We bought a new Old Town Appalachian in 2002. It came down to a Mad River Explorer vs. an Old Town Appalachian. My friend, Bert, has a Mad River Explorer and I have paddled it many times and I really like it. But posting on my local canoe message board, folks suggested we would like an Old Town Appalachian too. So we rented an Old Town Appalachian from Springriver Corp. (now retired and out of business) and Bert brought his Mad River Explorer. So we were able to compare them side by side. They really are similar. But we liked the Old Town Appalachian best, it was a little better at eddy turns and whitewater than the Mad River Explorer. But both boats are excellent all around boats which will handle flat water and up to class III whitewater.
Outfitting – We got the tandem whitewater outfitting from Mike Yee Outfitting. We installed the components ourselves. We also installed skidplates on the canoe. These are to prolong the life of the canoe from scrapes in whitewater. Then to make it more comfortable, we bought canoe seat pads from Cooke Custom Sewing. And then lastly we just installed an Old Town snap in middle seat for our son. This is our solution for now. We may end up installing a permanent seat in the end. But this works for now.
We bought a guest canoe a couple of years ago because we realized that our child would not want to go canoeing unless he had a friend to go with. So we bought a used canoe off of craigslist. We ended up with a Mohawk Intrepid 16. It is similar to both the Appalachian and the Explorer, a family canoe. We have not actually paddled it very much yet, so I can’t even review it. It is wider and more stable than the Old Town Appalachian. This we know because the snap-in seat would not fit into the boat. I think it is more stable and better at tracking than our boat. Both of those things are good for going on flat water.
For a middle seat, I ordered two Stearns Floatation Cushion from Amazon. Those are our guest middle seat for the time being. They seem to work fine and are quite comfortable.
Our guest canoe doesn’t have any additional outfitting.
I have bought life vests at Value Village and paddles off of craigslist. So I have my own little outfitting shop so I can outfit another family for paddling.