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Old 06-03-2010   #11
Missoula, Missoula, MT
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 23
Thanks for the input RockRider, I'll definitely keep that in mind before I make my raft purchase.

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Old 06-03-2010   #12
Durango, CO
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 144
use the search function

lots of talk on hear about saturn rafts.

a pvc boat does not equal a pvc boat.

Maravia's are pvc but coated in urethane
Aire's are pvc but have a liner on the inside of the tubes

Saturn's are glued PVC. not to bad mouth them, because I have limited experience in a Saturn...but, you get what you pay for. Both Aire and Maravia are made in ID, Saturns are made in China.

IMO, if you can wait (or obsess, whichever comes easier) find a used older raft of higher quality.

use (search: "raft") for anywhere within a 5 hour drive of you and be ready to jump on something when it comes up. Good used boats come and go fast. someone just had a 14' maravia on the gear swap here a few days ago for $800...not sure if it sold already.

old used boats have soul. new chinese boats have none.

oh yeah:

it takes like 20 minutes to pump up my 14' maravia with a 4" barrel pump. it's really no big deal. get a bravo and and barrel pump and two people can have a 12' raft done super quick. for 140 miles at hwy speeds I'd roll the thing up. just in gas savings alone...even if it goes in the trailer it's still not a giant sail.

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Old 06-04-2010   #13
raftus's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,128
Another gear hauling option is to get a trailer hitch cargo carrier.

They make models that swing away so you can still open the back door. It carries a cooler and a drybox - or a rolled raft leaving interior space for people and other gear.

On the topic of what raft to buy - 14 ft is generally the most versatile size, 13 ft is better for paddle boating most of Colorado's rivers, 16 ft is better for multi day trips.

Materials: Hypalon is my favorite and stands up to rolling very well. But it is generally expensive. PVC is very durable but dosen't like to be rolled up, welded seams on PVC boats are bomb proof, glued seams tend to fail after about ten years, but newer glues may not have the issues of older glues. PVC is generally less expensive.

Manufacturers: Ther are a large number of a-list comapnies out there that make quality boats - here are a few: Hyside, Avon, SOTAR, AIRE, Maravia, NRS. There are also newer companies out there with lower priced boats: Saturn, Big Water, Vanguard. Most accounts of folks who actually own boats from the newer companies - especially their latest models have great things to say about them. Big Water is the newest kid on the block and is offering lower priced Hypalon boats - initial impressions are good but they don't have the track record, albeit brief, of Vanguard or Saturn.

Pumps - this one works:

Kwik Tek Airhead High Pressure Air Pump (12-Volt) - $34.47 on Amazon.

AIRE (as far as I can tell) re-brands this pump as the "Hurricane" and sells it for $85-90. The hose kinda sucks, but you can buy 3/4" garden house and force the fittings from their hose onto the garden hose and it is money. You will still need a good quality barrel pump to top off with - NRS, Carlson, WildWater, or K-Pump.
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Old 06-04-2010   #14
RockRider's Avatar
Frisco, Colorado
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 36
The computers we are on right now were probably made in China (at east parts of them) - and most likely, so is the pump that folks blow up their American made rafts with too. After three seasons my raft has plenty of soul. When an American company comes out with a similar competitive product I will be happy to consider it. As far as 'you get what you pay for,' posters should refrain from giving advice about products they know nothing about.

Should every 16 year get a Porsche? I started with a Hyundai, well actually a Geeley.

Have fun on the river!
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Old 06-04-2010   #15
fort collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 37
If every 16 year old got a Porsche our rivers wouldnt be as busy and campsites would be cleaner!...
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Old 06-04-2010   #16
RockRider's Avatar
Frisco, Colorado
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 36
LOL, true!
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Old 06-04-2010   #17
Thronton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 665
I see a lot of boats on the water, and they all seem to be floating. So, find one you like and be happy with it. Everyone has an opinion on what's best, and it's usually what they own... LOL I think one of the keys to being happy with your boat is taking good care of it. If you keep it clean and out of the sun when not in use, put 303 on it regularly, roll it properly if that's what you need to do to store it, etc., any boat made from those listed is going to suit you well.

Think more about hwo you'll use it and what's important to you. For me, having a family with two young children, I wanted something big enough for overnights and something stable. So I went with the NRS Otter, the wider version (14 foot). It's a nice size for our overnights, but small enough to have a great time on day trips (which we do a lot of). It's fine on the Eagle and Brown's, and we are very comfortable in it, both space and stability. So in short, we love it. And being made of Hypalon, if we take care of it, my kids will be taking their kids down the river in it when I am dead and gone.

A friend of mine was given an old Riken from his father-in-law. It is hypalon, but it's a bucket boat. It's got a few patches on it. The oar frame is a double rail steel frame, so it weighs a TON. I think it's a 13 footer, maybe even less. Does he care if anyone thinks it's junk or not? Hell no, he's got rubber that holds air. We took it out a few weeks ago on Pumphouse to test it out, and he had an absolute blast (he'd never been before). That's what's important. Get whatever you can afford and what fits your needs. take all of the advice here of course, but my advice is don't dwell on it too much, or the summer will be gone. Get something and get on the river! You'll be glad you did.

As for the pump, if you get an inflator (wish I would have seen that one from Amazon before), then the cheaper Wonder pump is fine for topping off. It's a bit of a back breaker, but for the few strokes you need to top off once in a while, it does the job. You could have it and the Amazon pump Raftus showed several times over for the cost of a larger, quality barrel pump (new anyway). My point was that if you don't get both, then the quality barrel pump is a MUST in my opinion. Your back will thank you. And yes, with a good barrel pump, you can inflate a raft pretty quickly. They move quite a bit of air with each stroke. The Wonder pump, not so much... LOL
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Old 06-04-2010   #18
The Mogur's Avatar
Oregon City, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1972
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 457
Originally Posted by Herm99 View Post
I'm looking to buy a 12 or 13 ft raft pretty soon, I was looking at the Aire rafts earlier, they are very nice but quite expensive.
If you're buying a good raft (and why would anyone buy anything else), and buying it new, it's going to be expensive. But there are some really good deals to be had if you just watch craigslist and be patient.

I got 20 years of hard use out of my Riken Cheyenne before passing it along to my daughter (who will probably get another 20 years out of it). I'm now running a Vanguard, which is a good moderately priced raft.

Do consider going to 14' rather than 12 or 13. If you plan to do expedition rafting, you'll quickly find that the smaller raft will be too small. A 14 is good for two or three people and all of their gear. Smaller than that, you'll be hard pressed to accommodate 2 with full equipment.

As for transporting the raft, I use a low-deck flatbed trailer. I arrive at the river with my rig completely ready, back into the water and slide the raft off the trailer. I'm ready to go in 10 minutes. At the takeout, I float back onto the trailer, pull out and tie down. Others spend an hour or two at the put-in and takeout, assembling and disassembling their rafts.
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Old 06-04-2010   #19
Basalt, Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 57
I bought an aquamarine off of ebay $800 shipped...I sold it 3 months later. I really only wanted it to get a feel for the river, to take my friends on a booze cruise and just be out on the water and for that it was fine. I just didn't feel like I was actually boating, or could do any actually boating in it. I agree with other posts, be patient, check the swap section on this site and really think about what you want to be doing with it in a year or so.
I "upgraded" my ebay purchase to a used Hyside with a blown i-beam and actually couldn't be happier!
Something else that I noticed was that when I actually got behind the oars of a "reputable" boat, for some reason I had slightly more confidance knowing that I was in a sturdier, better built boat. (even with the blown beam)
Just my 2 cents.
Oh, and my Hyside rolled up and fit into the trunk of a '99 Olds Intrigue!!
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Old 06-05-2010   #20
Missoula, Missoula, MT
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 23
Lots of good info again, Raftus i was actually considering one of those hitch cargo carriers, seems like a nice alternative to a flatbed trailer.

I have been in touch with someone about a 14' Hyside, in pretty good condition. I'm really considering that option, looks like a nice boat. Nothing wrong with it.

Also what is this I keep reading about some rafts having a blown I-beam? What exactly is the I beam and is it fixable? I'm pretty handy at repairing stuff should I come across one.

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