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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone! First post on here so i hope im posting in the right forum.
Ive been looking at aire's fleet of rafts and have come to a general conclusion that a 143R or 143D or super duper puma would be ideal for me. Maybe even a 156R or D... Just not 100% sure as this will be my first "big raft". So im hoping to get some thoughts from some seasoned rafters to help me pick the best suited raft for my needs so i dont end up regreting an expensive purchase. Im comfortable in class 3's and looking to work my way into the more thrilling class 4's & 5's. So heres what i plan on doing with the raft- Day runs doing paddle rafting with 2-4 (inexperienced) paddlers in front and me on the stern with oars or simply paddling w/out the oars. LONG camping/fishing trips down the john day & other rivers with a total of 2-5 people. & Solo camping/fishing trips. Ive been leaning towards the 143 or 156 D as it seems to be the middle between the super duper puma and "R" series. Should i move up to the 156 instead of the 143??? would the 156 be to big for what i want to do or just right? If i need to provide any more info, just let me know.
Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated!
 

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When you say long trips with 2-5 people, are these 2-5 people on their own boats, 2-5 on your boat, or a couple on your boat, but your raft is supporting all 2-5 people??? That will make a difference on size. If it's you and 1-2 others on your raft, and the rest in their own rafts with group gear slip up, then a 14 footer might be ok. A 14 footer will probably be a better paddle raft.

I have been shopping for a raft myself. I'll be switching from a 14 ft. cataraft to a regular raft. Since I'm usually solo on my boat with a rare passenger, my choice has been between 14 ft. and 13.5 ft. I'm trying to stay light & maneuverable. The majority of folks have advised me to go with the bigger raft. I've also been looking at diminishing tube rafts to gain some extra space in the raft, and for the handling aspects.

Over all, I'd say look at how you will use the raft the most and buy accordingly. If you will split time between paddle rafting, solo floats, and 1-2 passengers on occasion.....then go 14 footer. That would be my vote. As you have probably figured out, there's no one perfect boat.
 

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If you're going to paddle raft with 2-4 paddlers, and if you want to run smaller volume rivers, than definitely the smaller boat. I would go with the SDP. If you want to do multiday trips with 2-5 people on the boat and run larger volume rivers, then go with the 156D.
 

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Shapp
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We have an SDP, good for day paddling. Can paddle with 2, better with 3 to 5. Works great for multiday self support with 2 peeps and dog. Works good with 3 peeps if you pack lighter (more than backpack style but less than full on raft geek out multiday). Have done many trips with 2 peeps and dog for a week self support with SDP. And a few 3 person trips self support with the SDP. Did the lower salmon with 3 peeps and dog and all gear self support in the SDP no problem for 6 days this summer. If you want 3-4 or more for multiday and don't want to have to pack smart, get the 14R or 15D. It is really hard to take 5 people in 1 boat self support unless you go 18'. Who wants to row 5 peeps + gear anyway.

There is no single boat that paddles well with 2-3 people that also hauls 4 peeps with gear self support for multiday
 

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Boy Howdy!
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I have a 156 r its a big boat, i mean really big. I love it in big water and overnighters with the frame or going down with 6 people on a day trip. Wiith dogs, with the frame
 

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no tengo
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I have a 143R and used to use a 143D I would recommend the R it is no less capable and can carry standard coolers and dryboxes and a few extra things.
 

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If you want a mix between the SD Puma and the R series, I'd recommend the 143E over the D series.

More rocker, pointed bow punches bigger stuff nicely, the squared off stern is nice for paddle guiding, more forgiving than the D or R, and it performs great. Bigger than the SDP, big enough to fit 3-4 adults gear comfortably on a 5-7 day trips. I've been nothing but happy with mine. Any of the 156's are going to be a big step up in size from the SDP if you're R3ing. Doable in the 143. There's a reason that any company running Aire's on the Upper Animas are in the E series.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Alright so ive put some more thought and research into it & decided its either aire's 143 D or R series. Ill be rowing say a good 80% of the time, either solo or with one passenger on multiday Fishing trips down the john day and deschutes & other rivers here in oregon + montana. Class 3-4's. On seldom occasions, ill have two passengers on the raft, but mostly solo & one passenger trips . And on occasion would like to do some paddle rafting (class 3-4's) with three to five people + myself. Honestly it seems the R series would be better suited for what ive stated but it sounds like it would be a more exciting ride with the D series.. Then again maybe the 143R Would be a good start & later on get a super puma to start Filling out the "quiver".... Im driving myself insane if you cant tell.
 

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Shapp
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Ill be rowing say a good 80% of the time, either solo or with one passenger on multiday Fishing trips down the john day and deschutes & other rivers here in oregon + montana. Class 3-4's. On seldom occasions, ill have two passengers on the raft, but mostly solo & one passenger trips . And on occasion would like to do some paddle rafting (class 3-4's) with three to five people + myself
You have exactly described what I do with my Super Duper Puma. I live in Oregon as well and run all the same rivers you are probably looking with 1 passeger mostly on multiday and occasionally 2 passengers, with some day paddling: NF John Day, Mainstem John day, Lower Owyhee, Grande Ronde, Deschutes, Rogue for multiday (plus out of state stuff) and primarily McKenzie and NF Umpqua paddle rafting.

The other thing to keep in mind, if it really will be you plus 1 more person most of the time, the SDP is a hell of a lot lighter to pick up and move around with 2 people than either the 14D or 14R, and forget moving it round your self if you are a normal sized humanbeing. I can pick the SDP up my self and throw it in the truck and move around the yard when cleaning etc. Can't do that with a bigger boat.

There is 1 draw back for multiday with the SDP, to maximize space you will have to custom make a dry box to your specifications and hunting down a good cooler that exactly fits and maximizes cooler space. The old style Yeti 80 quart was the biggest/best that would fit the width of the SDP. Not sure what best cooler fits that width now.

NF John Day self support 1 passenger + dog:


Owyhee self support 1 passenger + dog:


Grande Ronde self support 1 passenger + dog:


Lower Salmon River self support 2 passengers +dog:


Lower Owyhee River self support 1 passenger + dog:
 

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I run a 156d aire on medium water I love it, 3 to 4 day trips with 3 to 4 people it is great. also some times just the wife and I the extra room is awesome. I run it on some skinny stuff later in the year and it performs wonderful. find a quality raft in your budget and make it work. I don't think I could go backwards in size of the boat, get a good trailer because they get heavy when loaded for a long trip. Best advice get a quality boat, and you won't be disappointed.
 

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I'm a sotar guy and just recently purchased a 14'6 sl that will be used for lower rogue trips as well as salmon and snake. I've outfitted it with a 3 bay frame to haul cooler dry box drop bag or dry box and 2 coolers. I will be rowing 100 percent of the time and be hauling 1 person plus the dog. I certainly would not go smaller than a 14 if 5-6 day trips. Not that a smaller boat can't handle it but because you start to become limited on space. The sotar factory is 5 minutes from my place so I didn't bother lookin at aire. They are great boats though.
 
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