I was curious to hear everyone's experience who have built their own rowing frame for a raft. Was it worth the effort over purchasing a pre-built frame from a raft company? Or in hind sight, would you go a different route?
I have a 14' Sotar self bailer that needs a frame. I'm looking for a simple set-up that I can disassemble for fly-in trips and that has one or two passenger seat attachments for the front bar. I've rowed rafts sitting in a seat and sitting on a cooler / dry box. I much prefer a seat as I slid side to side too much on the cooler. So, a seat bracket for the rower as well. The majority of the time would just be myself and my wife, and I wanted to go fairly light in overall weight for fly-ins. So I was just thinking of two side rails, two cross bars, and possibly a foot bar to start out. I realize I can add and remove components as needed to customize for certain uses, passengers, etc.
My thought was to stop by AK Raft and Kayak, describe what I'm looking for in options, and see what they have on hand or could build for me. However, if your experience has been one of substantial cost savings by buying the aluminum pipe and Lo Pro style fittings and assembling yourself, I'd like to hear your thoughts.
I was told to consider starting out simple in frame design to get a better feel for what I want, then modify or add on from there which sounds reasonable to me. Any other considerations I should have? At this point I wasn't thinking I'd go with a bay on the frame to suspend a dry box / cooler. Most of my stuff tends to go into dry bags and smaller action packers.
Thanks for your input,