First raft help! - Mountain Buzz

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Old 01-27-2015   #1
Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 127
First raft help!

After perusing these forums for awhile I have decided to join and ask the experts to help me find my first raft. To start the sizes I'm looking at are 11-13 foot range. I am looking for something that will be mostly paddled in Western CO/UT, but will also row it in the desert. I plan on mostly doing day trips, but want to be able to do 1 or 2 nighters. I'm ok with going in backpacking style for the time being. This is not the boat of my dreams I will have in ~10 years just something to hold me over until then. I'm very ok with going used (and probably have to) but don't want to end up throwing 2K down the toilet.

I am a poor raft guide/ski instructor so price is THE major factor. I don't have a truck or a trailer and can't afford one anytime soon, just a 99 subaru outback. If I can't strap the boat on top of the car I will have to roll it. I have room in my house/garage to store it indoors and inflated. I have been thoroughly checking Craigslist, KSL, and here to try and find a good used boat with no luck so far. Am I correct to assume early spring more quality used boats will be available?

All these factors point me towards an AIRE Super Puma or a Hyside Outfitter 12. But I haven't seen much used and the retail is a bit steep unless I qualify for pro deal (my boss only has an NRS catalog with NRS/Tributary). RMR looks pretty intriguing as I could afford one new, but I am open to almost any suggestions!

Thanks in advance,

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Old 01-27-2015   #2
Durango, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 424
Tributary 12 or 13. They just dropped their pricing for 2015 to compete with RMR, but you get AIRE quality and customer service. Plus it sounds like you may get a deal on them already thru NRS.
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Old 01-27-2015   #3
TriBri1's Avatar
Tigard, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 784
I would not go any smaller than 12 foot and would steer you more towards 13 or 14 foot. The tube diameter on 12 foot boats is typically fine for paddling, but pretty small for overnight trips. Starting backpacker style is a great plan, but you may find that you quickly accumulate gear and move away from it. that being said, my first boat was a 12 foot NRS Scout with 19" tubes and I easily had it outfitted to hold two people for a 3-4 day trip. New with pro deal may be out of the questions, but your boss should have the B2B login and you can check out the prices on NRS boats.

Good luck
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Old 01-27-2015   #4
Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 127
I have heard something about Tributarys being a pain in the ass to clean after doing silty rivers, and most of my runs will be on the Colorado near GJ (Ruby Horsethief, Moab daily and WW). The price point is great though and I can pro-deal new which I prefer to used.

I don't want to get larger than a 13 at this point in time for multiple reasons. I would only be doing overnights with my GF and I know I can fit our gear for 1-2 nights even in an 11 footer. I'm not too worried about accumulating too much gear at this point because I'm broke!
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Old 01-27-2015   #5
Durango, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 424
I've owned an AIRE for 8 years and have run Tributarys every season at work, on the Animas, San Juan, Cataract, Westy, etc. If you want to be super anal about it, sure you can tear it all apart and clean it, but in the 8 years I've owned mine, I did it once just to replace the zipper. I have no signs of wear on the bladders or the tubes from silt on the inside. Its really a non-issue that all the Sotards like to complain about even though they have never owned and AIRE/Trib. As long as you keep your zippers in decent working order, the benefits of ease of repair far outweigh the "downfalls" of the AIREcell system.
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Old 01-27-2015   #6
k2andcannoli's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 859
Car topping a super puma is very feasible, as a raft guide you should be used to pressing rafts least that how us east coast guides do it. However it will scratch the shit outa your paint...
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Old 01-27-2015   #7
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,466
I've had problems with Tribs used commercially. They are not Aire quality. I'd look at used hypalon for a Subaru fit. Because you're a raft guide you get a killer deal on Hyside and you probably have access to NRS wholesale pricing. Save a few hundred more and buy a new one at discount and have it for the rest of your life!
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Old 01-27-2015   #8
pocatello, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 471
I would find current wholesale pricing on trib closeouts through NRS hard to beat.
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Old 01-28-2015   #9
2kanzam's Avatar
Charleston, West Virginny
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 462
If I can put 3 people, all our camping gear, a camping frame, two 10ft single piece oars and a 14 foot urethane boat in a subaru legacy SEDAN (with a cargo carrier)'ll be fine in an outback, especially if you get a hypalon boat. If it's pvc or urethane just put a trailer hitch and a cargo carrier on the back of that thing and go.

Go for the biggest boat you can....but IMO we are on the downslope of the "good deals on rafts season". We are entering the "I have cabin fever and can't wait to buy a boat for spring season". I usually see the best deals nov to dec....especially right before xmas.
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Old 01-28-2015   #10
Washington, Washington, D.C.
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 18
I'm a big fan of my Super Puma. Everything fits (frame, oars, boat, gear) in the back of my 4runner and I've taken it on several multi-day trips including the Grand, Middle fork and main salmon.
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