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We are a group of physically fit guys in their 40s, all totally new to whitewater rafting. We are thinking of starting on quiet Stanislaus river in California, and then gradually moving to Calsses 3 - 4 - 5 in So Oregon. I would like to ask for your opinions on what raft to buy. We are looking for a 4 person raft, but it would be nice if it could also accomodate 6. Seems like used rafts are much cheaper (around $400 on Ebay), but how safe are they ?
Will appreciate any suggestions.
 

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I can't imagine finding anything suitable for whitewater for $400, unless it is older than you are and full of holes! LOL

Check out the classifieds on this site to get an idea, most of what is sold on this site are true whitewater boats. Most of them will run you considerably more than $400, but the boats in good condition are going to last you a long time, and are going to be fit for purpose (ie, whitewater).

You'll spark a debate of Hypalon vs. PVC, and everyone has their favorite brand, and even size. I went through all of this in the spring, and I spent a lot of time checking out the manufactures Web sites, looking at the ads here, reading some of the threads in the Gear Talk forum on this site and talking to friends and guides (go on a guided trip as a first step).

If there's a shop anywhere near you, go in and take a look at a few boats and ask them questions too. They'll obviously tell you what they sell is the best stuff LOL, but if you do enough research, you'll be able to tell if what they have meets your needs.

You'll also need to budget a LOT more then you think, because the boat is only the beginning! Paddles, PFDs, helmets and a lot of other gear adds up quickly, not to mention a good size cooler for all of your beer... :cool:

Good luck with your search! Gearing up is half the fun!
 

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You might try doing a search in this forum for "Beginner Raft" or something similar. Also, after doing the search and finding a thread to look at, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and there will be a list of similar named threads. Lots of good information here, but many people don't like rehashing the same subjects. Do some research, find a boat that your interested in and then re-post asking if the boat is a good deal, and you will probably get some feedback.

I don't think you will get much of a raft for $400, I would figure around $1200 as a bottom barrel number for a very used self bailer. Bottom line is that you get what you pay for, a good used raft would set you back $2000+.

Watch craigslist in the bay, and Sacramento area... I have seen many rafts come up for fair prices there. Also www.theboatpeople.com are local for you, Lee is very nice and knowledgable...he sells new and used rafts/ik's/gear and might have something that will work for you. NRS has a gear swap section, and there is a classified section on the Buzz also.

I assume you are talking about the Stanislaus below Knights Ferry? If so, I would not take my raft on that section....WAY too many snags waiting to put holes in your gear. There is a company there that rents rafts there for ~$17/person. Give it a try in their gear, it would also let you try out a raft for little cash.

Good luck.
 
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