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Old 05-24-2010   #1
Mesa, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 1
Baltic 14' river raft

I had the pleasure of using a Baltic 14' river raft yesterday on the Upper Salt River in Arizona. So with that experience, this is to share my observations and opinion:

The raft is PVC material and appeared to be well constructed. I could not find any flaws in the seams or other attach points. With the low water flow (1000 cfs Upper Salt River, AZ), we were able to test the toughness and durability of the raft as we hit or went over just about every rock that was showing. Twice we slammed into the cliff walls and the raft did not cut or tear. We punished this raft. Being a used / rental raft, there were no patches to be found and I would guess this boat was used about 5 - 10 times and it still looked new. The raft has 4 main chambers using the C-7 type valve…no problems there.
But here is the down side. The raft carry handles mounted on the outboard side of the inflated tubes are hard plastic (not soft) and are mounted next to where a paddler would normally sit. There are 8 handles. At the end of the day, all hands were sore with busted knuckles from hitting the handles while paddling. This raft also has many (10) cargo tie-down fittings mounted in several places around the raft on the inboard side of the tubes. These fitting are factory install, however they are mounted high in the raft tubes as cargo tie-downs should be and are in the area where a paddler would normally sit. At the end of the day, all rafters had sore hinnies, including the guide (the author of this review).
I would say Baltic raft with the handles and cargo tie-down fittings as they were would be great for a rowing frame. but as paddlers go, we won’t be renting this raft again.
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