I have a Royalex Freedom with wood gunwales. Many miles covered…
I have a Royalex Freedom with wood gunwales. Many miles covered in many different places, this is my 'go-to' boat for most trips.
I used it often when the kids were little, I could turn it backwards to balance out the weight difference. I use it solo sometimes, the same way. You can haul a huge amount of weight with this big boat! Only downside is, the width makes it tough to get a nice stroke. I set sort of sideways, facing the side I am paddling on. I'm a pretty big guy, a smaller person might not enjoy paddling that way.
The boat does not have a lot of glide. And a headwind will chew you up and spit you out! But the flip side is- it handles very well for its length. I have never used it in classed whitewater, but I would not hesitate to do so, if I added some flotation. It is not a play boat by any stretch, but it would be a fairly dry ride in waves, and maneuverable enough for anything less then the most technical runs.
I've owned one of the first Freedoms off the line and have…
I've owned one of the first Freedoms off the line and have love every minute of it. This boat has done it all for me, from whitewater to lakes and ponds. I've even taken it out on salt-water fishing for bluefish! Not only is this boat fun to paddle and very stable, but it takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'. I'd recommend this boat to anyone looking for a canoe that can do all...
I have paddled my MR Freedom 16 for about 10 years.…
I have paddled my MR Freedom 16 for about 10 years. I consider myself an advanced intermediate paddler, with a solid whitewater background.
I like the Freedom because it does a lot of things well. I used it often when the kids were small, turned backwards the seat spacing was ideal to trim it out. The boat has enough rocker that it is easy to turn without a decent tandem partner. Stability is awesome, even with a kid jumping around, I have only tipped it a few times.
Speed is just okay, the hull width slows it down I think. The width also makes it hard to use a nice forward stroke. It helps that I am wide in the shoulders, a smaller person would not be as happy on a long trip.
The boat is attractive, to me anyway. Wear is as expected, Royalex is Royalex, right? There is some extra wear on the peak formed by the uniquely shaped MR signature hull. I can not see where that hull shape really increases tracking, speed or stability, I think that marketing gimmick could have been passed over.
I know this will raise a few hackles but...I found this gem…
I know this will raise a few hackles but...I found this gem in the Boston area Want Advertiser for $300. It had been left out in the weather in the shade and the gunnels had rotted to the point they were no longer of any use. I took it home, took it apart and refinished the seats and thwarts. I then found a pair of OT Penobscot vinyl gunnels and end caps and installed them. I DID try to find replacement wooden gunnels but the shipping expense was too much. I also tried at a local hardwood dealer to find a nice straight grained ash board but no one had anything long enough.
So...I now have a Mad River-Old Town 16' canoe that I really enjoy paddling. Oh...I also use a double blade kayak paddle when paddling lakes or any other open water. Obviously I'm no purist..just like to get out and have fun. It handles well in class II water paddling solo. Anything above that I wouldn't attempt alone, it's a little too long to turn in faster water.
Ok for whitewater, I like the v hull for rocking to miss…
Ok for whitewater, I like the v hull for rocking to miss rocks. Not terribly responsive - slow on flat water. Basically, it's a tub.
I've been paddling my Royalex Freedom 16 for 3 seasons now with…
I've been paddling my Royalex Freedom 16 for 3 seasons now with great satisfaction. Last year it made 34 day and weekend trips on WI rivers. It is rockered enough to track poorly, but with a soft touch and some experience one can get it to go straight thru the flat sections. When the water is high, I fit it with fore and aft float bags and paddle it solo from the bow seat. It handles class II+ and III's like a dream. My only regret is the wood trim that I have to remove every fall as I store it in an unheated garage and am worried about cold cracks.
For what it is, this is a great boat. An all around…
For what it is, this is a great boat. An all around boat that turns pretty well for its size, holds a fair amount of gear, and is incredibly initial and secondary stability. The shallow V hull makes a very friendly boat for beginners to intermeds but makes it more difficult to heal to gunnels for quick and snappy turns. Not particularly deep and doesn't have great bow flare so it takes in a lot of water in rapids.
For a more advanced boat I'd rather have a Novacraft Prospector or an Esquif Prospecteur. I'd probably look at royalite or similar as can't relate to a 70lb boat anymore.
The Dagger Legend; now that was one pig of a boat with oil canning to boot. Freedom with wood gunnels is much better in quality and easier on the eye. Can't get a legend anymore new.
I've had my Mad River Freedom 16 for about 5 years now…
I've had my Mad River Freedom 16 for about 5 years now and I love it. I've paddled it in whitewater up to Class III and it is very stable and responsive. It will turn on a dime and suprisingly, it tracks well in the flat stretches too. I do a lot of fishing in it and tripping as well. I can fly fish out of it without having to worry about losing balance and it paddles fairly well loaded down with a few days worth of gear for two people. I even like to paddle it solo sometimes by turning it around backwards and sitting in the front seat. Overall, this is a very versatile boat. Even though it is intended for whitewater it performs quite well in any situation. Personally, I believe this boat is second only to the Dagger Legend when it comes to all around performance.
I have been very pleased with the Freedom. It is a…
I have been very pleased with the Freedom. It is a pretty responsive boat for it's size and has been great at rock studded rivers 11 to 111 and fine for upto 6 day trips on flatwater and 4 day trips on 11 to 11+ water if not severely loaded. Boat is very forgiving and thus is great for families due to shallow V design. Would be nice if it was 1/2 inch deeper so it could haul a little more with more freeboard. If looking for 2 adult and child boat for trips one might opt for Wenonah Cascade at 1.5' longer and good amount of rocker, and .5 inch deeper.
More rockered and flared than the standard MR Explorer, this boat was…
More rockered and flared than the standard MR Explorer, this boat was built to take on river chop. I've had this boat for one season and found that it performs great in class II and III water. I like the fact that the seats are moved toward the center, too. Though I was not expecting much in the way of flatwater performance, I was still somewhat disappointed. You really have to pull through every inch of water in the pools. It's fine if you're just messing about and don't hve to cross a lake. But it is tiresome. I'm in the market for another canoe that will handle better on the flat stuff. This is a specialty boat that does great at what it was designed to do. You pay for the tradeoff with underperformance in the flats.