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Old 03-22-2010   #11
slavetotheflyrod's Avatar
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 98
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 387
Don't let handle location cause you to pass on an otherwise good boat - you can glue handles anywhere you want em.

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Old 03-22-2010   #12
Logan, Salt Lake, Utah
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 66
Check out our website at Home Page We can get a great boat for you at the best price around for the quality. Plus, all of the owners guided on the Snake, so we know your area real well.

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Old 03-22-2010   #13
West By God, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 289
I don't think you necessarily need to spend the money on a new raft, given that the boat will be used primarily for scenic floats and that the Snake will be the largest whitewater you intend to encounter. As far as size, you should go with a raft that will fit your group comfortably, but you want something fairly short so that you can float side channels of the Snake (in GTNP, Wilson- South Park, etc.). You will want to float the Hoback, Salt and the South Fork as well. My suggestion is a 14' boat, although one that is wider than the Puma series.
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Old 03-22-2010   #14
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 134
Be sure of the 13' size

I know that it has already been brought up but I would still suggest looking at a bigger boat for the crowd. 13' boats are awesome for smaller rivers like the Gres Ventre and Hoback but I would think they are a bit small for the Snake, especially Alpine Canyon. If the dealers have the boats for you to look at, you may want to see if they will let you take out a demo so that you can get a feel for the size. One other thing to consider would be the width of the boat. Narrower boats tend to track a lot better but they are also a lot easier to flip and they have less room inside.

Happy Floating with whatever craft you get.

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Old 03-22-2010   #15
pocatello, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 471
I live in Pocatello and am familiar with all of the area rivers. Any of the boats you are considering will last you well into the forseeable future. A tributary that is taken care of will easily last long enough to justify the purchase. Givent he number of days you are likely to float with the crew you suggested you probably aren't going to wear out a boat any time soon.

Stepping up from trib to Aire probably isn't worth it given the big water nature of the snake and the general lack of wear you are likely to have. If you were running colorado creeks it is a safe upgrade, but deep snake floats just don't wear out boats very fast.

I checked out a bigwater raft last weekend tha b_liner1 represents. They are a really good value. They look generic (no name plate, logos and frills) but the fabric seems solid (at least as good as NRS expedition) and the construction techniques are time tested (glued hypalon). they are worth a look. I have no affiliation with them other than a test drive.

Retail prices from low to high-

14' bigwater- 2700
14' trib- 3000
14' nrs otter 3660
14' super duper puma- 3670
14' NRS expedition- 4850

A used raft would be a good choice- if you are willing to take the time to research older boats, drive to get it and roll the dice on the unknowns that come with older boats.

Or you could just post the deals here and rely on group wisdom to guide you.

As far as size I think you would be happy with a 14'. It can handle pretty big water, carry some gear if you get serious, but is small enough that you can feel the waves on the snake at 5000cfs. i agree that the puma series are awesome, but narrow for you.
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Old 03-22-2010   #16
pocatello, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 471

when you budget don't forget to factor in your frame, 3 oars, blades, PFD's for all, lots of straps, a throw bag or 2, repair kit, bow line, paddles, misc junk and ideally a trailer. the raft is only about half of it. If you blow your whole wad on the rubber you won't be able to get out any time soon.
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Old 03-22-2010   #17
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,404
I would buy a second hand boat. The environmental cost of new boats can be huge (rubber or PVC, shipping from far away, etc.) and you'll get 20 years out of a good used boat. For a used boat I'd suggest hypalon. Also, don't buy the discount series boats (Hyside's Rio Bravo, Aire's Tributary, NRS' Otter, etc.) or you'll end up regretting it.

Look for a used Avon, Hyside, or NRS boat in decent shape. 14 feet is the size. It's versitile, family friendly, and has a high resale value. They're also the commonly used commercial rafts so you can find them everywhere.

Don't buy that glued PVC crap (Vanguard, Saturn, Maxon, etc.). It sucks, won't last, doesn't roll well, and given your family's inexperience I'm guessing you don't want to have to repair a seam.

Check out the swap section on this site, as well as on NRS - Kayaking Gear, Rafting Supplies and Boating Equipment for good deals from fellow rafters. Ask "does it hold air completely for 24 hours?", "are the baffles and I beams in good shape?", and "was it stored inflated?" If the answers are yes, yes, yes you're on the right track.

P.S. If you do buy a new boat I think the boats b-liner is selling might be what you want. Glued hypalon, sold by real boaters, and very inexpensive. He's just over in Salt Lake too, you could pick one up easy....
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Old 03-23-2010   #18
slavetotheflyrod's Avatar
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 98
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 387
I have to disagree with your comments about the Otter series. For the type of use Wy has indicated I think the Otter series will hold up just fine. I put a second hand otter through 3 years of outright torture and it took it like a champ.
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Old 03-23-2010   #19
Bayfield, Colorado
Paddling Since: '08
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 3
I think a SD Puma would be perfect for your scenic day trips. I have one and love it. It's light, takes up less space and still has plenty of capacity.
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Old 03-23-2010   #20
Wygal's Avatar
Star Valley, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 35
I am going to strongly consider the 14 now and it is just a few $$ more than what we are already going to spend.

We have a trailer already for our sleds so DH is going to put the outdoor carpet on it and now we have sled trailer and a raft trailer.

We are now waiting for a few more quotes to come in and hopefully will be making our choice this weekend. Thanks to all for your great guidance, SYOTR.

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