Mad River Expedition Canoe Review Photo: Dan Caldwell
A tripping canoe designed to take on the miles with you

Whether it’s for the weekend or a whole month, Mad River’s Expedition 176 is a tripping canoe designed to take on the miles with you. It has the speed, capacity and seaworthiness to excel on long openwater paddles but is sized to handle smaller lakes and rivers.

The 176’s roots lie in Mad River’s famed tripping boat of the ‘70s, the TW Special. “Tripping boats are essential to Mad River. We hadn’t had a true composite tripping hull come out through the early part of the century and that’s the heart of the canoe market. We wanted to bring it back into the game,” says Mad River Canoe’s product manager Buff Grubb of the 176’s release three years ago. The Expedition series, designed by Bob McDonough, began with the Expedition 186. Both are classic tripping boats, though the 176 is a foot shorter and more maneuverable. Whereas the 186 is large enough for a summer-long trip, the 176 is a more flexible option.

“The 176 is a boat both for the real enthusiast and someone who’s an aspiring paddler and doesn’t want to limit where they can go,” says Grubb. “It’s a boat that can take you from the Barren Lands to tripping in the borderlands.” At first stroke, it’s easy to see why the 176 is such a popular boat. Its asymmetrical hull provides excellent forward speed and tracking, making for efficient paddling.

The shallow V-shaped hull offers high secondary stability and superior rough water performance. The lightweight composite construction makes portaging easy, while still providing solid durability. Side by side with another tripping canoe of a different brand, what you’ll notice first is the outfitting. Mad River’s high-quality wood trim sets it apart from the rest. It boasts a sliding contoured cane bow seat, contoured portage yoke, adjustable stern ash foot brace, cane bucket stern seat and shaped ash carry handles.

You’ll also notice the Mad River logo laminated into the foam core of the hull. Confident Rabbit, Mad River’s symbol since 1971, was born out of a Micmac legend. While the rabbit sits, smoking his pipe, around him creeps his mortal enemy, the lynx. But the rabbit isn’t worried—he’s confident in his own wisdom and knowledge. Similarly, canoeists can be confident in the knowledge that they would be hard pressed to find a better canoe to trip in. The only question that’s left is, what’s in the pipe?


Mad River Expedition 176 Specs

Length: 17’6”
Width at gunwales: 34”
Depth at bow: 22”
Depth at center: 15.25”
Depth at stern: 18.5”
Aluminum trim: 60 lbs, $2,579
Wood trim: 63 lbs, $2,799

Related items

  • Is Innegra the future of canoeing?

    How do you create a tougher canoe without increasing the price or weight? Some manufacturers claim they have answered this age-old quandary with the composite material Innegra. Though not a…


  • Tumpline: Light Moves

    Using programmable LEDs affixed to a paddle, amateur photographer Stephen Orlando illuminates the mesmerizing patterns of movement, turning repetition into woven strands of light. Orlando began experimenting with this particular…


  • Bow Lines: Bears, Banjos and Boogeymen

    One of the scariest movies I ever watched as a young teenager was horror flick The Blair Witch Project. It scared the crap out of me. For those unfamiliar with…


  • Video: Composite Creations Durable Lakewater Trippers

    Rapid Media publisher Scott MacGregor gets the rundown on Composite Creations new line of lakewater and tripping canoes. Designed to be tough and durable with lots of small details that…


  • Ray Mears & Me

    “If I were to paddle with a carbon fiber blade I think I’d develop a palsy,” Ray Mears tells me as he carefully axes another chuck from a six-foot tall…


  • Canoe Review: Old Town Next

    Borrowing from the pack canoe tradition, the Old Town's new NEXT injects twenty-first century flair, with modern tech, spiffy color options and an ultra-comfortable kayak-style seat, into an enduring design.…



Your #1 Paddling & Kayak Fishing News Source

Get the latest whitewater, touring, canoeing and/or kayak fishing news sent directly to your inbox.

Our e-newsletters offer news, blogs, discussions and photos from the editorial desks of Rapid, Canoeroots, Adventure Kayak, and Kayak Angler magazine

 PM 2015 06 11KATW 2015 06 08

Video of the Week

  • Naked drunk man tackles drunk Canadian canoeist. That about sums this video up.   


Popular Articles

Follow Canoeroots

About Canoeroots

Published in the heart of canoe country, Canoeroots celebrates the rich tradition and heritage of canoeing with the gear, adventure and soul of today's canoeists. Every issue is loaded with canoes, news, techniques, gear and tips from the very best outdoor writers and photographers. In 2008, we merged Family Camping magazine with articles, stories and product reviews for North America's largest outdoor audience—camping families. Canoeroots & Family Camping is the best combination to come along since the S'more.