Hello. I've been lurking here for a few years but have never posted until now. I have to say that the Buzz has been awesome for tips and advice when it comes to putting together and rigging a raft!
I recently sold my old 14' bucket boat so it's time to upgrade. I bought a 14' NRS E-140 and so far I love it. I decided on a 14 ft because I do lots of day trips with both an oar frame and as a paddle raft on small Oregon rivers, but also am able to do multi day trips from it. A 14 ft works fine for Rogue, Deschutes, and MF Salmon trips of 3-6 days. However if it wasn't for day tripping on some low volume rivers I would probably have gone for a 15-16 footer. 14' is just a good size boat for rivers in this area in my humble opinion.
But now it's time to set up my frame and need some advice. I'm going with a 4 bay frame for max gear storage. The frame will be a single rail 82 L x 66 W with all NRS pipe and LoPro fittings. I already have 9' oars. Here come the questions.
In the front I want to run a drop bag covered by this table: NPS 18x60 Plastic Seminar Folding Table
The front bay will be 15"ish so the cross bars are flush front to back with the table sides (table sitting completely on the cross bars). I have read here of people using tables like this for hatch covers with a paco on top. But are they sturdy enough for standing, and for a couple passengers to sit on without the paco?
Second bay will be a 120-150qt cooler. My ideas is to use the NRS footbar
as a foot bar AND as a cross bar to hold in the cooler. I may redrill it to rotate the footbar up (toward the rower) for foot clearance. Questions are, can I leave the NRS footbar stock and vertical, and be up against the cooler and still get a good foot hold? If I need to rotate it up, with the drop in the contour of the footbar will the hanger straps for the cooler stay in place and not drop into the low spot of the foot area?
Third bay will be the rowers compartment. I would love captains boxes/ammo cans for this space but I plan to leave this area open. For family floats I could see hard boxes in this area. But for anything much more then class II, I like the idea leaving the rower's bay free. More area to move around and much easier to pull a swimmer back in without having boxes and hard stuff in the way. I'll probably run a personal drybag and other soft things in this area. Just a preference.
Last bay will be a drybox that I will sit on. I am looking at a Frontier Play box and can either get a 16" tall regular drybox or an 18" tall kitchen box for not much more. I don't have the cash to drop $400-500 on a custom box. The NRS raft has about a 13" drop from the floor to the top of the tube. I figure a 16" tall box will sit about 3" above the top of the frame. The 18" kitchen box may sit as high as 5" above the frame. I love the idea of squeezing a kitchen box in there but is anyone else rowing from an 18" tall drybox or cooler seat in a NRS 14er? If so is that too tall for 20" tubes? Also what size oar towers and oar length do you use? I' about 6' tall.
I'm also thinking about short side decks, just on the cooler and drybox bays. To aid in loading and unloading those heavy things, and a place to strap extra gear (again, keeping the rower's bay open on the sides). Any sturdy, non-plywood ideas for a side deck for a 18-20" span on a single rail frame? and what are you using for attachments?
Any other advice on my setup? I'd like to get any more suggestions before I order the gear.
Thanks again for this forum. Sorry for the long post and all the questions, but I am excited to finally be in a position to have my ideal setup and want to do it right. So far this group has been invaluable. Besides, playing with boats is fun!