Originally Posted by mountainsax
Thanks for the input! 16' is what I was thinking (18' sounds really big!). We'll mostly be on the Animas and San Juan.
How about one more opinion: Get a hypalon bucket boat. Hypalon because it is easier to fold than PVC, and bucket boat because (a) it will be a lot cheaper, (b) a self-bailer will be too big to stuff in the back of the Subaru, (c) you don't need
a self-bailer on Class II water, and (d) you're going to be upgrading or quitting after your first year.
You'll need a frame and oars, because the kids aren't old/big enough to be of any help paddling, and you and your wife alone won't be able to control a big raft.
If you decide you LOVE rafting, you'll be buying another raft (and probably a trailer for it) within three years. For serious expedition rafting, you'll need two rafts to carry all of the people and equipment. Teach your wife and 10-year-old to row so that when you get another raft, you'll have someone to row it.