Mountain Buzz banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
251 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been a kayaker for 9 years and decided that this is the year to buy a raft. I am looking for some input on what size would be best..

I am looking for the most versatile size so I am thinking 12 or 13 feet. Would 12 be big enough for big water like the Grand or something like Main Salmon at flood stage? If not, would a 14' be too big to R2 comfortably? Any input appreciated!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
787 Posts
I vote 14 as the most universal size. I R2 it, would take it on high water and can easily do a long trip with it. That being said, unless you are in the mood to burn money, why jump in to buying a boat right away. I would suggest renting and getting a feel for what you like.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
smalls fun

I have a 12' 6" NRS Expedition which I run a lot on the Arkansas--both R2 and rowing. Having used a 14" for a number of years I much prefer the smaller boat. I have taken a 16' Cataraft and a 14' raft down the Grand but wish I could have taken my 12' but logistics didn't permit. The bigger the water the more likely to flip in a small boat--if you have a problem with that go with the bigger boat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,385 Posts
14' with rocker would be a good match for what you describe. We all start small and end up going bigger.....something to think about.

Sent from my SM-N900V using Mountain Buzz mobile app
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,231 Posts
TriBri nailed it. For a Colorado boater with only one boat, 14' is optimal. Small enough for the headwaters rivers like the Ark and big enough for the Grand. though I do know folks that run the GC in smaller boats, it'll hold a lot more gear. And it's not too big to R2.

That said I know someone that runs Boulder Creek at 650 with a 16' boat...
 

·
The Old Troll
Joined
·
458 Posts
As far as the Grand is concerned check out how cheap it is to rent a 16 or 18 footer all outfitted. 14 is most versatile.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,344 Posts
Another vote for a 14 footer. I've had a 14 ft. Sotar SL for one season (many years rowing a 14 ft. cataraft), and I really like it. Decent room for gear/passenger, and versatile for fishing. Handled higher water Main Salmon and low water Middle Fork equally well. I don't do any paddle rafting so I can't speak to the R2 aspect.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,231 Posts
I don't do any paddle rafting so I can't speak to the R2 aspect.
I guess I should come clean and say "the ONE time I ran my 14' as a paddle boat it did fine for R2..."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
As a passenger, three x on the Grand, go 16 ft. I row a 14 er, and it would be small on the Grand, but people do it for sure! Get a boat that suits the the distance between the rocks on the river(s) you do most, then rent up or down as needed, or just get more friends to boat share.:)


Sent from my iPad using Mountain Buzz
 

·
Jared
Joined
·
734 Posts
I have paddled our local III to -IV river R2 in my 14' raft pretty easy, and we paddle it R4 with our 3 and 6 year old too. (They "help" paddle, but class II mostly) My raft has been down the Grand also, albeit before I owned it. 13's are great rafts too, my Dad has run a 12'8" Riken for almost 20 years. He has done just about everything but the Illinois in Oregon. (Rogue, Owyhee, Grand Ronde, John Day, Clackamas, Sandy, Deschutes) It is tighter for gear space, but if you are talking 1-2 people for a few nights, you should be fine. I do like to R2 his raft more than mine, and his is narrower than mine by a foot. That is great for tight stuff.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
210 Posts
Been on a 13'er for 8 years shreds class iv+ with frame or r2, plenty room for two for multidays, and nimble as hell for fishing. Jus got a 13' aire d last year absolutely crushed high water last spring so fun...


Sent from my iPhone using Mountain Buzz
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
251 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Cool, I am not about to go down the Grand this year, but just wondering about what kind of versatility I'll be getting myself into. For this year, most if not all of my trips will be in CO. Maybe a 13' would be preferable after all. It will probably come down to what I can find the best deal on between those sizes. Thanks again for help with this decision.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,344 Posts
If you are thinking about going with a hypalon type boat, look at Hyside. I think they have a free shipping deal until the end of this month?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
506 Posts
So here is my $.02. You don't need a Grand/high water Salmon boat. Big boats are awesome if you have help loading/unloading them. They actually preform all about the same under different circumstances. For instance a 12'er won't be as "nimble and quick" as a 14'er when loaded heavily with gear. Even 2-3 passengers can be a heavy load for a small boat. Also the idea that you need to be more nimble or quick to fish is new to me. Rowing for fishing is all about slowing the boat down. White water generally requires much more maneuvering than fishing. At least more "must make" maneuvers.
I feel like R2 ing with a 14' Riken style boat would be less than ideal. That same boat though would be great for fishing with 2-3 persons and still be good for most multi day stuff. For me it would be very small on the Salmon at flood stage. You would likely flip somewhere. It would be great for the Salmon at summer flows and be a super versatile boat. I think if R2ing is important to you then look at an Aire Puma, super, or SDP. I had a Puma for a very long time and loved it. R2 a lot. I also ran high water Salmon and Lochsa in it with an oar frame and swam a bunch. I now have a Maravia Spider for R2ing. It is the same size as a SP. I also think the Hyside mini me series is a very cool boat. I should mention that my Spider is a good fishing and lightly loaded overnighter. Lots of rambling and probably lots of recycled and redundant info. Hopefully your research leads to a good decision.


Jim
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
365 Posts
Buy a 14 foot raft and rent a 16 or 18 footer for the Grand.
A 14' raft is the do it all raft for every other river. Low water MFS, high water MFS, Main Salmon, Rogue, Owyhee, Dolores, Cataract, San Juan, Tuolumne, Eel, Klamath, Smith, Cal Salmon, Umpqua...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
992 Posts
Buy a 14 foot raft and rent a 16 or 18 footer for the Grand.
A 14' raft is the do it all raft for every other river. Low water MFS, high water MFS, Main Salmon, Rogue, Owyhee, Dolores, Cataract, San Juan, Tuolumne, Eel, Klamath, Smith, Cal Salmon, Umpqua...
Yup. Even tho he didn't really mention any of your local rivers, he is right on. Get the 14'er for your primary needs, rent the bigger one if need be. I've taken a 14' er through Grand Canyon twice, it was fun as hell. I prefer the 18'er for the room and stability, but I'm not there often enough to justify having it in the fleet, it is cost effective to rent it.

14' is the right boat for the Arkansas, and if you ever get a second boat, then you go for the 10-12 footer for low water fun. 16' is only good for high water for most everything in CO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
365 Posts
Yup. Even tho he didn't really mention any of your local rivers, he is right on. Get the 14'er for your primary needs, rent the bigger one if need be. I've taken a 14' er through Grand Canyon twice, it was fun as hell. I prefer the 18'er for the room and stability, but I'm not there often enough to justify having it in the fleet, it is cost effective to rent it.

14' is the right boat for the Arkansas, and if you ever get a second boat, then you go for the 10-12 footer for low water fun. 16' is only good for high water for most everything in CO.
His second boat should be a 12' Cat. That's fun boat.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top