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Long time kayaker and rowed dories many years ago but just now getting ready to pull the trigger on a new 16' raft. Prob a Hyside but haven't decided on the 16 or the wider 16XT.

I've scanned pretty much all the thread names in this gear forum and read what seemed relevant. I'd like more advice on how to design the bays in my frame and what to put in each of them. Such as a row of rocket boxes? Or a dry box vs a kitchen Bills bag? Captains boxes or something else on the side of the rower vs keeping it more open? Cooler or dry box in seat bay? Order of frame bays front to back to get good balance and put oar locks in best spot.

This will be mostly for multiday trips, family of 6, supporting ours and other kayaks.

Thanks for advice and expertise.

Jon Snider
Colo Springs
 

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Frame

Here is a design I used to build my frame on my Hysides 14'. Front and rear are Dry boxes, behind dry box is cooler. On each side of rowers feet are rocket boxes, one is for current groover, so it is handy. I put seats over front and rear dry box.
 

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Thanks much sj.

I've noticed since I posted this that there's much of the same in the raft porn thread, which I'd never opened before, and in some links inside that thread. So I'm starting to dig into that one.
 

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I would recommend starting with an NRS or speedrail style frame. Buying the longest rails you can. Then set the thing up in the garage and play with the configurations. Think about the gear you have and how it would fit in the space. You may like rocket boxes, you may like big dry boxes. you don't have to buy big right from the start. Another option is to rent a boat and see how you like the rental setups to get a feel for what works for you.

If I had a 16ft this would be my setup: 5 bays with First bay drop bag with table big enough to hold rocket boxes, second bay dry box, third bay rowers compartment with captains boxes used for the kitchen, fourth bay cooler, fifth bay drop bag with second table or hatch top. For long trips I am always running short on drybox space to put food, particularly items that I do not want crushed.
 

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I've rowed a cataraft for years. I got a 12 ft. raft last spring, and will probably get a 14 ft raft next spring. I'm not a fan of rocket boxes, and have two dry boxes on my cat. For my small raft, I went with a 3 bay frame. Cooler in one bay, one soft captains bag in the rower space, and sitting on a dry box to row. For the larger raft, I will go with a 4 bay frame. Dry box, then cooler, then 1-2 soft captains bags in the rower space, and row from dry box #2. I prefer to keep stuff in dry boxes instead of several rocket boxes. I also prefer soft bags in the rower space instead of metal boxes. I use an NRS frame so I can make changes & adjustments.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I've rowed a cataraft for years. I got a 12 ft. raft last spring, and will probably get a 14 ft raft next spring. I'm not a fan of rocket boxes, and have two dry boxes on my cat. For my small raft, I went with a 3 bay frame. Cooler in one bay, one soft captains bag in the rower space, and sitting on a dry box to row. For the larger raft, I will go with a 4 bay frame. Dry box, then cooler, then 1-2 soft captains bags in the rower space, and row from dry box #2. I prefer to keep stuff in dry boxes instead of several rocket boxes. I also prefer soft bags in the rower space instead of metal boxes. I use an NRS frame so I can make changes & adjustments.
Thanks for the info. Since I own a few rocket boxes and was thinking about buying some more, why don't you like them? Do you use one of the groover systems that don't use the 20mm boxes.

thx, Jon
 

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Thanks for the info. Since I own a few rocket boxes and was thinking about buying some more, why don't you like them? Do you use one of the groover systems that don't use the 20mm boxes.

thx, Jon
We use a gamma bucket groover, so we don't have to have a rocket box for that purpose. I like to organize things in a larger dry box instead of a lot of smaller rocket boxes. I think it gives me more flexibility in packing stuff. I do use small cardboard boxes inside my dry box for food organization. Depending on the trip size/length I can change out the box sizes. My big beef with rocket boxes is that they are heavy, have corners that cause banged shins, and lids that can be a PITA to open. There are plenty of folks that like them, and they are inexpensive, watertight, and allow for good organization. Just not my preference. if you use them in a drop bag, and get the height right, you can put a table over top of them.

Since I'm mostly alone on my boat, my raft loading scheme is kind of backwards. I have two dry boxes.....one 14 inch wide, one 16 inch wide. On the small raft I carry the bigger box, and sit on it to row. In order to balance my load, my gear is in the bow (in front of me) instead of behind me. Between the cooler & the gear pile, it offsets my weight & the dry box. For the bigger raft I plan on putting the cooler and smaller dry box and my dry bags and misc. stuff up front, and continue to row from the bigger dry box with the heavier items. I'm guessing I'll have to experiment with weight distribution. On the cat, I rowed from the center, with the cooler in front of me, and the smaller dry box and dry bags behind me. This was a pretty balanced set-up.

Here's a few pictures of the cat & the little raft.
 
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