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westernCOboater
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Got a 16’ NRS that’s starting to feel big and it’s getting a bit difficult to push down these sluggish western Colorado rivers, especially fully loaded. I don’t do a whole lot of whitewater anymore—never really did the big stuff. I’m comfortable with Deso, Glenwood Canyon & lower Roaring Fork, Upper C. Might do the Rogue again, Grande Rhonde, John Day, Deushutes. Ruby Horsethief, kinda sick of that one bits it’s in my backyard. Done Westwater a couple of times-not sure I want that high a risk quotient anymore.

Should I consider a smaller boat—say 14’ but keep some of the bigger tubes? What should I be looking at?
 

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I feel your pain. I'm transitioning from rowing wooden boats down GC to a much lighter craft, and now own a snout and a sport boat, both motorized. I'd think a 14 footer, or even a 12 footer would serve you well on the rivers you list.
 

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Got a 16’ NRS that’s starting to feel big and it’s getting a bit difficult to push down these sluggish western Colorado rivers, especially fully loaded. I don’t do a whole lot of whitewater anymore—never really did the big stuff.

Should I consider a smaller boat—say 14’ but keep some of the bigger tubes? What should I be looking at?
May I suggest a drift boat or decked dory? Game changer. WAY easier to push through the flats than a raft.
A bit more challenging in whitewater (but a FUN challenge!)....yet if you're not doing much whitewater anymore, other than low flows why a raft at all?

And if low flows are an issue, keep the 16', dump a bunch of weight, and run the tubes slightly soft
 

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Got a 16’ NRS that’s starting to feel big and it’s getting a bit difficult to push down these sluggish western Colorado rivers, especially fully loaded. I don’t do a whole lot of whitewater anymore—never really did the big stuff. I’m comfortable with Deso, Glenwood Canyon & lower Roaring Fork, Upper C. Might do the Rogue again, Grande Rhonde, John Day, Deushutes. Ruby Horsethief, kinda sick of that one bits it’s in my backyard. Done Westwater a couple of times-not sure I want that high a risk quotient anymore.

Should I consider a smaller boat—say 14’ but keep some of the bigger tubes? What should I be looking at?
In my experience, the 14 footer is going to feel even more cumbersome. I’m actually looking to go in the opposite direction, 14 to 16. With the bigger boat you have more buoyancy which makes it easier to row when loaded.
 

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For me, transitioning to a worn out body, it is not the rowing as much as it is handling off the river gear / raft loading.

I went to a custom built trailer with the big white water worthy roller with geared winch. makes it easier for me to rig on the ground then winch on and off the trailer.

Altho I did move to a JPW mini cat from a 18 ft Aire Cat.
 

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Got to try a cataraft a while back and was surprised at how nimble it was compared to my 14' and 16' rafts. Might consider a cat.
Put some weight on a cat and all that light and nimble goes right out the door, they turn into battering rams...
 

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I started in a 14 foot bucket boat and eventually purchased a 15.5 foot long Maravia. I now row a 16 foot Maravia and love the ability to carry whatever I want. For fun trips I have a 14 foot cat. It is nice to have options so I would suggest that you look at the cat and use that as your play boat and use the larger craft for longer trips. Cats are also very easy for two people to carry And a blast to row.
 
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