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Old 01-30-2015   #1
Bismarck, North Dakota
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 207
oh no another help a newb pick a first raft.

So I'm on a tight budget of about a thousand bucks. I live in North Dakota and used rafts don't exist here, I could probably find a virgin baby unicorn before a raft. My main use would be for rivers in Montana. So I've narrowed my choices down to Saturn, the frameless cataraft or thier R2.
At first it will just be me in the boat, after I gain some experience & confidence then my little booger eaters will come with me. Mostly this summer will be spent on a local lake and the Missouri river. Maybe at the end of the season I'll brave the section of yellowstone river at Gardiner. I have been on 5 commercially guided trips around that part of Montana but I'm at that point that I want my own boat.

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Old 01-30-2015   #2
Riff Raft's Avatar
Paducha, Kentucky
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 29
When you find that unicorn let me know, i'll trade my udisco for it

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Old 01-30-2015   #3
River City, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 195
When I got into rafting I had a similar budget of only about $1000. You didn't mention if you plan to paddle it or put a frame on it and row it. With that budget you might be able to find a cheapo self bailer and paddle it, and eventually put a frame on it as finances allows.

The other option if you want to row with a frame is start with a bucket boat. Good chance you can find bucket boat, frame, and oars for $1000. Then in the future you could upgrade to a self bailer and use your first frame and oars with the new setup. You'd also be able to sell the old bucket for $500 or so.

Good luck, and enjoy!
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Old 01-30-2015   #4
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,347
Watch those saturns and floor foot entrapment potential with little kiddos.

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I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 01-30-2015   #5
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,363
Get a watermaster- $1000 is gonna get you a really nice little boat or a really crappy bigger one. You'll use the little boat more because it's easier to wrangle. Add bigger boat later when funds allow.

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Old 01-31-2015   #6
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 427
I would stay away from Saturn. They are garbage and I own one since 2009. It has worked but it has also had many issues that i have worked on myself. It still floats but not like my Aires do. If you only have 1k I would suggest a used 14 ft round boat. Good luck with the search. I will keep my ears open and let you know. You might get lucky. I probably own ten boats now just from talking to lots of people over the years. Hell if I had another 14 raft in the fleet I would sell you my Saturn...
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Old 01-31-2015   #7
Bismarck, North Dakota
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 207
Which of the 2 will be more thrilling? I've rowed flat sections of the Yellowstone and enjoyed it, paddling is a blast too. Our oldest brat is 18, he can go sometimes but not always. Which of the 2 would be more preferred for me controlling by my self with 2 booger eaters ridding along?
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Old 02-01-2015   #8
dafewillis's Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 143
Obsessively search craigslist in areas where rafts get resold (Billings, state of WY, Denver area, etc.) and be ready to make the drive. I think you'll eventually find a bucket boat and a minimal frame for about that much.

My buddy has a Saturn with a cobbled together fishing frame and it does the job. He's had no issues with the raft, but different year Saturns have different issues, from what I've read on here.

Not a great brand, but this would get you on the water:

No mention of brand, but a great buy if it doesn't suck:

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Old 02-03-2015   #9
Bismarck, North Dakota
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 207
Did more research, based on the foot entrapment issue rules Saturn out. I realize this sort has some risk but how much is up to the individual to a point, no sense in adding to it with gear choice.
Selling off some other this and saving up. I've seen several good deals I'll just wait
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Old 02-03-2015   #10
Sembob's Avatar
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 485
I think that is a very good decision.
If you see something you are interested in around the BozemanMt area send me a PM and I will check it out for you. Good luck in your search.


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