Is it really this expensive?? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 05-31-2017   #1
 
San Luis Valley, Colorado
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 31
Is it really this expensive??

Hello,

I'm a total newbie - I've had a canoe for years, but new to rafts.. Last summer we took over our old family cabin in the Southern San Juans. It's about 100 yards up from the local river that local guide trips float multiple times/day - both group trips and fishing trips. Mostly Class 1 and 2 water.

I found out that said local company sells of rafts at the end of each season. I'm currently first on the list for a 13 ft Rocky Mountain Raft at the end of the season. I have 2 young sons (4 & 6) and my hope is that we could do these floats frequently when we are up at the cabin (only 2-3 hours). Maybe down the line, as the boys grow use it for some fishing as well.

Realistically couldn't do any floats until next season when they are 5 and 7 just because of the timing of the second hand purchase.

However, I'm looking into it and it's so expensive! In addition to the raft, I need a frame, oars, oar rights, a seat, etc, etc.

I hadn't expected thousands in addition to the raft. Please skip all of the "welcome to our world" posts and let me know if there is some discount options I'm not seeing? Or does everybody that rafts just drop at least $4K to get started?

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Old 05-31-2017   #2
 
Bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 145
Watch craigslist for used equipment. I just put together a 14 ft. non self bailing rig for $750. Raft, Frame, & Oars. All the stuff is at least 20 years old but should last another 10 easy.
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Old 05-31-2017   #3
fat guy in a little boat
 
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FtC / Rancho del Rio, Colorado
Paddling Since: 8AM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 408
if your only planning on doing easy water, you can make your own wood frame.
that alone will save ya $1000
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Old 05-31-2017   #4
 
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 163
Short answer: yes, rafting gear is expensive! The boat is just the start, and outfitters usually still make money selling used boats. In other words, you can usually find a much better deal on a package from a private seller than buying a boat from an outfitter and trying to piece it together. Especially if you don't need it until next season...
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Old 05-31-2017   #5
 
Boise, ID
Paddling Since: '99
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 225
Durable, light, cheap...pick two. If you are just getting into, do the math on how many times you'll realistically use it and calculate cost per use. Renting at first might be cheaper and then you can figure out what you really want so you don't get stuck trying to flip something you bought cheap and taking a hit on it because it doesn't fit your needs even it was cheap. My buddy is selling a turnkey older super puma set up as an oar rig for $2k in Boise. You'd need to buy PFDs (maybe you already have them) and paddles and you'd be on the water.
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Old 05-31-2017   #6
 
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Nederland, Co. nearest town., Either grace or kerfuffled
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 183
check out the classified section on buzz. There's plenty of deals...and if you're not planning on running continuous, class III +and IV whitewater, you certainly don't need a self bailer, which will save you lots of money. The rental idea is a good one, as it is an investment to own your own gear. Try it out first...there are as many different kinds of rafts as there are cars...different ways to navigate them, different types of oars, etc.
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Old 05-31-2017   #7
 
thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 854
I see you canoe, I fell out of a canoe at Stanley Reservoir when I was in high school. The only thing I could think about was swimming as hard as I could to make it to shore when a few seconds later I bump in into something and look up to see a little kid standing up, he look at me and said whats the matter mister. My point is don't get to excited at first take your time and look around there are alot of good quality used rigs out there for under 2,000$.
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Old 05-31-2017   #8
 
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Northern Utah, Utah
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 663
You can definitely get into rafting on the cheap by picking up a used raft and used gear, as others have already noted.

Here are a few more tips:

1. Don't overlook the lower end brands/models (ie. Tributary, RMR, NRS low end, even Saturn, etc). They tend to lose their value a bit quicker than high end brands and have some downsides, but can work great for a starter raft.

2. Look for basic raft frames and/or older models. Most can easily be cut down to fit smaller rafts if/as needed. $100 used frame is a lot easier on the wallet than $1000 for a new one. Example: https://boise.craigslist.org/spo/6120178805.html

3. Prices tend to be lower on used gear during the fall & winter months.

4. Once you have a basic setup to meet your needs you can always upgrade piece by piece as good deals on used gear and sales on new gear pop up over the years. You can always resell used gear unless it's damaged or junk.
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Old 05-31-2017   #9
 
Ridgway, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 174
It's all relative. Is rafting any more/less expensive than: Golf, MX, Mtn. Biking, Hunting, Skiing, Sailing, Rock Climbing, ect. Cough up 2-5G's or sit on the couch and watch TV (flat screens are really cheep these days).
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Old 05-31-2017   #10
 
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Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,128
In my experience, buying a complete package used is the way to go and will save you considerable amount of money. There is always the crazy person who thinks his stuff is worth what he paid for it a decade ago, but overall most of them are pretty reasonable.

You can certainly save money by building some of the stuff yourself if you have the tools and skills (or a friend who does). Not completely unreasonable to make a frame out of wood or electrical conduit and some plywood for floors. You'll still probably have to purchase a few items like oar locks and such.

There is definitely a tendency for things to double in price when you associate it with rafting, but it doesn't mean you have to accept it. There is almost always a cheaper alternative out there if you look hard enough. Just don't expect for it to be cheap if you forget to buy something the week before you trip and have to go into a place like Cascade, 4CRS, DRE, or similar.

There are certainly things out there that seem expensive at first, but you soon realize that its a lifetime purchase and you'll never have to replace it. Most of the stuff Partner Steel makes is this way, and a lot of the drop bag/everything bag stuff from Tuff River Stuff, Stitches and Stuff, Whitewater Designs and many others will last a lifetime but sure hurts when you buy it.
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