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Old 04-08-2009   #11
Mr Beaver's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 188
Originally Posted by Andy H. View Post
No matter what kind of water you're in, you'll probably have wet feet for most of the time you're on the river in a raft, whether its a bucket boat or self-bailer. If you're in Class II whitewater, you can probably run a bucket boat (non-self-bailer) and not have any trouble other than the occasional splash or two into the boat, which are then easily (mostly, but not completely) bailed out. If you're running Class III whitewater, you'll be getting a few bucketfulls of water into the boat on a regular basis. If its your first boat, there's no need to throw down a hefty chunk of your disposable income on a SB if you're just going to be fishing Class II water and taking the family on float trips.

The cost difference between a SB and a bucket boat will probably be about $750 - $1000 which will easily cover the cost of neoprene booties & socks for the family.

Here's a good deal for an Avon (which holds value better than any other brand) raft in the swap that you could buy, use and later sell the rubber for $500 easily and keep the frame and gear to use if/when you decide to upgrade to a SB:

That's basically $1200+ worth of used gear and the raft tossed in for $300. I don't think the babe in black comes with it though...

Or there's this SB starter package - though at this price it should be inspected very carefully before buying:


Good luck finding the right boat!

There is a difference between "wet" feet and "in" water. But thank you for clarifing.

I have rafted in bucket boats and on longer runs with you feet actually submerged, is big difference than just the occasional splashing (from the rapids) I get in my Aire SB. Not a big deal in July, but it is in May at least in Oregon.

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Old 04-08-2009   #12
FatmanZ's Avatar
NOCO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 582
A couple suggestions:

1. Call NRS and ask them the pros/cons of the SB and non-SB, pros/cons of buying used vs. new, what to look for in a used raft, why size matters, etc: 877.677.4327

2. Call AIRE and ask them the same questions: 800-247-3432

Both companies have excellent customer service and can help answer your questions. They each sell and use both types of rafts for fishing and more.

3. Size of the raft is also important. For the primary use of fishing you may not want a 15' boat, you might want something smaller and more manageable, allowing you to catch smaller eddies and 'drift'.

4. Condition of the Used Rafts - look for patches, wear spots, fading, peeling patches, poorly applied patches (ie. more glue than patch), seams that are starting to separate, operation of valves. As for frame, how heavy is it, if it's steel does it show signs of serious rust (external or internal), what condition is it in, does it easily break down, or will you need a trailer or rack system for it, are any welds cracked or broken, etc.

5. Find a friend with experience that you trust to help you check out the used rafts/frames. There are used rafts out there for good prices that will give you years of enjoyment - and then there are other rafts out there that you can spend more time repairing than using.

6. Consider renting - either to try before you buy, or as an ongoing solution. If you're only going to use it on a few trips a year - it might be worth it to spend a few hundred a year renting instead of dropping $2K-$7K up front.


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