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Old 12-16-2014   #11
elkhaven's Avatar
Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 1,661
Originally Posted by DoStep View Post
Savings might go toward a used frame and/or maybe some used oars, but I'm not sure how much college education one can get because a few hundred bucks was saved by buying a cheap raft.
or a few thousand for that matter... one class? maybe two instate?

My experience:

I started as poverty boater and have remained the quintessential poverty boater until this year... My first boat was a beat down 20 year old wood driftboat. A summer of sanding and painting and I was on the water for $800 with a trailer. My first raft (purchased the year after) was a $50, 12-foot eclipse bucket boat with no valves purchased from the bike shop I worked at. All the valves had been scavenged to keep other rentals afloat. But for another $50 or so in valves (from NRS, the only rafting gear company that had sent me a catalog at the time) it was sea worthy. A couple of drunken college paddle trips latter I stumbled on a frame, cooler and two oars for $150. I ran that rig as is (plus some patches) for the next 5 years, before getting a retired raft company 13' hyside for $1000. I guess I added a used NRS stern frame in there somewhere for a rear fishing seat (after trying many DIY set ups). I ran the "new" boat and old frame for a year or two then bought my first new boat purchase ever to date: a $550 NRS bighorn II frame.

I gave the old leaky boat and rusty frame to a friend bought some new oars and ran that rig until last year (adding a few coolers a drybox and some plywood along the way. That's almost 18 years of boating in 3 boats for less than a $2500 initial investment. When I decided to "upgrade" it was going to be a used boat and I almost bought a 7 year old aire 156D for $2500 with frame and oars, but alas Sotar's SL design had sunken it's teeth in me by that point and I couldn't get it out of my mind. So I dropped more money on that rubber than I'd paid for every other floating item I'd ever owned combined. My marriage would be much improved had I not spent that $, but I'm completely ecstatic that I made the decision and adore the boat. I still consider my self a poverty boater, a poverty sportsman for that matter. Everything I buy is used, I've never even owned a car with less than 100k miles.

As far as bucket boats, in some situations they are superior to SB'ers. They track great and lightly loaded can row like no other (that is back row, for fishing folks). My next boat will be a used (of course) cheap, small self bailer for fishing small streams and jump shooting ducks. If I win the lottery, it will be a narrow 12' SL bucket boat...(I think Sotar knocks off $1000 for a standard floor).

So needless to say I suggest getting what ever will get you on the water too. I will say however that one of the reason I buy used, is so I can get a better quality item for the same price as a cheaply constructed one. I believe that you get what you pay for and a brand new $1500 raft is worth far less than a 15 year old $1500 quality boat - you all know the brands. I'm that way with everything, I might buy a $50 used snap on ratchet over a $15 Kobalt, I'd buy used dewalt over new black and decker and so on.

Long live poverty boaters and other cheap bastards!

Yesterday's gone on down the river and you can't get it back. - Agustus McCrae
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Old 12-16-2014   #12
InflatableSteve's Avatar
Cave Creek, Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 671
During our 2007 Grand trip, my friend and I (16 years old at the time) rode in bucket boat for most of the trip. We had a great time bailing that boat. Of course this was a summer trip in AZ, so I imagine if the water was cold it might not be as much fun.

I agree, get what you can afford at the time. I find for myself, if I wait too long to purchase something I am saving for, I will loose interest. If you can get an old boat for a few hundred dollars, use it for as long as you can while you save up for something better. At least that way you will stay interested, you will have more experience and you will more likely have a better understanding of what you really want when it you have enough for your next boat. Sounds like a win win to me.

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Old 12-16-2014   #13
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,347
Shoot, even an inner tube is fun when you don't have anything better. That and canoes were my introduction to rivers. Whatever makes your tail wag....
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 12-16-2014   #14
InflatableSteve's Avatar
Cave Creek, Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 671
Originally Posted by lhowemt View Post
Shoot, even an inner tube is fun when you don't have anything better. That and canoes were my introduction to rivers. Whatever makes your tail wag....
Yup, inner tubes can be had for almost nothing. I got my Aire Rocktagon for $130, and that is one of the more expensive ones. Actual tire inner tubes can be found for like $20-$30. They are a lot of fun. Another cheap way to go if you have friends with rafts, buy a use IK for $350-$500 and let your friends carry all your gear.
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Old 12-16-2014   #15
colorado_steve's Avatar
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 284
NRS Bucket Boat....$500. Materials for home made welded steel frame....$200

Bimini off Ebay for....$120. Oar towers from river swap....$35. Used coolers....$100. Plastic Ammo Cans....$100. Decking material....$40. Drybox....$200

Oh! I don't take it lightly! I've always got to know
There's an old lion a roarin' n the river down below
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Old 12-16-2014   #16
Invermere, British Columbia
Paddling Since: 1974
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 15
In praise of the bucket boat
It has been my experience that not only is the bucket boat a less expensive start into rafting, they can be more forgiving as both a little water on the floor adds some low weight and the suction effect that a bucket boat has that seems to hold the boat down a little longer.
All that said I run a Sotar self bailer because I am old and lazy.
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Old 12-16-2014   #17
eddy hopper's Avatar
DURANGO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 79
$75.00 16' Military boat with no bow oar stern rise, super thin rubber (half patches after 8 years) piece of plywood with I rings to hang a paddle frame, six wood paddles, wool socks, wool sweaters, Glad bags for splash jackets, always high water... Yep, They were some good times. I think the rivers ran down hill both ways back then.
"Eddies are our friends"
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Old 12-16-2014   #18
Colorado Plateau Metropolis, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 42
My first bucket boat. 12' Udisco. I had a lot of fun with this raft. The rubber was free, but I had at least $500 into a frame, oars, straps etc... by the time I sold it for a few hundred bucks.

A little too big for the dirty devil, and a little too small for everything else except the gunny gorge.

In hindsight, I wish I would have saved the extra money and bought somebody's used package deal raft for a few thousand dollars.

But then again, its hard to pass up a sweet deal!
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Old 12-16-2014   #19
Rainy Northwest, Washington
Paddling Since: 1980
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Posts: 460
Udisco for the win!

Sent from my HTC One using Mountain Buzz mobile app
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Old 12-17-2014   #20
north little rock, Arkansas
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 345
Originally Posted by swiftwater15 View Post
Udisco for the win!

Sent from my HTC One using Mountain Buzz mobile app
Not so fast, buster! The aforementioned recent poverty boat thread that inspired this one regards converting the leaky floor in a..........wait for it...............


I know it's a tough call as to which one is more of a poverty boat. I think it's absolutely hysterical that the heretofore enduring poverty boat legacy is thanks to a troll. Bet he didn't see that one coming.


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