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Hi folks,

I am looking to buy a raft that is small enough to R-2, but big enough for overnight trips where a dory is not appropriate (my boyfriend and I are building a dory that we will use on longer trips). I also plan to have an oar frame for it eventually.

This spring I paddled a 12ft Zoik suspended deck (apparently the same as a Star water bug?) and loved it. We took it on the Snake, the Gallatin, Lochsa, and several other rivers and it was a blast. I love the huge 24" tubes. What I dont love is how narrow it is for hauling gear and the fact that it is glued PVC. I also feel that the cat-style tubes carry weight very poorly.

Any recommendations for a raft that is small enough to R2, with big tubes (20"+)? Maybe 11 or 12'?

We are moving to Bellingham, WA next year but plan on spending a few weeks each summer in Jackson, WY where I have lived for 9 years and we are both mountain guides (and relatively new to this whole concept of going with gravity).
 

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Hyside mini-max. Smaller than you were talking about but if you know how to pack it has plenty of room. Quality, packable, and weigh 66 pounds so you can carry it into or out of rivers with poor access.
 

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Hyside Outfitter 12. 12 ft. long X 6'1" wide, 19 inch tubes. Weighs about 80 lb. without the thwarts. Took it down Deso in May for 7 days with an NRS compact outfitter frame. Carried a small cooler, one dry box, and all my personal gear. Would be great for overnighters, and R2. Here's some pics.
 

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+1 for the Mini-Max. We use it just as you describe - R2 it (it's a BLASST for that) and I built a small frame for rowing. We took it on the San Juan as an oar rig and carried some of the gear for that trip as well as two people on board. It's a really versatile little raft. Mine is shown in the Raft Porn thread somewhere in the 600+ posts... LOL
 

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I was going to suggest cataraftgirl's new one, but she already did!
I made a partial list a bit ago; I was thinking wide for stability more than tube size, here are some in 12 - 13' range with 19" tubes (and list prices):
Aire 130R, 78" wide, 19.5" tubes, 122 lbs. $4322 w/2 thwarts.
Sotar ST 13', 76" wide, 19" tubes, $4910.
Sotar ST 12', 70" wide, 19" tubes, $4225.
Hyside Pro 12.9 (156ASBU), 12' 11", 74" wide, 19" tubes, 104#, $4881.
Sotar SL 12', 16-21' diminishing tube style, 74" wide, $4475.
Aire 130D, 13', 76" wide, 19" tube (diminishing tube), 120 lbs $like 130R.
Sotar SL 13', 80" wide, 16-21" diminishing tubes, $5199.
The smaller Maravia's I had on my list (of small but relatively wide rafts) have smaller tubes than you are looking for.

BTW, although it doesn't quite meet your desired specs, if you want to see a Hyside MiniMax (10.5' x 5', 18" tubes, 67#), PM me.
 

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Cookie, I think you will get some more stability with a 12' (and wide-ish) raft than the 10.5' x 5' Minmax (although I'm a novice, and I'll let others disagree). I R2'ed mine and flipped running the meat in Kahuna; could have sneaked it no problem, but wanted to see; so if you want to run stuff like Kahuna, be aware. I've seen other posters here, besides novice me, say "rig to flip" applies to the Minimax in big water.
I'm happy to be disagreed with... (always learning).
 

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I have no R2 experience, so I can't speak to that. If you want to do some overnight trips with a rowing frame and two people, then a 12 ft. raft would be much better. Once you guys get your dory built, you will each have a great boat for multi-day trips. You'll be set for R2 & weekend or weeklong trips.
 

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Here's another one (two) that is (are) in the ballpark based on your specs at 11'.
Still have the potential gear capacity and stability issues of a smaller raft.
Sotar ST 11 (also look at their SL 11).
ST 11' Classic Rafts | SOTAR
(Interior width of 24" might not do it for you -- I think that's the same as the Minimax.)
Some of this depends on how much gear you like/need to carry -- backpack style allows smaller raft -- but it sounds like the 12' Zoik didn't have quite enough room for you.
 

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I just keep thinking of more stuff...
FWIW, the Hyside spec sheet shows a minimum recommended paddle crew of 3 for Cataraftgirl's raft. Maybe the R2 folks will chime in regarding a raft size limit for reasonable R2ing.
 

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I don't think there is necessarilly a size limit on R2ing. Depends on those that are doing the R2ing. I have seen people easilly R2 14 footers no problem. 12 footer or less would be piece of cake for those. My wife and I are just starting to R2, and the MiniMax is a great size for learning. Relatively easy, even for a novice. May not be as stable, but on the flip side (no pun intended LOL) it is extremely manueverable and very quick and easy to get it where you want it to go. We've had it on Browns a couple times, Clear Creek and even westwater. All low flows, but still, no problems on any of them.Surprisingly stable actually. We've gone into every trip preparing ourselves mentally to swim, and hardly even come close.
 

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The other boats in there are a 12' hyside and a 13' hyside. Both more roomy than my spider. At first glance I thought the 13' was a 14'. He took that boat down the grand.
 

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I just keep thinking of more stuff...
FWIW, the Hyside spec sheet shows a minimum recommended paddle crew of 3 for Cataraftgirl's raft. Maybe the R2 folks will chime in regarding a raft size limit for reasonable R2ing.
I've seen folks R1 a 13'6'' boat down class III, and I know a guy that R1s the West fork of the Hood River (CLass IV-V) with a similarly sized Avon. The paddler(s) is more important than the boat.

I would R2 my 12" boat without hesitation. Its nimble, and I would bet that a hyside that weighs 20 lbs less would be even more so.
 
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