Raft recommendation

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Kfish, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. stilly stalker

    stilly stalker Tuna sniffer

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    really really good to know, as I am in the market as well.
     
  2. Kfish

    Kfish Active Member

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    Thank you for all the inputs everybody.

    I’ve decided to get NRS Outlaw 120D (12ft) raft, wanted to and almost went with the Aire Puma but with the 15% discount the NRS was too good to pass up at $1600 (vs $2900 for the Puma). It suits our need for light duty Stillwater fishing with the kids.

    Didn’t go with catchercraft or flycraft because they come with non-customizable frames, while that’s a good deal if you fish with a buddy exclusively but it’s not a kid friendly setup. I’ll be building a NRS frame with custom components so that I can change depending on the type of fishing. NRS stuff are expensive as hell but I’ve heard nothing but good things about them, so hopefully they will last forever.




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  3. Ben Swaner

    Ben Swaner Active Member

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    May want to look at a 142 Otter or 142 Outlaw. Extra cargo/people room without the extra width.
     
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  4. ellis

    ellis Member

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    I would highly suggest a Super Duper Puma. For the last 11+ years, my buddy and I made the plunge to buy one with a rowing frame and we've had that thing everywhere from the OP steelhead rivers to The River of No Return (Middle Fork of the Salmon), from Chopaka to Rattlesnake Lake. Of course, it's an awesome Yak ride. Top advantages are the handling, durability, versatility. Our frame system allows us to go from the full set up front seat/lean brace/floor, middle rowers section with large marine cooler/floor/step anchor release, and rear seat/lean brace/floor with an anchor extension to breaking it down to just the mid section. We did the later configuration to do the MF of Salmon. That allowed for a massive storage space in the aft and open/comfy/safe pocket for the guy in front and great room for the rower. Fully loaded for a 6 night trip, it still handled the gnarly Class IV rapids like Tappen Falls with lots of control and agility. It also breaks down in 45 mins and fits in a Cessna 109 along with two 'healthy sized' 6'1" men, even bigger pilot and a week's cargo and provisions. Speaking of dangerous rivers, we've done the Upper Quinault many times with this boat fully loaded with up to 4 fat men (not so comfortable). I dare say the upper Q can be one of the most dangerous rivers in Washington because it changes dramatically so much and there are always so many sweepers and snags. Can't say enough about how awesome this boat is and how impressed we are with all that we put it through. You won't be sorry if you get one of these.
     
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  5. Shapp

    Shapp Active Member

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    I would buy a used aire super duper puma with used frame/oars etc., any day of the week over a brand new shiny NRS outlaw and new NRS frame. A good used super duper puma with frame/oars already to go will be in the same ballpark as a new outlaw with new frame and new oars. But the Aire boat will be twice the boat in quality. You won't miss the extra money. If you really would miss an extra $1000 on top of what you would spend on a new NRS outlaw setup, in all seriousness you probably need to re-evaluate your financial situation and ability to buy a raft in the first place. Good luck.
     
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  6. Kfish

    Kfish Active Member

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    OK you guys make some really compelling arguments LOL

    I looked further into the floor construction methods of the 2 boats and it sounds like the Outlaw will be very hard to clean vs the Aire Puma. Some folks had issues with sand stuck in the flooring of the Outlaw that lead to durability issues. Furthermore the Aire Puma is much lighter, around 30lbs lighter!

    Aire Puma it shall be then!

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  7. Stonefish

    Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

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    Puma or Super Puma Lou?
    With four people, the Super is a better choice for only a few hundred more.
    Good decision in my opinion going with the Aire.
    SF
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
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  8. Kfish

    Kfish Active Member

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    The regular Puma Brian, 90% of the time it'll be just me and the boy. Train him early so he can row down river while I fish lol

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  9. ellis

    ellis Member

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    You're having the same dilemma my buddy and I had when we decided to partner up on a boat. Lucky for us at the time, Dana was still in business with his Swiftwater river boat shop in Shoreline. He had both Pumas (super & super duper) and another that I think was the Outlaw. What swayed us was that the Super Duper was a bit longer, narrower and a higher rocker so would handle and get on plane better. As I recall, he said the wider boat was more like a truck and the super duper was more like a sport car in terms of handling. Don't get me wrong, we've banged up our boat on plenty of sharp rocks and spikey log jams and dragged it across many of shallow gravel bars and rip-rap impromptu put-ins and it still looks like new (when we clean it).

    As for having kids/family on it. Both of us have lots of kids and have taken them out to Rattlesnake to Chopaka. It's a great platform for teaching kids to fish (and row) and trolling. One of the more memorable times is when a bunch of us dads and kids went up to Chopaka for 4 nights. I took my nephew out for his first time night fishing and he totally slayed the sh*t outa them. When you got a boat that can do that and then turn around and shoot Class IV rapids, you're gonna feel like a hero. Badass daddy hero!
     
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  10. Patrick Allen

    Patrick Allen Active Member

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    Yes you could roll it up although I keep it inflated on the trailer. I will get some pics this weekend and post. The floor is put in with rope ( Drop stitch I think they call it). It has its own air valve so it does deflate. I think it would roll up just fine. It took me over an hour to put the floor in so removing it each time you roll it up would not be feasible

    Patrick
     
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  11. Shapp

    Shapp Active Member

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    Well if it is just you and the boy most of the time, I still would get a little bigger boat. The puma is small, and on that occasion when you want 3 or 4 people in there (with a rowing setup), it is too small.

    The super puma is a good medium, between the small puma and the much larger super duper puma. Definitely not too much boat for 2 people, but still big enough to put on 2 kids and 2 adults.

    The Outcast PAC 1300 is also the same boat as the Aire Super Puma. Look around this fall/winter for a good used one if you don't want to buy new.
     
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  12. BDD

    BDD Active Member

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    I am sure that whatever raft you get will be fine in the end and serve your needs for many years.

    However I must be confused about what "non-customizable" means.

    We have built and sold our raft frames with and without floors, anchor systems, lean bars, heel bars, bench seats, ice cooler seats, tractor seats, fold-down seats, stripping baskets, dog platforms, seating for 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 passengers, dry boxes, multiple oar tower positions, motor mounts, and probably more.

    We have built frames for Maxxon, Hyside, NRS, Sotar, JPW, Maravia, Aire, Outcast, Riken, Saturn, RMR and more (though we won't do one for Sea Eagle ;))

    But you must mean with adjustable-sized modules. No, I don't think we have ever done that...not sure that we have ever been asked to. However, I'd almost bet Ken could do it...if someone asked pretty please.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017 at 10:38 PM
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  13. Kfish

    Kfish Active Member

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    I think modular changes was the word I was looking for.
    For example, if I wanted to fish the lakes with the kids I would add the stern bars and trolling motor mount to the mainframe along with wooden benches. To float a river with a buddy I can then take those wooden benches and motor mount out, bolt in the single comfy seats and we are good to roll.

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  14. Shapp

    Shapp Active Member

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    Really? It is pretty easy to infer what the OP is intending in his comment. I don't like welded "customized" frames for the same reason, because they usually only do one thing well (or two things at the most) for what they were "customized" to do. Thats not to say that welded "customized" frames are bad, or that they can't be super nice and functional, but they usually only function optimally under a certain set of circumstances/situations.

    I have 4 major configurations that I run my super duper puma for:

    1. multiday whitewater with 1 passenger and a particular set of dry boxes, table and cooler

    2. Multiday light

    3. Day trip whitewater

    4. Day trip fishing.

    Instead of having 4 different welded "customized" frames, I have one adjustable frame. Move a cross bar, add a couple things or remove a couple things and the frame setup is optimized for each of these situations.

    I have 2 major configurations that I run my puma for,

    1. Multiday with gear and no passenger

    2. Day trip fishing with a passenger or solo

    Move a cross bar and my drop bag fits in to haul the load, or move the cross bar and add the standing deck, anchor arm, and lean bar and its fishing time. I can put the anchor arm out front to balance the boat when solo and put the anchor arm out back when I have a big fat dude up front or a small petite gal with a boat load of coho in the cooler up front.


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    Unless you have some type of moveable seat bracket or oar tower position system and moveable foot bar, your significant other is also not going to be able to row the boat well if you are of very different heights/arm lengths. Some very good friends of mine (husband and wife) that have all welded frames on each of their 4 boats can't row each others boats because one person is really tall and one really short. On a trip to the upper Owyhee where we wanted to bring all very small rafts for portage, this guy couldn't bring the best boat they had in their quiver (which was his wife's hyside mini-max) because he couldn't adjust the frame to fit his body size, so he had to bring a bigger boat that was of course a lot harder to portage. The point being, if you only have one boat and one welded frame made for you, good luck if you want your spouse of friend to row if they are of a significantly different stature.

    We have a "salmon river" type 4 bay frame for one of our 14' rafts. It is a great frame, but only accommodates one setup configuration. It is a nice frame and packs very well for what it was designed for multiday with a certain drybox/cooler configuration, but thats it. It doesn't work for day trips well, it doesn't pack well in the truck, the geometry sucks for my smaller sister to row. and really the geometry sucks for my big brother that is 6'4" to row due to the fixed oar tower height and for-aft positioning. It only accommodates a certain width of dry box and cooler in each specific bay. We have some very nice coolers that fit other frames and would fit in this frame, if only it had an adjustable cross bar.

    As far as a recommendation for an adjustable frame, if you don't want to go the NRS route,
    check out whitewater machine works small raft adjustable frames. Same basic idea as an NRS setup but a lot sleeker and lighter (I plan on getting one of these for my Puma next year for weight savings):

    http://www.whitewatermachineworks.com/mini-raft-frames.html
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017 at 9:52 AM
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  15. Kfish

    Kfish Active Member

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    Exactly! Nicely put Shapp. Everything need to be adjustable for different rowers, my wife, my son, etc...
    Puma should be delivered today, pretty excited to put everything together.