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Old 02-22-2016   #11
Canon City, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 426
I love little boats in the canyon, but it comes down to capacity. If every couple is bringing a 14' boat and packing accordingly, then 14' boats are great. If your group is 10 and you're only 3 boats, definitely get a bigger boat. I'd say with 3 people on it full time, I'd definitely want a bigger boat.

As to the rental equipment vs. your cooler, etc: If I'm renting a bigger boat, I'm getting all their stuff with it. It's a pain to try to bring coolers if the outfitter is doing your food. I've been on all four types of trips:
1. Fully professionally outfitted
2. Fully participant outfitted
3. Rented equipment, but brought our own food
4. Brought much of our own gear, but had outfitter bring a boat, and all the food.

By far, options 3 and 4 weren't worth the savings. What a pain they were. 1 and 2 are comparable, but I like doing logistics and food-packs, so option 2 is a great savings for me. On a side note, a fifth option- bring all our own gear and food, but different people bringing food and shopping separately- was a PITA for me, but I know that lots of people like doing it that way. I felt we were always searching for the "shared" items that were applicable to many meals. Condiments, etc. I'd just rather do it all myself, just my 2 cents.

As far as the tent, your kids' strategy isn't bad. I've owned my SD 3/4 season tent for 15+ years and used it on at least 4 GC trips that were winter or cold spring trips, so we used it most nights. The worst wear it's seen have been crampon points on a climbing trip once. That said, I'd bring a tent on a September trip and personally wouldn't use it unless the heavens just unleashed on us all night. It should be pretty darn nice in Sept. It's just so much less work to sleep out, or on the boat, than to set up and take down a tent every night! Even if your set-up and take-down time is, say 20 minutes total per camp, that's like 5 hours of tent-building/breakdown over a 16 day trip.

I would think a stand up type tent, taller, is more susceptible to damage than a typical backpacking/mountaineering tent, due to wind. That's where your major damage is going to occur.

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Old 02-22-2016   #12
mattman's Avatar
Fraser, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,038
I run lots of 2 week trips with my 14', often with 1 passenger, and it's ok. I can't imagine being to comfortable with a 3rd person on that boat though, somebody would get voted off the island. Those trips don't usually include big white water early in the trip.
I pack pretty tight, but I can't pull off what I would call a low rig for my boat, on a 2 week.

On the tent, my only thoughts are, make sure it's not gonna let you down. Happy with all my rei half dome models.

"Like a bunch of monkey's, trying to fuck a football."
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Old 02-22-2016   #13
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1979
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 58
I've seen plenty of fitted-out 14's on the ramp at Lee's Ferry. My friends in their 20's rowed a Super Puma with us in 2014. They generally ran the meat. It should really be up to the trip leader to decide if you can haul enough. My trip last Fall had two 13' catarafts and I was o.k. with that. We had three 18's too. I'd figure on taking groups four 20mm or 6 gal. waters, a cooler load, and 2-3 hundred pounds of beverages and dry goods. You can strap bagged up 12-packs on the sideboards and use them up first. Put a couple water cans up front. Passengers may migrate from boat to boat for many reasons.
Pluses are, you already are comfortable in your cockpit. Adding more boat around you will likely make it harder to maneuver, and heavier. Most of my buddies sleep on their boats unless it really looks like rain. I never even take my dry bag off my boat. But, A big tent is nice if it rains. An unnecessary hassle the rest of the time.
A boat that size on a big river will be fun.
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Old 02-22-2016   #14
Issip's Avatar
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 185
15 cases of beer

I didn't do the math, but I think you can fit ~15 more cases of beer on an 18' raft than a 14' raft.
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Old 02-23-2016   #15
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,403
A larger boat is easier to row and maneuver than a small, overloaded boat.
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Old 02-23-2016   #16
Searching for water....., Nevada
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 168
2 people I would say 14', with 3 people you will want a 16' for sure. In September you shouldn't need to pack the kitchen sink, as far as personal gear goes, and you already have the 14'er. You will be loaded heavy in the beginning but lighten up as the trip goes. If you are going with 16' and 18' boats they will likely want a little more weight for punching the holes so taking a little bigger share of the group gear might not be a problem for them.

As others have said, talk to the TL and the rest of the group so everyone has the same expectations.
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Old 02-23-2016   #17
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Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 105
Originally Posted by Issip View Post
I didn't do the math, but I think you can fit ~15 more cases of beer on an 18' raft than a 14' raft.
And discussion over. Next thread please!

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