Where to buy Curtis raft?


New Member
I've seen references to "Curtis Raft' for backcountry fishing here and at other fishing/hiking forums but can't seem to find any retailers that carry it. No hits on Ebay either. Can someone provide a link to an online retailer or a local shop near Seattle that sells them. I don't even know what they look like? Seems like many people prefer this to the float tube or Sevlor rafts for backcountry fishing.



Not to be confused with freestoneangler
The rafts are made by a man named Brian Curtis from Silverdale and I don't think he sells them in stores. He is active on several hiker's forums and you could contact him through one of these forums: nwhikers.net and watrailblazers.org. I'll PM some more details....

Sak, I have one that I use for highlakes angling. It's unbeatable if you're looking for the lightest, smallest, most packable craft out there. I get alot of laughs from hiking buddies who say things like, "you're going out there? In that?" It's small but they're well built and cleverly designed. One bit of advice, decide what you're really looking for. I hiked in to the Hidden Lakes in the Pasayten last spring with some friends who hiked in float tubes. All of our fish we caught were caught while trolling. I was outfished that trip by the floattubers as they have their rod in their hands 100% of the time. While in the Curtis Raft, if trolling, you'll have to put rod down in your crotch since you'll need both hands to paddle the boat. I missed alot of fish...but caught alot too.

That having been said, I have also hiked that raft in to many more lakes than I ever would have lugged a float tube, waders and fins into! Just don't get one if you're looking to get something to hike into 'walk-in' lakes like Nunnaly. Think 3+ miles.


Active Member
Sak, I've got a Curtis raft and I know Brian Curtis well. We're both in the same high lakes fishing clubs. I don't think he minds if I give out his email address, but just to be sure I'll PM you. Incidentally, Brian sometimes posts on this board. Regarding the raft, it's the best thing I've ever found for backpacking into high lakes. I have the double-bottomed version and it weighs roughly 26oz. At first glance it looks rather fragile, but it's surpisingly strong and very well built. It's stow bag doubles as the inflator and actually works. I wouldn't take it down a river but it works fine for high lakes. It's a pretty unigue raft in that it's not mass produced, but available by word of mouth only. For years I packed the lightest float tube I could find, a Caddis Premier u-boat, into alpine lakes. The weight isn't too bad, probably 6 or 7 lbs, but when you consider the waders and fins the weight got up to around 13 lbs or so. That's a lot of weight in a backpack. The only waders I found that would keep me warm enough in high lakes were the 5mm Cabelas stocking foot jobs, and they're heavy, and even heavier when wet. I'm attaching a photo of myself in my raft taken at a high lake a couple of years ago.

Regarding the Sevylor Trail Boat, I have one as a backup or loaner, but I really don't care to use it. An earlier one I had split it's seam as I was inflating it (brand new) and I know at least two other guys who have complained about the same thing. Sevylor replaced my boat for free, but I have lost confidence in it. I also know a guy from this board who almost drowned in his STB on a lowland lake, due to seams unraveling or popping, or whatever.

JC - good to see you're still posting from across the continent. I may be going to the Hiddens in June so I'll PM you for some advice. I've never been there and I'm looking forward to it.



He goes by Trail_Blazer on this site. Do a search for that and PM him.

The raft rocks! The stow bag also doubles for a water container at camp. Holds tons of water and comes with the spicket attachment. I always use the bag when I'm backpacking. Even when I don't take the raft.

It's a great product.

Mr. Brian Curtis,

I'm looking to do an awesome packrafting trip with some buddies of mine in September. I'm looking for some packrafts that can handle whitewater--the Alpackas are nice but really expensive and the Sevylor rafts just seem cheap and unable to handle whitewater. Do you have any specs about your rafts? Can they handle whitewater well? How are the prices? How can I get some?

I first heard about Brian's rafts over on the NWhiker.net site. They have been highly sought after. The last I heard, they were no longer in production. This is great news. PM sent to you Brian.

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
Old thread. Brian and his father Walt, who designed the Curtis raft, suspended production in late 2007. Used Curtis rafts are only rarely available since not many of us who have one are willing to sell. Although they originally sold for around $225 (depending on options), one turned up on eBay a year and a half ago and sold for nearly $500. I bought my lightly-used raft from its now-elderly original owner for a $100 premium over the new price.

A rumor was circulating last fall that the Curtis's were negotiating the sale of their raft design, patterns and production tooling. I haven't heard anything about it recently, but based on the ongoing demand for the little boats, there's still quite a market for them.



I'd support any efforts to get these Curtis rafts back into production somehow. Alpacka Raft needs some competition to bring their prices down. Their boats just don't seem durable enough to merit the $800 price tag.

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
I'd support any efforts to get these Curtis rafts back into production somehow. Alpacka Raft needs some competition to bring their prices down. Their boats just don't seem durable enough to merit the $800 price tag.
If you equate durability with price, then you might be sorely disappointed by the Curtis rafts. While they're stronger than they appear, at just under 22oz for the single floor model, they are still somewhat fragile.

But the all time weak design award has to go to the Sevylor inflatable raft at about $50. One of the HiLakers bought one on a lark and found out that when his anchor stubbornly refuse to come unstuck from a lake bottom, it tore out the fabric 'D' loop he'd attached it to, thus opening a hole in the vinyl material and quickly giving it's passenger a very wet and cold surprise.

Alpackas are a LOT tougher than they seem. Check out the video on their site showing how one that had been sliced up by a bear was repaired using only the materials in the standard repair kit: http://www.alpackaraft.com/index.cf...ield-&-Home-Repairs&viewpost=2&ContentId=2714



Active Member
I have to echo Kent on his durability vs price thought. Price escalates quickly along the durability curve. If I were you, I'd either save your dollars and get either a Watermaster (a used one, if you happen to be as lucky as myself--thanks, Kent!!!) or one of those rival models. If not, consider a very modest, though packable, float tube. Most are durable enough to suffer a packed trip. A small battery-powered pump will take care of your inflation needs. If you're travelling with friends, then it wouldn't take much for everyone to share a pump. "I carry the pump, and you carry the booze!" What a deal!!!

Float tubes demand fins, boots, and waders. Rafts demand oars. In either case, you are looking at either weight or bulk. Believe me when I say this, but I've mountain biked, on separate occasions, a Sevylor raft and a float tube to the same 2+ miles destination. If I had a pair of hard-soled booties, instead of wading boots, I would put the business of transporting a float tube over a raft any day. The most basic FT and gear will fit into a smaller space than a raft and oars. Then again, both are a lot to transport.

I hope you're in your twenties or a buck-strong thirties.

That's my take in a nutshell.

--Dave E.

Brian Miller

Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout
...Float tubes demand fins, boots, and waders. Rafts demand oars. In either case, you are looking at either weight or bulk... Then again, both are a lot to transport. I hope you're in your twenties or a buck-strong thirties. That's my take in a nutshell. --Dave E.
Forgive as I reminisce....

~15 years ago I humped my fly rod, waders, booties, fins, 1st gen uboat and overnight gear 4+ miles into a lake near MNRP with my young son. While he fished and played on the beach I got out in the tube and caught a few fish trolling a fly. On day 2 the cool temperature had reduced the effective air pressure in my tube so I came back to shore. I made a couple of casts from a boulder and watched as the fish scattered when spooked by the fly line hitting the water. Then who should walk the by the campsite but the owner of the local fly shop back home who sold me my gear. I said "hi" and he said "Hey Brian, what the heck are you lugging that stuff up here for?" After exchanging pleasantries, he walked halfway around the lake, rigged up an ultralight spinning rod with a fly and teardrop float and proceded to hammer the fish; something I had done years before on high lakes & streams before taking up flyfishing.

The next week I picked up nice ultralight spin outfits and my son & I dayhiked 4+ miles to a lake near White Pass. A guy had brought in a float tube on horseback and was fly fishing. I didn't notice him catching any fish as I rigged our rods with a fly and teardrop float. Standing in calf deep water with sandals on we cast far out into the lake we both had fish on the first cast using a very slow retrieve. We fished for a couple of hours and I don't recall seeing the fly angler land any more fish than we did.

I really like Fly fishing on high streams that hold wild cutts but I'm not sure I would backpack overnight with a fly outfit again.