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Discussion Starter #1
So I've pretty much decided to go with a raft over a JPW Royal Flush cat. I'm curious if a 15' boat is too much to own in Colorado for a single boat household. I'd like a boat that I can day run in the state with but also support multi-day deso-gray type trips with 3-4 people. I'm also drawn to the diminishing tube concept as I like the wave punching ability and more spirited ride for the passengers. This will be my first non-kayak.

Boats I'm considering:

Diminishing:
Sotar SL 15' x 7'4", 23"-16" tubes, 16" rise
Maravia Zephyr 15' x 7', 21"-16" tubes, 16" rise
NRS E-152 Cheyenne 15'2" x 7', 20"-18" tubes, 11" rise

Non-diminishing:
Sotar ST 15' x 7', 21" tubes, 12" rise
Maravia Williwaw 1.5 15' x 7', 21" tubes, 12" rise
NRS E-150 15' x 7', 20" tubes, 9" Rise
Hyside Pro 14.8 14'9" x 6'4", 20" tubes, 10" rise
Hyside Pro 15 15' x 7', 21" tubes, 11" rise

Thanks!
 

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Maravia Willys rock. My rafting buddy has a Willy 1.5 and a Willy 2. Loves them. Can't go wrong with Maravia products.
 

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I had a 14' Maravia and now row a 15' Sotar ST. I am still surprised by how similiar they feel on the water with respect to maneuverability, and size yet the ST holds more gear easily. I would take either boat down the same rivers (CO, Ark, Blue etc...) at boatable flows.
 

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3-4 people on a 15' raft for multidays is going to be way (imo) too tight. If you go diminishing tubes you'll sacrifice flotation, and thus boat capacity/handling when heavily loaded. I don't know about a 16' boat in co, but I think that is what is needed for 3-4 people multidays
 

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I have a 14' raft that's great for the yampa green and colorado but I'd really like something smaller for day trips on the ark clear creek poudre &c
 

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There was a similar thread just last week about 15ft. VS 16 ft. rafts in Co.
Go to forums.....click on Gear Talk.....look for the "Compare Aire 156D vs Aire Trib 16.0 SB" thread. A little different boat brands, but similar questions & info.
As others have pointed out, there may not be "a perfect boat" for every situation. That's why I just added another boat to my fleet. Good luck with your search.
KJ
 

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Discussion Starter #8
sounds like you need two boats a 13 footer and a 16 footer, self-bailing for sure.
Thought about doing two RMRs but would have to store two and need to deal with multiple frames, oars, configs. Really want to stick to one for now. Was really hoping a 15' would work around here as I'd rather spend the $$$ on one all-around high quality boat set-up.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Add in the Maravia Cyclone. 15' x 7', diminished front 21"-16" with non-diminished rear.

Party up front, business in the back.
 

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My 14' easily carries 3 peeps including myself, for 7 day trips with plenty of group gear. 4 would be pushing it. A 15-15'6" should work well.
 

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My 14' easily carries 3 peeps including myself, for 7 day trips with plenty of group gear. 4 would be pushing it. A 15-15'6" should work well.
I´m on board for this opinion as far as the capacity of people on a raft on a multi day. The biggest difference in boats from 14´- 15´- 16´ lengths is... the length, most boats will be the same width (or within 6"-10"). Hence the longer the boat, the more space for gear. Not necessarily more space for passengers to enjoy.
 

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Are you aware that passengers bring gear too? Food, clothes, groover space, etc. i disagree that the size difference isn't much different. Tubes get larger so weight capacity improves which improves handling to not be max'd out. We take the 2 of us and 2 dogs and I wish we had a 15'. But, I don't like a huge stack of gear like some people seem to be fine with. More length means bigger bays for room to rig gear below tubes.
 

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Are you aware that passengers bring gear too? Food, clothes, groover space, etc. i disagree that the size difference isn't much different. Tubes get larger so weight capacity improves which improves handling to not be max'd out. We take the 2 of us and 2 dogs and I wish we had a 15'. But, I don't like a huge stack of gear like some people seem to be fine with. More length means bigger bays for room to rig gear below tubes.
I'm only speaking from my own personal experiences. I'm pretty sure we're all very aware that passengers bring gear, especially on overnight trips. I do not know what breed of dogs you have, nor how many dry bags they each pack. I completely agree that tube size and larger bays can make a big difference as well. After saying this, all I know is my 14' Sotar is more than adequate for three on multi day trips-- we've not had any issues on several.

I'm very confident that if I had 3 passengers instead of 2, my needs would be more than met on a 15'-15.6" raft for 95% of the rivers I do and have run. The exceptions would be multi-week trips in Alaska and the Grand Canyon. Even on those trips, I could do it--just a bit more cramped.
 

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Ah, my crass humor didn't seem to come through. I was just hassling you... I forgot to use the sarcastica font....

I think we bring up a good point, how much gear do you bring, that dictates a lot. How light/compact do you pack food? We are not light packers, and don't go backpacker style at all, but we also don't take some of the gear-pig-raft style stuff. The dogs are goldens, weigh about 65 lbs each, and they usually have a small drybag of stuff (towels are really nice camping with wet goldens) plus food. We keep the front two bays level and clear, not puling things in top of the frame. Where are your trips? Do you have to pack for cold and hot? Lots of beverages? If you want to stick with a smaller boat you surely can, and just know that you will be more constrained.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for all the replies. I guess the biggest question is, how big can I go in Colorado is a 15' or 15'6" x 7' boat too much here. I really don't know. Sounds like the outfitters run 16s down Browns Canyon but I'm no pro outfitter by any means.

On the multi days, I could always brink an IK to get some space reprieve on the raft. Darn, 16' sounds perfect, just not for the day runs around home.


I'd love any pics of your 14s or 15s rigged for multi-day. I find a lot of pics on here but not a lot that have context as to the size of the boat.
 

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Ah, my crass humor didn't seem to come through. I was just hassling you... I forgot to use the sarcastica font....

I think we bring up a good point, how much gear do you bring, that dictates a lot. How light/compact do you pack food? We are not light packers, and don't go backpacker style at all, but we also don't take some of the gear-pig-raft style stuff. The dogs are goldens, weigh about 65 lbs each, and they usually have a small drybag of stuff (towels are really nice camping with wet goldens) plus food. We keep the front two bays level and clear, not puling things in top of the frame. Where are your trips? Do you have to pack for cold and hot? Lots of beverages? If you want to stick with a smaller boat you surely can, and just know that you will be more constrained.
I'm the king of smartasses I've been told by dumbasses in many states. It's about perspective right? <time to add--joke, smiley face>.

The trips I do are diverse-- from classic Idaho trips, to Alaska, to Colorado and the southwest, back up to Oregon and so on. In August were renting our gear for an 16 day GC trip. Like I said, our 14' will do 95% or more of our family trips with absolutely no constraints--believe me, I've owned plenty of boats over the last 25 years.

If this debate had come up 3-4 years ago, I might have agreed with you. After 4 years with this boat--all I can say is it works great.
 

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I'll post a photo or two tomorrow. I probably just need to learn to pack lighter, less crap to haul up and down every day.
 

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I don't know your rivers, but, if you are thinking multidays, you will never regret going a little bigger. You may regret going too small. given the same weight, the bigger boat will handle better. Just get a little narrower profile boat, and 1-1.5ft length different won't make a huge difference. I just moved up to AIRE 156D from a 12', but, my family of 6 justified it. Even if I were taking 2-3 at a time, I would've still gone with at least 15'.
 

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As a Colorado boater I think the positives of a slightly bigger boat outweight the negatives of a bigger boat. I don't think you would have to not go on any short day trips because of the longer boat. You'll be able to get that thing down the river. I never would have imagined 14 footers could make it thru supermax (V) on Bailey (400 cfs steep creek), but several did at Bailey fest this year. Get the bigger boat you won't regret it.
 

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Scott

I run my 16' raft on all the day runs in CO. I both row and paddle my boats. The extra foot will be welcome on multi day trips.

Rob
 
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