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Millbrook Outrage

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Spartanburg, SC
I picked up a used, like-new Millbrook Outrage this week. When I say like new, I mean no scratches or signs of use on the hull and has not even had kneepads glued down. It has the “factory equipped” foam saddle, hip pads, double thigh straps and air bag lacings, but it looks like the previous owner went no further. He said it had only been on water 3 or 4 times, and from the looks of the hull, it must have been flatwater. It even had a set of older Voyageur bags that hold air just fine. The only thing this Outrage needed is a good gunwale oiling. I will be adding knee cups, toe and ankle blocks, more foam to the hip braces, and will need to decide if I want more than the current 8” of seat height (the comfort vs. stability compromise). From what I’ve read, this Outrage seems to be a bit heavier layup than the standard Millbrook, coming in around 38 lbs. without bags.

I wanted to get the Outrage in water and evaluate the basic handling of the canoe and see how the outfitting should go. I also wanted to keep this canoe in it pristine condition on my first test-drive just in case I found that it did not suit me and I needed to recoup my investment. I had been worried about the suggested paddler weight range on the Outrage (in Mad River’s data it is listed as 180 to 190 lbs. depending on the year you look at), but thanks to some posts on this site, those worries were allayed. I still planned to test it in a deep pool with moving water and a landing site without many rocks.

I couldn’t get any of my buddies to go to the river on Easter Day; for some reason they had to “get together with Family”. Not wanting to miss this beautiful 82-degree day, I decided to go to a nice little pool below a dam that has a nice sandy beach on the road side and a class 1+ ledge on the other side where the water releases. Upon my arrival I realized my error; it was Easter Sunday and the beach where I planned to launch was packed elbow-to-elbow with fishermen. On to plan “B”, the next closest moving water. It was packed with partying teens to the point that the cars were double-parked in the parking area. On to Plan “C”, a small local lake. At the boat launch, the parking lot was empty because the lake had been drained over the winter, then refilled for fish stocking and so fishing prohibited until July. At least I could get the Outrage wet and figure out if I liked what I found.

Instead of moving water, I ended up in a small cove on a lake with a steady 10-12 mph wind and gusts pushing 20 mph. Even with that I was able to play a bit with the foam that I will be adding, check primary and (somewhat) secondary stability, reaction to strokes and body movement, and forward speed and quickness of directional change. There was plenty of freeboard on this canoe with my 185 lb. dressed weight; it’s actually quite a deep boat. Initial stability was good for a round-bottomed whitewater canoe, and my leans were steady even though the hip pad were not touching my hips; a couple of inches of minicell will solve that. I didn’t take the canoe to the “point of no return” in my secondary stability tests, but I could lean it pretty much to the gunwale on a very hard brace; i.e. with the paddle on the lake bottom. The Outrage spins very nicely and sideslips well on draw and pry strokes. The acceleration was quicker than I expected, but I am not sure if that is due to the narrow hull or the fact that I am mentally comparing it to my OT H2Pro which is quite a bit wider. The narrowness of the hull does put my knees closer together than I am accustomed to, but I think with the knee pads glued in as wide as possible I could get used to that. I am also used to a single thigh strap rig, so the double thigh straps felt a bit different. One other item that was new to me on this canoe was the X-shaped crossed thwarts. When getting out of the Outrage, I had to figure out how to get my 34” inseam legs out from around the pedestal without hitting the thwart. This canoe will take a bit of a learning curve but I think it will be worth it.

Overall, I was impressed with the Millbrook Outrage and figure this canoe to be a keeper, especially since my H2Pro is 70 lbs. and this one is low 40’s with outfitting and bags.

Now to finish outfitting the Outrage and hit a river!
 

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Terrific find. Almost a unicorn in your parts. Testing on a lake for stability and turnability is informative even for a whitewater canoe. With your long experience in many canoes, you will adapt easily to the knee spacing and narrower hull.

I found acceleratability to be one of the most important characteristics in a WW canoe. You often have to quickly and really accelerate to get away from river uglies in pushy water (D2O). The only time I ever swam twice in the same river was in the Cheat Canyon in 1988 at high water (for open canoes) in my Whitesell Piranha, a wide and stable solo canoe. I simply couldn't accelerate fast enough to avoid some really big, almost-river-wide holes at Big Nasty and Pete Morgan, as I always had been able to do in my Millbrook ME slalom canoe.

Looking forward to hearing about further outrageous adventures.
 
Terrific find. Almost a unicorn in your parts. Testing on a lake for stability and turnability is informative even for a whitewater canoe. With your long experience in many canoes, you will adapt easily to the knee spacing and narrower hull.

I found acceleratability to be one of the most important characteristics in a WW canoe. You often have to quickly and really accelerate to get away from river uglies in pushy water (D2O). The only time I ever swam twice in the same river was in the Cheat Canyon in 1988 at high water (for open canoes) in my Whitesell Piranha, a wide and stable solo canoe. I simply couldn't accelerate fast enough to avoid some really big, almost-river-wide holes at Big Nasty and Pete Morgan, as I always had been able to do in my Millbrook ME slalom canoe.

Looking forward to hearing about further outrageous adventures.
You are right about about Millbrooks being rare in the southern Appalachians, but it is not unheard of. I missed out on a Shacho a couple of years back in western North Carolina.; didn't get a chance to see it, but it sounded like a fun playboat. Sometime current interests and available canoes do not coincide, but it worked out for me this time.
I am not running as much or as many BIG rapids in as in decades past, but I can still have a lot of fun playing in the class 2 and 3 rapids. Things might not get too outrageous for this Outrage, but it will be fun!
 
Wow – that boat is in beautiful shape. I like the white – won’t show scratches. My royalex boat was outfitted by John Kaz, so I have exactly the same outfitting with the exception of the thwarts – mine are straight. Knee pads will keep your knees spread to the sides. I didn’t add toe blocks (keep my feet flat and toes pointed back) but I did add 1/2” to the 8” pedestal – makes it easier to get my butt on the seat.

You are going to love the boat. I am a lot heavier than you (240) and it is a blast. Maybe it is my weight and higher seat, but I do find that I need to be really careful on leans going into and out of eddies. If I get sloppy, the boat will remind me with a quick dunk. Even at my weight it’s a dry ride, unless I go nose first down into a hole – then I am going to have a boat full of water (but that is a different post).

Look forward to hearing about your adventures. It’s a lot more fun on the river than it is on a pond in the wind. ;)
 
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You are going to love the boat. I am a lot heavier than you (240) and it is a blast. Maybe it is my weight and higher seat, but I do find that I need to be really careful on leans going into and out of eddies. If I get sloppy, the boat will remind me with a quick dunk. Even at my weight it’s a dry ride, unless I go nose first down into a hole – then I am going to have a boat full of water (but that is a different post).

Look forward to hearing about your adventures. It’s a lot more fun on the river than it is on a pond in the wind. ;)
Your photos in the "Electric Bilge Pump" thread helped convince me that the Outrage should fit me. Thanks for posting those!

I have minicell foam on order and I'm looking forward to making the proper outfitting for this one. I will be making knee cups instead of flat pads to help keep the knees out as far as possible, put in ankle braces and toe blocks (I like my foot more vertical or pointing inwards) and will be playing with seat height. I've got to work this week, so I will probably get the Outrage outfitted before I am on the water again; hopefully on some whitewater!
 
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Thanks, Dirigo.

Even on flat water I could tell it is a WAY different machine from the H2Pro. A lot better at play and quick maneuvers, but probably not as good on whitewater tripping rivers with rapids interspersed with long sections flats. Each canoe will have it's own arena.

I can't wait to get my foam in and get this baby properly outfitted and hit the rivers!
 
excellent ! didn't even know there was a composite Outrage..

I have the original Royalex version, still going strong. I used to paddle it at 175-180lbs for tripping with another 30-40lbs of gear loaded in, it was never an issue. So I agree the weight limit of 180-190 is very conservative. Also, it worked fine for tripping, not a great flatwater straight-ahead boat but quite manageable.
Now for whitewater tripping I have an Empty Canoes SS, which is the old Dagger Caption in composite. Like yours, about 44lbs outfitted, very stable and dry and plenty of load capacity.

Outrage is still my favorite whitewater boat - quick, responsive, while still relatively forgiving. I found the Ocoee very nervous, second favorite was the old Mohawk Viper 12.

I can't get comfortable in the new tiny boats, L'Edge, Blackfly etc.
My brother looked at this and said 'you're paddling the Teletubby boat ?'

canoe teletubby.jpg
 
Jim Michaud has been perhaps the most well-known whitewater hair boater in the northeast over the past 50 years. He wrote in 2015 that the Outrage is his go-to canoe out of the 17 then in his quiver. Which presumably means he likes it better than the scads of other canoes that he has removed from his quiver over the decades.

 
Thanks for that info Glenn. I was just out admiring my Outrage. Come on foam!

I'm sorry CBoats,net is shut down, but I'm glad it is still available. It has been a valuable resource for WW C1 and OC1 based in info, especially on older and obscure WW canoes.

Doug, I have to agree with you about the new tiny boats. 12 foot is small enough for me, and it still looks like a "real" canoe, not a bathtub.
 
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After being out of commission for nearly five weeks due to a lower back injury I finally got the Outrage on some moving water. Yesterday I headed out to a local "park and play" spot. It is fairly small but has a series of ledges which at current water levels produce a nice Class 2 set waves for surfing and dancing around in. I finally put some scratches on this canoe.

I like it!
 

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