Portaging Mad River Adventure 14

Hello, I recently bought a mad river adventure 14 canoe, and I’m having a lot of difficulty trying to pick it up and carry it. I seems impossible. Does anybody have any experience with this or any advice?


– Last Updated: Apr-18-14 1:58 AM EST –

They're not really made for portaging. You'd have to come up with some kind of add in portage thwart to make it work. Or get a friend to help carry it.

clearly it was meant not to be portaged.

Its a rec boat for having at the shore and throwing in the water to fish or dabble.

tough job
You are fighting two foes here. High weight and the damn fixed center seat. At 75# this is the heaviest 14 foot canoe made. And 75# is a grunt for 99% of us. The real problem is the fixed center seat. It is right where a portage yoke should go and can’t. This canoe also has molded in gunwales that would make attaching a yoke very difficult. And the gunwales being soft plastic would not support th 75# weight of the boat without damage. Taking out the center seat would also compromise the integrity of the hull and eliminate a crucial support for the keelsons in the bottom of the hull. Single carrying a Mad River Adventurer can be accomplished if you are strong and have strong neck muscles. You carry the canoe upside down with the center seat resting on your head. Put a pad on the center seat and don’t wear a cap with a center button on top. It will feel like someone hammering a spike into your head otherwise. Getting it up onto your head is another tricky maneuver. The usual procedure of flipping it up using a yoke can’t be used here. You need to grab the stern pick it up and roll the canoe upside down while putting it onto your shoulder. Then

with the bow on the ground you put your hands on the gunwales and lift the stern over your head and walk your hands forward on the gunwales while you advance toward the center of the canoe. When you get under the center seat, lower the canoe till you are supporting it on your head and hands. Then you raise the bow and walk away with the canoe.

If you are going to the water, you find a place to put the bow down, raise the canoe off your head and work your way backward toward the stern. When you get to the back end of the gunwales, roll the canoe down off your arms onto the ground upright.

If you are going to the car, walk up from behind the car and put the bow onto your rear rack bar and move it as far front as you can before the rear of the car stops you. Squat down till the stern is on the ground, duck out from underneath and pick up the stern and slide the canoe forward onto your racks.

The best way is to paddle tandem with someone strong enough to help you double carry it. It should be the salesperson who sold you the beast.

If your big need is getting the canoe to and from the water from your car; a center mount canoe cart is a wise investment. For portages on the water of over 50 yards i would seriously find a lighter and better suited canoe.

Hope this eases your pain,


Portaging Mad River Adventure 14
Thanks for the advice, Bill, it helped a lot. Do you know much about the Old Town 119? I realized that it is probably a lot better suited for my needs.

Lots of people do
but you might get more participation by starting a new thread.

Its a putter around boat for one that can be portaged and is heavy. Its not a fast boat. Some people camp out of them on weekends.

To be germane to the thread you will need to get a detachable solo yoke, because the seat is so far back of the balance point.

experience with both
We’ve got both an MR Adventure 16 and an Old Town Guide 149. For a solo boat, either an OT 119 or 149 would be better for you. I’ve not noticed a heck of a lot of difference in performance between our 149 and the Adventure 16 except a little better speed with the longer boat, but we mainly like it because the MR’s low gunwales and modest beam allow us to use double ended kayak paddles with it. IT does have the drawback of not allowing you to kneel comfortably, but with kayak paddles that is not something we would tend to do anyway.

We can only carry the Adventure with the two of us holding the bow and stern handles, and it is not pleasant, especially with paddles and gear in the boat. So I picked up a fat wheeled collapsible cart from one of those discount stores in New York (Eastern Marine or something?) for $49 and it was well worth it. Makes hauling the boat to the water very easy for one person.

Old Town Discovery 119
This is the Polyethylene version of the Old Town Royalex Pack. Both are an inexpensive solo canoe that is well suited to fishing and traveling down easy streams. The 119 weighs 45# and the Pack weighs 33#. My son had a Pack for years and fished extensively with it. He took it on several of our paddle trips to the Adirondacks from which we learned its limitations. Its paddling strengths and weakness will also apply to the 119. Good for drifting downstream and fishing. Easy to maneuver,stable, fish and control canoe with the free hand. Easy to carry even without a yoke for short distances. Not well suited to long distance paddling, slow and poor tracking. Not suited to rough water, too low sided.


two sets of the bicycle style wheels

– Last Updated: Apr-18-14 10:58 PM EST –

is how I get mine around for portages, requires lots of straps and a wheelable portage path.

For getting it to the car I drag it through the grass and use the lift and slide method discussed in the earlier post. To car top it I also make sure the seat backs are secure as well, not banging on the car roof.

I like my adventurer 16 but it is heavy. The handle straps do work loose so make sure they are tight before using them and its very awkward to carry the boat more than a few feet that way with two people.

The boat simply isn't set up to portage over your head.