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Hi Everyone,

Well, after a two-year hiatus from messing around on rivers in rubber boats, I’m gettin’ back in the game!

Having had several different sizes of floored rafts (12, 13, 14 and 15 footers) and all manner and size of gear and camping equipment, I think I’m going to switch it up this go-round and simplify things – a lot.

I just ordered a 10.5ft RMR Storm, which I’ll be using for casual day-floats with a few friends, R2 on class II-III, short weekend trips with the old lady (or solo, more often) on mild rivers and a little fishing. Yeah, I know it’s small. And yes, I know I’ll be essentially backpacking with the boat on overnighters and will need to forego unlimited beer and ice – I’ve thought all of that through, and am totally comfortable with it.

In order to fit everything I want to, I have some ideas of how I’d like to rig the boat for multi-day trips, but I would really appreciate you all posting a few photos of your 12ft-and-under boats with frame setups, and perhaps also chiming in with some proven combinations of frames and oars on boats of that size and rigging ideas. The only piece of gear I currently own that will be a part of the framed setup is a Yeti 45 and all the backpacking essentials I’ll be using.

Thanks in advance for your help and input!
 

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Colorado Raft Frame Supply in Salida does some really cool stuff with little boat frames, and a lot less expensive then many others, they don't have the overhead but do super custom work. coraftframe.com 719-539-5060, Give Carter a shout and talk to him.
 

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Tiny boats rock! I've had the most fun rowing my original AIRE Puma w/ a little NRS breakdown frame. I never took it out for more than two nights, so I left thwarts in & inflated and still had enough room for my own gear and smaller cooler, but not much more. I replaced that boat with a NRS 10.5' self bailer that is a cross between E-series and Otter. It has 4 main chambers like E-series but floor doesn't have full wrap like the E. Anyway I've overnighted it a few times R-2 and because it's wider & more squared off than the Puma it could hold enough gear for 2 people for 2 nights. We tied in cooler in back compartment, rocket box in front compartment and piled gear bags on top of both to provide padding. Kept the center compartment clear for paddlers and some small "ditty"bags and water bottles. Flipped it once and everything stayed in the boat. That's the one thing about the little boats is they sure do like to flip. If you are soloing the boat and the weather is mild, you can gain room by forgoing tent and let the self-bailing floor double as a camping pad. On a couple trips I just pulled boat well on shore and threw sleeping bag in it for the night. Only downside is the need to de-rig and re-rig each night, but with minimal gear it's no big deal.
 

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IMG_6672.jpg

IMG_6671.jpg


8” towers, 8’ oars, helox blades. Rtic 65 up front. Welded the frame out of EMT. The thwart bag from DRE is $$$ for day access items. Gunny trips it get a drybag up front and in the back while we R2 it.

I still have a 14’ SB and a 16’ cat, but the Habanero gets me out on the water more and honestly is wayyyy more fun.
 

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This is the only loaded photo that I grabbed from our last day on Gates of Lodore. I stacked too high behind the captains seat, so the bimini did get in my way for rowing that day, otherwise it was great! If we were on a bigger river I would put more weight up front,, but it was chill so we made an extra cozy princess pad. I'm currently building floating floors and decking the side rails. I was browsing for inspiration and came across this. 9.5' Aire Tributary, 8' oars, 6' 3 bow bimini
 

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This is the only loaded photo that I grabbed from our last day on Gates of Lodore. I stacked too high behind the captains seat, so the bimini did get in my way for rowing that day, otherwise it was great! If we were on a bigger river I would put more weight up front,, but it was chill so we made an extra cozy princess pad. I'm currently building floating floors and decking the side rails. I was browsing for inspiration and came across this. 9.5' Aire Tributary, 8' oars, 6' 3 bow bimini
You need a bigger boat lol!
 
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So, we picked up a Storm a few years ago and have started building it out. 3 bay double rail frame and dry box by DRE, yeti 65 we picked up before the raft which snugly fits, and a soft sided day cooler. I don't have a great overhead picture but I think you can sort of get the idea. Usually a water jug rigged on either of the seat and a pile of gear in the back.

We definitely depend on our friends with larger rigs for things like groovers and kitchen setups on longer trips but this would work just fine for backpacking style overnights.

64473


64474
 

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So, we picked up a Storm a few years ago and have started building it out. 3 bay double rail frame and dry box by DRE, yeti 65 we picked up before the raft which snugly fits, and a soft sided day cooler. I don't have a great overhead picture but I think you can sort of get the idea. Usually a water jug rigged on either of the seat and a pile of gear in the back.

We definitely depend on our friends with larger rigs for things like groovers and kitchen setups on longer trips but this would work just fine for backpacking style overnights.

View attachment 64473

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Nice setup, on all 3 boats though you have those chairs setting your ass WAY up in the air.. I've yet to have someone explain, past " It came that way" why anyone would want to sit up that high, and seen more than one ejected from a boat with a chair that high up in the wild blue yonder..

I'm just guessing, but that camp in the last photo looks like Hades Bar on Westwater..
 

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Nice setup, on all 3 boats though you have those chairs setting your ass WAY up in the air.. I've yet to have someone explain, past " It came that way" why anyone would want to sit up that high, and seen more than one ejected from a boat with a chair that high up in the wild blue yonder..
I'm a big proponent of keeping your ass in the boat. Literally. I have a 9' lake raft I converted with a hard deck, rowing frame and gluing extra hypalon below the waterline. I placed the towers for use either while seated on the rear tube (mostly) or while seated on the floor deck (you know when it's time).

Low center of gravity is key in tiny rafts. When your body weighs the same as your boat and gear, YOU become the key. Get low. You can always stand to see but when the river gets hungry, you want to be low.

If you can get your CG level with or below the centerline of the tubes, you have a boat that WANTS to be upright. Once your CG goes higher than the centerline, you have a boat that wants to be upside down. Every inch above centerline exponentially destabilizes your boat. This is why self-bailers flip so easy, the inflated floor raises their CG. Inches matter.

*Twice did 12 day MF-main Salmon, Rogue and handful of class III/IV day runs. Holds two rocket boxes, two dry bags and day box. 6' oars. At camp I flip it over and sleep on the bottom. It's old. It's ugly. And I love it.
 
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