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Old 04-12-2011   #11
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,908
Thoughts on the new Rocky Mountain Raft line

Joe loaned me a 12' SB to take on Westwater a couple of weeks ago. I had a buddy of mine row it through the rapids since I had a friend's wife on my boat and absolutely did not want her to swim. Here are my thoughts on the new Rocky Mountain Raft line:

For an inexpensive boat, its pretty beefy. I was glad Joe helped me hoist it into the bow of my trailered boat for the trip out. I once had a little 12' SOTAR that was seemed light enough to carry it under my arm - that ain't the case with this boat.

When we unrolled it and aired it up, the first thing I noticed was that its got an underside like elephant hide and has a chafer pad all the way around the top of the tubes - good reinforcement everywhere you'd want it. Just like my Vanguard except the topside of the RM floor seems like a thicker material than the VG. The RM base fabric for the tubes is 1100 denier. And I love the Leafield valves. The thwarts were also a cinch to pull out with the bat and batten-type attachment system - no lacing, or hard plastic knuckles and pin to deal with.

We carried it down to the water to rig and the handles are really sweet - like the ones on an NRS, I think - with rubber grips. The other rafters I met up with at the ranger station were impressed with the heft of the boat, especially when I told them its a $2K self-bailer - these are a couple of guys who have been running rivers since the 70s.

When I rowed it, the boat tracked well and was really maneuverable. Then again, after rowing a loaded 14' boat, any lightly loaded 12' would be like a sports car, but it still seemed really sweet. About the only downside is that the floor seemed a little soft when the PRV maxed out and started to bleed. Joe says this production run came with 2 psi PRVs and they're going to put in a higher-rated PRV in the next shipment (2.75?). With the welded I-beams it probably won't have any problem holding 2.5 or 3 psi. The floor's old school laced in instead of glued. I like this because if you ever need to replace a glued in floor it seems like you've got a lot of work for your glue sniffer to do instead of just ordering a new one and stitching it in with webbing.

There seems like a lot of room in the raft with a fair bit of freeboard below the top of the tubes for stowing gear. There are also lots of D-rings though the ones where the kick starts on each end could be angled instead of straight up to better secure a frame with front to back tension. The kick's good but not too high - it'll punch through waves rather than get stalled as easily. I don't know all the specs but it seems like a really well-designed boat.

Years ago when when I had a (really) old PVC Maravia I heard that most holes in PVC boats come from abrasion wear during transport - a carry cover comes standard with the boat which is a nice bonus.

Below is a shot of my buddy Eric on Bowling Alley in the Rocky Mountain boat. He did really well for a kayaker whose sprayskirt might have finally shrunk too much for him. Nailed the meat on Sock it to Me as well and came through everything with the blue side up. Eric said when he hit the wave at SITM the boat completely filled with water but then drained really quick.

Joe was saying they wanted to build an inexpensive boat that was well constructed. From everything I've seen and know about the boats, I think they've done that. He said they've almost sold out of their first run and I don't think it'll take long to move the next shipment.



Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 04-12-2011   #12
Bayou's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
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Posts: 198
Very thorough, thanks Andy H.

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Old 04-12-2011   #13
shappattack's Avatar
Up North, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1985
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Dam not much I can bitch about except the foreign VS. US argument that has been pretty well covered, seems like they got the construction dialed in well
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Old 04-12-2011   #14
Oslo's Avatar
Niwot, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 58
Looks like Riverboat Works is selling them at an intro price.

9' RMR Self Bailing $1899 Introductory Price-$1499
12' RMR Self Bailing $2399 Introductory Price-$1899
13' RMR Self Bailing $2499 Introductory Price-$1999
14' RMR Self Bailing $2699 Introductory Price-$2199
16' RMR Self Bailing $2999 Introductory Price-$2499

Rocky Mountain Rafts Self-Bailing
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Old 04-12-2011   #15
mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: '92
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 418
Just went to the RMrafts site and they don't have the boats listed (but they do have the other brands they carry)....any idea what's up with that?
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Old 04-12-2011   #16
TOUCHDOWN, Mississippi
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 144
Originally Posted by caseybailey View Post
Just went to the RMrafts site and they don't have the boats listed (but they do have the other brands they carry)....any idea what's up with that?
There is a Rm rafts out of Colorado springs that is different than these guys.

Poor Planning, perhaps?

Secondly... How many chambers? Is there a bladder system in these tubes like other higher end PVC boats (JPW, Aire etc.)?
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Old 04-12-2011   #17
The Box, ~
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 199
These new rafts are the real deal! They are an expedition grade PVC raft, in my opinion, that will last any private owner his or her lifetime! I know a few industry veterans who've had their heads inside every raft manufactured that is no longer in business and still are, and they're impressed with these new rafts.

I'm seriously considering getting a smaller model to keep at the cabin in Idaho to run daily trips.
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Old 04-13-2011   #18
Goshen, New York
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 63
It's the same guys as RMRafts. I believe they are trying to sell them thru reps sorta like Maravia style. They don't have bladders. Sorta like high end plastic boats like Maravia, Sotar, Wing, etc. My prototype has 4 plus the floor and thwarts. Like I said, it's a very nice boat, and they made improvements between then and now.
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Old 04-13-2011   #19
TOUCHDOWN, Mississippi
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 144
Originally Posted by OleMissBoater View Post
There is a Rm rafts out of Colorado springs that is different than these guys.
I was wrong.. Went in the store today here in springs. Solid boats, amazing quality for the price...

Call Joe for your next raft!
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Old 04-13-2011   #20
slamkal's Avatar
vancouver, Washington
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,146
someone's got a killer deal on a 2008 aire 143R on gearswap. I'm sure its sold by now ...

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