Vanguard Experience? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-19-2018   #1
sethlor's Avatar
Steamboat, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 11
Vanguard Experience?

River Rats!

Please give me your stories and insight about Vanguard rafts. I've been talking with them and I like what I see but I've never used one.

I'm looking for a durable boat to float all kinds of water.



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Old 07-19-2018   #2
McCall, Idaho
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 29
Bomber. I love my Vanguard!
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Old 07-19-2018   #3
Osprey's Avatar
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 779
Great value boat. Pretty popular here in CO for fisherman and commercials. Iíve had mine since about 2006. Zero patches or problems. I switch my frame between fishing and multiday trips. Taken it all over on the trailer. Really no complaints. Holly is local so if you have any problems they get taken care of. I had a manufacturing defect on the first one I bought back then, she had me take it over to Inflatable Tech here in Denver, he checked it out and they sent me a new boat in like two days.

Pros: Durable, cheap, floor gets nice and hard to stand on for fishing, floor is thick which ads buoyancy = low draft for shallow water.

Cons: heavy, a bit stiff to roll, for some reason itís just a slow boat. Probably that low draft. Anytime Iím on a multiday with other boats Iím always lagging behind no matter how much I row. Of course this is a pro when it comes time to fish Also, for multiday trips since the tubes are a bit smaller and the floor is so thick, cuts down a bit on the cargo capacity, or it sticks up higher. The flip side of that is a wetter ride for those in the front, again could be a pro that way.

Overall been a super solid boat.
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Old 07-19-2018   #4
summit, Colorado
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 250
We had one for about 10 years before we finally upgraded to a Hyside. Only problem we ever had with it that an I beam seam in the floor blew out after about 9 years. Took it to Zach in Denver and he fixed it up no problem for a reasonable price. If you fish, I highly recommend them - they have the stiffest floor of any boat out there. As for handling whitewater, ours did pretty much everything except the Grand (just because it was a 14 footer and we wanted bigger). It did the MF of the Salmon, Deso, Lodore, Westwater, Northgate, and too many trips down the Ark and the Upper C to count. Great boat - would highly recommend for the price!
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Old 07-19-2018   #5
The Mogur's Avatar
Oregon City, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1972
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 497
I've had my Vanguard 16' (Venture Series) raft for eleven years. During that time, we've made two Grand Canyon runs, two Rogue trips, three Lower Salmon trips, two Hells Canyon trips, two Main Salmon trips and a Grande Ronde trip. The boat has performed magnificently. I tend to load it heavily, but it is agile and sturdy.
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Old 07-19-2018   #6
Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 126
Take a look at RMR as well!
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Old 07-20-2018   #7
Panama Red's Avatar
glenwierd, Co.
Paddling Since: 05'
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 276
Saturns are great too.
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Old 07-20-2018   #8
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,776
I've had my 14' VG since 2004 and generally agree with all that's above, except that I DID take mine on the Grand, and it was a blast. The only failure is that the handles degraded and we have to use the chicken line now to load the boat. I expect they've fixed the handle issue by now. Holly was awesome to deal with when they were working out some kinks with the earlier model and my understanding is she does a great job with the company.

I'll also second the RMR sentiments. It seems like RMR is a very comparable boat in quality to VG.

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 07-20-2018   #9
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 110
My first boat was a 14' Vanguard.
I'd agree with everything Osprey stated. In addition, I was always impressed how well it tracked. I think the way they did their floor really helps there.

Holly who owns it is a great person too. There's something about buying local and knowing the owner. I wouldn't hesitate to buy one if I were you.
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Old 07-20-2018   #10
athelake's Avatar
Newman Lake, Washington
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 167
When my Vanguard lost a handle, I emailed them and they sent me two new ones for free!
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