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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone have experience with the 14' Vanguard raft? I would use it for fishing. I reviewed some previous posts on Vanguard but they are over a year old and I'm wondering if there is any new information.
Also, can anyone direct me to trailer manufacturers that I might consider?
Thanks for your help.
 

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Vanguards are good boats for the money, but 14 is kind of big for a fishing boat. Check out All American Trailers in Denver, they have 2 trailers built specifically for rafts.
 

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I have a 14' Vanguard Venture that I bought new last summer. It has been a great boat so far. Made from PVC so not quite as flexible and light as hypalon, but every bit as tough, and much cheaper and easier to patch if the need arises. I float the Roaring Fork here locally and it does a great job in shallow water. I am able to float rocks 6 inches below the surface without rubbing. I like to fish on it a lot but am not an extreme angler and don't have my boat set up that way, but it works fine for me... I think an 11' or 12' with a fishing frame would be ideal for you as they are very light and maneuverable. However, I would not buy a used Vanguard over a year old as the floor components were not quite up to par then. The older boats tend to leak around the pressure release valves causing the floor not to hold pressure for very long. They fixed this problem from last year on, although the prv on mine does need to be cleaned at least once or twice a summer no matter what.

Anyway, great boat for a great price! As far as a trailer goes, I have a 2-place snowmobile trailer I use for my boat and that works fine. I think it's ridiculous to spend thousands of dollars on a custom raft trailer that is not useful for any other purpose, but that is just my opinion. For a small fishing raft, you could easily convert a small utility trailer to carry your raft. Guaranteed you will not be disappointed with a Vanguard though, especially if you can get it new. Good luck!
 

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A Political Theorist
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"The older boats tend to leak around the pressure release valves causing the floor not to hold pressure for very long. They fixed this problem from last year on, although the prv on mine does need to be cleaned at least once or twice a summer no matter what."

Have any more info on the leak around the valve? Any fixes? I have prv issues which carried over to a replacement valve, but had not heard about - or seen - any leaks related to raft itself.

Other than the floor issues, happy with the way the boat tracks and punches. Thickness of floor is a bit of a trade-off on gear hauling since it rides so high in relation to tops of tubes, but seems like it would be great for fishing.
 

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Not really sure about the PRVs on the older boats. I just know they are a lot less reliable, and occasionally don't do what they are designed to do, which is to release pressure when the floor over-expands due to direct sunlight, possibly causing the floor to explode. But your problem is the opposite, which must be frustrating.

If you're having problems with the PRV on your older Vanguard I would at least try seeking out advice from Vanguard directly. I'm sure they will help you out.
 

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If you are thinking about getting a boat for fishing, do yourself a favor and check out a Saturn before you buy anything. I was skeptical about getting one at first after guiding Hysides for years, but I spoke to many owners who have 50+ runs on their Saturns and they are still going strong. You can look at reviews and the only people who bash Saturns are people who don't actually own them. They have new placement for the valves this year, tougher flooring, and better handles. For the price of a Vanguard, you could get a Saturn w/ a nice frame and trailer. Also, having the 14 footer is nice if you ever decide to do an overnight trip and for most of the rivers around here, you don't need a 13 ft boat to get where you want to go. Plus the larger tubes on the 14's gives you better draft in the shallows.
 

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I have had a 14' Vanguard for 6 years. Been a great boat. Call Greg at Timberline Tours in Eagle 970-390-3020. He'll get you all set up. Used American in Denver and had them build a trailer which they now stock. Stick with the 14' though!!
 

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I agree, 14' for sure. You are always glad you have more room, not less. And 14' puts the anglers close enough together as it is and you still have just enough room for overnighters or family trips without the fishing seats in.

I also haven't ascertained an issue with any leaking around the prv but prv valves are notorious for going bad. I just went to the plug setup and pull it for on the trailer and its fine. I did have a v-tape issue on my floor but Holly had me a new boat under warranty in a couple days and mine's been good for the last 5 years.

For a trailer I would just watch craigslist and depending on your budget what features you want. Flatbed or cargo hauling? Winch and roller for sure.
 

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FISHTARD
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Its 2014- and I still cant find much info

Trying to bump this post-

Wondering how Vanguard boats are now that it is 1558 days past this post.

Everyone seems to bash glued seams, but I have also noticed that a few people are IN LOVE with the Vguards. Can someone explain this contradiction???
 

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I think there fine, they will outlast your interest in them (you'll want something newer before it falls apart). There are better boats for sure but vguards are just fine, as are saturns as are what ever gets you on the water. Given equal treatment some rafts will last longer, hold their resale value better but it really depends on how much you use them and how you take care of them. Get what gets you on the water and reevaluate when you gain first hand experience.

As far as glued seams, there are still plenty of big named boats that glue their seams but my guess is the issue is really based on perception. Look at a seam, it's an inch wide and when that inch of purchase is holding all your air in the chambers and there are a ton of seams that is the most likely spot for a failure, especially on more "hastily constructed" boats.... add in a bad batch of glue or a hungover technician and presto, XYZ boat company has seam failures. Add into that scenerio third world quality control and it's simply more likely to happen - ZYX import boats loose their seams all the time...

I think it's all luck of the draw (even with high dollar american made boats). Get off the pot and get yourself a boat - the best one that will get you on the water at the time you're looking.
 

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FISHTARD
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Many Choices

Thanks Elk.

I think I am leaning towards a new RMR. For the price I can get a 2 year old commercially used VG, I can get a new RMR with warranty. I know theyre heavy and dont roll very well, but at the price point seems like a better boat. Its going to be a guide/fun fishing rig and from everything I have read these things are pretty bomb proof. I just have yet to see one.

Ill just have to find a trailer and place to store it- which is near impossible here in Vail.

May just have to go for it and buy the rubber and slowly put together the rest of the boat... Thinking DRE fishing frame.

Sooooooo the questions remains..... New 14' RMR for >1800 or 2 year commercially used 14' VG for 1800 or new 14' VG for 2400.

Obviously I there are other options but these have been the most recent to present themselves. I think I prefer new just to have that warranty, I dont have to have the cash up front, know where the boat has been and Ill look super gaper with my brand new rubber!
 

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Thanks Elk.

I think I am leaning towards a new RMR. For the price I can get a 2 year old commercially used VG, I can get a new RMR with warranty. I know theyre heavy and dont roll very well, but at the price point seems like a better boat. Its going to be a guide/fun fishing rig and from everything I have read these things are pretty bomb proof. I just have yet to see one.

Ill just have to find a trailer and place to store it- which is near impossible here in Vail.

May just have to go for it and buy the rubber and slowly put together the rest of the boat... Thinking DRE fishing frame.

Sooooooo the questions remains..... New 14' RMR for >1800 or 2 year commercially used 14' VG for 1800 or new 14' VG for 2400.

Obviously I there are other options but these have been the most recent to present themselves. I think I prefer new just to have that warranty, I dont have to have the cash up front, know where the boat has been and Ill look super gaper with my brand new rubber!
wading boots and a little mud will take care of that shiny new boat look...

Pretty sure a vanguard is heavier and rolls more difficultly than an RMR, but not positive.

I looked at RMR last fall, they looked like great boats but I didn't like the placement of their corner (for lack of a better term) seams - the seams that transition from the straight section to the bow/stern rise. It was just an abrupt transition and I'd have preferred and extra seam/section in that area that halved that angle. I started looking at Sotar's sales sheet, found the continuous rockered strike and yada yada - I digress but as a fisherman too I really liked the idea of their SL/strike hull design so I went that route... digression over - I think RMR's looked well built and would have happily picked one up over any other "budget" boat, including otters and tribs.

I hate to complicate your decision making process but having owned a few boats I'd rather own a 10 year old hyside than a 2 year old vanguard, RMR, etc. I have a lot of confidence in older hypalon boats - Hyside being my experience, but Avon, NRS and others made great boats way back there nearer to the millenium. Finding one of those pre-rigged might not be a bad option.

Weight will really not be your concern if you're going to a fishing frame - it'll just be heavy and and an extra 20-30 lbs won't matter either way. and trailers are really nice, especially rigged for fishing.

Storage: Do you have any lowland friends with space? I am a mountain town convert and always had a time storing my boats. I was usually lucky enough to find something with space for a trailer - though it may have been under 10' of snow. I now have space and coincidentally have numerous campers, rafts, snowmachines (in summer) stored for my Mtn friends... Ayways you could always roll the boat, disassemble the frame and shove the trailer in someones back yard?

Good luck and sorry if I threw out too much information, it's kind of a habit of mine...
 

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Stevo you shouldn't over look a bucket boat either. Especially if room is a concern. I have a 16.5" Avon BB that rolls up much smaller than my 13" Maravia Spider. If you put platforms/floors in (which DRE can certainly help with) you won't know the difference between it being a BB or SB. Well except that the BB boat is generally more responsive and easier to row for fishing. Another upside is they are pretty affordable (used). Just a thought.


Jim
 

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HEADACHE

I havent even thought about a BB bob... I always thought that was just an old technology. It seems that it just wouldnt be very practical with a fishing frame.. and a dog... and stuff. Not like I can dump water out after a few hours of fishing with a client(looking into the future once I get my float cert.) I think self bailer is for me.

As far as storage goes- that is something I am going to have to deal with either way... whether its a few extra square feet bigger or not... whats the difference.

The reason im leaning toward RMR is bc it seems like the ABSOLUTE best value. A friend told me that you wont even keep your first boat very long anyways,... So why not go for an afforadble, bombproof first boat. I currently have a 12ft Creek company 2 man:cool: cat- its great for low water stealth missions- but as with any boat owner- you always wanna go bigger.

My plan is to find a boat under 2k... get the frame I want- decked out DRE San Juan(no input from anyone on those but it looks sick.).... and then be able to move that nice frame from boat to boat as I save money for an eventual nice raft:rolleyes:. Hyside, Sotar, Mavaria...etc.

I also have to decide if I want a 13 or 14. Thinking 14- although it will limit me on a few rivers(Eagle being in my back yard) locally here in vail- I will be able to take the dog, gf:lol:, friends, camping gear more easily, I believe. AND, like i said, you ALWAYS want more room... am I right?:confused:

(I just discovered the smileys- pardon my usage)
 

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It is super easy to get water out with a bilge pump. Not trying to talk you into something you don't want but it is surprising how much more maneuverable a bucket boat is. Also they are a little roomier as you don't have 4"ish of inflated floor.
A good friend of mine has the San Juan frame and it is nice. His has aluminum floors that are very large. You can't tell what his floor is underneath.
Again I am not trying to argue that a bucket boat is better ( I have two SB as well) just saying it is a viable option. I have floated lots of miles in my BB doing fishing trips or floats with my sister and her kids and don't have to bail at all. Of course it takes a pretty good wave to get over the 24" tubes and a lot of the fishing floats I do are fairly waveless.
As Elkhaven said the right boat is the one that gets you on the water.


Jim
 

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Back to your original question, my Vanguard just passed through it's 9th season and no issues to report whatsoever. Holds air excellent, zero issues with seams, zero patches. I do all the normal fishing stuff, Ark, CO, Fork, NF platte, SF snake, Bighorn, Green; and the usual multiday's more than once a season, Deso, Yampa, Lodore, Green ABC, SJ. The material integrity looks as good now as when I bought it. The only real wear spot on the boat is where I left a Deso tag on and rolled it up and the sharp edge of the zip tie rubbed into the pvc coating a bit. Otherwise just a lot of frame marks that I'm too lazy to clean up :)

I rolled it for the first few years and just roof racked the frame, then got a trailer. I have an NRS frame so it's easy to switch between uses. No complaints on any of it. Are there nicer boats and setups? no doubt, but as far as function goes it does everything I need it to and has never failed. I'd spend extra money on nicer oars. I rented Sotars on the Grand and we rented RMR's this summer on the Rogue, seemed like a decent boat the week we spent with it. I didn't inspect it too hard.

One comparison I could make is the storage, which is where the Vanguards lack. Thick hard floor, which is great for fishing, but cuts down the room below the tubes. RMR is more of a traditional setup with bigger tubes and the floor is softer. Don't get me wrong, I can still carry everything I need but you've got to do it right with the VG.

I agree with the others, looking for a used full setup is probably the way to go. Warranty is of course nice but really you are going to need that for manufacturing defects on a new boat that show up pretty quick. All these boats are going to stand up to normal abuse no problem. Once you get setup you end up realizing you want three times the cost in accessories that you planned on in the first place and all the little stuff adds up to more than the boat haha.

oh, and as far as glued seems. I'm of the opinion that dates back to when PVC boats were a new thing and outgassing and glue didn't mix. At some point along the learning curve epoxy/glue technology took a leap forward and the problem was solved. Talking to the guys at Inflatable Tech, they always say once something is glued on there it will outlive the boat. I think the value boats, RMR/Vang, up to the top of the line will all give you decades of use at this point. Even if I upgraded to a 16' cruiser for the long trips, I'd keep the Vang for a fishing/teen machine boat on trips so I'm planning to find out just how long it will go. Like the man said, just buy what you can and will get you on the river.
 

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Jared
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You can get an RMR with the drop stitch floor now, and I hear that drop stitch floors are better for fishing. They inflate much stiffer and they make it easier to stand and walk around on. I'm not an angler, but it is a consideration to make.
 

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I also have to decide if I want a 13 or 14. Thinking 14- although it will limit me on a few rivers(Eagle being in my back yard) locally here in vail- I will be able to take the dog, gf:lol:, friends, camping gear more easily, I believe. AND, like i said, you ALWAYS want more room... am I right?:confused:
Go for 14'. 13' boats feel small to me and that extra foot seems to make a world of difference when fishing with 3 people on the boat (esp flyfishing). Also I feel like you can put alot more on a 14' boat when camping.

Conversely I don't feel like a 14' boat would limit you any more than a 13' boat does....are you really squeaking through slots by only 2-3 inches per side? Me and my group runs both. The runs that feel too small for my 14', feel too small in the 13 footers....IMO 12' is when you start to fit better on small runs and even then it's not tiny. I'm kinda looking for a minimax to fill the small run niche in my boating quiver for this very reason
 

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FISHTARD
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Go for 14'. 13' boats feel small to me and that extra foot seems to make a world of difference when fishing with 3 people on the boat (esp flyfishing). Also I feel like you can put alot more on a 14' boat when camping.

Conversely I don't feel like a 14' boat would limit you any more than a 13' boat does....are you really squeaking through slots by only 2-3 inches per side? Me and my group runs both. The runs that feel too small for my 14', feel too small in the 13 footers....IMO 12' is when you start to fit better on small runs and even then it's not tiny. I'm kinda looking for a minimax to fill the small run niche in my boating quiver for this very reason
Im definitely thinking 14er. Especially bc I have a 12 ft 2 man cat... its a great lowwater boat. Ill jsut get more use out of a 14- at least be able to take the gf and dog and friends- w/gear. Plus in definitely and over packer. And youre right, and extra foot length-wise probably doesnt matter much and the 7 inches extra width isnt that much either, But to answer your question about squeezing by... Yes, i do do that on the eagle and roaring fork. Its an ambitious run but i wouldnt do it in a 14... thats what the Creek Company ODC1220 is for!

I really appreciate all the info guys. GOing to see if I can find a blowout for a 14 RMR and see what DRE has to say about framing. All the other stuff with be slow winter purchases. Ive also got to do some research about oar length and all that.
 
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