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What's the smallest raft that would comfortably handle four medium sized people + gear on a week long self-support? (Rowing, not paddling). Thanks!
 

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Well, there's smallest, and then there's comfortably.....

I agree with IDfloater, you would have to pack light for a 16 to work solo.
 

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depends on what kind of boating you do, if you normally go with a group to spread the community gear around and it's not too low and technical: a 15-15.5' sb raft will work fine. If you primarily go solo boating: a 16' should be comfortable as long as you are reasonable about what and how much gear you bring.

A 17 or 18' raft would work great, but it would limit you on smaller rivers and/or flows.

I can load up for a Main Salmon trip with 3 peeps and self support no problem in my 14' Sotar.
 

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If your operative word is "comfortably", then you're looking for a 16 footer. Anything smaller than that and you're going to make concessions on camp chairs or other amenities you'd want for a week on the water. Your cooler is going to be smaller, your drybox is going to be smaller, and big items are going to eat up your dunnage spaces in a hurry. FWIW I've had a sixteen foot boat for 15 years and I haven't run into too many situations where I felt it was too big.
 

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One thing I have always found beneficial when talking about "what is the best raft size for..." questions is to mock up your gear that you would bring for the trip. The biggest variable is obviously how the group likes to travel. I have found most experienced rafters tend to be gear centric. Once you go on a few trips with a badass meal plan, cold beer on day 10, a sauna, etc. you understand why people recommend the size rafts they do. That being said, each group has its own needs and personality when it comes to gear. It maybe a pain in the ass, but pull out absolutely everything you would be taking on your trip, (stove, pots, water containers, coolers, fuel, groover, firepan, personal belongings, tents, pads, etc.) It adds up quickly and it is easy to see why a 16' or bigger will be most people's recommendation.
 

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...pull out absolutely everything you would be taking on your trip, (stove, pots, water containers, coolers, fuel, groover, firepan, personal belongings, tents, pads, etc.) It adds up quickly...
Great advice. Now just remember that when you pull out the exact same pile of ger at the put-in before you start rigging, it will somehow have grown to be about twice the size it was when you looked at it in the garage.
 
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