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Old 02-01-2011   #1
flagstaff, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 11
tributary 14 family boat for S.W boating

Need help on making a decision. I’m thinking about buying a raft, because I’m married with kid and would love to expose my daughter to the river asap. There is a tributary 14 for about 1500 for sale (couple years old). I’m wondering if this would be a good family boat with the idea of doing the San Juan, Dolores (if it ever flows again), chama, green, westwater, yamapa, salt. Is the price right and the boat right for southwestern rafting. I don’t need the top of the line boat, cause I rather take my IK or Kayaks more often than the raft, but I got to start getting the family on the water. Also what the youngest you alls have taken their kids on the Juan.

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Old 02-01-2011   #2
Whoapiglet's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 296
I'd look for a package

If you are using this for the family, chances are you are doing the rowing while the family chills in the front. that necessitates a oar frame setup. unless you get a great deal, you would be looking to spend at least another $1000 to get it on the water. there are lots of complete packages that go for well under $2000 let alone $2500

there was a super puma thread yesterday that had an outcast super puma with recretec frame and oars plus anchor etc. for $1700. I would think that's a better deal. recretec frames go for well over $1000 new.

The 14ft is probably the most useful size however, but if you do some looking (try crazedlist) you should be able to find a great deal on a package for not much more than what you are looking to spend on the rubber. if you're not doing expedition length trips, a 13 ft like a super puma would work well. I imagine most of the family trips would be one or two nighters at the most. without the kid,(you and wife/buddy) a 13 footer would suffice for longer trips.

I just sold my 14.3 x 7 hyside with frame for $1800- that would have been perfect for your needs and still probably last longer than the Trib. I'm sure there are more deals like that out there.

Are you trailering or deflating? if deflating I'd look at a hypalon boat. I had a tributary 9.5 that I traded for a mini max (hypalon) because when I folded the trib I kept getting the bladders in a bunch under the PVC and had to open up the boat to un twist them on a number of occasions. hypalon also folds easier, and there are lots of used hypalon boats around.

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Old 02-01-2011   #3
Prescott, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 40
RE; Kids on the Juan...

We had our youngest daughter on the San Juan from Bluff to Mexican Hat when she was 5 with low-flow conditions (I seem to recall around 600 cfs). The rapids (though not that bad at that flow) freaked her out even while riding on the 16' cataraft gear hauler/bottom dragger (the rest of us were in IK's / Mini-Me). Our older daughter was 8 at the time and she weathered it better emotionally. No one swam, but I think there were some minor emotional scars left behind. She still doesn't want to go on any river in the IK unless it's guaranteed flatwater (now 2+ years later). I think we tried it too early, but have considered buying a 14' oar-rig (like you) just to try and get her comfortable on the water again - even if it's Class II and below only.

Your Mileage Will Vary with different kids. Just giving my 2 cents.
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Old 02-01-2011   #4
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Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 683
Definitely depends on the kid. We did bluff to mh when my youngest was 2 and she had a blast. It was in june so high water. We did have a couple emotionally taxing incidents with my older daughter and the other guy is right, if you freak them out it can be hard to get them back for quite awhile. That was on the Ark though, not much on the Juan to worry about.

If you are looking for a western family hauler I would look for a 16. You'll like the extra room and hauling ability on those multidays you mentioned. 14 will get you by especially if you are going with a crew to split up gear, but 14 can start to get tight fast otherwise.
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Old 02-05-2011   #5
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 427
It depends on what you want. 1500 for a trib 14 is a pretty good deal. If you want to spend less get a saturn. There are some used ones on here for less than that. I have been playing around with a basic frame design that would run about 300 bucks. There are good deals on oars on the buzz and I would look here before buying brand new.
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Old 02-05-2011   #6
Kern River, California
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 9
I would say the tributary isn't a bad choice, the best boat we ever had was the old otter and the trib or old slalom seem to be the closest replacement to itnrs boats are great. 14 is the max I would go though, better to have a smaller boat (10.5-12' better but harder to find and fit frame - easy enough and cheaper to build your own) as no need for bigger with such small groups plus will facilitate carrying, rigging, maneuvering, dragging of sandbars and gravel, etc (plus then could do the Dolores with less worries) and is also better if the kids want to start practicing oaring. We have used just a 14 for trips up to 42 days, my dad and 3 younger kids. Also, I have great memories of being on the San Juan for my 4, 6, and 10 year birthdays, most time spent in an ik, air mattress, tiny hardshell, catching lizards, or counting mosquito bites, and most of my other birthdays (July 1) were on rivers as well. Now all three of our kids (2, 1, 3mos.) have been on rivers, and we'll all be on the San Juan this summer as well, among others. In short, now that we're all grown, no emotional scars to be remembered, but certainly every kid can be different. All of the other rivers you mentioned it sounded like you've done but of course the san Juan is one of the easiest of the group. Have fun and maybe we'll see you out there!
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Old 02-05-2011   #7
Thronton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 665
Definitely depends on the kid. I took mine on Ruby/Horsethif the first time when they were 4 and 6. They were fine in the rafts, and both did some swimming, which was great to get them used to being in a current. The 4 year old was the first one in actually, of the entire group (something like 14 kids). A year later, we did the same trip, and spent some time in the IK. I was in it with both kids, and we flipped it. It was traumatic at the time for the 5 year old, but 30 minutes later, he wanted back in it. Other kids may never get on the nriver again. You never know.

One thing with kids is that you need to make sure they stay warm. Warm kids are happy kids, and the trip is more enjoyable for all. Cold kids are whiny kids, and the trip isn't nearly as fun.

We have a 14 footer for the four of us, and it's fine for us on over night trips. We're planning on doing the San Juan (assuming we get a permit) this year, and I am confident I can get all my gear for that on my 14 footer, even if I had to do it solo (we're going with others though). Just depends on how much stuff you like to take with you and how efficient you are in packing and rigging.

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