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Old 05-03-2013   #1
Steamboat springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 15
What kind of rig should i get?

I'm working my way into this fantastic sport. I've started getting a lot more invites to river trips. I'm even signed up for a river class at CMC this summer. And I'm thinking about getting a raft this summer or next. First question I suppose is, should I get one, or just rent?

In the event I get a raft I believe I want a traditional expedition Raft rather than a cat, for easier paddle boating and afternoon trips on the yampa, and upper C. Thoughts on cat vs traditional?

Beyond that, what should I get? What do you like? Why? Have fun with it...

Thanks in advance!

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Old 05-03-2013   #2
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 165
sounds like you want to do a little of everything (day trips, multi day, paddle crews). By the sounds of it you are into it enough to forget about renting and get something of your own. Keep your eye out for a used boat in the 14 foot range.

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Old 05-03-2013   #3
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,347
OK, I smell a Friday afternoon Troll..... If not, sorry. Get one that floats!
I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 05-03-2013   #4
John the welder's Avatar
Delta, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1971
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 161
I would go smaller, easier to carry, better for low water, morre fun.
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Old 05-03-2013   #5
Learch's Avatar
Dundee, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 655
Rafts are good people haulers and cargo haulers, cats are sportier but don't have the people or gear capacity. The general do all size in rafts is a 14 foot. 13 foot boats are great fun, but I don't like the way they row loaded. If I had my druthers, I'd keep a frame on my 14 and buy a 13 foot with 3 thwarts. Then I'd have a cat boat for challenging solo day trips, maybe set up for one extra passenger. I've never paddled in Colorado, so my opinions may not apply to your area. If you are new to the sport, I'd look at renting at least for the experience. Rafters are like car guys, they typically talk up what they own. Getting a feel for different craft could help in a big purchase. Finding a club with willing members who will let you paddle their stuff a little would help. Welcome to the fun!
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Old 05-03-2013   #6
MT4Runner's Avatar
Kalispell, Montana
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,436
What Learch said.

13' are sporty, 14' are do-all, and 16' are cargo hauling monster barges (or party barges!)

People tend to like the brand they own. Big names have the best resale value.

Buy something used--soon--and for a moderate price. Or borrow/rent one from a friend/acquaintance for the season--and get on the water this summer. Spend next winter researching and buying the perfect boat.
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Old 06-09-2013   #7
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,121
Since I'm sitting around bored to death this summer with my broken leg, I'll resurrect this thread. Sorry this is long-winded, but I'm bored, and in serious river withdrawal. My situation and questions fall in line with this thread.

Here's my story. I have been a catarafter for about 15 years now. I never tried a raft until this year. I decided to supplement my fleet with a 12 ft. Hyside raft. My intention was for this to be my day/weekend/fishing raft. Light weight at 87 lb. and easy to rig and load on my trailer. My 14 ft. Maravia cat would remain my whitewater/multi-day boat. Well, then I got an early May Deso invite, and decided to take the little raft. Seven days on Deso and I fell in love with that little raft. I had a knee replacement surgery three years ago, and since then my leaping and hopping ability isn't what it once was. Now with the broken leg, it may be worse. My rafting buddy had told me that I might like the ease of getting on & off a raft, and ease of loading gear on the raft more than my cat. He was right. I did like those aspects of the raft. Nose of boat on shore, not 2-3 ft. away like the front of the cat. Spin the raft around, load, spin, shove off and go. While the little raft was fast, nimble, and performed awesome on Deso at 3000-4000 cfs, I know it's a bit small for most multi-days and bigger water. So now I'm considering a switch from the cataraft to a raft full time? So the next question is what size? I know that a 14 ft. raft is a good all around size. My buddy would like to see me in a 14 ft. with 20 inch tubes. His preference would be a Maravia Williwaw One. However, that raft weighs 137 lb. I'd like to stay as light as possible to make loading the boat on my trailer easier for me. Plus I want to retain as much of the cat's maneuverability as I can. I rarely if ever carry a passenger on my boat, and carry my gear plus a moderate amount of group gear. Two boats that catch my eye are the Hyside Pro 13.5 (13'7" long, 6'4" wide, 113 lb., 20 inch tubes) and the Maravia Diablo ( 14' long, 6'3' wide, 115 lb., 20/16 diminishing tubes). The Hyside would sort of fit in both fishing + multi-day? I'd really like to stay below 120 lb. for the raft, and 13.5-14 ft.
So buzzard brothers & sisters. What do you think? Crazy, high on my pain meds, jumping the gun after a whirlwind romance with the new little raft????? Let me hear your wisdom. I have all summer to ponder this decision.
KJ - the busted river girl
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Old 06-09-2013   #8
slamkal's Avatar
vancouver, Washington
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,146
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Old 06-09-2013   #9
DoubleYouEss's Avatar
Silverthorne, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 577
The Maravia Diablo is an awesome craft, we use them commercially for the rafting company I work at. They handle frames and overnight like a champ, and are great paddle boats as well. My only complaint about that is (one its a Maravia...) the thwart attachment system and the drop stitch floors needing to be run soft (factory recommended).
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Old 06-09-2013   #10
San Francisco, California
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 105
If you already have a 12' raft, I would consider a little larger raft for multidays. Since you want maneuverability, diminishing tube would be great. Maravia Diablo seems like a great choice, but will be on a little narrow side. I just went the same route. I went from 12' to 15'7" diminishing tube. But, since you are not carrying passengers, something like 143D would be a great complement. If you go Aire route, I would recommend sealed floor though.

I don't think weight of the boat should matter too much as you already have a trailer. Put a roller on the back with a good hand winch, and you should have no issue loading and unloading. I can load my 170lbs rig + all the gear and frame by myself.

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