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Old 06-30-2013   #1
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 10
Family of 5: Is a 15 foot oar raft enough

I've rowed a 16 before with the family on a multiday. Now that I'm getting ready to buy, curious if a 15 would be large enough. Will be doing combinations of day trips to multi day.

On a side note I wanted some feedback on the NRS otters and how they hold up. I noticed they are thinner material than the E series only have 3 chambers. How is the divided across the boat and is that enough in your opinion if a chamber was to become compromised on the river?

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Old 06-30-2013   #2
Wavester's Avatar
NorCal, California
Paddling Since: 91
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 330
With a family of 5 I would go with the 16', by the time you cram 5 peoples personal gear and some community gear your going to need the extra room. I mostly row a 15' raft and imo on week long trips I'm maxed out at 3-4 people but I tend to carry a good amount of community gear like the kitchen.
No a whole lot of savings between a 15' and 16" anyway.

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Old 06-30-2013   #3
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 10
do you noticed much difference rowing between a 16 and 15?
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Old 06-30-2013   #4
The Old Troll
David Miller's Avatar
Gypsum, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 458
Get your wife a boat or put the kids in a ducky. A man needs his space!
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Old 06-30-2013   #5
wildh2onriver's Avatar
irvine, California
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,197
A 16' raft would work better than a 15' for a family of 5. The difference in maneuverability will be plus with the larger boat because of more flotation, which means you're floating higher in the water. This all presumes that you will be dooming multi-day trips on family style runs.
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Old 06-30-2013   #6
San Francisco, California
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 105
I think 16' will serve you better if you have a family of 5. If this is going to be your only boat, you could go 15'5". What you should consider is not just the length, but tube size. NRS Otter 150 is only 20" so it won't have as much carrying capacity as a 22" tube. I have family of 6, but two of them are still very young. So I settled on a 15'7" with 22" tube diminishing to 19" in the bow and stern to give more room for passengers and cargo. Even then, I see the boat serving our family for just a few years. Once the kids get older, they will get a ducky or a smaller 13' that will double as my fishing rig. Even 16' will be crowded with 5, but if you pack judiciously something smaller could work. Agree with the previous post. There is little difference between 15' and 16' and if anything, larger tube will give make it easier to maneuver when loaded down.

It's awesome to take the kids out early on. Much better than sitting in front of TV or video games. Get something that will get the whole family on the water, and enjoy the ride.
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Old 07-01-2013   #7
The Russian
kazak4x4's Avatar
SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,380
I would suggest going with a 16' with diminishing tubes. Diminishing tubes will give you extra room in the stern for more gear and more play space in the bow. I have a 16 foot Maravia (22" tubes diminish to 16" in the bow/stern). There is only my wife and my 10 year old son. We fit very comfy plus we have a ton of room for group gear.

If you are going to do multi day trips, you have to bring your own share of group gear, otherwise you are just another kayaker. So plan ahead and get yourself a gear hauler for the family and then another 14' cat for a playboat.
-ALEX [ youtube ][ my boat ][ ]
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Old 07-01-2013   #8
snakester's Avatar
Mesa, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 161
I have a 16' raft with a family of six. Get the sixteen.
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Old 07-01-2013   #9
nicho's Avatar
North Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 442
Go with a 16' I did and never looked back. I asked the same thing a few years ago. I had a 15' and moved up to a 16' its a little big for some mountain rivers around here at low water but if its too low for a 16' its too low for a 15' too. The extra space is very noticeable and well worth it. When I get another boat it will be a 12' to add to the quiver. With the 16' I can have all required community gear and personal gear for 4 people and 2 rolled up duckies easy on a one boat trip and lounging space up front.
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Old 07-02-2013   #10
nicho's Avatar
North Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 442
Oh yea I have the NRS E series and it holds up well, I like hypalon boats, the 16' rigs easy, floats great, great boat. I started a thread called diminishing vs standard tubes a while back on here you can read, I ended up getting the E160 with standard tubes they are 22" all the way around on the 16' and I'm glad I did especially when I have younger kids in the boat.

Found the thread

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