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Discussion Starter #1
Long time lurker, first time poster. Been a casual rafter for many years but recently bought my first raft; after an MFS trip with my dad last year I finally decided it was time to be an owner, not renter. Aire 146DD with custom frame from Recretech, ordered via Andy & Bax (thx Steve). Intended use is a combination of multiday trips on the Deschutes, Rogue, John Day, etc and single or multiday fishing trips on coastal / central rivers (or anywhere for that matter). Ordered oars / oarlocks from ProLoks and now anxiously awaiting everything to show up. I could use some feedback from the community here on the following:

Gear List: throw bag, bow line, anchor, life jackets, NRS dry bags, beaver tail, cam straps, canyon prospector, Captains bag, chicken line, fire box, oar tethers, drop bag. What are the other must haves? Frame has two dry boxes, frame wraps the rear for the anchor set up, got a drop in lid / seat which can be swapped out for the front dry box, and have an optional front fishing platform.

Trailer: I have a 4 door wrangler so looking to go lite; aluminum. Have read a bunch of dated reviews on here for Iron Eagle, MS Metal Works, etc. but curious about any current suggestions the community has for local trailer builders.

Rafting Friends: I'm not on facebook, but would enjoy connecting with some rafting buddies who might want to join on a trip or two, or allow me to join theirs. Wife and I are 42, 8 year old daughter, am past my prime for class V water but we like to have fun and enjoy the outdoors, particularly with friends. Also looking forward to guy / fishing trips if that's your style.

Talk to me, MountainBuzz.
 

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Welcome! Lol. I’m not on FB either. My family and I live in Bend (both early 40’s, single daughter 12) and hit the same rivers. We have a 156R for almost everything. If it’s really bony, we lighten the load and go with a 14’ NRS. We love rafting with other families - especially with kids!

Must haves? I got twin nesting tables from SDG River Gear in Grants Pass. They make quality stuff. Counter height tables and a good hand wash station are essential for us. Even on lightweight trips we bring the hand wash station just to wash dishes in! Makes for a happy family. We also got a good Groover (Selway). No more poorly sealed buckets :(

My trailer is from MS Metal works and the price was right. It is a heavy trailer. No doubt. But a very solid, well made trailer, with roller, stake pockets, winch, and spare tire - 14’ $1600? I think that’s right. There are lighter trailers out there, but we can’t complain. I winch my fully rigged 16’ raft by myself, completely loaded (I wrap a winch strap around the oarlocks and frame, come under the bow with the winch line, and it pulls it right up). No more struggles. Again, makes for a happy family.

Hope you enjoy your new rig!
 

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Aluma Trailers. They are light but do float if in to deep and have a current. They make some really nice raft trailers with roller bar and winch. I use a 16' double axle snowmobile trailer from them and the nice thing about it is it sits low and when backed into the river I can pull my raft all the way up on it. Have Fun.
 

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You're living right, Norcalcoastie. We're on the westside but actively looking to relocate to Bend area in the next 6-12 months (jobs are mobile given everything going on). I know we're not alone in that, was hoping this chaos would calm the market over there but quite the opposite. Interviewing brokers as we speak, so if you have any recommendations let me know. We're looking for property (at least 5 acres), river proximity, and will probably end up building a barn home unless we find an already built that suits us.

On the rafting front, good point, guess we need someplace to poop! Tables and kitchen set up needed so I'll look up SDG, thanks for the rec. Any idea what your trailer weighs, or tell me what you tow it with? My wrangler is fun, not on long road trips, but it's a little bit of bitch for towing heavy loads. Wife has a Grand Cherokee so that's also an option, or I guess I could buy a pick up if need be.

Are you guys in Bend proper, or somewhere nearby? We're fond of Sisters, or Tumalo, but wanting to be outside the city generallly.
 

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I was offered a free wooden boat (firewood), but I had to take the boat's trailer too. From there I had welded a simple frame that grew in size and complexity until it had a steel framed box for gear, and fore & aft lift-off pocketed "christmas trees" that held canoes. People often thought it was a strange lash-up with a l-o-n-g t-o-n-g-u-e. No problem. It could balance a load of 19' canoes, make a run to the dump, and with the long tongue anybody (almost) could eventually get it backed up. Add 4' to the tongue of every trailer on the planet and the world would be a better place.
A friend went trailer-happy and bought a bunch of others' designs ... any old thing that had a good tongue and axle, and looked like something he could put to work. He ended up with a couple dozen designs for varied purposes. He moves pianos, and he knows his trailers. Like me, he'll talk your ear off. We are both out of Portland. Yeah, I know.
By the time my free trailer was finished (20 years) I had a couple thousand dollars in the mods, corrections & add-ons. Gave it to a friend; sorry. A couple years working at the dump in Portland introduced me to lots of trailers that worked ... and lots of things that didn't. Many wild trailer stories, too.
First, you need a 3500 lb. Dexter axle of proper length, (my minimum do-all axle) ... AND wheels, fenders, tires, (a spare!) springs, shackles, a frame, a tongue and a decent hitch for a 2" ball. And some good wiring and lights. After that, the sky's the limit. Tie-downs, stake pockets, D-rings, hooks, safety chains, a tongue-jack. You will find many uses for the trailer, so you may as well go with 15" tires & Ford bolt pattern wheels.
If you like, aluminum trailers can come later, as you figure out what you really need. They save maybe 40% of the weight of the metal ... less, really, but they tend toward light duty so people make them flimsy.
I was gifted a motorcycle trailer (flatbed beater) and I bought a bank vault door that came with another "trailer of convenience" ... "for a price." A beater aluminum car hauler and a 20' flatbed snowmobile trailer, and a Cargo-Mate (purchased to help a friend.) I could use a few more, but I gotta make do. Trailer-ideas any time. Or, if you're local, ...
No FB either, BTW.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
villagelighstsmith, you've got more trailer knowledge in this post than I have in my head. All those trailer stories would make for great campfire talk sometime. I appreciate all the feedback! The waterline on my 146dd is 118" so that's what I'm aiming for on length. Not sure if you're offering here, or making recommendations. I'm "near" Portland enough to make a quick drive if you think you have something that might fit my need, would be great to see some pics if so, or appreciate any locally recommended fabricators if you have them.
 

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Well stocked and familiar with use, First Aid kit
Shade pop up
Bug juice
Personally like collapsible dish pans
and, along with a good, sealed groover.....soft TP
 

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I normally just use my hand and handful of sand/dirt, not your style? :)

Appreciate the tip.
Dang me! I was just surfing off a beautiful desert bike trip video, then on to a winter message where we were discussing the merits of a handful of snow to wipe our bums. "Refreshing, Invigorating, hygienic, clean." Those cool thoughts of an icy bum were still echoing thru the canyons of my mind when I tripped over the words of your last comment ... "hand, and a handful of sand/dirt..." Yeeks! Owww! Bicycle saddle grind! (Context is ... everything!) :LOL:

Sure, we could get together and talk trailers, and maybe get Wes (the other guy) into the discussion. Any time Wes and I pool our ignorance is like the river otters ... otters are always having fun, whatever their task. Me? I'm just an old coot who's always been stealin' ideas. I'll PM you my phone # if I can figure how this site works.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
ebay has so many sponsored ads, kinda fukd. Anyone have favorite supplier for bimini tops?
 

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Face book sucks ass, endless data mining, targeted advertising, it's no bad Mozilla Firefox browser had to make a "Facebook Container", basically a sandbox that walls all the trackers, cookies and other tracking nastiness, off from your computer. Anti Social media is just that. Zuckerberg has enough money, he sure doesn't need yours and mine.

Aluminum trailers are expensive, only save minute amounts of money when running empty which is offset by the initial cost, all the connection points where the steel meet the aluminum are bolted, and this can lead to premature wear if things loosen up, and they do, maintenance is a much higher priority. As Village said. a dexter or acculube axle is key to long and minimal failure bearing life, make sure the dust caps over the bearings have the little rubber plugs in them with a grease zerk behind the plug, and grease liberally. 3500 pound and a torsional axle, they ride much smoother and are totally maintenance free compared to a leaf spring axle. Make sure to get a quality coupler like the bulldog brand, cheap couplers can wear rapidly with a light trailer bouncing around back there, and lead to a premature tow vehicle / trailer separation.. Sealed Submersible lights, preferably LED are key, the cost has come way down over the years, doesn't put any real additional load on your tow vehicles electrical system.

I'll second a good groover system. I used the old style groovers for 40 years, rocket box and fiberglass seat, cheap, easy to rig, easy to clean and did I mention cheap? For overnights I took to using a restop bag inside them, fits perfectly and when full, zip it up and toss it in a dumpster, preferably not one at your house. Over the years, I've had the privilege of using other folks systems, the absolute worst was the eco safe, and the absolute best was the johnny partner. There are all flavors inbetween.. Owning just about everything else Partner Steel makes for boating, this year I broke down and paid thru the nose (ass) and bought one with a spare tank. 120 user days, 5 folks on a grand trip capacity.. OMG, so nice to use, so easy to set up, so stable, and on the really important side, so easy to clean, almost effortless, and I don't see how one could possibly screw the process up and get "messy" with it, even if you tried. one really nice things is you can make (or buy) an elastic "shower cap" type cover for the seat that keeps the flies out.. Yes, ungodly expensive initially, but is a lifetime investment that will last a lifetime and holds it's resale value should you need to sell it.

And yes, soft TP... Bicyclists may like the sand and hand method, but they seem to be gluttons for punishment, and the Euel Gibbons leaves and sticks method is ok for backpacking, but we have boats and can bring anything we want, why not be comfortable, and clean back there?.

That being said, you're already loaded up pretty well for a 14 foot boat LOL, 2 dry boxes ! Remember, Dry Boxes, no matter who makes them, are dry in theory only.... Try and keep it light enough that your "D" rings are above the water level. To that end, your firepan, in mine and others opinions should be the campfire defender pop up pit. This year after Christmas Campfire defender was giving huge discounts on pits that people had bought on Amazon and returned, sometimes without even opening the box, they couldn't sell them as new, so they discounted them and sold them here, and it was a hefty discount. Mine was brand spankin when I got it. Can't say enough good things about their product, it weighs nothing, costs very little, won't go into it here, like the groover, there are many threads on firepans and groovers archived on the Buzz if you're interested.

Bimini top on this rig is going to be problematic, just from a storage standpoint with the rear setup, and something to trip over if it's stored forward. If you must, get an umbrella, stores quickly, is cheap, and does the job. If you do, don't spend money on an expensive one, Amazon / craigslist / etc have them cheap, the expensive ones break just as easily as the cheapos.

Finally, don't skimp on cheap oars, Oars are your sole mechanical point of contact with the water, and the only thing you have to manuver your boat with. There are 3 kinds. Handbuilt wood, which IMHO is simply the best, lightest and highest performing, Any product from Sawyer, they are top of the line in every way, and all the rest, which can vary from total POS to the entry level cataract product, which will work your body way harder then it needs to be. Oar geometry is key, if your oars aren't set up for proper body mechanics, no matter what you buy you'll be in the eddy at the bottom of the day choking ibuprofen if they aren't set up correctly.

Welcome to "Das Buzz", and have a good time out there, it's really what it's all about. For years, I thought the "Hokey Pokey" had that title, and then I became a boater....

Hope this helps, and remember, this is MY 2¢, YMMV
 

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Reckless and NorCalCoastie, we are also in Bend and have two girls, 9 and 5. Most of the folks we tend to float with are out-of-town, even out-of-state. Feel free to reach out if interested in joining up for some trips. With the pandemic, we ended up doing more rafting this year than normal. Maybe one silver lining to 2020?

I was going to suggest a bimini. We bought one off of Amazon and it has held up really well for about 6 years or so. I bought aftermarket metal components for all the plastic parts but have never gotten around to installing them. The plastic ones have held up well. Plenty of other thoughts on biminis here on the buzz. Another game changer for us has been dry zip dry bags. Despite best intentions the kids always need to get in their bags and can never seem to seal them well or get the air out. They are pricey but worth it to me. As for housing in Bend, best of luck. If we sold our current house we could probably make a 100% profit over 8 years ago but would never be able to find something new. The market here does tend to go up and down a bit but mostly up like a freight train. Even finding a builder and subs can be tricky. Not trying to scare you away, just know that home buyers are finding they can't be too picky.
 
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