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Old 11-12-2015   #1
Sidney, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3
R4 tripping in a ST16

I managed to pick up a heck of a deal on a used Sotar ST16, and I have a number of trips in mind for this boat. One of the first would be the Firth a fly in out trip. So while I have been busy thinking about what frame to build etc, keeping a thought on weight/bulk, it occurred to me, would it be possible to R4 a 16footer, with gear pilled in the middle and held down with a cargo net? Obviously would need to pack light, dehydrated food etc, but we would be doing that anyway. 10- 14 days on the river, up to class IV, anyone done something like this? I have R5'd 18footers long long time ago, with no gear, which works fine. Savings in extra equipment and weight/bulk would be nice.

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Old 11-12-2015   #2
FlyingDutchman's Avatar
Westfield, Massachusetts
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 178
We used a 14 ft tributary as an R4 paddle raft with some gear on the main salmon in Idaho. That was a 5 night trip. Raft worked just fine. But the salmon river was running high and not technical. Also some of the heavy gear was on a oar raft. Just remember 4 paddles are not as powerful as a pair of huge levers. Maybe try your setup on a local run before committing to a long overnight expedition.

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Old 11-12-2015   #3
FlyingDutchman's Avatar
Westfield, Massachusetts
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 178
Also you can use cam straps to rig dry bags to the drain holes in the floor, the thwarts, or d rings.
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Old 11-12-2015   #4
k2andcannoli's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 657
Maybe a simple rectangle frame for a big drop bag and remove the center thwart. I know I'd be one sore bastard after that many days paddle rafting and not having the guide seat.
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Old 11-12-2015   #5
Learch's Avatar
Dundee, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 655
What kind of river are we talking? How about a stern frame? A simple break down frame? If you don't have big moves that you must make, then why not? You could give it a dry run on a local river and see if it works for you. I'd add some ballast as a test, my 14' ST really changes its behavior at a certain payload. I couldn't imagine paddling it like that, but a medium load I could manage with 4 good paddlers and the right river.
Wishing I was on the river instead of surfing the web...
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Old 11-12-2015   #6
jakebrown98's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 165
Do it. If you can organize the logistics of a private trip down the Firth you can certainly manage to paddle your raft.

My wife and I and the guide muscled an Avon Pro with 6 Bills bags down the Tamur in Nepal. There were two other people, yes, but they may as well have been baggage when it came to paddling ability... Number of paddlers is far less important than the skill of those paddlers. The size of that raft is not as important as how much weight you put in--keep it light and you will cruise drawing little water.

A paddle frame is not worth the weight or hassle. Get your dunnage into big dry bags and pile them up and tie them on. One way is to get about a 30"x 72" piece of mesh sewn up and reinforced with a bunch of straps and d-rings on it to strap down on top of the thwarts and floor, lay your dunnage out on it and strap it all down.
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Old 11-12-2015   #7
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 727
Yes it is a great way to go. As mentioned a simple rectangle/trailer frame and a cargo net is a great idea. And I'm not so sure two oars are more powerful than four paddlers, but oars are more efficient for one person and provide for more relaxation time for all. But it would seem with the right 4 people that wouldn't be the primary objective and I suspect y'all would have more fun R-4ing it. A 16' boat will have a plenty of room for all gear and food needed for that time frame.

So Ya, go for it.
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Old 11-13-2015   #8
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Post Falls, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 781
I have one of these I'd use it if I were doing what your considering, it's huge and burly.

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Old 11-13-2015   #9
k2andcannoli's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 657
A boat with four efficient paddlers will always be faster and be able to provide more power over a given period of time than one man rowing. More strokes per minute.
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Old 11-13-2015   #10
Sidney, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3
Wow! Thanks everyone for all the positive comments. At least nobody thought it was a complete dumbass idea. I am going to have to give it some more thought. The boat didn't come with thwarts, I was going to get some at some point, and work on a frame first, but might need to switch those priorities. I would want to try this out on an overnight trip to see how it works before committing to an extended wilderness trip.
Jake, the idea of the mesh/nets is what I was thinking of. I would rather not deal with a frame if I don't have to. We have dry bags, 60L blue barrels, and spin buckets that we use on canoe trips. Some combo should work.
Paul, that PFD bag looks interesting and I will keep it in mind, would likely cost me more in materials to make something like that. The space between the thwarts is 60 x46 vs 40x40 for the bag. Will depend on how much volume of stuff we will have.
K2andcannoli, this particular trip is only about 100 river mile, but some great hiking along the way. So, not as many days paddle rafting as it looks. Probably spend more days off the river than on.

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