13 or 14 Foot for the Poudre? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-23-2015   #1
Fort Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 141
13 or 14 Foot for the Poudre?

I'm about to buy an RMR raft and having trouble deciding on length. I am strongly leaning towards 14', but can anyone convince me to go with 13' instead?
The Poudre is my home river, and I will be mostly looking to row it with frame and oars, but I will also do a fair amount of r2, r3, and some larger group paddle trips. However, I will also be doing many overnight and multi-day trips for up to about a week on the western rivers.
14' always seems to be the go-to length for versatility, and it seems the extra foot versus the 13' makes a huge difference for gear-hauling without giving up much in maneuverability. But would the 14' be a little too wide for the Poudre, especially with an oar setup? And would the extra length and weight be a big issue for r2 and r3 (the RMR 14' is a whopping 158 lbs, and over 20 lbs more than the 13', width on 14' is 7'1" vs. 6'3" on the 13")? I like that the 14' had an extra inch of tube diameter.
Thoughts or reflections from experience?

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Old 06-23-2015   #2
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Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Oct 2003
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If you are going to have one boat to do everything i would always suggest a 14'. That said I usually use my 12' on the Poudre and most day trips in general.

The 13' would be more fun and easier to use for your main purpose and you could get away with multi days on it if its what you have. Bigger water will be just that and if you don't mind running big stuff in a little boat then go 13.

The 14' is an all around bigger boat. It will be more of a pain and less sporty on the poudre, especially once it drops below 3'. Its what you'll want when you have bigger crews and you'll wish it was smaller and more narrow for low water or r-2. Rowing a 14 with passengers is nice because you dont have them in the way of your oars all the time. Im sure the outfitters on the Poudre run mostly 14s so you can get them down just fine. Multi days will be significantly more comfortable for you and passengers. You can carry way more gear and take bigger hits without trouble in the 14'. Again, if I had only one boat i'd have a 14.
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