Kayaker turned family man turned soft boater - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 06-19-2015   #1
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Weld county, Colorado
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Kayaker turned family man turned soft boater

Well babies got me to sell my small boats. It's gonna be time to buy a family raft soon. I'll be rowing for the first years so I've been trying to research rafts. I've been looking at nrs otters mainly because they are light, somewhat affordable and still rubber. I weld aluminum at work all the time and figure I'll make the frame there. Am I pipe dreaming right now thinking this would be a good family boat? Should I really be looking at a outfitter series? I live in Colorado so I'd like a boat that can run low and high water 13ft 14 ft range. If anyone could recommend any other boats I have about a year still before this is a reality so I got time to save up a it too.

Gonna be allot of flat water trips or the first couple years. Gotta go nap time is over!

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Old 06-19-2015   #2
 
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Otter is a fine boat. If you will be out boating every weekend then maybe step up to a outfitter series. I would not go with the 13. You get way more boat with a 14 and it really isn't that much bigger.

Say for a "Family boat??" Thats your call. Little ones are tricky and swimming in moving water can be challenging for little ones. Just keep the boat up right and you will be good. I would make sure your kids are strong swimmers b4 I'd take them in a potential flipping situation.
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Old 06-19-2015   #3
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Weld county, Colorado
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Yeah it's gonna be years before we run anything bigger than the milk run. Even Browns is a few years away, momma says so
I was kinda thinking about 14' 2 kids come with allot of baggage. 40lb kid has 120lbs of gear you need to take with
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Old 06-19-2015   #4
 
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Northern Utah, Utah
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Go smaller....

If you'll mainly be doing day runs the first few years you may want to consider a smaller sized raft for several reasons:

1. Small rafts are lots of fun
2. Small rafts are easier than big ones to handle (roll/haul/load/etc) - can be done with 1-2 people vs. 3-4.
3. Small kids fit fine in smaller rafts
4. Oar frames for small rafts are also easier to handle/haul/load than big frames.
5. Small rafts are easier to throw on top of a car for quick shuttle (Poudre).

I've had a 10' NRS Otter for the last seven or eight years and it's been great for taking the kids down Filter, Milk Run, Browns, various sections on the Poudre and even bigger water (Snake, Salmon, etc). I can haul it around myself when rolled and when inflated. When the kids were small I'd mainly run it with a frame/oars and now that their bigger it's a blast to run as a paddle raft.

I recently acquired a 14' raft and so far the 10' still gets the most use by far.
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Old 06-19-2015   #5
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Weld county, Colorado
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Well you got a good point. It's not like I'm bringing their bikes. We are talking about day trips. Would the small boat be stable enough so my wife won't worry she used to kayak but ever since our first she has kinda become chicken.
I sure hope this site is anonymous so she don't see that comment
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Old 06-19-2015   #6
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Historic Montrose, Colorado
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Biggest shock for me going from small boats to big family situations is dad is generally responsible for all rigging and derigging. I bought a big boat with a big frame and big coolers thinking bigger is better.

Now after I've unloaded and rigged, I'm pretty wiped out.
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Old 06-19-2015   #7
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Bellevue, Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCo View Post
I sure hope this site is anonymous so she don't see that comment
You are screwed. If I even say something outloud ever - my wife knows somehow. Might as well print that shit out and paste it to my forehead. They know.
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Originally Posted by Flaco View Post
Biggest shock for me going from small boats to big family situations is dad is generally responsible for all rigging and derigging.
Yeah, my wife can knock out breakfast and lunch in about 20 minutes at home. If I am derigging it takes her an hour to make 2 pbjs for the kids to eat in the car ride.

Now I am screwed.
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Old 06-19-2015   #8
 
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Belgrade, Montana
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Personally I think any quality boat will do, 12-14'. Otters are great, RMR, Tributaries, all will get you in fairly cheaply and will probably out live your use for them.

As far as rigging goes, get a trailer if you have space at home, then rigging is not an issue. From my experience its best to keep things moving. Spend as little time rigging as possible once the kiddo(s) are involved. It'll make mom happier as well as yourself. While it's true dad gets to rig, mom gets to deal with diapers, feeding, crying and worrying about them falling in...

I just know that once it was time to go, it was time to go!! and I was always very thankful for the trailer. We could be off the water and in the truck in about 10 minutes if need be. Always run the shuttle before or pay for one. Everyone will relax with experience.

With that said, we had both our boys on the water within their first month. Easy, short trips. We rigged a car seat to the front bench and an umbrella for mom and the kids, everyone was happy.

I know the water we floated very well and knew there were no issues - it's simply riffle-pool water where the river is rarely over waste deep and pretty slow so I was not slightly worried about flipping, or even getting wet for that matter.

I started with 12'er, went 13 pre-kids and up to 15 when the boys turned 3 and 5. If you stick with it and get into overnighters you'll need to go bigger than 13 at some point. 12 - 13 is fine for day trips but they fill up really, really fast on overnighters with kids. My youngest learned to walk on an overnighter - just some great experiences with them on the river from day 1. Go when your comfortable but don't wait for everything to be perfect - it never will.

We have some folks we used to float with that had kids the same time we did. They didn't get them out for the first two years and now it's a shit show every time they try. My boys know what to expect and look forward to every trip, its so much easier for us and I think most of it's that we started early and acclimated all of us to the process.

OK, I'll hop of the soap box...

Enjoy whatever you get. Just get something and get out there.
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Old 06-19-2015   #9
 
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Yeah, my wife can knock out breakfast and lunch in about 20 minutes at home. If I am derigging it takes her an hour to make 2 pbjs for the kids to eat in the car ride.

Now I am screwed.
That's funny - I never put those two together but it's totally true! Damn sand bagging females.

Sometimes it's a pain to have a computer illiterate wife, other times it's real nice
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Old 06-19-2015   #10
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Weld county, Colorado
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Carvedog your right, my wife whips up food and diapers like nothing, makes me kinda feel like rainman getting my little girl in a diaper. If you ask her how long it took she'd tell you all day...thanks for the encouragement elkhaven and I think your right a trailer is key, it already takes me 5times as long to do anything with 2 kids running around and that's at home. Preparation is key.

My youngest is at the helping stage. She wants to help put things away which usually means we will not find whatever she touches for at least 3 months. My tv remote has been missing since March lol. Can't imagine having this at the put in.
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