A boat for a family - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 10-21-2009   #1
 
the fort, Colorado
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A boat for a family

We had a baby this summer and are now looking for a bit bigger boat to accommodate our new addition so that we can bring him on the river with us and enjoy the water as a fam.

We currently have a 13' SB Otter that was perfect for the two of us and the dog on any trip. While I'd like to keep the 13' boat for fishing trips and day floats, it just isn't in the cards to have two boats. So I'm currently looking at a 14' SB Otter - the 142 which is 6'6" wide compared to the 7' wide Otter.

Curious what some of you with a child have decided on as a good-sized boat to accommodate your family and a dog. I'd kind of like to have a 15' boat, but some of the rivers I float to fish are too small for a boat that size. Is the 14'er big enough for a family of 3 and a dog, assuming we don't bring along the kitchen sink?

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Old 10-21-2009   #2
 
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New Castle, Colorado
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The Otter 142 is a great boat. I've been carting the wife, 2 kids and a dog around in mine for 2 seasons. We mostly do the dailies in the Glenwood area, but it handles over nighters well and punches bigger sets like a dream.
Here's a pic of me and the fam on Grizzly and one of me running "Sock it To Me"
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Old 10-21-2009   #3
Uncle Rico
 
Lakewood, Colorado
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Go for the 16' boat. Kids require alot of stuff for an overnighter. If you are going to keep your Otter, get a 16 ft boat for your family overnighters.
We have a 14ft Sotar and it is really tight with the family.
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Old 10-21-2009   #4
Kjirsten
 
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Durango, Colorado
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I have a 14' hyside and it has easily accomodated 4 adults and a child on a 2 day trip, 3 adults on an 8 day trip, and 3 adults, one child and 2 dogs on a 4 day trip.

It's all in the preparation and packing.
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Old 10-21-2009   #5
bth
 
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i have two young daughters, and am in the process of replacing my 14' sotar for the same reason.

in my opionion, its not a matter of if you CAN rig a smaller boat for longer trips- of course you CAN. i spent 18 days in the grand with my "little" 14-er. its if you WANT to.
having rowed 18-ft boats on desert rivers, the benefits of space for family (esp. young kids) to spread out far outweight any difficulty in maneuvering the boat, and since most trips you're doing with kids arent going to be on real technical water, i say go bigger...im getting a 16ft aire.
think of it this way...you COULD drive the kids cross country in a sedan, right? but if you had an option, wouldnt you rather take something bigger??
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Old 10-21-2009   #6
The Russian
 
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SLC, Utah
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It's totally depending on who you talk to.

I row a 16 footer and just bought another 16 footer (new boat) for my wife, my boy and me. I have friends who row 14 footers, some complain of lack of space for their families, some love it.

The best advice I could give you, is to borrow a 14 footer for a 3 day trip and see how you like it. That's the only way you'd know what suits your needs.

My wife wants a lot of room in the bow, so my choice was made up easy for me.
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Old 10-21-2009   #7
 
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cat

get a 16' nrs river cat, I'm selling used tubes in the swap section. you can make a front deck a big as you like, carry a ton of gear, attach a small motor for those long paddle outs or for emergencies.
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Old 10-21-2009   #8
bth
 
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by the way, i'd also add that your frame configuration can make a 14' boat seem like a 10'er or an 18'er. put some thought and money into the frame, and you'll be glad you did.
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Old 10-21-2009   #9
 
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Golden, CO
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You will be kicking yourself if you only get a 14 X 6.6 ft boat. You might as well stick with the 13 footer.

I would get at least the 15 X 7 ft Otter. Then you would have the best of both worlds - a nice maneuverable 13 footer for day trips and a boat big enough for multi-day trips with the kids. You could do it in a 14 footer but you will spend half the trip trying to pack the thing up and everybody will be on top of each other. Not fun.
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Old 10-21-2009   #10
 
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at my house, Montana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankC View Post
You will be kicking yourself if you only get a 14 X 6.6 ft boat. You might as well stick with the 13 footer.

I would get at least the 15 X 7 ft Otter. Then you would have the best of both worlds - a nice maneuverable 13 footer for day trips and a boat big enough for multi-day trips with the kids. You could do it in a 14 footer but you will spend half the trip trying to pack the thing up and everybody will be on top of each other. Not fun.
Agree. We went from a 13' otter, but up to a 14' sotar. For two people and 2-3 dogs it's OK, but I wouldn't have minded having a 15' boat. If there were kids involved, I'd be upgrading to a 15 or 16' already. If people can take 16'-18' boats down the MF Salmon late season (upper section even), there's not many rivers that can't take that big of a boat. My personal opinion is that that "small river" argument is a bit of a fallacy.
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