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Just purchased a new boat and looking at frames to get built for it. I have some ideas in mind, but if you have a similar sized boat, what's your frame configuration/size (overall length/width)? Anything you would change or would have built differently from the beginning?

This boat will be used almost exclusively for multiday river trips, so I'm looking at 4 bays, but I do think a 5th bay could fit. A trailer frame could also make it more interchangeable for shorter trips with less gear.

10' oars seem about right? I read somewhere they were recommending 11' oars but that seems way too big!

Really just looking for ideas and to see what others have done!

As well, if anyone has any frame with boxes, cooler, oars, etc. that would work/fit, please let me know!

Cheers!
 

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I have a 16' Avon Pro that is very similar to the 16' XT from Hyside. I run 11' oars. I tried 10'ers with it and didn't like them at all. It felt really weird and underpowered. Distance between the oar towers plays a bigger role in oar length then the length of the boat. With the extra width of the XT... I'd do at least 10.5' but 11's are about right.

I have a 4 bay frame on mine. Two are 19" bays for rocket boxes, captains bay for my feet, and a cooler bay where I sit too. The rocket bays can hold 5 rockets each or I can put a drybox in it as well. I don't feel like I really need a 5th bay. I use an everything bag behind the cooler. I do a full front to back floor on the boat as well...so you can store stuff in the front if you don't have a passenger. I have a hatch cover that covers the front rocket box bays. I also have nice wide side boards, which makes moving around the boat really nice. I also made a hatch cover that just covers the front rocket bay so I can run a drybox in the other bay as shown in this pic...

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I've only run it this way on one trip... I don't honestly use this boat very much anymore since I have a Aire 146DD and a 18' Dory now... but I think if I was gonna start using it again I'd get a bigger drybox that takes up that bay more.
 

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Just purchased a new boat and looking at frames to get built for it. I have some ideas in mind, but if you have a similar sized boat, what's your frame configuration/size (overall length/width)? Anything you would change or would have built differently from the beginning?

This boat will be used almost exclusively for multiday river trips, so I'm looking at 4 bays, but I do think a 5th bay could fit. A trailer frame could also make it more interchangeable for shorter trips with less gear.

10' oars seem about right? I read somewhere they were recommending 11' oars but that seems way too big!

Really just looking for ideas and to see what others have done!

As well, if anyone has any frame with boxes, cooler, oars, etc. that would work/fit, please let me know!

Cheers!
Build your own frame, getting the aluminum sticks and frame gear is easy. Call around to different metal shops to see if they can buy the same rail stuff that NRS sells, the only hard find is lo-pro fittings, I bought those from NRS. I have built two different frames, both have a floor, one fits a 18ft self bailer boat and the other fits a 16ft cat. When you buy a frame from a outside source you are stuck with their dimensions which always makes that you have to buy their boxes that fit it. I've had local metal shops build me dry boxes that suit what I want. Finding outfits that will take on aluminum projects is harder. Draw out what would serve you best, think about future possibilities and go at it, it is fun and you will always treasure your frame.. Post pics when you get it built.
 

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Build your own frame, getting the aluminum sticks and frame gear is easy. Call around to different metal shops to see if they can buy the same rail stuff that NRS sells, the only hard find is lo-pro fittings,
Finding the anodized stuff similar to NRS and some other outfitters is hard...but just finding 1.25" Schedule 40 aluminum pipe should be a lot easier (and cheaper). There is a Aluminum specialst outside of Denver called Alreco that has a ton of selection and weird stuff and even they don't carry that stuff.They can order it...but you basically have to order more then any hobbyist would be able to use in a lifetime. Some raft frame manufacturers like DRE will sell you a stick or two, but its like $6-8 a foot rather then $3 a foot. Easy enough to just spray paint it or even better get it powder coated and if you shop around should be able to do it for cheaper then buying the anodized tube. NRS does sell bare tubing kits with 2-4 pieces for fairly reasonable prices too... that is what I did for my 146DD frame with the Whitewater Machineworks Double Barrel Fittings.


When you buy a frame from a outside source you are stuck with their dimensions which always makes that you have to buy their boxes that fit it.
If you get it from NRS or similar that is true... but there are plenty of places that specialize in rafting stuff that will make it custom to your dimensions and preferances. Custom work is more spendy though... so getting something "off the shelf" will save you money in exchange for it possibliy not fit your needs directly. I will also say that there are places like Recretec, Jordan River Boatworks, Riverboat Works and Downriver that sell "off the shelf" standardized frames (as well as custom work) that have been doing it forever and know what works for most people and sell it as a standard package.

If this is your first multi-day setup... you may not actually know what your preferences are, so starting with a more standardized frame package that has some adjustability might be the way to go until you figure out what you like and don't like.

Its certainly possible to make your own stuff based on your buddies stuff or just looking at specs from the raft fabricators and your boat specs. Speedrail or Lo-Pro fittings are your friend since they only required a drill and something to cut the pipe to length to put together. You'll need to buy a few things like oar towers that are hard to replicate in the home shop without welding and machinist equipment.
 

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I have a PRO 16XT as well that is primarily set up as a multi day rig. I use 10’ 6” oars and they feel just right. I went with a 3 bay main frame with front and back drop frames (trailer frames).
from stern to bow:
Rear compartment: Pacific river bag
Rear trailer frame with drop bag & table top: groover, support and other last packed items
Bay 1: canyon 150
Bay 2 (cockpit). Drop floor, Canyon 35 as day cooler, Captain Dry box/kitchen box if I’m bringing the kitchen
Bay 3: (2) split Dry boxes
Front trailer frame with drop bag and table top: stove, fire pan, chairs etc.
Front compartment: either open for passengers or sometimes another pacific river bag and more baggage/gear.

Frames, boxes, tables made by Mike at Eddyline Welding out of Moab, UT

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If you aren't already sure of what you want, then you will likely end up changing your mind a half dozen times as you see how it all "feels" when you are rigging. If I were to decide to go fully custom, I would do something pretty similar to what I'm currently running, but, with a half width bay for a pair of ammo cans. I had a frame like that made up for a trip down the Grand in my 156R, and I loved the frame and the boat, but got a lead on an XT and a DRE frame and box set, and haven't looked back. I now run a pair of Canyon 35 coolers in my captains bay, one acting as a day cooler, and the other as my captain's box. I, personally, like the symmetry that gives me.

I have run 11' oars on both the 156R and the XT, after having run 10' for a little bit and never felt like I had the leverage or reach that I wanted.
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Here is my frame set up on my 16' XT. It's 86" long (wish I would have gone with 92") to take advantage of the full straight length of the tubes but bought a stock Mad Cow frame. I didn't have time for a custom build at the time. 81 inches wide overall, double rail, outer rail sits 1/2" in from the edge of the chafer, rails centered on the tube. 86 1/2 inches between oarlocks. Bow to stern. 20" wide front drop bag bay,18" cooler bay for a 160 QT Yeti, If I had the extra 4 inches of frame length, I could do a wider cooler like a Canyon. Rower's bay, two captains' boxes and a suspended floor. Rear bay a 16" X 44 " dry box in a 16 1/2" wide bay. My boat has 49 inches between the tubes so could have had a longer dry box but was using one I already had. I tried 10 foot oars and didn't like them so switched to 10' 6" and they seem fine. Oars 10' 9" with Dynalite blades. I added several additional d rings for the suspended rear floor, frame, and a motor mount. Tuff River Stuff drop bag and everything bag.
Edit. Frame is 86" long wish I had gone longer at least 92". I changed the text to reflect this correction. 
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I made the mistake of 10’, got a set of customized Sawyers that are 11’ and a little change. I also have 5bay, the 5th holds 2 scepter jugs and my fix kit perfectly, and keeps the gear pile at a comfy distance from my back. Get a tough river stuff everything bag. Rigging became easy peezy.
 

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Get 11 foot oars or order custom 10.5 ones. If you have ANY doubts, go with a frame that can be adjusted. Also, if you can spend the money, go with diamond plate side decks. The rest of the set up can be figured out with experience. I run a DRE four bay on my hyside 16xt with a front drop hatch. Best sleeping deck ever.

The biggest thing to consider is if you want to sit on the third bay (see Proriver) or fourth bay (see Downriver). Consider getting two fittings installed during the frame build for a future transom.
 
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I run 5 bays. It doesn’t leave a lot of passenger foot well but our dogs don’t care. Reach out if I can help.
 

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I got a new 16xt this year from Down River. I went with a 4-bay frame that has a diamond plate floor with no kick bar in the rower's compartment at the 2nd bay and an aluminum hatch over the 4th bay. My openings are 20", 24", 20.5" and 20". This makes my frame length 96.5" which is a bit longer than the spec from Hyside. My raft measured a bit longer than the spec sheet said it would. In order to run the Canyon 150 cooler in this raft, I needed to add an additional crossbar between the hatch and the 3rd bay. I also sized my rower's compartment to fit a Canyon 35. The hatch and 1st bay of the raft are both 20" to accommodate ammo cans, water jugs, and propane tanks under the frame. My aluminum dry boxes built for this raft [email protected] 23x15.5x15.5" and one at 46"x19x16.5-ish. Looking back I would have built my small dry boxes at 22x15.5x15.5 to help accommodate space for the cooler latches.

Currently using 11 ft oars and feel like my 10 ft oars were too short for my frame/seating configuration.

Here are some photos of my rig:
 

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I have a 16XT pro, though I don't seem to have many good fully rigged photos. My setup, from front to back:
Bow: Passenger feet. Sometimes a drinks cooler on a suspended floor for long trips without kids.
Bay 1: Drop bag topped by a table. Usually chairs, water, and ammo cans.
Bay 2: A huge drybox. Inside, kitchen box and dry food, assorted sundry items.
Bay 3: Captain's feet. A rocket box on one side is a captain's box with first aid and pin kit. Day cooler on the other side.
Bay 4: Captain's seat and Engel 123 cooler and a water jug.
Stern: Drop floor for more gear, clamshell over the top.

I also have marine plywood decks over the double rails, which are great. Bimini tracks too for kiddo shade.

I have 11' oars and wouldn't go any shorter.
 

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Regarding oar length, you could get 11' oars to try out and shorten them later if needed. This is what I did with my Cataract oars. Pretty easy to do as you can cut 6" handle end and split the fiberglass off from the handle. The handles project into the oar end about 5 inches. Glue them back in. Probably cheaper and easier than going custom.
 

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78.50" is about maximum frame width, length depends on preference, budget, and storage options. I'm currently working on a 98.50" L four-bay frame for a 16 XT with 2x 26" dry boxes and a Canyon 150. Overall, I prefer smaller captain's bays and I'm 6'3". I'd rather run bigger dry boxes and slide my butt back on whatever I'm sitting on--seems to work well.

Oar length needs to be 10'6"-11' if the frame is proportional to the boat width.

Side decks are awesome, and the second rail is almost required to get a frame of that length stiff enough. Brite tread (diamond plate) is cool, but only available in 3xxx and 4xxx series, so I prefer a higher grade aluminum for more strength and better looking welds, like a 5052 or 6061 grade.
 

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Seems like you have plenty of replies so I guess I am just adding more data. I have a 5 bay frame on my Pro XT 16, last one holds 2 rocket boxes and a bit more. I set it up that way so the bimini can rest on that part when folded down and be out of the way. I probably have the wire frame diagram from Downriver if you are interested. I find 10.5' oars to be perfect but I have them spaced about 8"+ apart in the center. I would go 11' if I took out that spacing.
 

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Like these ideas! Have a similar situation with my new 16xt and its been fun to test different configurations for different trips with an nrs frame (98 long, 72 wide). Haven’t quite settled on a specific setup but that’s part of the fun with modular frames. You can go to 5 bays depending on how much legroom you need and how wide your table is over a drop bag. I liked the dimensions of the taller dry boxes (18”) since that maximizes storage and I don’t use the dry box as a seat. Would echo that longer oars than 10’ will most likely be preferable, but that will be influenced by how far your towers are apart. 10’ feels right to me when having the oar locks as in the photo where they’re 72 inches apart rather than extending out, but I also like to have 5-6 inches of space between the oar handles.
 

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I have the NRS E16. It is similar size and tubes, few inches longer and 1" less wide at 48". You have a ton of good suggestions here, and you can see there are many ways to set up your raft. I have had a dozen rafts and built and bought a bunch of frames. Whatever you design it will be a compromise as every trip is different and you will realize later improvements on the design.

If you are new, it will be a bit of guess work and probably best to buy a standard sized 4 bay frame that will be recommended for that boat. Or work with a custom builder that knows how to design a good frame and can design around the cooler and boxes and drop space you want. It becomes a personal thing and we are all different ifnhow we row and how we like to carry gear and such, but I will let you know what I like.

With boats over 15' for an expedition set up, I like a rounded corner style boat with a rear cooler/seat bay and a welded bar around 19-20"size depending on your cooler. I like sitting on the cooler as it is typically heavier than a dry box and I like the weight under and next to me, so I can spin the boat easily in pushy water to make quick moves. Then use either LoPros or the Hollender fittings on the other bars for adjustability. This is for maximum strength in case of a pin situation to help prevent the frame breaking/bending. So a custom made frame or the large tubed DRE frames would be a good choice. I would skip the 5th bay for a 16, it can work for a 18' in my experience if you have 13 or 15" dry boxes. But I like the front bay to be about 19" wide to fit 5 ammos or combo of ammo boxes, propane, water, groovers, beer etc and then have a nice hatch cover and a table with paco pads on top. The next bay back can be the same or have a coffin dry box or 2 split boxes that can be kitchen boxes. The center row bay is wide enough to have 2 captains dry boxes/cooler on a diamond plate floor. I do not like a kick bar on the larger rafts, I strap my ammo can repair kit against the next bay onto the floor and push off the ammo can. I like the center bay around 24" for my 33" inseam. I like to sit on the cooler fairly high with a paco on the cooler. I have had frames with the tractor seats, but I can's use them. I tend to slide back when pulling hard using my legs and I move up to thefrnt edge of the cooler when pushing on the oars. So the fixed seats do not work for my row style. I make a rear beaver tail triangular board out of 3/4" plywood and normally just drop it into a mesh rear floor that holds the floor in place so you can walk on it and so the heavy things like propane, firepan, rocket boxes can be loaded in the back and not sit on the floor. I say 10.5" to 11 ft oars with 10 or 12" towers, maybe less for shallow technical water. On the frame, you can always get a trailer frame if you want to try a 5th bay instead of making a huge 5 bay frame and finding out later it does not always work well. Or go with a 3 bay and add a trailer for a 4th bay, then you have a nice day frame or overnight frame and do not have to drag a bunch of empty dryboxes on a short trip just to fill the bays with something. Side rails are nice for safety, but add weight. Bimini is awesome, but they are delicate when folded down, umbrella works OK with a strap on stand and some straps to hold it down. Have fun!
 

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Just purchased a new boat and looking at frames to get built for it. I have some ideas in mind, but if you have a similar sized boat, what's your frame configuration/size (overall length/width)? Anything you would change or would have built differently from the beginning?

This boat will be used almost exclusively for multiday river trips, so I'm looking at 4 bays, but I do think a 5th bay could fit. A trailer frame could also make it more interchangeable for shorter trips with less gear.

10' oars seem about right? I read somewhere they were recommending 11' oars but that seems way too big!

Really just looking for ideas and to see what others have done!

As well, if anyone has any frame with boxes, cooler, oars, etc. that would work/fit, please let me know!

Cheers!

Cambridge Welding - these frames can be custom made to your exact boat.
11' foot oars
Frames are a personal preference, good luck!
 
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