Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-31-2014   #1
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 6
Stern Frames for rafting

What are the pros and cons of using a stern frame? Who sells a good stern frame?

filzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2014   #2
FatmanZ's Avatar
NOCO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 582
- Takes up less room than a regular frame
- Great when you have a bunch of people to fit on a raft
- Great for when you have a bunch of people that want to paddle a raft
- Two guide sticks are better than one?
- Two oars help keep you (guide) in the raft better than a paddle

I've used a stern frame a handful of times with a bigger paddle rafts over the past few years. I don't raft much and guide rafts full of people even less but I can row decent so throwing a stern frame on a big raft full of people gives me more control than guiding with a paddle. This past summer on the Snake River near Jackson I took some family and friends on a couple runs in an 18' bucket boat. Having a stern frame on the pig with 8 paddlers and an additional 6-8 riders worked out well.

FatmanZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2014   #3
jakebrown98's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 165
I got one for free and refinished/rebuilt it 8 years ago. I've used it once. . .

In my opinion, stern frames come into their own on long days with weak paddlers or headwinds. I used to used them taking commercial passengers down the Main Tuolumne on one-day trips. Twenty miles is a lot to ask of a wad with a paddle. I've also used them in big water on the Nenana, and high water on the Lower Kern. I chose them those times because the paddle crews looked weak and pathetic and I wanted to up my odds.

I'm really not a fan when it comes down to it. Sure, you gain quite a bit more power and some control, but it is NOTHING like the power and control I have rowing a center mount. What you lose is a lot of mobility within the raft and usually you end up sitting up high on the ejection seat... The best way to rig it in a small (14') raft is to pop out the third thwart and slide the frame forward to get off the back tube. Of course that only happens if you have a 4pack or less.

Each design has its pros and cons, I prefer a full slant board, but a stern frame is at best a special use item.
jakebrown98 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2014   #4
2kanzam's Avatar
Charleston, West Virginny
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 461
I run a stern frame everytime unless I am camping, then I set it up as a more traditional gearboat.

-I like the vantage point it gives me
-It's a fun ride through even smaller rapids
-It leaves the rest of the boat open (I like a less cluttered boat) for me and passengers (not sure how it equates to less mobility within the raft ^^^? I think it leaves more)
-It's small and easy to move/handle as one person
-It packs easy onto a cargo rack on the back of my subaru legacy

The only cons I can think of are lack of places to put gear for overnighters (which is why I convert into a gear frame for camping) and it may not be ideal for guiding 2 other fishermen in the boat. Although I usualy have 3 people in my boat (including me) all fishing...I fish from my seat, which works ok and they fish in the space in front.
2kanzam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2014   #5
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 6
Thanks for the input.

Did you ever feel you were being catapulted off the back of the stern because of the positioning of the frame in the stern?
filzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2014   #6
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 6
Great reply. Thanks, I appreciate the insight. I hear proven words of wisdom. Keep passing it on.
filzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2014   #7
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 6
Cool, Thanks for the reply.
filzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2014   #8
jakebrown98's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 165
On easy runs it doesn't matter being up high on the back of the boat; it is a nice view. When you get into good class IV and V, it is very much an issue. You have to be in that seat, where you can easily get launched, to have any control of the raft. With a paddle in my hand, I can be farther forward, or down low and still have all the control I need. I can jump over to the left with my paddle and highside with my paddle in the water. After getting down, I don't have to climb up to that vulnerable position and get both oars in hand to have control. If you run a slantboard, you can't really get down at all.

If you know exactly what the hits are going to be, sure you can ship one oar, ditch the other, and then hold on with the free hand. Or if you have huge mitts, hold both handles with one hand--that's what I do if the channel is wide enough. But that also means you know the run really well and might not be getting on enough new rivers. Also, if you have a full raft, letting go of those oars is the not best thing for your passengers' heads. Personally, I prefer a strong paddle crew, and a paddle in my hand if I'm dropping difficult, new whitewater. Or give me a real frame and oars--I could still put paddlers up front, or even in the back.

To really answer your question, you need to determine your POU--Philosophy of Use. If the POU is day long float and bloat, definitely buy the stern frame--your "paddlers" will love you for it. If you think the stern rig is going to make you more comfortable running harder whitewater, I think you'd be better off finding a solid crew.
jakebrown98 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2014   #9
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 6
I agree. Thanks for your time.
filzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2014   #10
boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 41
Ill be the opposition on this one....

I run alot of local class 4 in my Willy 1.5 with a stern frame from recretec. I know the runs very well and have gotten launched a couple times......but those were both from running the boof off little falls on the SF Payette with a passenger full 16' boat. I knew it was going to happen.

I run 4 thwarts and easily take 6 people and 8 if the back 2 dont mind getting tossed due to a wayward oar. This allows the crew to just chill in between rapids while I move around the little stuff. I also like the added momentum on big water runs on the salmon 80k + when I want to punch something big.

I like to have the ability to take a crew down a class 4 run and know that even if they are all a shit show I can still hit my lines without their help.
That being said if Im running with my normal crew of guys that I work with, Ill always run a paddle rig without the oar assist. Its more fun in my opinion.

Now the downside
-I dont have an extra oar due to the lack of a good place to store it out of the way of a paddle crew. If I lose an oar I have to swap over to a paddle. Now Im paddle guiding from a stern frame.
-You definitely do sit higher and have to know when to get off the stern
-Weight for portages (Canyon run on the SF Payette mostly)
-If you do lose an oar from your control you are likely to knock anyone that is in range of that sucker.
-Your friends will invite their friends more often due to the ability to drink some beers easily between rapids since you can move the boat around without any help.

fireman9500 is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Topic Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Stern camera mount kazak4x4 Kayaking | Gear Talk 7 05-08-2010 10:58 AM
Stern Frame Oar Length Difference mttodd Kayaking | Gear Talk 1 04-25-2010 08:33 PM
New Kayak, Canoe and Boat Innovative Stern Light + Other Accesories Kayalu Commercial Posts 0 01-27-2010 10:13 AM
Bow and stern stalls gannon_w Whitewater Kayaking 6 07-18-2009 08:25 AM
rafting frames- what's the best man./ design? toddj Rafting | Gear Talk 1 02-21-2006 08:54 AM

» Classified Ads
Dagger Nomad Large Blaze

posted by Rendezvous River Sports


vintage Avon foot pump

posted by Johnny

Vintage Avon foot pump from back in the '80s when I had a...

Liquidlogic El Jefe

posted by CFriday

2008 LiquidLogic El Jefe. Stopped paddling in 2008, been...

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:32 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.