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Old 06-22-2015   #21
Dipshit with the most.
carvedog's Avatar
Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,497
Hypalon is easier to repair. Shore is easier to work with than stabond. I haven't used the clifton but a buddy did last year on two bad holes and it was a cool fall day. (drybox he borrowed sat too low. ).

That said - I love my Maravia and will get another just because I love how they run. My boat is over 25 years old and has a ton of outfitter miles and then I beat the crap out of it every year doing fall trips. I really can't believe it has held up as well as it has. We are talking stupid low, tough boating and overloaded on most fall trips.

Mine is 17 foot and is lighter than a 14 foot Avon. I fold mine almost all the time and you do have to be careful of the hard folded corners that nothing rubs on the. Advantage to hypalon on that aspect.

I started both my kids at under 2 with flat water. Prior to that they would love to play in the raft anytime I blew it up. My youngest, not long after she could walk ( meaning running two weeks later) would run from one end of my raft to the other running into the tube as hard as she could and knock herself down to the floor. And laugh and laugh. Then run to the other end and do it again. Like 50 times in one session.

Boating with my kids is one of the best things we do together. Start them with PFD training early. I have a worst case scenario plan even on 'easy' water. And my wife and I review out of ear shot of the kids. It's all about building good experience early on for sure.

Now they are 10 and 13 and still love it. The stretch we are doing this week is partly so I can swim some easy rapids with them and learn to bust eddy lines etc.

PVC is different but I wouldn't hesitate to get one myself.

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Old 06-22-2015   #22
elkhaven's Avatar
Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 1,661
Boats - Your making too much out of this, but I guess that's our nature... PVC, Urethane, Hypalon (panelle or what ever it's called). All work and work well, each has it's own pro's and cons and their own loyal followers but it really doesn't matter. If you like hypalon by all means get it. but I wouldn't pass up a really good deal on a boat because of material. Condition would be my main criteria.

Kids - I don't know how old (I didn't reread you posts but I don't think you've said, sorry if I missed it) but at 4 and 6 I don't rely on my kids understanding our safety talks. We give the, the talks just to drill it in but I certainly don't expect results at this age.

I'm certain I'll get lit up here but I have a very different view on this than many folks here (at least my view differs from the average points of discussion). The majority of the conversations on safety revolve around rescue, what to do after something happens but very little discussion is put towards avoiding the issue all together. Please do not get me wrong, I'm all for being prepared, we have safety talks, we practice swimming in moving water, boat rescues, throw bags games, etc. Those are corrective measures, I spend more time focusing on preventative measures. I spend a lot of time learning the river, checking on changes since my last experience, looking ahead, planning lines, locating escape routes, etc. I know there is always the chance that things can go south but I don't put myself in positions where if it does my family is at risk. This may sound flippant or overconfident but that isn't the case. Every decision I've made up to any given point has been to ensure our safety and that of our kids, dogs and gear.... I do not rely on gear to get me out of trouble, I devote my entire being to ensuring that even if something goes wrong I have an out, an escape. I do know this will fail me at some point and that's why we practice rescue, swimming, throw ropes but I bring it up because it's rarely discussed here. Yes people can and do die in flat water, in class II's, III's etc. But in each of these unfortunate cases you'll find mistakes that occurred, in most cases you'll find poor judgment as the root to cascading mistakes and I think about this every day I put on the water. I rely on myself and only myself to keep my boat and passengers safe, I don't rely rescue planning or gear - Once they come out, I've failed. I truely hope everyone really reads this and thinks about it before tearing into me. It's been on my mind for several years with this site and I've debated posting it before but have held off for fear of being miss understood.

It is my opinion that many people on this site RELY on their safety gear to get them out of trouble as opposed to RELY on themselves to keep them out of trouble.

In my strong opinion prevention is the key. There is a lot of talk on this site about preparation, planning, 1- kid per dedicated adult, etc. and I don't disagree with any of it. BUT in my opinion making good decisions, focusing on the water and knowing what your doing and where your at all times are BY FAR the most important safety measures.

Yesterday's gone on down the river and you can't get it back. - Agustus McCrae
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Old 06-24-2015   #23
Ft Fun, Colorado
Paddling Since: 0001
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 207
Elkhaven. We see eye to eye with our ideas about safety. We plan the best and prepare for the worst. I do think the best safety contingency is not getting into trouble in the first place. If you get tore up by your comment it won't be by me. I think your right as boaters we plan so much for what can go wrong, and maybe not talk enough about how not to make it go wrong in the first place
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Old 06-24-2015   #24
elkhaven's Avatar
Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 1,661
Thanks! Good luck finding your boat and safe travels.
Yesterday's gone on down the river and you can't get it back. - Agustus McCrae
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Old 06-24-2015   #25
Steamboat, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 583
We're in the same boat as far as being kayakers turned family "men" (I'm not a man) turned soft boater. We'll never trade our hardshells in, but having a raft for the kids will ensure we get on the water when we have the kids, rather than just after we take them back to their mom's. Probably sounds like a selfish motive... it is, but we do it for the kids too.
My boyfriend and I got super lucky last weekend and someone let us borrow their Aire Sabertooth. It was the kids' first time in a raft and they absolutely loved it. The two of us paddled, the older two kids took turns sitting in the front so they could get splashed in the small rapids and hunkered down together in the rear for the big rapids. The little one sat right next to dad the whole time. It worked out really well, and we were all comfortable.
At one point, boyfriend said he wanted to go left. I said no, but we went for it anyway. Hit a rock and the 7 year old girl fell in. We had her out of the water in less than 3 seconds, but she was still a little freaked. She cried for a second, but once she figured out that was part of the fun she wasn't afraid anymore. I'm glad it happened because the kids were able to see that sometimes shit happens, you might swim, but it will be ok. I scorned my boyfriend for taking the hero line with the kids in the boat on their first run, but in all fairness the swim was harmless and it was good experience for all of us.

We are definitely looking into buying one of these- some form of a paddlecat. It was so light and easy to throw on top of both of our cars. Plus it was super nimble on the river and had plenty of space for us on daily trips, which is the majority of what our river adventures will be for a while. When we need a bigger raft for over nighters we'll just have to rent one, but that's totally fine. I think we'll get way more miles and smiles out of a smaller raft.

On a side note... we also got all three little ones in a hardshell this weekend and we're both super excited because damn it, they're all naturals. Annnnnnnnnd, the pile of gear just gets bigger and bigger...
It's a good day to be a duck....
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Old 06-24-2015   #26
MT4Runner's Avatar
Kalispell, Montana
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,436
Kayaker turned family man, turned rafter here as well.

Started with a big 16' Maravia when the girls were little, added a 13' Trib, then swapped the 16' Maravia for a 156R Aire.

For a single boat quiver, it would be VERY hard to beat a 14'er. Big water, low water, just the family, add friends, gear boat, overnighter, multiday, etc.

that's funny, youngest fell out of the boat backwards on a mellow stretch when she was 4. Brief scare, a bit cold, definitely surprised; yet again, it was a good experience so the girls could see that you might swim at any time.

My girls are 13 and 11 now, and they LOVE rafting.

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