Saturn Rafts - Mountain Buzz

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Old 04-28-2013   #1
Steamboat springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 15
Saturn Rafts

Costco in Gypsum is apparently selling these things super cheap. Are these rafts any good?

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Old 04-28-2013   #2
Albany, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 46
They're junk. One of the best examples of "you get what you pay for".
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Old 04-28-2013   #3
Albany, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 46
What are they asking for them? If you're just looking to get into a boat for really cheap, then the RMR's are probably your best bet.
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Old 04-28-2013   #4
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,770
Didn't take long for the first response, eh?

mcphats - I don't know what your experience with rafts is, but I'll assume you're looking for something to get into the pastime with and don't know much about rafts. Bear in mind you'll get a lot of answers here from folks that run Class III - IV+ water and who demand a lot of their boats.

Like a lot of things, it depends on what you want to do with it. If you're strapped for money and all you want is to get the family or fishing buds out some Class II splishy splashy water, a Saturn's probably adequate for the job.

I don't know about recent models but the earlier versions were really sketchy. Folks took them out on some real whitewater where they performed above the "pool toy" category. I've seen them run Brown's Canyon on the Ark and there are some folks on the Buzz that have been running them for a few years.

Saturn's made improvements over the years and the reputation is probably worse than the actual boats are nowadays, but that ain't saying much. I've had a raft repair man who had worked on a few tell me that once they start to rip, they just keep on going due to the flimsy material they're made with.

If you're looking for something that's one step up from vinyl pool toys (Sevylor, Fish Hunter, etc.) then a Saturn may work for you. If you want one less major thing to worry about when you launch on a rocky Class IV wilderness multiday, keep saving your money and look for a used raft made by a company listed here or any number of other of the established quality manufacturers.

Good luck finding what you need,

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 04-28-2013   #5
ReillRaft's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 20
We have 2. They are fine for class III water, even some tamer IV.
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Old 04-28-2013   #6
Scottsdale, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 48
I bought one 3 years ago and it is still holding up. I knew I was buying a cheaper raft but it was all I could afford at the time and I was able to get on the water for under 2000 with a frame. I hate the valves in it but they put in leafield in the newer models. I live in AZ so it has many trips on the Verde and Salt and 2 trips down the Salt river canyon. You do get what you pay for but you will get some good use out of it.
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Old 04-28-2013   #7
Fraser, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 90
I Bought a Saturn Raft in March of 2009. I have taken it for about 40 runs down the Upper C, 25 runs on the Flaming Gorge. half a dozen other daily trips. Twice on Lodore, once on the Yampa. Once down Westwater and once down the Middle Fork of the Salmon. I hate the valves and thier location. of course I would prefer a Hyside. Maybe the Saturn will fall apart this summer. Other than that, it has been a great. Ultimately I will buy another boat and my Saturn will be my "guest boat" if it does not fall apart first...
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Old 04-28-2013   #8
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Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 198
I have a 13 ft Saturn bought in 2010 and it's great, for the most part. Only have about 10 river days with it but it's handled Class III just fine. Wanted something new and cheap and Saturn fit the bill. When I have some more money I'll definitely upgrade but this is perfect for the time. I second the complaint on the valves (they sucks) but it's not a huge deal usually.
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Old 04-29-2013   #9
Eagle, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 52
I have a 13' Saturn the boat is going into it's fourth season. It's been down the upper C 30+ times, floated the San Juan twice (3rd time coming in 2 weeks), the Roaring Fork a few times(Carbondale down), Shoshone 5 or 6 times, the Eagle river a few times, and the lower Colorado 30+ times. I've abused the boat plenty but it has held up remarkably well. I clean it once in awhile and 303 it 2-3 times a season. Sure it has some design flaws, the toe "cups" are a joke, the valves are awful and in a terrible location and the floor drains a little slow but for me it's been a great purchase. I saw the new Saturns at Costco and they have moved the valves and upgraded to leafield, definitely nicer. Like others said before depends on what you're after. If you plan on running class IV and V all day probably not the boat for you, if you like to be on tamer water and money is scarce, I think the Saturn is a decent buy.
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Old 04-29-2013   #10
Prattville, Alabama
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 60
I have had good service from mine.

.We have had a 13' self bailer since 2006-2007 and had no issues. In fact just bought a set of Saturn Cataraft tubes. I always keep the Saturn inflated so no problems with folds and etc. I was not aware you could buy there rafts at Costco, we bought the raft from the importer in FL and the Catarat from dealer in ID. The dealer in ID is great and is also a NRS dealer. Our 13' has been down Westwater, New river in WV and the Gauley in WV. I will tell you though the price differece now between a "quality" boat and a Saturn is not what it use to be. Even "Cheap" Chineese boats are not that cheap anymore. I think the rafts are great for starting out and will provide you lots of fun for you and your family. The new models have a better valve position and more d rings. Next time you see someone on the river paddling one ask their opinion . Thats what I did before buying one, and I have pushed at least eight other people toward these boats who were short on funds and never heard anything negative. I think it maybe like Hyundai and Kia autos, they were once junk now top line cars. I would check the web site and make sure the on at Costco is the one you want because they make many models.
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