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Old 04-11-2012   #1
Ashland, Oregon
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 33
15' or 16' raft for a family of 4?

Looking to set up the family for the years to come and wondering if I am better off with a 15' or 16' raft....all comments welcome.....also have a 13' boat that is ailing but still runs great.....both wife and I row...also interested in any feedback on setting up the rigging on these boats...

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Old 04-11-2012   #2
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,768
my rule of thumb would be get the smallest boat that meets your needs. reasons would be to save money, space, make transportation and maneuvering easier and deal with our diminishing flows.

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Old 04-11-2012   #3
Pugetopolis, Washington
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 767
The new Aire 160 Double D looks nice.

I'm a big fan of ALL double D's,personally...
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Old 04-11-2012   #4
Boy Howdy!
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Colotucky, USA
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,054
My buddy runs a 14 nrs, wife 2 kids, 2 dogs and the occasional freinds of kids and all the gear you can shake an oar at.
Me I have an aire 156r 2 dogs and a girlfreind, with the gear and gear of 2 others riding along
Who's your monkey?
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Old 04-11-2012   #5
wildh2onriver's Avatar
irvine, California
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,197
For a family of four I would think a 15' 6" would work nicely. A four bay frame with a drybox or cooler to sit on for the rower, rowing compartment with captains boxes, a drybox or cooler in front of that, and a drop bag with a table and pad for your family to sit on with their feet in the bow. I use a clamshell bag in the stern to secure dry bags and misc gear. Your front drop bag can hold rocket boxes and/or water containers. I also strap a Mississippi duffle on the cooler in front of me with tents and sleeping gear. This also provides back support for my passengers. I have a 14' raft that has all this for 3 of us, and it's comfortable for week long trips, so 15' 6" should work great. You can click on 'images' under my user name to get visual of this type of setup.
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Old 04-11-2012   #6's Avatar
lafayette, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1961
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 491
If you do short trips you can get away with small. If you do long trips or love your creature comforts then go larger. I have 16 foot cat and have done everything from one person in boat 21 days on the grand trip to 4 days 5 people on the Green. I am a very comfort driven rafter, lots of good food and hot showers are some of my priorities. I usually have 2 in boat and carry a large portion of the group gear. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2012   #7
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,120
I agree with wildh2onriver - 15' to 15'6" should work great with a 4 bay frame. If you can mend your "ailing but serviceable" 13 ft. raft for your wife to row as well, then even better. With those two boats you would have your family set up for lots of fun for years to come. I say, don't skimp & regret it later on.
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Old 04-11-2012   #8
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,012
I have a 16' for a family of four and love it. I wouldn't want to go smaller. I like the big tubes in front. Makes a big playpen for my 3 and 5 year olds. We can take another passenger or two along as well on day trips. Allows for four equal size bays so I can play around with different configurations. A friend has a 15'6 Aire which seems to be comparable in size to my 16' NRS.
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Old 04-11-2012   #9
yesimapirate's Avatar
Denver-ish, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 739
Originally Posted by BarryDingle View Post
The new Aire 160 Double D looks nice.

I'm a big fan of ALL double D's,personally...
Are you sure you didn't start the GC Kate Upton thread???
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Old 04-11-2012   #10
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North Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 442
I asked a similar question a while back. Went with a 16' NRS it goes everywhere I go just fine. Last years water and the boat was great no low flow issues. You have the 13' for low water. Not sure what types of trips you do most multidays runs I do are in the lower basins and there is enough water to float a 16' fine at low water. I see 16's on mountain runs at low water too. Search boat size or 16' raft etc., there is a lot about this on the buzz. My next addition will be a 13'. Go with the four bay frame. I have friends with a 15' and this is fine too. I'm glad I went with the 16' and not a 15'.

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