The right raft? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 03-22-2010   #1
 
Wygal's Avatar
 
Star Valley, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 2010
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The right raft?

We are new to rafting and want to make the right purchase but there are so many options and opinions.

What we need is a raft for myself, small woman, taking out active but elderly mom, teenage daughter and 7 year old son. So weight is an issue, handles? We plan to do mostly scenic routes on the Snake in Jackson, Wyoming and then on the weekend we will have the husband to take us through lunch counter, the rope, Kahuna.

There are so many rafts, construction options, prices. Based on our needs, what is your recommendation for our family raft?

TIA and SYOTR

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Old 03-22-2010   #2
 
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Littleton, Colorado
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An aire super puma, or super duper puma would meet your needs nicely. There's a lot of used rafts on the market this time of year, if you keep an eye out you may be able to find one used for a significant savings.

Good luck with your search.
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Old 03-22-2010   #3
 
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Bayfield, Colorado
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14' self bailer vanguard package - Mountain Buzz Gear Swap
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Old 03-22-2010   #4
 
Bellevue, Washington
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I second the super or super duper puma. The 10 year warranty on AIREs can't be beat. A new boat would be a good choice if you know that you're going to stick with the sport. A used AIRE boat will still be great. They're very hard to kill. But I must say that if you find a great deal on another major brand you shouldn't shy away from it.

-one note- The super duper puma has 4 handles, while the super does not. There are T handles you can get that go on a D ring.
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Old 03-22-2010   #5
 
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Boulder, Colorado
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There are a lot of reputable raft manufacturers out there - Hyside, Avon, AIRE, Maravia, NRS, SOTAR are the first that come into my mind (there are others). A new boat from any of them would be a good choice - and frankly it would be hard to go wrong with these brands. You mentioned weight - which is directly related to size, but the size of a raft is also directly related to the size of the river (s) that you plan to run. The Snake runs from 2,000 cfs to 30,000 cfs. I haven't done much boating in your area but I think that most of the other rivers up there are significantly smaller.

The AIRE Pumas are great rafts and towards the lower weight end of the spectrum - but they are narrow boats. Narrow is great for lower volume and more technical rivers, but they are easier to flip, especially on high volume runs like the Snake. With your elderly mom, teenage daughter and 7 year old son you might be looking more towards an increased safety margin instead. That means a wider more traditional boat design.

Considering the size of the Snake I would recommend you look for 14-16 foot self bailing rafts. Given your passenger list I presume you are going to be rowing as your 7 year old and Mom probably aren't the strongest paddlers. If you live somewhere that you can store a trailer that will make your life a lot easier. A trailer with a roller on the back and a winch up front will let you keep your boat rigged and take full advantage of the ultra nice boat ramps on the Snake.
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Old 03-22-2010   #6
 
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Star Valley, Wyoming
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Thanks for all the quick replies. My family will the passengers and I just want them to have a good time and smile while I do the work, as much as I can for them.

Right now we are looking at a new Aire130R package and a Tributary 13 package. We are dealing with Canyon mountain sports in Idaho falls and I have checked online. Canyon has beat any online deals so far.

I am surprised that all the dealers I have checked so far feel that the tributary would be a great boat for our family. This weekend we are going over to see both boats and make our choice.

Again, thanks for your thoughts and suggestions. Snowboards being put away and time for a raft.
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Old 03-22-2010   #7
 
Bellevue, Washington
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Tributary boats aren't bad, but AIREs will last you longer. They're different qualities of the same design from the same company. The choice is going to depend on how much use you plan on getting out of the boat. If this is going to be something you plan on doing often for many years to come, the AIRE is a better choice.
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Old 03-22-2010   #8
 
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Golden, CO
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I think you will regret going with only a 13 footer. That is a small boat for what you want. I would say get at least a 14 ft boat and if you will be doing over nights trip with 4 or 5 people go with a 15 - 16 footer. That will give you plenty of room for gear and people. Also, the Snake has some big beefy wave at high water...you will want a large boat to plow through those holes without flipping.
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Old 03-22-2010   #9
 
Wygal's Avatar
 
Star Valley, Wyoming
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I have been asked by several dealer so I think it needs to be said, there will be no overnite trips. OH my, the kids, the mom, the boat, no overnights for us.

I asked the DH (dear husband) about even just camping at the campground on the river and his answer I must I agree with. "Why, we live 20 minutes away"

Our trips will just be scenic on the weekdays when DH is at work and then whitewater on the weekends. Because we value all our gear this purchase will be the same, we will lift the raft not drag it and try to make it last for years of smiles and fun for the entire family. I hope that rafting will the be the fun I remember.
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Old 03-22-2010   #10
 
Wygal's Avatar
 
Star Valley, Wyoming
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankC View Post
I think you will regret going with only a 13 footer. That is a small boat for what you want. I would say get at least a 14 ft boat and if you will be doing over nights trip with 4 or 5 people go with a 15 - 16 footer. That will give you plenty of room for gear and people. Also, the Snake has some big beefy wave at high water...you will want a large boat to plow through those holes without flipping.

Sorry, DH has already set down the law, no high water. He use to be in the SAR and was the one to do the recoveries with his search dog. The river doesn't have good memories for him as it does for me. No high water, ok, I am good with that. For now we are just going to build new memories of our family together and laughing. Now me, I am good with high water!!!
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