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I'm a long-time catarafter that just switched to the dark side; I bought a raft! Now I feel like I'm completely starting from scratch figuring out the best ways to rig, frame configuration and position and where things should go to get my setup as tight as it was with the cat. My current struggle: stern gear storage. I bought a Pacific River Bag thinking it would be the end-all solution, but strapping it into the stern I quickly found out that the bottom of the bag is not suspended above the floor; the bag is too deep. Now from there I did a bunch of research on the virtues of suspending gear vs letting it sit on the floor, but is the Pacific River Bag supposed to keep gear off the raft floor? Or is it just meant to contain everything that you throw into it?

I'm considering returning the PRB and getting a separate cargo platform that can be suspended and a King Sling to throw over the top. Is this really a much worse solution than the PRB? If using the cargo platform and King Sling combo should I strap everything down under the sling or is it ok to make a pile of gear and strap the top down tightly?

My new raft is a 14' Hyside Outfitter that has a small tube diameter, so when it's floating there's only 10" from the top of the frame to the floor of the raft. I realize that suspending the floor even 1" will take away precious storage space, but I think I'd rather than than chance floor damage from having things sitting directly on it...
 

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You will get a lot of more intelligent responses than mine but I use a PR bag and yes, I let the stuff sit on the floor. You can add some d-rings to the inside of the tube to attach those bottom straps and help suspend it if you want. I much prefer the PR bag over a floor and a king sling. For me it is much faster, easier, and I never have had an issue with things riding on the floor in terms of performance loss (admittedly that isn't my limiting factor!) That clam shell is also great to throw last minute things under during lazy days.
 

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Cut a beaver board/floor from 5/8" or 3/4" plywood. It can either sit inside the bag and hang from the bag or under the bag hanging from its own straps. I have grommets on the bottom of my bag that correspond to the slots in the board. 4 outer slots/grommets run to each of 4 big D-rings outside my boat. The front of the bag/floor hang from the back of my frame.



Any big bag is going to sag in the middle. I see my bag as simply containing everything in case of a flip. It's an easier to rig cargo net.

The floor keeps poky objects from slitting your floor if you hit a rock.

You could also put soft objects on the bottom of your big bag to keep sharp stuff off the floor... but I'd rather not put my Watershed bag on the bottom with 20mm cans on top of it!!
 

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On a modern self bailing floor I am told it not necessary to build a floor for your cargo. I think the whole suspended floor/ beaver board thing is a hold over from the bucket boat days.
 

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I usually let stuff ride on the floor as well. I just went through the same thing and wanted to chime in for others looking at the pacific river bag. I like the idea and function but the fit was not so great. I debated on size and went with the large. I have an E150 and this bag is waaaaayyyyyy bigger then the stern space of my raft. Couldn’t decide between getting a smaller one that fit the floor space better or keeping the large one because of the height which will allow it to mushroom a bit at the top. I kept the large and haven’t had a chance to use it yet (covid cancellations and all), and as you said trying to suspend it off the floor just made a crumpled mess. I talked to lots of people about which bag to get and everyone I know that has a tuff river or stitches and stuff love the bag but don’t like how hard it is working with such stiff material, and they don’t mushroom so well.
I personally don’t have much of a problem with gear on the floor hell my dry box touches the floor and with my big ass sitting on it it certainly can’t flex as much as the stern area will, haven’t had an issue yet but I did experience the same fitting issue as you.
 

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I've always used a cargo platform under my gear, but I've never really been satisfied with it. Thinking of making a beaver board, as Mr. 4runner suggests.
I do think there's some benefit to keeping gear off the floor, as much as anything, to help with boat handling.

Something my dad and uncle's started doing back in the 70's, that I've adopted, is a full gear tarp. Same concept as a net, but helps shed water, keeping things dry-er. I had mine made up by an upholstery shop, it's served me well. Thinking of having a new one made, with a little broader 'flap' around the outside, as I seem to continue accumulating more gear.
It also is a pretty good lounge pad for my hound. Although occasionally, he falls into a deep sleep, and rolls into the water.
Helluva wake-up, I'd imagine!! 😄

On rivers with a substantial flip-risk, I'll weave a couple long cam straps over top of the gear, before I secure the tarp.

Ben
 

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Hey Ben, handsome dawg. We adopted a pair of adult 10yo sibling Labs last year, just started taking them on the river this spring and they love it. Not sure if our female would ride up on the pile, she likes to be touching her people...but our male would love it.

I've crisscrossed straps for more stability/security, but am going to add a spider harness this year:
http://www.stitchesnstuff91.com/everythingbagcargostow.html

I'd recommend doing it over rather than under the tarp. Seems the straps would hold the tarp which would hold in small items. then again with the everything bag, I don't even worry about tying small bags inside since they can't get out.
 

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Before you worry about a beaver tail, check how close your cooler and dry box are to the floor. There's a good chance you'll pinch your floor there before any troubles in the stern.

My large Pacific gear bag has d rings and I have internal d rings on my boat that I can suspend the floor of the bag if needed. It does sag in the middle but I still have a couple inches of clearance even then. I only suspend it on low water trips like <2' MFS. If I didn't have the d rings on the bag, I would find a way to keep hard pointy things off the floor for skinny water runs.
 

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Here's my take. I run a beaver board underneath the pacific river bag on low water trips like the MFS in August/September. If I'm not worried about grinding on rocks then I don't worry about stuff sitting on the floor in the stern inside the bag. I will say that this does seem to affect the tracking performance of my boat bit more so than if I were to suspend the gear load off of the floor on the beaver and displace the weight more so onto the tubes rather than the floor. But it's not really that big of a deal on trips like Salmon, Deso, Lodore etc. I usually just make sure I throw some water jugs forward to counterbalance the load and improve tracking.
 

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Hey Ben, handsome dawg. We adopted a pair of adult 10yo sibling Labs last year, just started taking them on the river this spring and they love it. Not sure if our female would ride up on the pile, she likes to be touching her people...but our male would love it."

Labs are great! Those pictures were taken about 15 years apart, so it's not the same dog. They are a joy to have along on the river!!
 

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Funny the two holes in floors that I have first hand experience with occurred when rocks got to the dry box, which were suspended but have contact with the floor.

I am of the opinion that you want your tubes to carry the weight, I run a tail. Then thread two long loop straps through/over the pile and use roller cams to secure to an interior stern d ring.
 

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I've always had a beaver tail (my dad calls it a turtle board). It hangs with straps from the frame and D rings. I like keeping hard items, like groovers or propane tanks, off the floor. I'm almost always called on to bring my kitchen, which is an army surplus dry box, that fits snugly in the rear of the boat (14' SOTAR). I can pile other stuff on the top of that.

As far as securing it all - I used to have a cargo net but got rid of it after my fingers got caught it in while I was swimming Lava. Nothing broken but shredded some of my fingers. My brother-in-law just uses a bunch of straps. I think the King Sling, a tarp, or something similar, is the best way to go.
 

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If you ever pin your boat or surf it in a hole really hard, and you don't have a suspended deck (either hard or soft) under your gear, the gear is a lot more likely to get washed out. I saw a surf where large peices of unsuspended gear washed out of the rear compartment, completely underneath the cooler, into the rowers compartment, and out of the boat. If you're on a shallow rocky river, keeping heavy gear off the floor can help prevent floor damage too.
 
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