What size raft to buy? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 10-24-2014   #1
 
OTR, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Feb 2009
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What size raft to buy?

I have been a kayaker for 9 years and decided that this is the year to buy a raft. I am looking for some input on what size would be best..

I am looking for the most versatile size so I am thinking 12 or 13 feet. Would 12 be big enough for big water like the Grand or something like Main Salmon at flood stage? If not, would a 14' be too big to R2 comfortably? Any input appreciated!

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Old 10-24-2014   #2
 
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Tigard, Oregon
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I vote 14 as the most universal size. I R2 it, would take it on high water and can easily do a long trip with it. That being said, unless you are in the mood to burn money, why jump in to buying a boat right away. I would suggest renting and getting a feel for what you like.
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Old 10-24-2014   #3
 
Fairplay, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
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smalls fun

I have a 12' 6" NRS Expedition which I run a lot on the Arkansas--both R2 and rowing. Having used a 14" for a number of years I much prefer the smaller boat. I have taken a 16' Cataraft and a 14' raft down the Grand but wish I could have taken my 12' but logistics didn't permit. The bigger the water the more likely to flip in a small boat--if you have a problem with that go with the bigger boat.
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Old 10-24-2014   #4
 
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
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14' with rocker would be a good match for what you describe. We all start small and end up going bigger.....something to think about.

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Old 10-24-2014   #5
 
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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TriBri nailed it. For a Colorado boater with only one boat, 14' is optimal. Small enough for the headwaters rivers like the Ark and big enough for the Grand. though I do know folks that run the GC in smaller boats, it'll hold a lot more gear. And it's not too big to R2.

That said I know someone that runs Boulder Creek at 650 with a 16' boat...
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Old 10-24-2014   #6
 
OTR, Colorado
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Thanks for the advice, looks like I am leaning heavily towards a 14'!
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Old 10-24-2014   #7
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Gypsum, Colorado
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As far as the Grand is concerned check out how cheap it is to rent a 16 or 18 footer all outfitted. 14 is most versatile.
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Old 10-24-2014   #8
 
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Sandy, Utah
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Another vote for a 14 footer. I've had a 14 ft. Sotar SL for one season (many years rowing a 14 ft. cataraft), and I really like it. Decent room for gear/passenger, and versatile for fishing. Handled higher water Main Salmon and low water Middle Fork equally well. I don't do any paddle rafting so I can't speak to the R2 aspect.
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Old 10-24-2014   #9
 
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cataraftgirl View Post
I don't do any paddle rafting so I can't speak to the R2 aspect.
I guess I should come clean and say "the ONE time I ran my 14' as a paddle boat it did fine for R2..."
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Old 10-24-2014   #10
 
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Flagstaff, Arizona
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As a passenger, three x on the Grand, go 16 ft. I row a 14 er, and it would be small on the Grand, but people do it for sure! Get a boat that suits the the distance between the rocks on the river(s) you do most, then rent up or down as needed, or just get more friends to boat share.


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