Grand canyon boat size - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 05-16-2012   #1
 
Eagle, Colorado
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Grand canyon boat size

We've got a Grand Trip planned for August, my question is should I take my own Aire 143D or rent a bigger boat? I'm a kayaker for years and got the raft last year, my rafting skill is ok, I did the Main Salmon last July. I'm I being a wimp by not using my boat or I'm I being over cautious in renting a bigger one?

OK buzzards have at it.

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Old 05-16-2012   #2
 
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Springfield, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenboater View Post
We've got a Grand Trip planned for August, my question is should I take my own Aire 143D or rent a bigger boat? I'm a kayaker for years and got the raft last year, my rafting skill is ok, I did the Main Salmon last July. I'm I being a wimp by not using my boat or I'm I being over cautious in renting a bigger one?

OK buzzards have at it.
We usually have a couple 14 ft boats on our Grand trips. They do fine so long as they're loaded heavily with a low center of gravity. Set up your line at the top of the rapids and keep it straight through the holes. Should do fine.
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Old 05-16-2012   #3
 
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I’d think about a couple things….as far as the size of the boat and the rapids you’ll be fine, might take a few more sneak routes with the smaller boat but you’ll also be more agile and it will be a super fun ride! If you do get off line or don’t hit something square just be prepared for flips. Watch those unnamed rapids, they can sneak up on you. Work on your downstream ferry and definitely make sure you hit everything square.

There are other advantages to renting a boat though besides a little safer ride if the money isn’t too much of an issue. Wear and tear on your own rig, hauling it down there, shuttle etc all become easier. Depending on what the group setup is like a nice 18’ rig has tons of cargo space for food and people, overall probably just a more comfortable experience than a jammed 14’er. Easier to load and rig, room to spread out.

I personally left my 14’er at home and we rented from Pro last summer, no regrets. My boat looks tiny now…but, we had a lot bigger water last summer too, I suspect this August will be a different story.
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Old 05-16-2012   #4
 
Absarokee, MT, 59001
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I ran a 5 person trip on 2 14 footers. Call ray at tuff river stuff and get an everything bag for sure. It's definitely a little more challenging. I watched 18 ft Avons go through lava sideways without even having their oars in their hands. You will not have that luxury. Be early on your lines and don't be scared of those holes. I spent the first half of the trip running from big holes. Wound up flipping in the the top of hance. Would have been better off running the meat. By the time you get to the holes your running 20 mph so just square up, dig in, and make sure you have a solid flip kit with pulleys
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Old 05-16-2012   #5
 
frisco, Colorado
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I was in this same situation and I decided on renting the 18er. Here's why, this will be your home for 3 weeks and it should be as comfortable as possible. I didn't want to go minimalist, the rapids had very little to do with my decision. I wanted enough room for 3 lounge chairs on the lido deck, and you do not want to hit your elbow on your umbrella shaft when cranking the blender. The biggest reason for me was the ability to haul the group gear, I didn't want to be the guy that let others take my share of the load in the 18 footers they rented so I could save a few bucks and have an arguably more exiting ride.
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Old 05-16-2012   #6
 
Boise, Idaho
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Either one works, but.....

You have a ton of stuff to carry. I rented an 18 foot boat from REO a few years back and left my 14 foot Aire at home. Have a permit for next year and will be buying a bigger boat (possibly a 16ft Maravia or Aire 156R - still doing my research though) for next August's trip. Figured it was time for a little upgrade but still keeping my 14ft. Aire for day trips and maybe long weekends or low water Salmon runs.
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Old 05-16-2012   #7
 
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The smaller boat will be more fun in the rapids, especially if you like to go big. Of course this requires an adequate number of boats to carry all of the group gear. If you want a barcolounger that has less chance of flipping, then go for the bigger boat. Me, I like to go big, so I went with my little cat and kept it as light as I reasonably could. It was super comfy, contrary to what many people said.

You didn't say if you are taking passengers or not, which may affect your decision. If you have a passenger and other gear boats, the 14' would still be a hoot.
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Old 05-16-2012   #8
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Barnard(Marshall), North Carolina
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rode on a 13'er in 09-it was fun as hell! we carried the same size cooler as everyone else but we did have to put two bills bags and some beer in the 18'ers. no complaints comfort wise between the three of us
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Old 05-16-2012   #9
 
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Grand Junction, Colorado
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You buy your own boat to use it right? A 14' boat is fine in the Grand.
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Old 05-16-2012   #10
 
Scottsdale, Arizona
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My wife and I like to sleep on the boat, it is much cooler than sleeping on shore. We can't really do that on my 14 footer. I am renting next summer.
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