Professor Paddle: R2 Rafting
Professor Paddle Professor Paddle
  RegisterRegister  LoginLogin
Home Calendar Forum FSBO Gallery PPages Reviews Rivers Trips Links
  Active TopicsActive Topics  Display List of Forum MembersMemberlist  Search The ForumSearch
Open Forum
 Professor Paddle : The Class Room : Open Forum
Message Icon Topic: R2 Rafting Post Reply Post New Topic
Author Message
peele
Rock Bumper
Rock Bumper


Joined: 03 Jun 2010
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 34
  Quote peele Replybullet Topic: R2 Rafting
    Posted: 27 Jul 2012 at 9:20am
I have been pondering the Idea of getting a little raft for some fun R2 adventures but my knowledge of rafts is pretty limited.  So i was wondering if anyone has some good advice about smaller rafts? favorites, or things to avoid?
IP IP Logged Send Private Message
James
Admin
Admin
Avatar
Sum Dum Guy

Joined: 31 Dec 2004
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 3576
  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 27 Jul 2012 at 10:18am
I have tried a couple. Hans, Tom and Kira, and a few others are much more qualified that I to give recommendations but here goes mine.

I was looking for a boat in the 12-14 range more in the 13 zone for two reasons, I wanted to take groups down or overnight with a frame, but still wanted a boat small enough to r2 stuff in. I settled on a 13'6 boat and I am pretty happy with it.

I tried Aire, Sotar, NRS, Maravia, Avon, and Hyside. They are all pretty different and many of these boats have options that make them each different within their own models. A general thought, the material is going to make a huge difference in how the boat handles, packs down and it's patchability. Aire boats are much more stiff, they don't fold like a Hypalon boat does so they don't pack as well and they don't have as much movement or flexability on features. Sotars are similar although I think having the double bladder in the aire makes them even more ridged. There are pros and cons with both and it is all preference. Aires have a floor option that will hold a bit of water weight so it helps keep the raft more stable and less prone to flipping but they also take a tiny more energy to turn because of it. Sotars have various floor options that help the boats track differently too, although none take on water like the aire floor.

At the end of the day I landed with Sotar and I love my boat, but still have an open mind. As with any raft, don't think you can treat it like a kayak. You have to clean them much better, store them differently and in general if you want the boat to last they take much more care and love.

If it were Hypalon vs PVC Styles, it would be Avons and Hysides against Sotars and Aires in my personal option. Stay the heck away from Saturns, Stars and the other weird chinese brands, there are people that love them, but I see them falling apart on the river all the time.


Edited by James - 27 Jul 2012 at 10:22am
IP IP Logged Send Private Message Send Private Message
McCain
Paddler
Paddler
Avatar

Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 58
  Quote McCain Replybullet Posted: 27 Jul 2012 at 11:33am
I would go for the AIRE 13D. We have this boat and it has doen superb on r2in big water runs like the NF Payetter and Tumwater while being able to fit through tight slots and land good sized drops on runs like the Little White Salmon and Clear Fork Cowlitz. Plus the 10 year no fault warranty is unbeatable as they will fix the boat no matter what happens. Also if you want to put a frame on the boat or put 5-6 people in it, it works great. Hope this helps!
IP IP Logged Send Private Message Send Private Message
McCain
Paddler
Paddler
Avatar

Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 58
  Quote McCain Replybullet Posted: 27 Jul 2012 at 11:44am
"payetter" sorry probably should have read through that last one before I posted her
IP IP Logged Send Private Message Send Private Message
James
Admin
Admin
Avatar
Sum Dum Guy

Joined: 31 Dec 2004
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 3576
  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 27 Jul 2012 at 11:45am
Dan (McCain) is one of those well qualified recommendations. And if I am not mistaken Dan used a Sotar for a while so he can speak to the quality/performance of both.

My only qualm with the Sotar is the durability of the urethane coating. Seems to wear a bit to quick if you ask me.
IP IP Logged Send Private Message Send Private Message
Jed Hawkes
Rio Banditos
Rio Banditos
Avatar

Joined: 24 Aug 2008
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 807
  Quote Jed Hawkes Replybullet Posted: 27 Jul 2012 at 11:55am
little raft+ R2= carnage. The little rafts are inadequate crafts for anything other than flipping in every rapid on the wenatchee. I think the perfect R-2 boat is in the 13 foot range. But if all your looking to do is run light Whitewater then the little raft might not be too bad, but you become very limited. If down the road you want to take a bunch of friends on the river you'll be hurting in a ten footer.

What sort of R-2ing do you want to do? If you want a versitle raft take your pick of the traditional style rafts out there. If you want to R-2 some creeks primarily you should look into the Aire E series. After R2ing with hans quite a bit I'm sold on the Extra rocker that is in the bow of that boat.

In a perfect world I would get a 13.5 foot sotar hull with Aire technology. The Air bladder system is pretty much the best thing out there. On a commercial trip on the Sky I tore a 1.5 foot hole in the outer skin and didn't even notice until the take out, but I like Sotars hulls designs better, so there is that.

Tributary makes a cheaper raft with similar construction to the aire but they're not as quality as the aire, they use much cheaper materials and I've heard of peeps having the bladders seams come apart. Again it comes down to what kind of whitewater you plan on running.

Save a bit more cash and by a 13-13.5 foot raft.

Edited by Jed Hawkes - 27 Jul 2012 at 12:26pm
The line will become apparent
978-273-7723
IP IP Logged Send Private Message
Wiggins
PP Junkie
PP Junkie


Joined: 15 Aug 2005
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 858
  Quote Wiggins Replybullet Posted: 27 Jul 2012 at 2:10pm
There is another PVC raft builder that is a new comer on the scene, but they have been getting good reviews. Rocky Mountain Rafts makes welded PVC rafts. Everything on them is welded except the chaffe strips on the floor and side tubes so they aren't going to fall apart in a few years after the glue gives up the ghost. Go to theboatpeople.com and you'll get a better description.

I would stay away from Tributary if you are going to run rockier runs or anything class IV+ and up. They floor material is not as thick as the AIRE line of boats.

I have no personal experience with this, but I have read some rumblings online about Hyside having issues recently with their floors blowing the I-beams. That said every Hyside I have ever seen has been bomber.

Jed: Are Tributary rafts still having quality issues? I thought the problems went away after they redid them a couple years ago.

Kyle
I smell bacon
IP IP Logged Send Private Message Send Private Message
Jed Hawkes
Rio Banditos
Rio Banditos
Avatar

Joined: 24 Aug 2008
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 807
  Quote Jed Hawkes Replybullet Posted: 27 Jul 2012 at 4:55pm
Not sure about anything that has come out recently, I just know that several of the tributary duckies I've run into have had bladder seam issues.
The line will become apparent
978-273-7723
IP IP Logged Send Private Message
peele
Rock Bumper
Rock Bumper


Joined: 03 Jun 2010
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 34
  Quote peele Replybullet Posted: 31 Jul 2012 at 7:44am
Hey Guys,
 
thanks for all the good info.  Probably just lookin for something easy to transport and not running anything too big, mostly 3-4 stuff.
 
thanks
IP IP Logged Send Private Message
Jed Hawkes
Rio Banditos
Rio Banditos
Avatar

Joined: 24 Aug 2008
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 807
  Quote Jed Hawkes Replybullet Posted: 31 Jul 2012 at 7:55am
I feel the little rafts are not suitable for even class IV. People do it, but I just think it ups your swim ratio. Boulder drop at low flows would still be sporty in a mini-me.
The line will become apparent
978-273-7723
IP IP Logged Send Private Message
JoesKayak
Rio Banditos
Rio Banditos
Avatar

Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 1210
  Quote JoesKayak Replybullet Posted: 31 Jul 2012 at 1:48pm
Agreed on 13 foot being great size. Also on the AIRE 130E. It's a fantastic boat for R2 to R5. Sporty and stable.


Originally posted by Jed Hawkes

little raft+ R2= carnage. The little rafts are inadequate crafts for anything other than flipping in every rapid on the wenatchee. I think the perfect R-2 boat is in the 13 foot range. But if all your looking to do is run light Whitewater then the little raft might not be too bad, but you become very limited. If down the road you want to take a bunch of friends on the river you'll be hurting in a ten footer.

What sort of R-2ing do you want to do? If you want a versitle raft take your pick of the traditional style rafts out there. If you want to R-2 some creeks primarily you should look into the Aire E series. After R2ing with hans quite a bit I'm sold on the Extra rocker that is in the bow of that boat.

In a perfect world I would get a 13.5 foot sotar hull with Aire technology. The Air bladder system is pretty much the best thing out there. On a commercial trip on the Sky I tore a 1.5 foot hole in the outer skin and didn't even notice until the take out, but I like Sotars hulls designs better, so there is that.

Tributary makes a cheaper raft with similar construction to the aire but they're not as quality as the aire, they use much cheaper materials and I've heard of peeps having the bladders seams come apart. Again it comes down to what kind of whitewater you plan on running.

Save a bit more cash and by a 13-13.5 foot raft.
IP IP Logged Send Private Message Send Private Message
WA-Boater
Big Boofer
Big Boofer
Avatar

Joined: 30 Jun 2005
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 505
  Quote WA-Boater Replybullet Posted: 01 Aug 2012 at 8:58am
Some good words about little rafts... They are awesome for everything other than taking big groups of people down or hauling lots of gear.
I've had a lot of fun over the years in the little rafts. I have a Mini Me and a NRS Slalom which is 10'6" long and 5' wide. They are great for R2ing and I can put 6 reasonably sized adults in the NRS Slalom for Wenatchee runs - while 5 is maximum for Boulder Drop, etc. The Mini Me works great with 2-3 people, but it has seen a 5 crew down the Wenatchee. I've run Boulder countless times in the MiniMe with flows up to 7k (R2 and R3). I've never had a flip or swimmer in the Drop. Usually happens when we are dicking around downstream.
My brother and I also R2 the NRS Slalom down the Jarbidge/Bruneau a few years back. We had all our gear plus gear for 2 kayakers in the raft. We did a no portage descent without a swim. It would be a nightmare taking a 13' raft down that run, especially the portages.
I love ya Jed, but I think you need to do some rafting with me in the Mini Me and that might change your mind. They are no doubt more flippy, but I disagree with several comments:
-little raft+ R2= carnage. The little rafts are inadequate crafts for anything other than flipping in every rapid on the wenatchee.
-I feel the little rafts are not suitable for even class IV. People do it, but I just think it ups your swim ratio. Boulder drop at low flows would still be sporty in a mini-me.

I've run the Mini Me down several Class 5 runs in Washington in 2004-2005 before the raft craze had started. Runs included the...
Green Truss - White Salmon - no portage
Tye River - w/o Box Drop (in fact this was the first run I ever did in the MiniMe)
Icicle Creek - no portage - see some of the videos in the gallery
Tumwater - multiple runs from 1200 - 2200
Green River Gorge at 7700

We have flipped a lot on the Wenatchee, but that is usually because we are surfing or trying to flip. We've done the Wenatchee a lot with flows of 15-25k without flipping and still running the meat. 

Lets get out there sometime Jed. And don't discount the little raft Peele.

Darren

IP IP Logged Send Private Message Send Private Message
WA-Boater
Big Boofer
Big Boofer
Avatar

Joined: 30 Jun 2005
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 505
  Quote WA-Boater Replybullet Posted: 01 Aug 2012 at 9:03am
The Mini-Me is very easy to transport on and off the river. It weighs only 45 pounds and folds up pretty darn small. One person can easily carry it.
My wife and I kept a MiniMe in the trunk of our Honda Accord on our honeymoon so we could raft while we traveled.

IP IP Logged Send Private Message Send Private Message
Jed Hawkes
Rio Banditos
Rio Banditos
Avatar

Joined: 24 Aug 2008
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 807
  Quote Jed Hawkes Replybullet Posted: 01 Aug 2012 at 10:17am
I've been waiting for you to pipe up Darren. My advice come from a place of not knowing his rafting skills, accomplished guides can run those little rafts all over the place, no argument there, but a first time rafter might find the little guys a bit sporty.
The line will become apparent
978-273-7723
IP IP Logged Send Private Message
wilburking
Viener Schnitzel
Viener Schnitzel


Joined: 23 Mar 2013
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 3
  Quote wilburking Replybullet Posted: 18 Apr 2013 at 6:22pm
I have a Hyside Paddlecat that is awesome for R-2ing.  It only weighs about 60 lbs. and is very responsive.  Check it out.  However a few years later I also bought a 13 ft NRS boat so I could take more people boating.  I agree with the other posts.  If you are looking for a good all around boat go with about a 13 footer.  By the way, I still paddle the paddlecat because it is so fun.
IP IP Logged Send Private Message
wilburking
Viener Schnitzel
Viener Schnitzel


Joined: 23 Mar 2013
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 3
  Quote wilburking Replybullet Posted: 18 Apr 2013 at 6:34pm
I agree.  Little rafts are perfect for R-2/3.  I have a small boat I would take almost anywhere I would take a bigger raft and it is a lot more fun. 
IP IP Logged Send Private Message
Post Reply Post New Topic
Printable version Printable version

Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot create polls in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum