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Discussion Starter #1
I am going next April and we will be using an outfitter for everything with one exception. I will be rowing my own raft. But otherwise we are looking for remaining rafts, kitchen, food, etc. I would really like to hear people's stories or thoughts on there own experience with the various outfitters. Thanks !


Jim
 

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I went with Canyon R.E.O. on my last trip. I would steer you toward another vendor. Heard great things about Brady Black with Moenkopi.
 

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Moenkopi

We just got off an 18 day with Moenkopi. These guys were awesome! Great river house, awesome gear, delicious menu and really friendly people. We were the first to use their new 18' NRS rigs. We also got to try out their newly designed biminis, a colapsable shade cover that beats the hell out of any umbrella that I have ever seen. I will be going again Sept 2015 and definitely going with Moenkopi.
 

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I been with groups that used Moenkopi and Ceiba. Moenkopi was the better of the two.

Cebia did a fairly good job. We got a food pack, groovers and one boat from them.

Pros: rented boat was very nice, rocket boxes were in good shape, nice coolers, overall food quantities were pretty accurate (minimal people hungry/minimal leftovers - but some meals left people a bit hungry). Most of the meals were fairly easy to make and quite tasty. They helped label where things were going into our dry boxes when we picked up the food pack from them.

Cons: Cooler pack left a lot to be desired (what looked like crushed & formed block ice instead of solid block or water frozen directly into cooler, extra open space in coolers wasn't filled with ice, after day 7 we had two separate coolers we had to access everyday (one for meat the other for dairy) so the ice melted faster). By day 11/12 we were starting to have ice issues (if the meal plan didn't require refrigerated meats at this part of the trip it would be fine - but instead we had some questionable meat). We cooked the heck out of the slightly questionable meat and it worked out. We were also able to get ice from passing commercial trips.
Menu plan - partially our fault for not catching it but they had hot soup for appetizers multiple times on a trip in May when the average high is in the 90's. When it's hot out few people get excited for hot soup. One night the hot soup was followed by hot stew for dinner. At breakfast and lunch we often had 6 bagels or English muffins or tortillas for 8 people. Although we had no vegetarians on the trip vegi only meals were interspersed and sometimes two vegi only meals were back to back (again we own some responsibility for not more carefully going over their provided meal plan).
Their food labeling was sometimes lacking - for example the meal plan calls for 1 lb smoked salmon - but the bag that has smoked salmon in several packages isn't label by weight (or volume, or at all). So you end up looking through the entire rest of the meal plan for smoked salmon, looking for any more smoked salmon in the cooler, then figuring out how much you should use for the meal. Not a huge deal, but better labeling would save time and mean the coolers were open less. BTW - the smoked salmon was delicious and ended up being generously portioned.

In contrast Moenkopi's meal plan was better all around. The Moenkopi food pack seemed to be better organized. Their portions were a bit more generous but didn't leave too many leftovers. Their cooler pack was also better (ice lasted longer). Our rental gear from them was top notch. We rented three fully loaded boats and the full package (meal plan, shuttles, groovers, etc). Their door to door service was great and their staff was awesome to deal with.

I recommend Moenkopi wholeheartedly. If I was to use Cebia again I would go over their meal plan with a fine tooth comb - asking myself if I just had meal x for breakfast would I want Y for lunch and Z for apps/dinner. I would ask for better portioning (at least one per person per applicable meal) for bagels/muffins/tortillas. For more thorough labeling of food (so the meal plan and the package of food say the same thing. For empty space in coolers to be filled with solid block ice (and preferably have several inches of solid ice frozen in the cooler bottoms to start).
 

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We just got off an 18 day with Moenkopi. These guys were awesome! Great river house, awesome gear, delicious menu and really friendly people. We were the first to use their new 18' NRS rigs. We also got to try out their newly designed biminis, a colapsable shade cover that beats the hell out of any umbrella that I have ever seen. I will be going again Sept 2015 and definitely going with Moenkopi.
Sorry to steal the thread - but can you share what their "newly designed biminis" look like?
 

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We just got off an 18 day with Moenkopi. These guys were awesome! Great river house, awesome gear, delicious menu and really friendly people. We were the first to use their new 18' NRS rigs. We also got to try out their newly designed biminis, a colapsable shade cover that beats the hell out of any umbrella that I have ever seen. I will be going again Sept 2015 and definitely going with Moenkopi.
Cool. You were the guys on the White NRS rafts. We launched same day as you. We were the 3 boat party. You will have to DM me and tell me how Club 205 worked out!

Regarding outfitters, I used MOE last year and we used Ceiba this year. I was very disappointed in the food from Ceiba. In fact, we didn't have enough! They expected us to get into our coolers and portion out stuff, use 1/4-1/2 of other things, etc. :confused: I would not recommend their food pack. As far as equipment, pretty much apples-to-apples with MOE, except the kitchen was lacking a few staples IMHO. Going with MOE next year. You won't be disappointed if you go with Brady. :cool:

-Josh
 

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Ceiba Food

Also, as 'Raftus' says, portions were off. We also had several meals where their weren't enough to go around. Bagels, tortillas, etc. were a hot commodity.

Regarding ice: We actually decommissioned a cooler by day 7. Second cooler by day 12 or so. The extra cooler of ice was used by day 7. We had just a tiny bit of ice left in the single operational cooler on day 15. We were ice free by Diamond.

Contrast that with last year, when MOE's ice made it to Day 22, and we have a LOT of ice left then.

I do like the folks at Ceiba, they are all great to deal with, but I would go with MOE.
 

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I've used PRO, REO, and Moenkopi.
MOENKOPI is the best, Brady and his posse are some real characters: hilarious, generous, and a lot of fun. They'll make sure your all buffed out.
 

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I went with Canyon R.E.O. on my last trip. I would steer you toward another vendor. Heard great things about Brady Black with Moenkopi.
I would be curious to hear why you wouldn't recommend Canyon REO? I am on a March trip next year and told the trip leader they did a good job in the past. If I should steer us another way I would like to know.

kyle
 

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Kyle,
My trip was in June '08. I had a fulll trip. All inclusive order: 6 boats rented (4) 18 footers and a 16 foot and all gear and food. Gear was good but not new. HYSIDE rafts were older ( PRO trips passed us in Spanking new SOTARS). Food was fine (acutally way too much most nights) My beef was the put in and take out and the shuttle back to flag. There was a fat bastard driver who didn't lift a finger and a new kid who knew absolutely nothing about rafting. They had a huge trailer full of gear. Nothing inflated or rigged. we were there early on the ramp to help. The fat guy said start unloading. we did all the work. loaded and rigged all of their equipment. This was supposed to be an all inclusive trip. I don't remember the total cost but it was well over 10K. closer to 12K. I was told that everything would be rigged and ready for us to put on our bags and go. Take-out same story. no help. 118 deg. Fat dude sat in the cab and waited for hours while we de-rigged. Their Shuttle bus sucked ass. No AC in the hottest weather imaginable. Again got to their office and no help. Fuckers sat on their asses while we de-noodled our stuff from theirs. Ended up missing a roll-a -cott. I requested that when they found it please send it back to me. I offered to pay shipping. after numerous phone calls they said it was lost and could not find it. BS. I tipped them nothing and told them they were gonna end up losing a lot of business to PRO and the other newer more motivated outfitters available. They shrugged their shoulders as if they already knew it. Overall I have great memories of that trip. I have not got chance to go back to the Grand, but if I did I would not go with REO. Best Regards, Mike
 

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I've done a trip with PRO and two with Moenkopi. Both provide a great service. Moenkopi is much easier to work with though and Brady will work his ass off for you. Their new river house is cush. Marilyn was very willing to accommodate some of our weird diets also. On my 1st trip with them, 17 days in June heat, we had TOO MUCH ICE! On day 15 I was still having to chip ice to get to our food. True, we managed it really carefully and only two people were allowed into the coolers, but I was impressed. Also, their "pre-cooked, boil in a bag" meals can't be beat. Really tasty and quick. Be sure and bring your own repair kit though as theirs is only a patch kit.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Does anybody have a recent experience with REO. We have been in contact with them but no commitment yet. I feel like if most things are equal and it comes down to splitting hairs well then who cares. But it would be nice to have damn good equipment, food, and help at both ends. It is a trip of a lifetime for most and a pretty big deal financially. Our quote is over $17,000.00. So I would like to get it right. I know there are some bad REO stories but maybe they have improved? Thanks.


Jim
 

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Canyon REO

I have run the Grand 9 times in the past 13 years and have used Canyon REO at least half those times. I have no problems with the other companies out there providing the same services, but have had the best experiences with REO. No company can give you brand new equipment every time you run the river and stay in business; however, I have not had any equipment failures with REO. My groups don't just run the river, looking for the easiest line through the rapids, we push the edge of sanity, pursuing the most exciting ride on down. We figure an almost flip running the wild line is about perfect.

We did have a propane tank valve open up on us through a rapid once, due to poor boat packing I believe, and REO sent a person carrying another of the 40+ lb tanks on down to Phantom to make sure we did not run out. It was a winter trip warm drinks and food were key.

Probably the best thing about REO is the food. Admittedly, with all the trips I have done, I have a damn good menu figured out, which I hear is now one they offer to many other trips. Often we have dumped ice out of our coolers at the end of 25-30 day trips, and 99% of the time there is more food than what we needed, sometimes a lot more.

I don't know any river runners that don't expect to help rig the gear at Lee's Ferry, or that don't expect to help de-rig at the bottom, it is part of running the river, any river. Those working at REO driving the gear on out have always been a great help rigging up and providing advice and answers to questions that come up when doing so. We all work together to get the rig-up and rig-down happen as efficiently and smoothly as possible.

Most of us in my river network have our own gear now, but still use REO for the food preparation and shuttle and are met with smiles and hugs everytime. No matter who you choose to outfit your group, the Grand Canyon is a special place to be, don't let the little issues that any outfitter cannot completely forsee become a big issue, keep smiling and looking for the next horizon line!
 

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No outfitter is perfect. I've only used Moe and Reo. Both were fine to work with but MOE serves a better product.

With REO I had a frame weld snap in the Roaring 20s. I managed to file it smooth (with my own file, they didn't include one in the repair kit) and shim it up before it sliced the tube. they also gave us a boat with a badly leaking floor. We had to de-rig and patch it at Nankoweep. REO also gave us a trail lunch with one box of Ritz in it. There were pounds and pounds of greasy summer sausage and cheese to go with my alottment of 8 Ritz. For a hard case meal planner like me that mistake will not be forgotten. On that trip I also used about 20lbs of extra food I had brought and still lost 15lbs on the trip. Every apple and snack was gone and the donkeys at the Diamond take out got no love from us...

MOE was better but there was still a weird meal called Turkey Teriyaki or Thai Turkey or something like that. It consisted of huge slabs of turkey lunch meat, a couple pound of cashews, broccoli, soy sauce and rice--and no instructions. We had to get pretty creative with the spices and staples to turn that into a decent meal. I didn't lose any weight on that trip at least and all the gear was in good shape.

Yeah, I'm particular. I'd use MOE again for sure, but will probably give PRO a shot next time. I'm also crazy enough to think about outfitting it myself for the right kind of group...
 

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Funny how often this same question comes up here. It's understandable when spending as much money on a GC trip as required by the outfitters. All 4 of the companies mentioned will outfit a great trip especially if picky menu folks get involved and give specific input to the outfitter in the food pack planning. Canyon REO without question has the most dated equipment and their "old school" customer service is either loved, or hated. They've been around a long time and do it their way. PRO does a great job too, and has great gear. They came up with the full service "painless private" trip that Ceiba and MOE do well at replicating.

Ceiba and MOE are my preferences. Both companies do an amazing job! Since Brady has already gotten some well deserved props on this thread, I'll give Scotty and Rachel at Ceiba two BIG thumbs up. They are not only great people, but have many, many years experience guiding in GC and all over the place. Their systems are dialed getting to Lees, while on the river, and cool AC back to Flagstaff. I will also defend their food pack as the critical comments about their coolers and such seem to be user error. When folks rent a fleet of outfitted rafts w/ pre packed coolers typically: Meat, Dairy, Lunch, Produce, Day 1-4, etc. it's impossible not to shop out of multiple coolers at times. As soon as is possible coolers need to be joined together and emptied. Thats part of the deal if you want to keep ice when the weather is hot. A full cooler is a happy cooler. Don't marry coolers when it's hot out, and make sure boatmen know what is on their boat, and be responsible about keeping their cooler happy. I can understand that 6 bagels for 8 people is a bummer, that sounds like a mistake.

What kind of rafts do you want to row? Sotar-PRO, NRS-Ceiba, NRS/Avon-MOE, Really old Hyside-Canyon REO. Did I say that REO's gear is old? Anyway, if your budget for your trip can allow for these types of services you'll be glad you let someone else do all the hard stuff! Just be specific about your food preferences and how big of eaters are on your trip...
 

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PRO

Made 3 trips (December 08, February 11, March 14) with PRO. If/when I get another permit I'll use them again. I was trip leader for all three trips. I live in Alaska so all my interaction with them was long distance. They always answered the phone or returned my calls promptly. They always responded to my emails. They were very helpful with regard to questions about the area and the river. We made some changes late in the game - very late - and they took care of it without a peep or problem. All that said - call 'em all and see which one feels the best to you - that's what I did for our first trip. I'm guessing you can't make a bad choice - have a great trip.
 
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