Frame Setup Advice - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 01-02-2014   #1
 
Bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 21
Frame Setup Advice

Just got a new 14' Sotar SL Raft and am just beginning the process of designing the frame for it. I have some knowns and some unknowns and could use some help/advice on the unknowns.

Knowns:
- Going with an NRS frame because I like to tinker and set it up for different kinds of trips
- I don't mind rowing a heavy boat. Definitely not a minimalist when it comes to my raft trips.
- I know I want a four bay setup.

Unknowns:
-My initial thought is to go Drybox, Cooler, Rowing Space, Drybox (Front to back). I see that many people use drop bags with tables on top but that doesn't seem to save much money once you factor in the cost of the table. Is there an advantage to drop bags or is it just a good place to put your table?
- Oar Length. I'm 6 feet tall.
- Oar Mount Height
- Is there one accessory you like that I should consider?

I appreciate any advice you have the time to give.

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Old 01-02-2014   #2
 
River City, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 205
Quote:
Originally Posted by OregonWhitewater View Post
Just got a new 14' Sotar SL Raft and am just beginning the process of designing the frame for it. I have some knowns and some unknowns and could use some help/advice on the unknowns.

Knowns:
- Going with an NRS frame because I like to tinker and set it up for different kinds of trips
- I don't mind rowing a heavy boat. Definitely not a minimalist when it comes to my raft trips.
- I know I want a four bay setup.

Unknowns:
-My initial thought is to go Drybox, Cooler, Rowing Space, Drybox (Front to back). I see that many people use drop bags with tables on top but that doesn't seem to save much money once you factor in the cost of the table. Is there an advantage to drop bags or is it just a good place to put your table?
- Oar Length. I'm 6 feet tall.
- Oar Mount Height
- Is there one accessory you like that I should consider?

I appreciate any advice you have the time to give.
Advantages to front table and dropbag. Lower and wider front bench for increased and better passenger seating then a drybox. Great place to rig odd shaped and hard to rig items like chair, ammo cans, pumps, water jugs, firepan, etc. It keeps all that junk out of the back of your raft and seems to simplify rigging. Yes it is a also a great place to put your table. And the price for my table/drop bag combo was almost half that of the more expensive dryboxes. You could always get a low drybox and strap a table across it if you are comfortable with your passengers that high. The only reason I would personally buy a second (front) drybox is if I was running with a dedicated kitchen drybox.

I have 9' oars for my 14' raft and am about your height. They work fine, but I wouldn't recommend any shorter. How tall is your rower's seat drybox. If tall you may want longer oars.

I have 6" oar towers and work fine. Again if you're sitting taller or have longer oars you'll want taller towers.

The 2 pieces of gear I wouldn't leave without is a soft captain's bag. Great for holding pump, first aid, sunblock, straps, etc for really easy accessible storage.
The other is a combo foot bar and cross bar like AAA sells. http://www.aaainflatables.com/KICKBAR-p/f-aaa1cf.htm
Way better use of space then the individual NRS kickbar and cross bar. Especially if you're squeezing 4 bays into a 14' raft and want decent space in each end of the raft.
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Old 01-02-2014   #3
Jared
 
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Dundee, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 731
I have a 14' ST and run 9' oars. My towers are 6" and I'm 6'6" with a relatively short seat. I have 12" extensions, and I hate running them in any whitewater. I ended up using them on the Rogue for the last day below Tacoma just to make miles. I was loaded heavy (only gear boat) and did 6 miles in 1.5 hours on pretty flat, slow water.
I'd rather put in more strokes with shorter oars than widen my rig by almost 2 feet and wear out faster. I can pull on 9 foot oars all day long, like having lower gears in a vehicle. A longer oar does more to fatigue my muscles with the extra force required for every stroke. It's not that way for everybody I don't think, just me.
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Old 01-02-2014   #4
 
River City, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Also if you are going to be siting on a flip seat above your drybox you will probably want to go with longer oars and taller towers.
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Old 01-03-2014   #5
 
Missoula, Montana
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 60
I run 14', four bay and am 6' as well. Table and drop bag in the front for passenger seat. It's nice and low to the frame for a secure passenger seat. This also helps keep them out of my view as opposed to sitting on a taller drybox or cooler. Second bay is my drybox, third back is the rowers compartment, and in the rear is a yeti 120 that I sit on. I choose to sit on the cooler instead of the drybox because the cooler is wider so that gets my seat/oar towers closer to boat center. I am able to run with my oar towers only 2" behind dead center of the boat.

The table/dropbag is also nice because you have secure storage for odd shaped or hard edged things to go inside. I have also found that milk crates fit perfectly in my drop bag and I usually fill them with cans of beer. This helps get weight forward as well. Hope that helps.
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Old 01-03-2014   #6
 
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Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,344
I will be repurposing my cat frame for my 14SL. I have two dry boxes and a cooler, so I'll be going 4 bay. My dry boxes are 16 wide and 14 wide (front to back). I'll row from the 16 inch box, and put the 14 & the cooler up front. I row solo a lot, so passenger seating it's as much of a priority to me. Other folks in my group have the kitchen tables, so I don't need to carry one. I'm always the dutch oven, fire pan, and tarp person in my group, so I like having the extra dry box space for those things. The second dry box also gives more soda pop/beer carrying space. Since I row solo a lot, I'll be rigging my gear pile in front of me, so I want to be really organized and keep that pile low.

My cat was 82 inches wide with my 66 NRS frame and I ran 9.5 oars with 10 inch tall towers. Worked perfectly. My rafting buddy rows an 84 wide raft & uses 9.5 oars. The 14SL will be 84 wide, so the oars will work great. On the raft I'll be rowing from the dry box, but I do still have my AAA flip seat bracket that I can switch to if I really want my seat back. So I'll still want the taller oar towers. On the subject of NRS oar towers...... I bought my 10 inch tall towers last season for my smaller raft (used AAA type on the cat), and when I recently looked for them on the NRS website I couldn't find them. I emailed NRS to ask what was up, and they told me that they are reworking them a bit and they'll be back on the website soon. Whew !!!! I like them a bit better than the AAA type.

As for "must have" items on the boat. Like OregonRafter above, I much prefer my AAA foot bar/cross bar over the NRS standard foot bar. Much better use of space & more foot positions to brace. I like having a soft captain's bag in the rower space for easy to get to stuff (snacks, sunscreen, first aid, rain gear, extra layers, etc.). I'm also going to order a frame bag from Jan that I'll hang from the cross bar behind me to have a place to stash my k-pump top off pump, and maybe my sand stake & hammer. I noticed last year that everyone wants to use my top off pump at the last minute every morning, so I want a quick place to stash it that's easy to get to. I don't think I'll do side boards, at least not at first. I'm trying to keep my frame simple and lighter weight. I will attach a small side board just to the right of my rowing position to be able to strap down my Pelican case with my camera. I also need to figure out some kind of "boat cam" mount for my Kodak Playsport camcorder. On the cat, I only had the cooler in front of me, so it was easy to secure a small tripod mount under the cooler straps. I may have to bite the bullet and get a Go Pro helmet cam?????

have fun rigging your boat and post up some pics so we can live vicariously through you until spring.
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Old 01-03-2014   #7
 
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
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Couple of things to consider- Weight out at the ends of the boat make it less willing to pivot. Keep that in mind as you consider where your load will end up and what those elements weigh.

Another thing that I've learned the hard way (loss of feeling in my lower leg)- is hard surfaces surrounding yourself and your passengers. I hit my shin on a frame crossbar and killed the nerve. I now pad those areas that I'm likely to slam into- and pay attention to a "clean" landing area. Sharp corners, hard edges.... keep that stuff in your head as you're making choices. I see a lot of "designs" on here that make me shake my head after my experience with hard corners. Don't invite injury with an oversight like mine.
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Old 01-03-2014   #8
 
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Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Osseous View Post
Couple of things to consider- Weight out at the ends of the boat make it less willing to pivot. Keep that in mind as you consider where your load will end up and what those elements weigh.

Another thing that I've learned the hard way (loss of feeling in my lower leg)- is hard surfaces surrounding yourself and your passengers. I hit my shin on a frame crossbar and killed the nerve. I now pad those areas that I'm likely to slam into- and pay attention to a "clean" landing area. Sharp corners, hard edges.... keep that stuff in your head as you're making choices. I see a lot of "designs" on here that make me shake my head after my experience with hard corners. Don't invite injury with an oversight like mine.
Good info about padding things. I have whacked a cross bar before. This is why I want soft captain's bags in my rower space instead of hard boxes. Perhaps some padding on the cross bar in front of me ???

I did pretty well on my 12 ft. raft with load balance (pics). I'm hoping to have mostly dry bags in the cargo area, with heavier items in the dry boxes. Luckily I have short legs, so my rower space is only 19 inches. I have my total frame length figured at 80 inches, with a 90 inch flat area on the 14SL. It took a little time to figure out weight distribution on my cat, so I'll be starting again with a raft. I know that when I'm solo and have gear in front of me, I don't want a big lump to see over.
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Old 01-04-2014   #9
 
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1974
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Lots of good info here. I'm just a little ahead of where you are with a new 16' Hyside build. I learned a lot reading through the raft porn thread.
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Old 01-04-2014   #10
 
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 139
Hi Catacraft girl,

Are your oar rights the convertible kind, and how do you like them?
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