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Old 03-28-2013   #11
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,112
theres a 13-6 maravia on cl in sheridan set up for fish

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Old 03-29-2013   #12
San Francisco, California
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 105
As suggested, look for a ready-to-float setup with a trailer. I just went through a similar process this past year. I decided to buy a real raft (not 1 person fishing inflatables I had owned), and started with about your budget. I had in mind a good PVC raft and a simple frame, and a set of oars. Now, after a drybox, seat, cooler, camp table, fire pan, toilet, paco pads, straps, dry bags, rocket boxes, drop bag, cargo bag, oarlocks, pump, trailer, raft cover, I am completely broke and ready to sell my kidney as long as I can row. I am now thinking to myself, "wow, I could have bought a decent jet sled for my steelheading for the same money. A boat is only a small part of the overall cost. Then, count the hours of sleepless nights reading every raft thread on this board, drawing up your own frame ideas, making lists of to-do, to-buy lists, and applying for permits on the rivers that are 1000 miles away from home, is it worth it? You bet!

Count the cost before you commit. It maybe a good idea to sit down and create a spread sheet with your absolute musts, and add up some numbers before you go out and buy a raft. See how many days you are planning to raft/year, and see if it makes more sense to rent. At least get a sense of what size/length boat you'd enjoy. Find some experienced rafters in your area. Pick their brain, get their advice. Or find a local shop that specializes in rafting. Have fun.

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Old 03-29-2013   #13
Avatard's Avatar
portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,188
Go big!

Here is a sweet deal. Take it from me its really not as big as it seems. Think 15' raft like

You can't touch a 15' raft at this price

Add cooler and drybox and you are good to go!!!
Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it "guaranteed", I will. I got spare time.
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Old 03-29-2013   #14
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,363
Go small! A Watermaster would be a better boat for a solo fishing trip, save you a ton of money, and teach you to row whitewater much faster than a big boat. You can actually fish while you're moving in a Watermaster- while a big boat is essentially a river taxi when you're alone. Much better quality than Dave Scadden's glorified pool toys. The Outcast stuff is worthy too- with a few choices in design and the Aire brand behind them.
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Old 03-29-2013   #15
Dipshit with the most.
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Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,497
Well the first question I thought of was are planning on running solo? How big are you? And do you expect to load and unload this thing by yourself?

If solo (I have no idea why you would do that = having someone run you just right through a good fishing area or giving someone the good float is about the most awesome thing you can do in a raft) and committed to solo I would look more towards the Puma, Super Puma, Mini me Hyside or that size raft unless you are an ex-lineman or something.

I can roll and load my 17 foot Maravia solo but I have a very special skillset.

If you are wanting to keep it rigged and inflated you will likely want a trailer with a winch and at least a roller on the back. Or something like that. Again depends on your size.

If you are planning on floating with friends then a regular carpeted flat bed and/or a willingness to roll your stuff up opens up a lot of options. A 13 foot Rocky Mtn Raft would be a great option but with frame and oars you will be at your budget. If you have a truck then you can carry it in the bed and go.

This is the most important. Get something and go.

If you are thinking to have the trailer too for that price I haven't even seen anything much with a trailer that would work for you on the used side. But people are cleaning out garages and sheds this time of year and something may pop.
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Old 03-29-2013   #16
welch, Oklahoma
Paddling Since: 1976
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 207
Hi we will be in Jackson from July 7th thru the 14th . We will have several rafts and set ups . PM me and you can float with us . Big family of white water nuts.
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Old 03-29-2013   #17
Renaissance Redneck
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Huson, Montana
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 989
That cat that Avatard posted looks like the deal of the day
"You're gonna be doin a lot of doobie rolling when youre LIVIN IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER"
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Old 03-29-2013   #18
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durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1964
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 160
When looking to get started-

We get questions from potential customers all the time about where to start. Usually though they have some kind of experience with rivers - fishing, expedition, day trips, or they paid a commercial outfitter, and want to do this themselves. That seems to me to be the place to start. If you see this as a lifestyle change, then start thinking about what it is you want to do, and where you want to go. Not all rivers will be runnable with a large cataraft, Catarafts can be a bit of a pain for day trips, do you want to put it on top of the car and avoid using a trailer, how big are the rivers you plan to float, do you want to get your skill levels up to run the real scarystuff, or do you just like to float along in mother nature. Some craft have a short learning curve and are more forgiving, and some have a longer learning curve and give a better ride. There are a lot of other questions to ask. I think a real good exercise is to write all these things on a yellow note pad and assign priorities to them, After that you will have an idea of what you visualize this lifestyle as, and what kind of boat you will need to accomplish that. Then give us a call. This time of year, we keep a small list of people who want to sell used gear, and we try to stay impartial. There is a lot of great gear out there not just JPW stuff. Of course we will give you an oppinion, and you should take that oppinion and compare it to other oppinions about rafting gear. Our oppinions are heavily weighted on the Expedition side of things because we like to run multi day trips. In any case if anyone wants an oppion, it can not hurt to call. 1800 742 1904 Or email direct to
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Old 03-29-2013   #19
Wondervu, CO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 390
Some direct answers to your questions...

What does Leafield C-7 valves mean? These are a good quality air valve, easy to find replacement parts. Used by many top quality manufactors. Some older valve styles have hard to find parts (pre-1970 Hawkley Roberts) or are difficult to field strip for repairs (military style). Some really cheap inflatables use valves more suited to pool toys than whitewater. Valve failure on a river trip means you might need to walk or swim home...

What kind of oars should a beginner get? Depends more on the boat and your budget than skill level. Length is a function of the width between oarlocks and seat height. Carlise make a sturdy economy oar, alum. shaft with replacable plastic blades. You will need 2 plus a spare. Wood or composite oars are a nice upgrade but add cost.

How do I start to understand what is right for me? Experiance is hard to beat. Rent some boats, go with friends, do some research. Start with what rivers you think you will be floating and if you are doing day trips or longer overnight trips. Big difference in the needs for a class II fishing day float and an 5 day trip down an isolated class III/IV river. Many rivers have specific regulations for minimum number floatation chambers, boat length and PFD types (not all type III vest are the same, read the labels.)

Should I take a swift water rescue course? A good idea for any serious boater, but you can do a lot of fishing on class II water before those skills are needed. Knowing how to rescue a pinned boat is a really good idea for solo trips, search the term 'Z-drag'.

Should I even own a boat? Owning a boat means you can float at anytime any river even if it is a 1000 miles from an outfitter, it also means you need to have room for storing it off season. Renting a boat means you can get the right craft for any water you wish to float. Maybe an infatable kayak is the right vessel for a long hike to an isolated put-in, sometimes you need a 15' self bailer with room for gear, some trips are better in a canoe.
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Old 03-29-2013   #20
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,112
Theres a lot of good deals in the fall if you can hold out, maybe rent a couple. The first thing's I bought for rafting were so I could do trips without borrowing peoples stuff, like dry bags, a couple straps, a jacks poco pad and some river clothes. If you have your own stuff its a lot easier to just hop on a trip, perhaps with people you met on the buzz. It will ease the pain later when you get a boat.

pm if your around livingston and you can try one of mine.

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