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Canoeing 101


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Outfitting Repair: Adventure and Journey Series

Adventure Series 

As durable as polyethylene is, it is more likely that you may have to repair or replace some components of your canoe's outfitting.Adventure Outfitting consists of those parts that are added or installed on the hull of the canoe. They would include the carry handles, seat pads, mesh pockets, seat back pad, adjustable backrest and straps. 

It's not likely that you'll experience any issues with these parts as they have been well-tested and have a solid history behind them. The nice thing is that the canoe remains fully functional even if every piece of outfitting should fail. There is no need to stay off of the water until you obtain replacement parts - you can keep paddling while you wait. 

All of these parts are removable and easily accessible to facilitate replacement with common hand tools. All hardware should be replaced with non-corroding stainless steel hardware. 

Replacement parts are readily available from Mad River Canoe via your local authorized dealer. 

Journey Series 

The gunwales, decks, yokes/thwarts, seats, etc. are all replaceable in event of damage. Replacement parts are readily available from Mad River Canoe via your local authorized dealer (or 

NOTE: On ordering replacement parts: 

  1. Make sure you know the model and length of your canoe. This will help ensure that you receive the correct parts. Having your serial number available when ordering can help eliminate confusion as well. 
  2. Replacement seats, yokes, thwarts are sold uncut only, in stock lengths. If you need a replacement for one of these components, keep the original part to use as a template for trimming the new component to size. 
  3. Gunwales must be shipped via motor freight. They are too long to be shipped via UPS or FedEx. The most convenient way to obtain replacement gunwales is to have your dealer order a pair and ask for them to ship with an order of canoes or kayaks to his store. If you need to have gunwales delivered directly to you (due to distance from dealer, etc), you will need to provide a commercial address for delivery. Most trucking companies will not deliver to a residential address or will charge extra to do so. 

All seat and yoke/thwart mounting hardware is stainless steel and requires a Phillips head screwdriver and a 7/16” wrench to install or remove. Gunwales are secured by 1/8” square drive self-tapping screws. The decks are mounted via same square drive self-tapping screws where they overlap gunwales and with rivets where not. Rivets can be drilled to remove. 

Instructions for removing and installing replacement gunwales and parts are HERE on the Mad River Canoe website.

The most common reasons for needing to replace seats, yokes, or thwarts, are damage or deterioration due to age. These replacements can be done quite easily and will require basic tools such as screwdriver, wrench, saw, and drill. The process begins with marking the new part, cutting and drilling part to fit and then installing. In most cases, the original hardware can still be used but if needed, replacement hardware can be ordered. Hardware replacement is necessary if the bolts are significantly bent or the threads have been damaged and will not accept a lock nut. 

The most common damage to gunwales is distortion. It is difficult to restore a gunwale to original shape when bent or twisted. The gunwale has to be removed from the hull to attempt this. If there is not sharp bend or crimp in the curve of the gunwale it is possible to straighten the gunwale but may be more difficult than anticipated. If gunwale is severely bent, it is best to replace the gunwale. 

This process requires removal of original gunwale and decks and installation of new gunwale with original decks. Tools required will include about 6 to 8 clamps, drill, square drive bit, saw, rivet gun (to re-install decks). It is not a complicated process but the steps as outlined in instructions should be carefully followed. 

It is rare that decks need to be replaced. Most commonly, they have to get changed out as part of the process of replacing the gunwales.