RAFT Recommendations - Page 2 - Mountain Buzz

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Old 11-29-2016   #11
utah county, Utah
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 23
Another Vote for Jacks Plastic Welding(JPW). not affiliated, just a satisfied customer. Lots of custom options and excellent honest business practices.

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Old 11-29-2016   #12
Great Falls, Montana
Paddling Since: .3
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,012
I would echo what everyone else has said about 16-18' boats and push you more tward the 18. The number one lesson I have learned is that as soon as you get a boat you'll wish it was a couple feet longer. 18' means 6 people will be more comfortable and you will not have to stack gear as much (which will catch wind) and it is surprising how small it feels once your in the rowers seat.

One last thing is that 18ers don't carry the resale value as well so your likely to find a great deal on one if your looking used.

Welcome to the San Luis Valley. I'm from Alamosa and I love and miss it.
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Old 11-29-2016   #13
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C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,514
Personally.....I'd stay away from bail bucket boats. Get you a self bailer. Bail bucket boats and kids do not mix well....unless you like to bail the water out yourself. They are harder to resale when you find out what a pain in the ass they are. The perfect boat would be a 16'Avon. The NRS you mention would be a great choice too. Remember.... PVC boats are harder to store and don't roll up very well...if at all. Hypalon is the way to go.
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Old 11-29-2016   #14
Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 549
I used to be a hypalon only kinda guy. After spending a season guiding in plastic boats, I'm a convert. They just perform so much better, in terms of maintaining a stiff form, tracking a line, etc. Disagree that you can't roll them- I have an 18' SOTAR rolled up in the garage right now- no larger than my 200qt cooler.

I would also say that an 18' boat will go a lot more places than many people think, and is better suited to multi-day trips than 16'. 14-16' boats are what I call in between boats: They don't do the small creeks very well, and they don't haul lots of stuff very well.

Lastly, I will say that even with an 18' boat, you will be tight with 6 of you and all your gear for a multi-day trip. I would put the comfortable capacity of an 18' boat loaded with >4 nights stuff at 4 people. You'll make it work for 6, but as those kids get bigger, I would think you'll want another boat, both for space/capacity, and for the peace and quiet!
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Old 11-29-2016   #15
CaptBiggler's Avatar
Arvada, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 37
A main question would be do you plan to mostly run an oar boat on these trips? If you have paddle age kids and are mostly looking at day trips, then why not run a paddle boat?

My opinion is an 18' boat is way to big for small trips in CO. I would go the 14'-15' range which would be great as a paddle boat for the whole family, and if you do a long trip once in a while then you can get a couple IK's for the older kids.
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Old 11-29-2016   #16
jimr's Avatar
Donkey Town, Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 181
18' in Colorado I would say hell no. That said I do have a friend with a 16 that goes almost anywhere in the state even on low water.

Also have a friend with 15' decked out and a family of 5. He goes on many multiday trips, usually solo (no other boats). He has a mini max for his two boys now good option. You'll also prolly want a Bimini.

His setup- 15' aire with a sealed floor, cooler, dry box, captains box, two amo cans behind capt chair, everything bag, and has a dre table that goes over a storage bay. Plenty of room. and as other have said ik, sup or mini max as an addition.

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Old 11-29-2016   #17
Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 549
Hey Jim,
I'm guessing the mini me came about because the 15' boat was feeling a bit tight for 5 people and gear for multi-day trips. I agree that 18' is big for most of the day trips Colorado has (Royal Gorge, Animas, Clear Creek, Poudre, etc), but that said, my 18' has been down the Royal Gorge as low as 1200cfs, Westwater as low as I've ever seen it (2000 cfs?), Dolores below 1000cfs, etc etc. Point is, unless you're looking to run very small stuff, 18' works just fine.

Now, if your goal is to run lots of day trips, I totally agree that 14' paddle boat is probably the way to go. Gear just takes up room, and it's no fun to have to play tetris with gear with kids melting down.

JW- How old are your kids? That could make a big difference, also. All little ones, and I'd lean more toward the bigger boat, run as an oar boat. Kids at/approaching old enough to be legitimate paddlers (~12), and I'd lean toward the 14'.
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Old 11-29-2016   #18
mattman's Avatar
Fraser, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,428
Originally Posted by tanderson View Post
18 foot marivia bucket boat in grand junction at the consignment store called the gear junction for 750
That could make a decent rig at a great price, depending on what you plan on running, or if You find your one of the folks that prefers bucket boats.

A 16 and a 13 sound like a great combo to me to. Personally I would love to have an NRS E-160, I run an E-140 for 2 person trips of a week or 4, and it has been a GREAT boat. Would be nice to eventually have a 16' for some extra space, or maybe even an 18. There are a lot of advantages to having a bigger boat for gear hauling when you have the river for it. They float higher, and give you more manuverability, and les draft when it's shallow, they do catch the wind a little more though.
" what the heck is that clunking sound in the washing machine? And where the hell is my phone?"
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Old 11-29-2016   #19
SpeyCatr's Avatar
Coquitlam, BC, Canada
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 445
I just want to elaborate a bit more on why I think 2 boats is a better option that I as well as others have pointed out.
And keep in mind we are being picky here because you're at the point where you can be picky as you haven't decided yet, any day on the river regardless is better than no day in the river and I'm stoked that you're gonna get your family out experiencing the river regardless of what you end up with. That's what it's all about.

IMHO an 18' boat is appropriate if you had to have one boat. It's the big jack of all trades with more "JACK" than you may need most of the time for day trips. I really think 2 boats will offer you more versatility, redundancy, and safety.

- With 2 smaller rafts/catarafts (say 2x 14's, or 1x 15-16 and 1x 12-13 or 1x 15-16 and 1x 14' cat or something like that) you have boats that can make a lot more rivers fun. Smaller/narrower rivers, lower class water, etc.

- Even 6 average size adults lugging around an 18' unloaded raft is a tall order on anything but a straight flat walk to the river. You'll probably be restricted to rivers with better launches where you can get closer or directly to the river with a trailer. With smaller rafts it opens up less developed rivers and/or rivers with poorer quality or lacking launches or places where you would have to hand bomb the raft with your family a bit, to put in/take out.

- The redundancy factor is a big one. Having 2 rafts in close proximity to each other over one single raft (assuming you don't raft with others regularly) offers a measure of safety should one of your kids fall in and they get separated from the raft (as the currents deeper down tend to be stronger which may push them away form the boat or make swimming back to the boat more difficult). You may want some training on safety signals, using your whistle, etc. here. There is a bit of an asterisk attached here though - where the 18' may be more beneficial is if you got into situations down the line where you wanted the sea worthiness of an 18' over a 14-15-16 say.

- You said fishing, a smaller raft with a rowing/fishing frame with bow & stern seats for fishers (oarsman in the middle) is much nicer for the oarsman to maneuver the boat into fishable water than a big 18' as well as for anglers to fish out of (easier to net fish as tubes aren't as big, a bit closer to the water, etc.). Many of the streams you may fish out of such a craft may be smaller and/or more rural/less developed. Remember that when fishing out a boat the the oarsman is every bit as responsible for the anglers success as the anglers themselves. If they can't keep you in the good water or get you or hold you in the good water then your ability to effectively put the fly or lure where it needs to won't be there. Having a smaller raft is much less work in this regard for the oarsman.

- As I originally pointed out, if you got those days where only half your family wants to go rafting, an 18' is a tall order for such a trip, a smaller raft is more appropriate.

If I were you I'd be looking at a 15-16' raft and a 12-13 raft' or a 14-ish foot cat with some seats.
15' AIRE Wave Destroyer - MadCatr Frame - Sawyer MXS oars w/Duramax blades
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Old 11-30-2016   #20
azpowell's Avatar
page, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 164
definitely an 18' if you want to keep all 6 in the boat, if the kids are a little older i would say go with a 16 and maybe a double ik, i have a tributary 16 hd that is 16.5' with slightly diminished tubes. i wouldn't want to have more than 4 large people in it with a multi-day load (honestly gear pile never really changes from 2 days to 5, the cooler just gets a little heavier and the groovers weigh more, +beer). 18' is a big boat and it will make everything you run seem small, and they swallow so much gear it is crazy.
i have seen a few big 18' cats on the river that had big woven platforms that ran from the frame to the tips of the tubes that looked like they could carry a big family on multi-days....
maybe try renting a 16' and then on your next trip rent a 18' see what fits your family and style!!
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