter: 13"

Bow Height: 20"

Stern Height: 20"

Colors: Bluegrass,


Thanks in advance.


Bad boat for you!
Bob I think its a bad boat for you. If you come down here to North Carolina I can show you some great spots to paddle and trade you for a different boat. :wink:

We keep telling people, initial and

– Last Updated: Jun-09-07 4:54 PM EST –

secondary stability is not an issue, because if you will just kneel in the canoe and practice, you will find that nearly every canoe is stable enough for nearly everyone.

And if the Quest was designed by Jim Henry, I am even more confident that it will meet anyone's reasonable expectations of stability.

I don't understand why you are soliciting the experience of others. Get in the boat and paddle it. You will do just fine.

You know what DOESN'T ever happen? No one ever buys a canoe and says, "OH NO! This particular canoe does not have enough initial or final stability." This just does not happen. What DOES happen, on rare occasions, is someone buys a canoe and realized that canoes in general are not stable enough. Then that person goes and buys a jon boat.

Sounds Like a Gem

That sounds like a little gem of a tandem. From the description and specs it is designed with enough performance to make it a real pleasure to paddle and reward your skills as you get to know it. It is a little small for a tandem so if you and the Mrs. are particularly large folk, that might be a concern, partiicularly if you plan on more than short day trips.

My advice is the same as g2ds, get out there and get used to the Quest. Nothing substitutes for seat time. Stay along the shore in easy waters. Dump it intentionally yourself with some help around as appropriate. The waterline width of your boat makes it sound like it could feel a little tender/tippy at first. The flair should give it real solid secondary stability.

Have fun and let us know what you think after a few trips.

I’m second on the list of possible buyers if you decide to sell it right? :slight_smile:

MR Quest
Many years ago when I was learning to paddle whitewater I was paired up with this mad valkrie maid and her Quest for a run on the Riverton section of the Farmington (cl I).

I’d guess the two of us and lunch ran about 360 lbs.

As I recall it was plenty stable and reasonably manuverable.

If I remember correctly
the Quest was built as a competitor/compliment to the Egret by Mike Galt (one of the most beautiful small canoes ever built…sold mine and regretted it ever since), who at the time was the only person building and promoting a “FreeStyle” tandem. Very manuverable, very stable if kneeling, very slow but lots of fun when doing FS techniques. If you want to cover distance get another boat, if you want to paddle for pure motion pleasure, try some FreeStyle moves and you’ll really enjoy the hull.