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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I am new to the forum and appreciate everyone's help. Seems like a pretty awesome community here.

I am looking to buy a river raft for a paddle setup. I was thinking of something that would be good for 3 people plus gear for over night trips. Would something in the 12' range be sufficient or am I going to want to go to a 14?

I am a senior at the Air Force Academy so will only be around Colorado for one more year most likely. I won't know where I am getting stationed until Feb so I have no idea if I will be near anywhere I could use it after this year. My brother is starting at the Academy this year though so worst case scenario I can pass it off to him.

I don't think that it is likely that I will be trying anything over class III with possibly the occasional class IV( if I even get that far).

I would prefer to keep the cost down as much as possible but don't want to buy total junk.
 

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A 12' has plenty of room for 3 people and gear for an overnight trip. I have a 12' NRS Otter that I really like. I think I paid a little over 1k for it new, but I know they've gotten a lot more expensive in the last couple years.

As far as whitewater, a 14' is going to have bigger tubes and be more survivable, but a 12' is lighter and more maneuverable. I much prefer the small boat because I think it's a lot more fun, but I know a lot of people like the comfort factor of the bigger boat.
 

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Cpt. No Scout
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I would buy a cheep used boat. That way you can learn about rocks, cleaning valves, and general raft care on something you can screww up and not feel too bad about. Then if you get into rafting, you will have a totally different perspective in two years than you currently have. Then buy new for your next boat. My gut says 12' is too small. I run a 13' and feel its a bit small. I think you can get around 1000 lbs of people and grear (including frame and oars) in a 12'er?? Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Do you have any suggestions on where I could find one? I also don't plan on moving to an oar setup so does that make a difference
 

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Cpt. No Scout
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Do you have any suggestions on where I could find one? I also don't plan on moving to an oar setup so does that make a difference
The buzz has classified ads. NRSweb.com has some. Sotar has a "Hotsheet" on their web site. Maravia has a couple boats list as used. You don't need a oar set up if you can get a paddle crew together.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
How hard is it to patch a raft? would it be worth getting one that needs a patch or two to save money and then do that myself? Is it like patching a bike tire which is pretty straight forward?
 

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Buying a fixer upper raft is a lot like a house. There are really good deals at time and there are money pits. having some experience helps a lot, unfortunately for you.

Patches are fairly easy to do at home with a decent patch kit. match the right glue and the patch to the raft material and you are set. lots of folks on here will be happy to tell you what you boat is made of and the apporpriat glue.

1) is it coming unglued at the seams? pass
2) did it just get a hole poked? possibly buy it + $30 patch kit (which you should buy anyway)
3) extensive wear? your call, could be a project at the end of the servicable life, could be a good deal
4) leaky valve? maybe $50 fix if that is really the problem and parts are available

Good luck!
 

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aka The Curmudgeon
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1- Get a 14. Gear/psgr hauling capacity is far better, Very little diff in maneuverability. Great diff in stability

2- Stay away from a fixer upper until you have a few years under your belt. It's entirely possible to get a POS that will sour your experience and keep you off the river indefinitely. Get a real boat, spend your time on learning to use it, not learning to fix it.
 

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I'd say look for a decent deal on a solid used boat from one of the premium manufacturers. treat it well while you own it, and you'll probably get close to what you paid for it in the event that you sell it after a year. If you're looking to get on the river as cheaply as possible, this is a far better option than buying a piece of junk near the end of its life. You'll end up spending more time on the river with a safe boat, and less time sniffing glue.

There is a learning curve to raft repair, it is time-consuming and can be expensive, and you need a good place to do the work. I've gone both routes and wasted about $500 on my first raft because I wanted to be on the river "cheap".
 

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aka The Curmudgeon
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Yeah, that much or more. See Prezki's remarks above, he's right on the money. Get a good one, you'll get your money back when and if you abandon the sport or get a new boat. You'll also find it's the best thousand you've ever spent! SYOTR
 

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I'd recommend you stick with self-bailers simply because the resale market for these boats is much larger. A decent older hypalon 12'-13' self-bailer should sell pretty quickly in the $1000-$1400 range. This is not to say that a bucket boat won't suit your needs perfectly but they are more difficult to sell when and if you want to upgrade.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks a lot for answering all my questions. Just a few more

I was talking to my brother and we were discussing the possibilities of getting kayaks but I really like the idea of being able to carry gear in a raft for over night trips. How would you do this with a kayak?

Also with a raft I can pretty much guarantee I will be able to put together enough people to run it. With a kayak I'd be hard pressed to find people to run rivers with( at the academy I mean from what I have read on here it seems like it would be easy enough to meet up with people.)

Finally what's your guys opinions on canoes?

To be honest I just really want to be able to get out on the river don't have a preferred method. Although if I had a kayak I could try snow kayaking... (skiing is my main sport.)
 

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If you're not sure- they why buy a boat? Rent one if you can for the times you will be wanting to run down the river. Waaaaay cheaper than sinking 2K plus into a boat you'll only have for a year and aren't sure you even want it. Oh yeah- do you have a place to store it when you're not on the river? They take up a lot of space in dorm rooms....lol
 

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Cpt. No Scout
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Thanks a lot for answering all my questions. Just a few more

I was talking to my brother and we were discussing the possibilities of getting kayaks but I really like the idea of being able to carry gear in a raft for over night trips. How would you do this with a kayak?

Go light, poop in a piece of PVC, sleep in a bivy, and eat MRI's

Also with a raft I can pretty much guarantee I will be able to put together enough people to run it. With a kayak I'd be hard pressed to find people to run rivers with( at the academy I mean from what I have read on here it seems like it would be easy enough to meet up with people.)

True, but getting 2 to 4 people to go out and follow your instructions when you don't even know what your doing "priceless" someone could die.

Finally what's your guys opinions on canoes?

Good for the super skilled or flat water.

To be honest I just really want to be able to get out on the river don't have a preferred method. Although if I had a kayak I could try snow kayaking...

Snow kayaking is gay!

Next question...
 

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I have the 16 Foot bucket boat from Idaho Springs, If you buy it I will throw in 5 Paddles and a days worth of guide training!! I work in the springs and I am at the Air force Acadmey 2x a day for the next two days so send me an email.
 
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