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Frame Width for Aire Lion 16'

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Hey Folks! Picking up an Aire Lion 16' this spring. Dreaming about the frame... To anyone who has one, how wide is the actual storage between tubes? Not the total width of the frame, but the width into which one can cram coolers, dry boxes, drop box, rocket boxes, water containers, etc.? I'm thinking of going as big as 44", but am a bit worried that might make for too much girth. The NRS Fat Cat frame is at 37", but I don't think that'll do what I want. What's the use of them big tubes if I can't carry a lot of stuff? Advice from the more experienced--which is to say all of you--would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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What T.O.Mac said. Figure out your gear first, THEN build the frame to your gear and needs.

The cooler/dry box/5 rocket box length will be your determining frame width parameter. If you need a mega cooler it has to fit in the frame. A frame with adjustable bay width is helpful but you can't change the bay length.

The frame for my 18' cat is 42" between the tubes and this is fine for a big boat that doesn't get wet on smaller rivers. 44" would have been OK for this boat and what it is used for.

If you are keeping your round boat and want to use the same oars without fiddling with them as you change rigs, you should shoot for similar width and height of oar locks on both boats.

Keep in mind that even with large diameter tubes, cats shouldn't be overloaded and will handle better if the frame doesn't extend too far toward the end of the tubes.

Enjoy your planning. That is fun.
 

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Doug,

Take Georon's comments about a modular frame design to heart as you ponder your options. Having a core module with rower's bay that you can use when you don't need to be hauling a ton, plus trailer bay(s) for when you do allows you to optimize your frame configuration for any given trip. This is a great option and as stated running with a shorter core frame isn't a problem with stiff tubes. And running with a smaller frame when you can makes loading/unloading on a trailer or rigging/derigging an easier process. Food for thought.
 
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