Noob canoe guy, spur of the moment Mad River buyer

Hi all.

I think I use to be on here years ago when I had several kayaks I used for Saltwater fishing in Florida but I can’t remember my user ID.

Anyway, I see my neighbor this morning working on a canoe in his driveway and wandered over to find out what he was doing. I had not seen him with a canoe before. He tells me he bought it as a project for xmas. I asked what he was going to do with it and he said, probably sell it. So, too long of a story short we walked it over to my house. How to explain this to the wife now???

I saw that it was an MR, but I’m not up on which models they made. I’m posting a pic of the HIN if anyone can help out. I think it was made in 1988 and is a Kevlar model. I need to sand and refinish the gunwales and do a little interior patching, but the exterior is near perfect. It had three paddles with it, one being a MR Dagger???

Thanks in advance all and I look forward to learning from the group here.


Look what followed me home! Can we keep it?

UsedHIN MADSX163E888
IsValid Yes - Integrity Check Passed
HINType Current
SerialNo SX163
Year 1988
IsStateIssued No
Company Confluence Watersports Co
CompanyStatus Out of Business
CompanyAddress Trinity Nc 3761 Old Glenola Road



Thanks for the info!!!

What is the Length/Width/Depth? From the picture it looks like a deep solo canoe that was rigged for tripping and/or whitewater (the padeyes for lacing suggests airbags).It may be a Courier.

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It’s 16’ 2 and 27" at the widest part of the beam. I didn’t check the depth yet.

Nice looking boat! Is that an impression at the stern or just the lighting?

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Thanks, but dumb question, what’s an impression?


On the starboard stern there looks to be a dent or impression, but it may just be the light.

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It was built by the Mad River Canoe Company of Waitsfield, Vermont in May of 1988 for the 1988 model year. Confluence came up as the builder on the HIN search only because MRC was later acquired by Confluence Holding which didn’t even exist in 1988.

The paddle was designed by Steve Scarborough who later became the chief boat designer for Dagger Canoe. Most people are familiar with Dagger kayaks but Dagger was a canoe company before it ever produced its first kayak. And before that, Dagger was a paddle manufacturer owned by Steve Scarborough. Dagger Canoe got started in 1988 by Joe Pulliam who previously worked at Perception. He approached Steve Scarborough who was making paddles at that time, and together they started Dagger Canoe. Mad River simply added their decal to the paddle. They had nothing to do with making it.

I am pretty sure that the canoe is a Traveler. If so, I have one just like it in the same sand color. I also have a Dagger paddle just like that one that I bought at the same time I bought the boat in Jacksonville, Florida.

Measure the canoe. If the length overall is about 16’ 2" and the gunwale width at the molded hull is 26" it is a Traveler. The Courier is much shorter at around 14’ 9" and wider at around 32" and the Courier did not come stock with a center sliding seat.

The Traveler is a large volume solo canoe, good for tripping with a load, but a bit large for day tripping for most people, although it can certainly be used that way. It is a pretty hard tracking hull design. I used to use mine to take one of my daughters out on lakes and easy rivers when they were growing up, trimming the canoe by sliding the center seat all the way back.

Edit: I had not seen your prior post with the measurements. It is definitely a Traveler. MRC measured the gunwale width at the outside edges of the molded hull which did not include the outwales. The maximum beam at the 4" waterline was listed at 29" for the Traveler but that is a bit hard to measure accurately unless you have a big set of calipers.

The Traveler was a modified version of the Jim Henry designed “Screamer” which was designed to be a downriver racing boat. The first photo on this page from the Hemlock Canoe website shows Jim Henry racing a Screamer in 1973: PHOTO ALBUM Canoe History


@kholman I couldn’t help but notice your profile photo, which seems like an unusual canoe for this forum and a bit familiar to me. Is that perhaps the view on a US nuclear submarine of the watertight door between the engine room and auxiliary machinery room 2 from the AMR2 side?

It must be the way the light is hitting it. I haven’t found any impressions yet.

Thanks again for the info!

@anon64780766 THANK YOU for all that awesome detail. It feels good knowing what I have.

Are you still in Jax? I just moved to NM from St. Augustine 5 years ago and did a lot of kayak fishing in the Intercoastal there.

No, I never lived in Jacksonville although I have an aunt and cousin who still live there. I actually drove from Tennessee to Jacksonville to buy the boat. At that time MRC had discontinued production of the Traveler. I thought it would be a good choice to take my young daughter out in and it turned out to be. But I had to call Mad River to find out which retailers might still have one in their existing stock and found a shop in Jacksonville that did.


Mad River Screamer Mad River Screamer in yellow

Pictured are a Mad River Courier, Mad River Screamer in yellow and on the water, and a Mad River Traveler.

I’m with pblanc; I think it’s a Traveler.



Thanks for the pics. Love that last one, looks exactly like mine!

I suspect that is the kevlar “Independence” model. The Independence was the longer/larger version of the “Courier” for bigger paddlers. I saw one of the “Traveler” models once…it was totally flat bottomed, with no lift at either end and a square cross section, and vertical ends, while the Independence has rounded bottom edges, curve to the keel ends, and a bit (1 to 1 1/2 inches?) of rocker to each end from the thwarts out. I’ve got one of the kevlar Independence models in my garage, purchased years ago from the dealer in Bloomington, IN. The “Traveler” was already out of production when I got my Independence in the early/mid 80s. I note that it looks like a lot of the screws are gone from the gunwales in yours…so you will be looking for stainless steel phillips head screws to replace those (I had to get the local hardware store to order those for me once…they didn’t stock them). Not sure about the cord loops sticking up from the end plates…have not seen that before. The Independence was intended as a ‘tripping’ model when it was sold. I used to surprise others on local trips where I only had a day pack and lunch, by being able to get through shallow spots on the rivers that the tandem boats could not pass through since they drew more water. I did learn to plan a bit ahead for maneuvering, and to do more steering strokes than on my shorter solo canoes (Bell Wildfire, Mad River Guide, etc.). The Independence also doesn’t really like to lean to turn like some of the others mentioned…so more turning strokes seemed to be needed. Good luck with it!

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If the length measurement is accurate, I think it is too long to be an Independence. They were only 15’8", while the Traveler was 16’2".

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@ptickner , you’re correct, it measures exactly 16’ 2".

I’ll get better pics and full measurements after it stops snowing here

Thanks all!

@duffek, I’ll check the measurements again, but I’m pretty sure it’s 16’ 2".

The neighbor I bought it from was taking the screws out when I walked over to his place last Saturday. I have them all in a bag and they’re in remarkably good condition considering the age.
Thanks again