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Discussion Starter #1
Hey, new to the forum and loaded with questions! I have recently been floating rivers up above the Arctic Circle in AK. We have encountered some light class III using our a Ally canoes and done well, but we want to paddle some rivers with heavier class III and class IV water. (A folding canoe loaded with 3 weeks of camping and fishing gear is not the greatest whitewater boat as you might imagine) You cant stand up and fish either. I want a more stable boat that will handle bigger water and allows one passenger the ability to fish standing. This is a travel boat, not a play boat. I won't intentionally steer towards the biggest holes to play. I would also like the option to take a third person on the trip. All this is easily accomplished with a raft or cataraft but the problem arises from having to get the boat to AK on a commercial flight then load all this crap in a bush plane. Some of those guys are Nazis about weight. I have decided on a cataraft with pontoons from JPW. That way I can pack each pontoon in with other gear. Function, weight, and durability are primary, comfort is secondary. I need ideas for a minimalist breakdown frame that will:
1) be under 50 lbs.
2) Break down to meet minimum size requirements for checked baggage on a commercial flight.
3) assemble without tools or basic tools. (ounces matter)
4) be ultra reliable. ( the nearest road is hundreds of miles from these rivers and the pilot is planning on picking you up 65 miles south of where he dropped you off on a specific day at a specific hour)

Any ideas no matter how out of the box they seem are welcome. I have no experience with catarafts or frames but have experience with pipe and pipefitting/welding. I have been canoeing for over 30 years so I have some paddling experience.Thanks in advance, -Joe
 

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what size are the pontoons?

I made this frame with custom NRS parts. it might squeak by as checked baggage limits - have not tried but its less than 50 and breaks down to less than 60 long but linear dimensions (L+W+H) is slightly over 60. the rules are technically linear dimensions should be less than 60 not just overall length.

http://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f15/wave-destroyer-vs-sotar-28424.html#post175788
 

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Discussion Starter #3
forgot to add....

There will be no coolers and gear is at the bare minimum. Traded the Pelican boxes for lightweight dry bags. Think lightweight backpacker gear. Tiny stoves, powdered drink mix, 4 lb. tent, backpacker food and lots of fish for supper...hopefully. My dad and I went for 2 weeks on the Goodnews river on a 750lb weight limit. The bush pilot weighed us and then our gear. We are 6'1" and 6'2". Together he and I weighed 510 lbs. Add a 50 lb. Ally canoe and that left us with 190 lbs of gear for 2 weeks. Even this number is going on a serious diet.

Has anyone heard of using carbon fiber for frame tubing? I am looking at using the JPW 19" 14 foot blunts. A two piece frame or modular design to allow for switching between 2 or 3 people or just me as a support barge for multi- canoe trips. Also slung mesh floors for gear. Thanks again. -Joe
 

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NRS will make you side rails that break down for an additional cost. I wouldn't want to have breaks in all of my crossbars but rails might need it depending no how long they are. I would shop cats for weight. I know most everyone runs Aire Leopard cat up there, but when you start looking at single wall designs you lose weight but urethane doesn't fold up as small as hypalon so there's that to consider. If money is no object, and it must not be if you're considering carbon, you should see what you can find in titanium. You could probably get away with a much thinner wall but I don't know if it comes in the right size to use a stadium bracket or NRS fitting. Titanium is awesome but it's hard to work with.
 

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If you have a cat you will need to get a floor to stand on to fish which would add weight, esp. if there are 3 people on the boat. Im not sure how a mesh floor would hold up to standing on it for long periods of time. With a small raft you could make a lighter more simple frame (like John's, see link), and have a floor to put stuff and stand on for fishing. Just a thought. Good luck.

Mini-me Frame For Rafting - Mountain Buzz Photos
 

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I would take a Hyside mini-me 43lbs and a light weight frame less than 14lbs. with break down 8ft. oars.You will be fine with two people -three will be tight. I've done lots of trips in Alaska and this set-up would work fine. I've runn the Gunny Gorge. westwater and the grand. You have a lot of power in a small boat and can miss most of the bad stuff.With some hand made small rafts -similar to pack rafts We fit 5 people and gear in one Beaver on floats -Less the 1300lbs. total for a 16 day trip and had food left over.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
John the Welder, sounds like I need to paddle with some skinnier friends and go on a diet! LOL. I appreciate the info from everybody. Carbon fiber was an option but I would have to lay it up on cylindrical forms myself and use glue-in aluminum sleeves to facilitate pinning the joints together. Buying the CF would be fine if I had $40/foot for the 1.5" tubing. That stuff is steep.
 

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Aluminum is still the most pratical metal. cost ease of fabrication. you can buy different shapes ect. On that trip we did pick some small friends so we could all fit into one plane. The cost is the same one person in a plane or five. We had several rivers that we carried everything for two or three days befor inflateing the boats then walked behind them for days in shallow water. first pick the river -then find out what planes are near by. then plan your trip around what is out there. Beaver 1250 to 1300lbs. Cassna 182 750 to 790Lbs. Ect.Remember show up under weight or the pilots will hate you.
 

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I surfed around for titanium pipe the exact same size as NRS pipe so I could use the same fittings. I couldn't find it in schedule 40. 1 5/8", do you know where to get it and how much it costs?
Not to play geek(I can't help it!)- but if the tubes are the same size the Aluminum will be lighter unless the Ti is really thin, and you'd have to worry about crushing it with the fittings (and they woudn't fit the inside)- the advantage of Ti would be to use much smaller thinner tubing that would carry the same strength in a thinner build.

Regardless, I assume this is kind of a 'kidding around' thought 'cause Ti tubing is big, big $$ think in terms of a bike frame having ~$2000 worth of tubing in it.

now, if we're thinking in terms of exotics, I'd really look at carbon fiber tubes- THAT would be lighter... couple it with bolt/pin together fittings to avoid having to mix epoxy etc... wow. that thing would be flat out SEXY. anyone want a ~$5k frame? I wanna build one of these!
 

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mmmm....carbon fiber.

Why NRS fittings? they are really heavy and you will have to carry a ratchet. Welded joints are lighter than fittings, but if you have to use fittings use Holleander. On another note since we are talking about exotic materials, I have always wanted to see a bamboo frame!
 

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mmmm....carbon fiber.

Why NRS fittings? they are really heavy and you will have to carry a ratchet. Welded joints are lighter than fittings, but if you have to use fittings use Holleander. On another note since we are talking about exotic materials, I have always wanted to see a bamboo frame!

ooh- I wouldn't use NRS fittings- just the U bolts.... :twisted:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks

Thanks for all the good advice. There is a core group of really knowledgeable folks here giving me firsthand data. The weird part is...... none of them are trying to sell me anything. Thanks folks, keep the ideas coming. Last night I stayed up researching old frame posts so long, when I finally went to bed, my eyes looked like piss holes in a snowbank. :D
 

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versatile boats for remote waters

everyone has their own ideas for their own reasons.... aire traveler w/breakdown frame of nrs parts. it can be paddled, motored, rowed solo or tandem. boat w/o frame= 55lbs. frame weight can be reduced by removing seats and bolting plywood planks to the seat plates which can be tilted for paddling because they are u-bolted on rather than welded. some alaskan floaters use these boats in pairs so they have two small boats for floating tributaries and then connect them side by side for bigger water. i do have to make room for that pesky ratchet though.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Have any of you guys ever experimented with the small bore schedule 10 stainless pipe? I fitted for a couple of welders in a fab shop who could heli-arc. We fabbed 90s, concentric reducers, and Tees for a pharmaceutical plant. They also use alot of it in chicken plants and hog farms in central NC. Schedule 10 has a .109 wall thickness and weighs 3/4 what sched 40 stainless does. They even make schedule 5. How would this (sched 10) compare in strength and weight to sched 40 aluminum? AND, would 1.25" be safe instead of 1.5" . If I were to use stainless I would make it all welded 90s and tees with break down points strategicaly located to facilitate putting it in a duffel bag with a set of multipiece oars. I ask these questions because I have never even seen a real cataraft or aluminum pipe up close, let alone built a frame. I have no idea how strong a frame needs to be. Again, I will be avoiding the heavy water as, we are sometimes 100 miles from the nearest village and 200 miles from the nearest road. If we lose or break stuff, there is no resupply and it could be 2 weeks till the bush pilot picks us up down river. Unless it gets bad enough to pull the pin on the EPIRB, we are on our own. We line the canoes around most sections of river that I would ordinarily shoot right through were we not loaded with the only food, tent, and sleeping bag within 100 miles. We rarely see another human (one time in 5 weeks/160 river miles) The biggest water we have encountered was a stretch 50 yards long with 4-5 foot standing waves and some exposed boulders. This is within the realm of our skill if we are 300 yards from Nantahala Outdoor Center in July paddling an empty canoe. I like to have a margin of safety but this cat will be to fish from and carry camping gear. No coolers, fire-pans or toilets are required where we paddle. Maybe 500 lbs at the lightest and never more than 700, people included. I didn't mean this to run so long but what I am really wanting is BIG but LIGHT. Strong enough for class V isn't even a thought. Although, a small cat for the NC mountain day trips is definitely in order after seeing some of your creations. Thanks again for all the good info!
 

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You can build a nice frame out of s.s. tubing use sanitary type fittings not pipe size fittings. Stainless welds nice but is hard to machine.Also stainless will gull when you have a stainless to stainless slip joint. I've done a dozen trips to Alaska and understand what you are trying to do. You may be money ahead to have a pro build a frame for you. Look at other places to save weight. The seat, oars,personal gear ect.Dd you really want a cat. maybe a raft instead or something else?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Wouldn't a raft wind up being heavier and less maneuverable, and harder to stand in?My buddy that I go to AK with was on this same forum looking for the same info about a raft frame. Danattherock was his user name. I have learned alot from looking at the members posts in response to his questions. He settled on a bucket boat because the boat, sans frame and oars weighed 96 lbs. Anything over 100 and Alaska Air wont touch it. My thinking was that I could get a similar length and width boat that was more maneuverable by using cat tubes instead of a raft. I figured that I would have less inflatable boat and only a tad more pipe when all is said and done. I could break down the cat tubes separately into other bags as well. Maybe I should go with a raft? But, he still can't have his passenger stand. Why exactly do you guys lean towards the cats as opposed to the raft?
 
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