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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
A few years ago I bought a used Scadden Assault to use on lakes and flat water when we took our annual summer trip to the southern rockies. Now that my kids are getting bigger and we are full timing in our 5th wheel, I'm looking for a real raft.

I'd like some recommendations from you guys that are much more experienced than me.

What I need is a raft that will roll up small and have a simple takedown frame. I'm thinking something with a bay up front for a cooler that my two young kids can sit on and an easily removable rear seat if mom wants to come. She will only come occasionally. Looking to do easy floats on Class 2-3 rivers for now.

I'm thinking that I need to go Hypalon for the storage aspect. The Hyside Max 12 and Outfitter 12 look to be good for the job but that would be the extreme top of the budget.

We have plenty of space for a broken down frame in the bed of the truck and easy room for a rolled up raft. Oars can fit in the pass through.

I'm really looking for suggestions for alternatives that I haven't thought of and what I need to be looking for.
 

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Definitely hypalon. Also look for used boats.

NRS Longhorn is about as compact as anything...and modular enough you can expand it later with longer side rails and more crossbars.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
What are some other specific boats I should be looking for? I absolutely prefer to buy a used raft but it seems to be like looking for a needle in a field of haystacks between searching Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and in the classifieds here.
 

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So I rented a Hyside Max 12 out of Missoula for the day. Very cool boat but too small for what we want to do. Now on the search for a Hypalon 13-14 footer.

As an aside, I'm really liking this setup with the dry box and cooler. Keeps everything off the floor. Just need some kind of quick release seat for the rower for leaning back and chilling throughout the day.

58942
 

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If you are just be doing class 2-3 maybe consider a bucket boat. There are used 14' Avon adventures up for sale on the classifieds pretty often. Rolls up tighter than a self bailer and is lighter. You will get your feet wet but it will give the kids something to do. You may have to do a little work on it but those old Avon's are still around. You can get into it and see if it works for you and upgrade later. You might be able to pick up a full rig for much less than just new rubber.
 

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You can use a Crazy Creek or similar chair on a dry box for back support, it won't take up much storage space in the RV.
 

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I'd buy a 13 ft NRS otter, some break down carlise oars, and an NRS bighorn 1 frame. That would all fit in the back of a truck easily.
 

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Hypalon is a trademark of DuPont and is no longer manufactured for rafts that I am aware of. NRS uses a fabric they call Pennel Orca that is very similar to hypalon.This is a good comparison of both fabrics, people use hypalon as a generic word to describe rubber vs PVC boats.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hypalon is a trademark of DuPont and is no longer manufactured for rafts that I am aware of. NRS uses a fabric they call Pennel Orca that is very similar to hypalon.This is a good comparison of both fabrics, people use hypalon as a generic word to describe rubber vs PVC boats.
Thanks for the info. I'm still pretty new to this whole raft scene and still learning.

After a day on the water in the Max 12, it looks like self bailing will be a requirement. Between kids spilling drinks and knocking over my beer and the dog dragging in a couple of gallons of water every time she gets in and out, a bucket boat would be a mess. No thanks. Everyone had an absolute blast on the water though, even on the flat, slow Clark Fork north of Missoula.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Picked up two Bows standing on the dry box while the family chilled. Being from south Louisiana, we don’t come to Montana for 95 degrees. Next week looks more like it. Haha.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Found a raft. I dropped into the Trail Head in Missoula yesterday and they had an Outcast OSG Ambush inflated on the floor. It's mine now.

I had been stressing about storing the broken down frame and dry box in the camper or truck and how much of a PITA it was going to be at put in and takeout not having a trailer. Seeing the Ambush in person it is considerably wider than expected at 6'9" and has as much or more room than almost any 13-14ft raft. We plan on day trips exclusively anyway so we can throw a couple of dry bags and a big soft cooler in and call it a day. The fact that it is frameless but still uses real oars is just going to work better for me since we will be limiting ourselves to Class II with only very occasional Class III stuff. Pumped to get the family out on the lower Blackfoot this week for the maiden voyage.

I know most of you would have gone used in this situation but everything in my $3000-3500 budget was 15-20 years old and mostly bucket boats. Frames were old custom welded affairs that wouldn't have suited our needs. The only other option was a new boat with a new frame and boxes and that either ended up being way over budget or we'd have taken months to piece used stuff together from Craigslist or Marketplace.

If any of you guys lurking wants me to row you around for the morning or an afternoon while you throw bugs from the front and give me rowing tips, I'll be in Missoula until Sunday. Let me know.
 
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