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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, T.O. How big are your tubes? And are you happy with the 42"? My round boat is 41" of space. I'd like to be able to carry 5 rocket boxes across the front of my new boat. 99% I'm going with DRE--their stuff is the bomb--and 100% a five-bay frame. Actually, even if I go with 24", 24", 24" 20" and 20" bays, I'm at 112" and so still 32" short of maximum frame length for the Lion! So maybe six bays, or, more likely, the five and a trailer...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey Ron,

Thanks so much for the input! Several questions/reflections/what-have-yous:

I’m leaning towards a 5-bay DRE frame, and instead of getting another cooler (if someone wants to borrow my round boat, having only one good cooler would be a great excuse for someone to buy themselves one, after all), spending that money on a trailer. My concern with the five-bay on its own is that it’s going to run about 112”. You run your Lion with a 3-bay. Have you ever experienced, or are you concerned about, the tubes taco-ing when you’re running just the shorter frame?

Even when I add an anticipated 24” trailer, I’m still 8” short of maximum frame length. I’m reluctant to go to a full-time 6-bay pretty much for the reasons you mention.

Travis, at DRE (a wonderful resource; him and the whole store), says the tubes actually run, in spite of the total diameter, 25” from left to right. I think I’m settling on 42” interior width, as that would allow me to take full advantage of the Cascade River Gear’s larger Cat Bag, which is 42”X24”. I have one of their Everything Bags—or one like it—for my round boat, and love it. Toss it in, tie it up, and go. I think that leaves me at 92” total, if Travis is on regarding that 25”. Your experience? A good friend runs an RMR 16’; it’s a little squattier than my 156R at 7’ 8”, or 92” exactly, so I’m thinking that’s not too big. (50" for the tubes and 42" for the frame = 92" on the nose.)

Totally with you on the tendency of others to say, “Oh, look at that!” then gather around a larger boat, holding gear in their arms and looking like Depression Era Okies, their Model A pickup broken down somewhere along Route 66, gazing at you as if you are their only salvation, begging you to carry all the luxury items they’d like to have available for themselves, but just don’t seem to have the room to carry. BTDT with my 156R.

I’ll also be running with the DRE captain’s chair, which basically sits me in the upper Troposphere. Given that height and the anticipated width, and the opportunity to buy more gear because that’s what I do, I went ahead and nailed down three 11’ SGG’s. The frame will have the standard DRE oar towers, so I think the extra length will be useful. The 16’ cats on my Grand trip (two NRS River Cats and one Jag) all ran 11’, and the oar towers won’t have the flexibility you mentioned to work on that angle. I mention this to invite any feedback…

Anything I’ve put down which elicits a reaction, please react! I’d like to get this done right the first time and rely on more informed individuals to help me towards that goal. Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hey Ever,

I’m thinking a 40-42” dry box, 18” high. Running with my current Engel 123, as a mega-cooler would force the captain’s chair (whatever it looks like, the frame will come from DRE and will have a captain’s chair) into the clouds. I don’t like humidity. Probably not looking at adjustable frame width, although I hadn’t thought about it before, and could just nail down some shorter interior rails and substitute them for narrower rivers…

Not really thinking of this as a small river boat. Might regret that—the Taos Box isn’t that far, and the Racecourse (if we get water this year) near Pilar, New Mexico, can be fun, but I ran my 156 R down the Racecourse once with some friends in IK’s and such, and I felt like a fat Saint Bernard chasing Border Collies through an agility course. Beat up my oars pretty well, too. So I’ll rely on my IK and Mini-Max for those day runs, I suspect.

42”, where you have yours, is pretty much where I think I’m settling in… As mentioned above, I’ve already addressed the oar issue. Plus, if someone wanted to try the round boat, I’d need more oars, anyway. I appreciate the advice regarding overloading, and hereby swear not to overcommit on gear-totage!

Thanks for the excellent input. Much appreciated!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hey T.O.,

42” seems to be the consensus. That’s probably where I’ll end up. Why is it these small details niggle and keep one awake?

Is your 4-bay as long as a 5-bay would be? If it’s shorter, have you ever experienced, or are you concerned about, taco-ing in some big waves? Maximum frame length for the Lion 16’ is 144”; the five-bay, which will be the entire frame for the most part, will run 112”, and with a trailer, 136”. Not concerned about that phenomenon with the trailer, but was wondering if I should be with the frame by itself.

Definitely going with DRE and hope I don’t wear them out with questions before we get this thing done…

Thanks so much for the input!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks, Spey. Things kind of coalesced around that 42" width, as you mentioned. I think I end up at 92" overall, the exact same width as my friend Cliff's 16' RMR roundboat. I like that width. So I've got DRE cranking up a five-bay frame, 42" wide, that'll run 120" total, and a 20" trailer that, with the bars, runs 24" and brings me exactly up to the 144" limit. I'm excited about it, and would have done something stupid and wider without input from bright, experienced folks such as yourself.
 
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