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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, my husband and I are looking at getting a bimini top for our raft now that we have a toddler on the boat with us. I've looked at the River Sombrero's but I'd like to see if there's a cheaper (but still bomber) option out there. Has anyone had luck with a bimini they rigged to fit their raft? Where did you buy the bimini and how did you attach it to your boat? We don't have a deck so we'll be mounting straight to the frame. Sombrero sells mounting kits that appear to work with any type of bimini, not just theirs, but maybe I'm mistaken. Thoughts? Opinions? Suggestions? Thanks!

We'll probably only be doing float trips for a few years if that makes a difference in your recommendation...
 

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i'll throw this out there just to spite the poverty boaters thread. i bought this bimini on ebay for $128 shipped. easy to assemble. bomb proof in wind. great coverage. it can also fold down completely flat on the frame.



 

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What's up with those 'poverty landfill coolers? Is that a portable meth lab in the cargo trailer next door? Lol!

Nice rig dude!

colorado_steve;369788]i'll throw this out there just to spite the poverty boaters thread. i bought this bimini on ebay for $128 shipped. easy to assemble. bomb proof in wind. great coverage. it can also fold down completely flat on the frame.







[/QUOTE]





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Cabelas has a lots of tops. 3 grades of fabric. Smaller Biminis have just 2 attachment points. I think the top pictured previously has 4 attachment points. Standard widths are 66" and 72". Downstream, Russ
 

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Here's my old rig and mount...

2011-07-21_19-01-34_378.jpg

Turned out that the bimini was too low (no view) so I took the wood blocks off and straped them to ammo cans that were strapped to the frame... I made another set (no pics) that were simply nrs fittings and pipe with a wood block attached to the top (these were used to get extra height to the 46" bimini). Worked OK but the wood broke eventually.

My new bimini came from here: Motorcycle Covers, Boat Fenders items in North East Harbor store on eBay!

$140 - It's been great. 25 trips, including 5 rainy days in Oregon. Holding up great. Here it is folded on my boat from above...



It's 8' long 4 bow, 76" wide and 54" tall. Just make sure the rails fit between your oar locks so it will fold all the way down and figure out how to drop it with your gear pile if using on overnighters...
 

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Hi elkhaven, what size is your Sotar, and does the gear pile in the back make for easy access to fold up/down?

Nice rig btw.


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Thanks, Its a 15'er. It takes a unique packing arrangement to get it down with the rails below the oarlocks. That trip I also wanted to keep the back seat operable so I strapped drybags onto the back bench leaving room for the bimini, then made another pile behind that. It was kind of a PIA, when I get my DIY bimini sliders to work better I'll probably slide it right up against the drybox and build the gear pile behind it, leaving a space between rower and gear pile for the top to lay. It can't go forward unless I want it under the boat...as a really big sea anchor :)...
 

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I went the eBay Bimini way as well.
4 Bow, 54" H x 8' L x 73"-80" W.
Plenty of height to stand under.
Changed out all the nylon fittings with stainless steel.
Not sure if you can zoom in on the photo but I used stainless hose clamps to attach it to the frame.
 

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I bought from "elitemotoronline" ebay store. $184. 4 bow, 8ft long, 67-72" wide. The construction and cover quality are great.
I also bought the River Sombrero 36" sliding rails....these are priceless and mandatory to get over a big gear pile, move with the sun and add shade from bow to stern.

Go 4 bow, get the sliding rails (i mounted mine to thin pieces of wood that have cam straps, you could mount this anywhere along your frame) attached image does not have sliding rails installed yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Excuse my ignorance, but...

What makes it 3 bow vs 4 bow? My brain just isn't able to figure it out.

Also, I've seen people refer to changing out the nylon fittings for stainless steel several times. Which fittings are you referring to?

Thanks!
 

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3 bow = 6', 4 bow = 8' typically.... it's the number of bows holding the cloth part up...

The fittings are the pieces that hold the bows together and mount it to the deck.

I wouldn't change all the fittings right off. My old bimini was 20+ years old, used it 5 years on the raft and one finally broke towards the end (obviously had nylon fittings). Just buy a couple spares (might as well be SS) for the patch kit just in case. I'm sure others have valid reasons but I'll wait to replace mine until (probably if) they ever need it. I would probably change the deck mount fitting to a SS. When convenient, then keep the nylon ones as spares
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Gotcha! Thanks. That helps.

We currently have a 13 foot boat, but will probably upgrade to 15-16' in a couple of years. I'm guessing a bimini fit for our 13er won't fit a 16er. I guess we'll just have to do this all over again when we get a bigger boat.

I'm trying to decide it it's even worth it for the 13er at the moment. We have a few large umbrellas that we can rig up and we'll only be doing 2-nighters on things like RHT for a while. The umbrellas might be all we need in the meantime...

3 bow = 6', 4 bow = 8' typically.... it's the number of bows holding the cloth part up...

The fittings are the pieces that hold the bows together and mount it to the deck.

I wouldn't change all the fittings right off. My old bimini was 20+ years old, used it 5 years on the raft and one finally broke towards the end (obviously had nylon fittings). Just buy a couple spares (might as well be SS) for the patch kit just in case. I'm sure others have valid reasons but I'll wait to replace mine until (probably if) they ever need it. I would probably change the deck mount fitting to a SS. When convenient, then keep the nylon ones as spares
 

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You could get one that worked for both, but it would likely run on the narrow side for the bigger boat... I imagine it would simply add sellability to your current boat down the road and you won't be into that much $...

I know you couldn't pay me to go back to umbrella's, but that's really up to you.

One big T-storm cloud burst thingy with slushy rain when your friends are running for shelter while you sip cocktails and the kids nap will make it all worth while... For us that can be a frequent summer event. I don't even leave it at home for fishing trips any more. Over the 4th we got hit with a T-storm while in camp. Half of us were sitting under the bimini, while on the trailer... no going back for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
That's a good point about the sell-ability. I hadn't considered that.

You could get one that worked for both, but it would likely run on the narrow side for the bigger boat... I imagine it would simply add sellability to your current boat down the road and you won't be into that much $...
.
 
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