Streamtech Steelhead & Frame Review
I have seen some previous posts about Streamtech boats over the years, some negative and some positive. I do not work for anyone or am affiliated with anyone in the business.
I'm the kind of guy that over analyses everything before I spend a lot of money and am willing to do a lot of research before I make a final decision. I am not a rafting expert and am far from as experienced as a lot of you buzzards.
The STEELHEAD boat made by Maravia for Link Jackson at Streamtech.
-14'6" but with 21" tubes instead of 20", Diminished to 18" instead of 16" on the New Wave 3, Diablo, Willy Willy and the Zephyr. Less Diminished tubes being a little more supportive for the weight on the rear tube? I would think it's probably more supportive.
-84" outside width with instead of around 80" on the Maravia versions. More stability and better load carrying capability? I would think so.
-The drop stitch floor that all Maravias get plus Streamtech boats come Standard with Urethane on the Floor.
-All of the size benefits of the 15' raft in a 14'6" raft. When I saw the specs on this boat I thought it fit the bill perfect.
My last boat I custom built the frame and it was great. I used NuRail fittings and 1 1/4" Aluminum pipe. I spent a lot of time researching before and during building the frame. I decided this time that I wouldn't really be saving much money in the long run and would have spent a great deal of time again building another aluminum frame. I didn't want the run of the mill NRS fittings, bolts, nuts and clips to deal with and an anchor system that wasn't great.
-The integrated anchor system inside the tubing is nice.
-The Shoal Cut Square Top oars, the premium seats, anchor system and everything included didn't seem to be much different than sourcing everything myself.
Is the galvanized steel frame heavier? Maybe but the design and simplicity is awesome. Sure it isn't modular but I never really liked moving and taking things apart all the time anyway.
-Isn't the frame with the drop rails inside the raft tubes locked in and under the knuckles for the thwarts much stronger than a frame that just sits on top and uses straps to hold it from moving side to side? It seems I don't even need straps once the tubes are hard my frame can't move at all. It seems it would make the whole package much stronger, rigid and more responsive being locked inside. Making such bends with aluminum BTW is very difficult if not impossible without cracking and fracturing unless you have certain equipment to do so.
The padded knee locks are nice and passengers like having them for fishing and for holding onto while in rough water.
-The Steelhead boat has less kick than the two smaller Streamtech boats for everyone that doesn't like the extra kick. I've spent a lot of time in boats with a lot of kick and if your fishing your standing up and it doesn't seem to matter much anyway. I don't think the wind cares about 2-4" of extra kick, when it blowing it sucks for everyone. I've seen Cat boats just get killed by the wind compared to any raft so the kick of the other two Streamtechs I think is not a deal breaker especially if its helping with the design of the boat with more rocker for more maneuverability.
Streamtech will sell only the rubber in the Steelhead version for anyone that likes what they see about the specs but wants to deal with their own frame.
I would like to hear positive opinions about the tube size difference and about the frame rails down inside the tubes vs just on top.