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Old 06-18-2014   #11
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 165
You will love it if your family likes the water at all. If camping is your thing than even more so. I say don't waste your time and money and look for used 16 foot with a good gear frame. Don't pass on a good boat deal trying to get them at the same time (but it is ideal). I would suggest self bailer not because of whitewater but the easier sand removal (unbelievable amounts with 5 kids) at the takeout when your kids are done and ready to leave. Especially if you have to roll every time.

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Old 06-18-2014   #12
adgeiser's Avatar
Denver,, exhaustion
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 578
from your post count you obviously have not been on the buzz long, so you are forgiven for not realizing that boat size does not matter as long as you have a yeti cooler.

"We should restore the practice of dueling. It might improve manners around here" -Edward Abbey
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Old 06-18-2014   #13
Grangeville, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 10
I have 7 kids (ages 11 and under) and fit all of them into a Aire 156R for day trips. In warmer weather they spread out into a couple of IKs as well.
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Old 06-18-2014   #14
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,363
Hypalon, urethane, pvc.......or latex?!

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Old 06-18-2014   #15
Evergreen, Colorado
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 27
If you are looking to do day trips with a small frame and paddles, a 14'r will work. I've been on a couple of day trips with 9 in a rig that was light on gear. If you are looking to oar up and throw dry boxes, coolers, rocket boxes, etc... you have no chance with a 14'r. That said, a 14'r seems like a good size for CO water... And great for fishing. I guess it's going to depend on if you want to grow with the sport and start doing the overnight thing.

IMNSHO, hypalon is the way to go. It lasts pretty long and it rolls up nice and tight. The roll is good especially if you are not ready to commit to a trailer.

Just my .0002.

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Old 06-18-2014   #16
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1974
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 140
As someone who rowed the Animas for years I would suggest the 16'.

In another month there wouldn't be a problem with taking the 2 y.o on the Animas.

Personally I don't care for stern frames, especially if you want to do overnighters.
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Old 06-19-2014   #17
2kanzam's Avatar
Charleston, West Virginny
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 461
In my 14'ers I can hold 3 people including me and all our camp gear comfortably. I can do 4 with gear...but 1 person has to basically ride facing me with our legs interlaced...very uncomfortable.

I can also take the 3 people, gear and boat in my subaru legacy sedan with the cargo rack....but there is no room for a 4th person.

Day trips and running a stern frame I still prefer 3 people including me on the boat....4 is ok but it's harder to fish. I CAN take 7 including me but I feel cramped although it's not too bad if people are swimming or if you are beaching alot for lunch, drinks and swimming.

Not that I can ever drum up 7 people to go....hell I asked 21 people to come float the New River with me last week and didn't have any takers. The tomato fences can wait folks!!!
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Old 06-19-2014   #18
San Francisco, California
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 105
If you'll be doing day trips only, 14-15' will work well with a stern frame and the rest of the family paddling for fun. If you have multi-day in mind (even an overnighter), you should consider 16'. I run multiday trips with my family of 6 for 4-5 days in Aire 156D. I will be sending my oldest (12) to a kayaking school this year, so that she can eventually be our safety or weep.

One word of advice. Never go on a 1-boat trip. If you are thinking of taking your whole family on your own boat, don't. Even in class II, you could get yourself and family in some serious trouble. If you are doing multiday, you will always be with at least one other boat. I would never run any river just with my whole family in one boat. Some may disagree, but I rather err on the safe side. If you have at least another boat in your trip, things get a lot easier. You can share the gear load, and will have more room for passengers. As you add more boat, your expedition will be more manageable with more options. If you are starting out, I would recommend going with an outfitter and you row your own boat with older kids or your wife until you get competent in your rowing skill. It doesn't take a lot to row a boat, but to be responsible for the lives of your loved ones, you should take every caution. I've learned that most fun and safe way to raft with the family is to meet other rafting families/friends. If you want some further suggestions, feel free to PM me.
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Old 06-19-2014   #19
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 535
when looking to buy a raft, always get something that can do it's most demanding task.

in your case that's hauling 6-7 family folks for a 16-18ft would be my recommendation. 18ft being my strongest suggestion. it will also be the most pleasant for the passengers too. i'd imagine that would be important if you want to do it more than once with a wife and kids.....

for hauling that many people + gear for multidays, look at loading the gear pile mostly in the center, just in front of the rower, row on the cooler and put your herd in both the now mostly open areas on the bow and stern.

keep in mind, 18fters are common on low water runs like the MFS so they can get down some bony shit with a skilled oarsman. they will also ride higher in the shallows vs punching down in a overloaded 14fter. also, upgrading is expensive as you need a new frame, oars, bigger cooler,ect not just the boat.
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Old 06-19-2014   #20
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 6
Your story sounds similar to mine except we only have one kid at 1 1/2 years. We had gotten into a 14ft self bailer this year and have done multiple day trips and one evernighter. A 14ft would probably work ok but will be crammed with a frame and gear. Children add a bunch more gear. As mentioned above float with others for safety and stick to mellow waters with the young ones on board. I found that a row frame is a must so that one can row while the other adult keeps a watchful eye on the little one. A self bailer is a must. Spend more time watching the kids rather than bailing water. Shade for the raft is a MUST for longer floats. Hope this helps and enjoy.

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