Would a Mad River Malecite be a good choice for river paddling with my daughter?

I grew up paddling with my father in a Mad River Explorer. Now my daughter is 9 and I’m looking to get a boat for paddling in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. We will probably not get into anything too heavy – Upper New, Middle Yough, Cheat Narrows, etc.

There’s a used Mad River Malecite for sale locally. Would that be a good choice? What are the pros and cons?

here’s a link that even has comparisons to the mad river explorer

I take my mriver adventurer, which is really just a plastic bathtub, on the upper new. I also wouldn’t hesitate to take it on the middle yough so assuming you have some skills I think the malecite would work as well or even better. I throw an “air bed” mattress in under the middle thwart in case I do flip it. I do think the malecite like the explorer will be a wet ride on big water. So avoid the breaking or continous stuff, and heel that baby aggressively to get the v hull to turn or slice. In general I found mriver designs (flashback, me, explorer, adventurer) to be “wet rides” that responded well to aggressive paddling.

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I owned a Malecite for awhile. Paddled it with my grandson in the bow. He was 5 or 6 . He was good for ballast.
Later, my paddle partner and I paddled with three of my grandsons seated in the middle. Worked great.
To answer your question, it should be fine.

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I have a Malecite. My wife and I paddle it. IMO, it is a lakes canoe more than a river hull. It can be paddled in mild current but is not the best river boat.


The MR Explorer is a great river boat. It is a dry hull with secondary stability and rocker enough to maneuver well. One of the best 16 foot tripping boats ever made, along with the Prospectors made by everyone.

The Malecite as a recall is long and has a somewhat narrow beam. The characteristic that limits its usefulness on rivers is the straight keel line. It wants to track rather than turn. A great lake boats, but average river boat.