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Old 01-29-2014   #31
Flagstaff, Arizona
Paddling Since: 93
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 165
I frequently row 18', 16' and 14' boats depending on the trip. I have a family of 3 and have a 14'saturn with a 4 bay frame as my personal boat. It suits my needs very well. We also have duckies,kayaks and SUP's to accompany us, but it holds all of the items necessary for most permitted rivers and gear for three on single boat trips. For multiple boat trips, the 14' is great for 2 people and gear. We sleep on it. When I want it to be more sporty, I jump in the kayaks. Any boat you have will be great. There are times I want a smaller boat, and times I want a larger boat.

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Old 01-30-2014   #32
gringoanthony's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 115
My wife and I recently had a very similar dilemma.

We love R2ing. But we also wanted to be able to do relatively comfortable overnight trips. We also wanted a boat that we could occasionally use to comfortably take friends on overnight trips.

9 times out of 10, we rented a Super Puma for paddling and loved it. When it was just the 2 of us and we wanted a more exciting ride, we would rent a Puma. However, both of those boats are too small, IMO, for hauling gear, unless you're comfortable being closer to the backpacking end of the camping spectrum.

We eventually settled on a 13'6" SOTAR SL (SOTAR can easily add 6" to the straight section of tubes). Overall, the boat is 6" shorter and 7" wider than a Super Duper Puma. I think the extra width is more beneficial for hauling gear, comfortably seating more passengers (when set up for rowing) and fitting a bigger dry box.

We feel like the 13'6" SL strikes the best balance between being an exciting paddle boat that we can R2 (or up to R7) and have the ability to haul enough gear for comfortable multi-day trips.

We were able to easily fit an 82" 4-bay NRS frame on the boat.

If you plan on doing a lot of camping (more comfort, less backpacking style), eventually you'll probably want to add a frame. You can still R2 with a frame, you just have to sit in diagonal corners. The frame makes hauling gear much, much easier. We've done paddle trips on smaller boats with this setup.

We have yet to take the SL on its maiden voyage, so I can't give you any feedback on its performance. I can tell you, however, that we love the design of the boat. I can also tell you that, in agonizing over our which boat to buy, every outfitter/guide and private boater that we talked to, who has paddled or rowed this boat, absolutely loves it.

Good luck!

P.S. Before you decide SOTAR is out of your price range, check their sales hot sheet.

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Old 01-30-2014   #33
Austin, Texas
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 136
In my opinion, r2ing class 2 will become a drag quickly w/ a 14' boat unless you are hitting up bigger water. Then you will want to r3/4 it because 2 people can't make the 13/14' boat move quick. Plus, most girls can't keep up even on the flats. guys tend to out power them. (nothing against women now)!
I'd recommend a frame and row it. let the girl lounge in the sun. If she wants to help out or switch it up, then let her row and u can sip on a tasty drink. The weight of the missing girl/other paddler converts into more gear or more beer when you boating with out a passenger on an over nighter/multi day (when they can't get the time off!). Either way, sooner or later you will have a frame. It gives u more options. Good luck out there, there r about a million options u can go with.
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Old 01-30-2014   #34
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,112
I would agree with dostep. If you're going to have one boat a 14'er is the away to go. Hypalon rolls up small and frames can be broke down for travel. Might be able to cram it all in a Subaru, large amounts of ice cold beer take up more room than anything else.
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Old 01-31-2014   #35
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Dundee, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 655
I got my Dad's 12'8" Riken in the trunk of an Impreza I had. Tight fit, but it worked

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