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Old 11-22-2014   #11
jakebrown98's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 165
A Mini Max with a frame is a real fun little boat. Letting the kids take that for a spin and having an IK to go along with the Gearpigilac sounds perfect. Kids could even row their own friends or the mutt down the river. I've paddled gear rafts and it pretty much blows. Some outfitters on big water rivers like to rig gear into the paddle boats because if helps them punch the waves and holes even when all the stupid wads stop paddling to splash and giggle...

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Old 11-22-2014   #12
I'm wrong 50% of the time
brendodendo's Avatar
RFV, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 857
I really enjoy an overnight paddle setup. Mostly done on Westwater or similar. I would love to do the middle fork with a paddle raft in early June. I suggest (and use) a trailer frame / cooler frame. Mine was originally made of chain link top rail with 90 fittings. I came across some NRS Low Pros and Pipe that were side sections from a ghetto NRS brekdown and footbar pegs. I cut it up and made a nice cooler frame. I prefer R2 or R3 when running paddle with gear rig and have not yet used this for a family trip (Kids are still pretty young). Total cost on an NRS frame for this is around $120. I had 3 2 in lengths of webbing sewn that hold my cooler off the floor and use 2 4ft loop straps to hold the cooler in the frame.

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Old 11-24-2014   #13
Old Guy in a PFD
Tucson, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1967
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,022
So, here's the thing.
You didn't mention how much gear you need to haul.
If you're a minimalist, you know, a jar of Peanut butter and a sack of bread does your family for 3 days, then yes, a paddle boat is one way to go.
If you're like most families, you'll need a HUGE tent, air mattresses, a shower enclosure, lanterns, stoves, music, a generator, and so on. In this case, no, a paddle rig would probably not work.

Plus, you gotta consider your skills when it hits the fan; will you be OK repairing your only ride if someone somehow pokes a hole in it? If you have a major flip, that you know, leaves you standing on shore wondering; What? will you be prepared to hike out?

On the whole, I would want two or more boats on anything but a Gore or Glenwood run, just to be, you know, safe. And besides, you got a couple of boats, someone gets out of line, you can chuck them on the Mini Max or the IK and tell em to chill. Plus, you can haul more stuff, to you know, please the group with some comforts when it starts snowing on your June Deso trip.

Or, they can tell you to chill and make you row upstream. Or sumpin.
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Old 11-24-2014   #14
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Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 98
The only males on these trips would be me and the 10 year old. That means the wife, 3 teenage ladies are on board so a jar of PB and wonder bread wont get it done.

Creature comforts abound so will need quite the barge. Will spill "raft staff" onto the max (at least) and maybe a playboat or two when I need to lighten the load or need some space.

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This was the photo that led me to inquire if paddleraft/gear rafts are doable even though I have seen few on Colorado rivers.
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Old 11-24-2014   #15
jakebrown98's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 165
Daryl, I've been in a raft rigged like that before in Nepal, since you're interested I'll describe how we were rigged on the Tamur. The raft was a self bailing Avon Pro. There were four paddlers plus the guide. Getting quality gear over to Asia and into the access points over there makes simple set ups valuable. The other raft on the trip had a slant board frame that was quite the POS; the oars were like tree trunks and rowing was a nightmare. The paddle raft had four thwarts installed and a long nylon mesh platform strapped lengthwise along top of them. The platform was probably two feet wide with nylon webbing sewed along the edge and d-rings sewed in every foot or two along the side. There was a bit of extra material, maybe a foot, that hung over the into the bow and stern. There were buckles on one end and straps on the other. Bills Bags and other large drybags were layed sideways on top of the mesh. There was probably room for seven bags but I think we had five most days. The ends were pulled up and cinched tight and then rope was woven back and forth over the top through the side d-rings.

I'm sure Jan over at Stitches n' Stuff would be happy to sew you one and it would be kind of a nice thing to have in the bag of tricks. The bags formed a nice tight bundle that could flex and move and provide ballast. The weight was off the floor so the boat could flex and move. There was plenty of room for paddlers' feet and there was stuff to grab too. It was harder to get down and almost impossible to highside. As I said in my earlier post, a bunch of paying wads that don't paddle (or annoying teenagers and girly girls) can benefit from having ballast in their paddle raft. Amazingly, my wife and I, along with the very skilled guide, were still able to move this raft around in the rapids. We didn't have much for flat paddling stretches thankfully.
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Old 11-24-2014   #16
jakebrown98's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 165
I'm not the most versed at attaching images, so we'll see if this works. I forgot about the straps going out to the sides and around the tubes. They seemed a bit of an entrapment hazard to me and could probably be done away with if you went down tight to the thwarts.

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Old 11-26-2014   #17
cpollema's Avatar
loveland, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 144
Daryl, one more suggestion. We run an oar frame with three across the front. Each of my kids has a paddle and my wife is in the middle with the camera. I typically sit on the oars, but we swap if one of the kids wants a turn on the oars. The paddles up front keep everyone involved and it really helps in moving the boat. For you, having a duck along would make sense. You can also go with a group that can take an extra person...moving people can often change the dynamics ( hopefully for the better).

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