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Old 06-26-2016   #1
Madison, Wisconsin
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 5
R2-R4 Paddle Raft

So, I'm looking to pick up a raft to use mainly as an R2 and occasional R4 day trip boat. (There may be some backpack-style R2 overnights.)

The local PNW used market has a Aire Puma, 13' Saturns, 10.5 RMRs, and 10.5 hyside neos. (Along with various 14'+ rafts.)

The 12' Aire kinda hits the sweet spot length-wise, but it seems a bit narrow for my taste. I don't love R2ing 14' rafts, and having 4 folks in a 10.5 foot raft always seems a little tight to me. That being said, most of my prior experience has been in 14' Hysides and Avons, with only one or two trips in Aires and MiniMaxes.

I think that my dream setup would be a NRS/Hyside 12', since I don't have a trailer and have limited storage space. The new price tags on those are a bit high for me, though. (And used versions are tough to find.)

Are there other boats that I should be hoping to find or should I not be writing off the ones nearby?

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Old 06-26-2016   #2
Paul7's Avatar
Post Falls, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 781
There are so many boats that would fit your description. Do you ever plan to set it up with a row frame? How about overnight trips? What rivers are you boating? How often would you actually have four people, I find d that to be a challenge.

If you are mostly going to R2 I would lean towards a smaller raft such as the Storm that would also give you the benefit of being to have a fun simple rowing setup. Search the forums for the Storm people like Spider and others are doing some pretty sick stuff with them.

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Old 06-27-2016   #3
mike sweeney's Avatar
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 15
Go small! I have the RMR Paddlecat. I R2 with the wife when she wants to get out of her kayak. It's a blast with an oar frame. My 13' is collecting dust in my garage.

I can shoulder my boat. Even carry it solo with my oar frame on it.

I think I may add the RMR Storm to my fleet and get rid of my 13'. I am sold on small boats.
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Old 06-27-2016   #4
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,404
10.5' is small for 4 people. So is the Puma. Those boats won't perform well with 4. Get a 12' raft. Great for 2-5 people. You'll be able to bring more on the overnights too. I recommend the Hyside or NRS Expedition for light boats that pack small.
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Old 06-27-2016   #5
Basalt, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 15
I just purchased a 10' sb hypalon raft ; from midwest rafts. The sb option was a special order with them on the 10'er for some reason ; so they might not have that in stock. but they have 12'ers. I have been running mine in class 3 - 4 , runs in colorado. alongside mini and maxi me's and other boats, both as solo oar rigs and r-2 paddle boats.
it is a little wider than the mini - max. with smaller tubes [16"].and very solid feeling busting waves. They are heavy. Loving it so far.
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Old 06-27-2016   #6
Madison, Wisconsin
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 5
Midwest Rafts?

Thanks for all of the info/suggestions!

This is the first time I've heard of Midwest Rafts, and their gear seems awesomely inexpensive ($800-1000 cheaper for the new boats compared to other hypalon options). Anybody know if the rafts hold up over time?

As for the usage questions, I'll probably be R4ing on ~1/3 to 1/2 of my trips. I don't ever plan to use a frame on the raft. I also plan to stick to III/IV rivers.
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Old 06-27-2016   #7
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Post Falls, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 781
Have you watched any of the Oregon whitewater team on YouTube? They mostly r2-4 with Aire boats pretty sweet stuff. I think they use various pumas and an E series.

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