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I am new to rafting and have a question about rigging a cataract with a 72" NRS yoke style frame. Assuming there is nothing sharp or pokey (e.g. cooler drain) should a cooler/dry box touch the tubes or should there be a gap? If touching, how much can said cooler/drybox push in on the tubes?

Thanks!
 

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Boats are way tougher than you think. A cooler is not going to rub through a quality boat. You will be driving it loaded, scraping rocks, bouncing off walls, trees.......So load it up and have some fun. Your more likely to damage it during transport to and from the river. Snug is how I like my cooler/drybox. Take some time and look at the "raft porn" thread
 

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Maravia boats. Not to bash Sotar but frame abrasion appears to be a concern, probably from transport and who knows how clean the welds were in the frame. But their boats are a lot lighter
 

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No boat is as tough as a Maravia. But Aire, NRS, Hyside, Riken, Avon (not in that order but Aire is a damn tough boat as well) can all take the stress of a cooler rubbing it. Don't have any personal experience with Sotar but I'd hope they could handle a cooler rubbing the tube.
 

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As others have said, these boats are very tough, but....always be on the lookout for rub-points. These points may be unique to your setup. For example, when I was setting up my 14' Aire 143D (a round boat), I knew that my drybox rubbed on my tubes a little, and thought nothing of it, but after only one trip on the "Sandy Juan", there was noticeable wear at at that point, because it was right where the zipper was, on the tubes...and the sand didn't help, and the fact that the tubes and the drybox form a vee for the sand to settle into. The heavy-duty polyester thread on that sewn-in zipper was visibly frayed. Not really damaged, but over time, it would've been. So, I had to bite the bullet and buy the next narrower (2") drybox. Other boats don't have zippers, so it probably would've been fine, but it may something else. Hose clamps and big, burly zip-ties are popular to use for floors and decks, etc, on cats and they have sharp edges. Just put the whole thing together in your driveway and inspect it, then do it a few more times after your first few trips, and you should be fine.
 

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There are rarely hard and fast rules for situations like this.

While modern boats, or in your case tubes, are extremely durable compared to their older brethren I am in the camp of reducing contact points with the rubber as much as possible. With a 72" wide cataract frame you should have plenty of space between the tubes to not touch unless you go with a larger cooler and/or dry box (I normally have room for small bags to side of both). I have one of the 94 quart marine coolers and neither it or the dry box touch on the same size frame. I do this for the (partially) the same reason I don't load objects on raft floors (when I use rafts versus catarafts).

That said, I know plenty of boaters who have smaller boats and their cooler and dry box fit snug against the tubes. The worst scenario so far is a bit of a metal patina building up on the tubes from the dry box as it will always get some movement and abrasion as the tubes flex in the rapids. The one boat I am thinking of has been doing multiple multi-day trips for a decade and has no substantial wear from said behavior.

If you are worried you could always cut small sections of closed cell foam to size to reduce contact with metal or cooler parts. Its smoother and doesn't absorb much water (if at all). Depends on size of cooler/dry box if that solution is viable.

Best of luck.

Phillip
 

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Dirt collects when you tow- and turns that point into sand paper. Best if it doesn't touch. Keep it clean if it does.

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Hey Kessel. My original JPW boat that I told you about had an Igloo cooler that pushed between the tubes about an inch on each side. The boat was 10 years old and you could not tell where the cooler was against the tubes. That said. If I had a brand new Lion that I cared about I would either leave space or glue a cheap wear patch where the cooler rubs against it.
 

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Anyone have an opinion on clearance between a cooler and the floor (self bailer)? I just tried out my new Yeti and it just touches the floor.
 

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My AIRE cat tubes are marked as being made in 1994 and my drybox is wedged in tight between them. and when I say wedged. I mean I drop one half of the box in, then grab the tube on the other side and roll it out a little while somebody pushes down on the box. I've never had any problems, and for a boat built in 1994 its in great shape. but of course I clean it after each trip, keep it covered on a trailer in the summer, and in the winter its stored inflated from my garage ceiling. but if my boat can last that long with no damage I'm sure yours can too.
 

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Anyone have an opinion on clearance between a cooler and the floor (self bailer)? I just tried out my new Yeti and it just touches the floor.
That can be an issue. Tore my floor on the big boat ELFing the Smith. Rock pinched the floor between it and my hard floor. Set her in the water and give yourself some space between the cooler and floor. It is tempting to keep the gear low and flat but if your in boney water it can bite ya. Big water, not as much, but still a possibility.

Couldnt figure out why the boat was so damn heavy at the take out?????
 

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If river sand is such a chafing problem where coolers and dryboxes contact the boat, than why have I never seen this, both there, and at frame contact points? Ever. But then I'm kinda new here, so forgive my outburst. Bullshit.

All of my dryboxes and most of my coolers were snugged up against the tubes tighter than your moms pursed lips when daddy asked for oral sex.


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Agree with Phillip, I use squares of old foam camp pad to cushion frame posts...18' Aire Cat is 15+ years old.
 
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