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Thread: Kisaralik - rent 13' raft or ship 16' cat?

  1. #1
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    Default Kisaralik - rent 13' raft or ship 16' cat?

    When you consider logistical overhead vs costs, it's about a draw to ship a cat from CA vs rent a 13' raft in Bethel. But I know what I'm getting with the local Cat. I could also rent a 14' raft here and ship, but that would push the cost over renting in Bethel. But again, I'd know what I'd be working with.

    Cat tubes are 16' NRS rivercats, on a 6'6" wide NRS frame. Raft is of unknown make/model.

    The load would be 2 hunters + gear + possibly meat/antlers from 2 caribou. I'm a bit worried about the capacity of the 13' raft.


    Regards
    Scott

  2. #2
    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Default Who are you renting from?

    Papa Bear Outfitters has pretty good stuff, mostly NRS 14' I believe. I guided a couple trips for them back about 5 years ago and they are good folks and still running a good operation, plus they have the float planes to drop you off in... for whatever its worth... Here are some pics of one of their boats on the K. Good luck, what a beautiful place...








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    Default

    That last picture shows what it would be like with three people and gear. Looks pretty cowded to me. You would have one less person, but fitting in two caribou would still be a real chore. I don't think one 13 footer is enough for what you're proposing. I'm sure it could be done, but it's not the way I like to travel. For remote trips two boats are always far safer than one, but if it has to be only one, a 14 foot boat would have considerably more room.

    Otherwise, for remote tripping I prefer conventional boats over cats. I know it is a controversial subject, but assembling cat frames is tedious on a river bank. Plus the conventional boat weighs less, draws less water, and turns faster on small rivers. And that's coming from a cat man.

    I've never been there, but what ever you decide it looks like it will be fun.

  4. #4
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    Papa Bear is the outfitter. So if their norm is 14' rafts, maybe I can just specify the 14' rather than the 13'. Time to give them a call. This could be a non-issue.

    Scott

  5. #5

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    RU saying you own a 16 CAT and it costs similar to rental (Rentals run ~$100/day, assume $1000+ for 10 days on K)?

  6. #6
    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Default Sometimes smaller is better...

    Like so many or our alaskan float trips, the Kisaralik starts out a very small stream, even with a 14 footer you'll be bouncing bank to bank and shipping oars continuously trying to spin and keep from getting stuck, probably for the first day to day and a half anyway. I'd actually have to give some serious thought into weather or not I'd want to push that with a 16 foot, I believe it'd work ok, but you'd work a lot harder with it.

    We had to motor for most of a day on the lower flats to get to a place where he could land a floatplane to get us picked up. I think they are using jetboats to pick up the groups now, coming right up that slower stuff to save you having to bring along the outboad and all.

  7. #7
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Boat sizes for caribou hunt

    I've got to agree with Mr. Strutz on this one. The 13-footer is too small for what you're doing. You could squeeze it all into a 14-footer or go with two smaller boats. This would give you the best performance of course, with much lighter loads. Cost goes up a lot though, with two boats.

    Another option is to give Jerry Sisemore a call. He owns a company called Alaska Downstream, based here in Anchorage. He rents inflatable canoes (including the Pro Pioneer), and several other kinds of round boats, and will ship directly to your air charter. Jerry is a great guy to work with and offers some pretty good deals in the rental department.

    Then of course you could rent from Alaska Raft and Kayak- largest raft shop in Alaska. If you want it, they've got it, and will also ship it to your air charter.

    So- there are several options for you. The bottom line is to go light.

    Hope it helps!

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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  8. #8
    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Default No doubt...

    I'm also agreeing. But, thats a 14 footer in the picture, and we took everything but the kitchen sink! I think a 13 is too small, however, I think a 16 may eqully be overkill on the other side of the equation, I know th eupper K is really tight and shallow. I think Karl still runs 14's. Otherwise (again) a pair of 13's might be more appropriate. Of course, a lot depends on the paddling experience of guy number 2 as well does it not?

  9. #9

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    just a quick safety note on this rig... having your passengers in the "kill zone" of your oars is alwalys bad idea. Having your passengers in the "kill zone" of your oars AND up against solid objects could be fatal. Find a better way to rig your load and position your passengers more safely next go around!

    Good luck.

  10. #10
    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Default It's at best a low end class 3 for cryin out loud!

    The passengers didn't ride through the falls. Most (99%) of the Kisaralik is class 2 maybe. 3 small tricks covering maybe a quarter mile in distance out of a 6-7 day float that we had them walk around. Thanks for the tip, I'll remember it when I find myself in challenging waters... It is a good reminder though!

  11. #11
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    Thumbs up Rent vs ship

    Hi guys:

    I have to put my 2 cents worth in here as I work with hunters/fisherman and rafters all summer long. I own Northwest Alaska Back Country Rentals here in Kotzebue and we help out a lot of guys every summer and fall. I always ask the question of my clients, how much is the shipping going to cost you (both ways) and how fast will that strip the value of your equipment? Most of us who are in the rental business only offer the best equipment possible. We can not afford for you our customers to have a bad trip because we sent you out in cheap or defective equipment. I only rent equipment that will be tough enough to withstand the riggers of a rough trip( Avon, NRS & AIRE). I donít want my guys having to mess with on river repairs so all of my gear is in top shape or I get rid of it.

    The question of renting vs buying is simpleÖ Renting will get you top quality gear at reasonable prices and we deal with getting it to your flight service.

    Itís a no brainier, RENT IT!

    Walt
    Northwest Alaska Back Country Rentals
    Kotzebue Alaska
    We are your best bet in Inflatable and Camp rentals in all of NW Alaska!
    www.northwestalaska.com

  12. #12
    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Default not to mention...

    Not to mention Walt, you guys typically will have the equipment prefectly sized for the application. Like I was trying to point out, I can see how under decent conditions with a good oarsman, a 16 foot cat with a wider frame would serve the purpose on the upper Kisaralik, but depending on when you went, low water etc, could really make it a lot of work. Even being from alaska, I was reluctant to use the outfitters boats when we did those trips with them, but I was pleasently surprised. There are high quality outfitters around like yourself and Papa Bear, who use high quality gear specifically suited for the local waters and I'd not be reluctent in the least to use your services myself if I ever wind up back in your neck of the woods again. Anyway, thanks for the service you provide.

  13. #13
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    Default

    The Kisaralik is going to be quite low this year, we didn't have much snow at all.

  14. #14
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Roger that!

    Quote Originally Posted by Nitroman View Post
    The Kisaralik is going to be quite low this year, we didn't have much snow at all.
    Yeah, I think we're looking at a statewide event this year in that regard. Very low snowpack = lower than usual fall water levels and lots of fires.

    Pray for rain.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

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    Unhappy

    Well I found out the question is now moot. My buddy is having health issues and is going to need serious surgery. We might be on for 2009.

    I want to thank all those that commented for your input.

    Michael, get your book published, please

    Regards,
    Scott

  16. #16
    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Bummer!

    What a bummer! Sure hope your buddy does well, 2009 is going to be a great year!

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    Which product do you recommend?

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    Khazel

    Go Westy Camper Products - The Go Westy Camper Catalog

  18. #18
    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Default Do you mean for Rafts? Or Outfitters?

    I see none of the experts have given you any feedback on this question for a couple weeks now, so I'll give it a shot even though I'm just a "dabbler".

    If you mean outfitters, I'd recommend Walt from Northwest Backcountry who posted on this topic earlier, I've heard good things about him and he does a lot of good for the sport the way he represents and conducts himself, though I've yet to have any first hand personal experience with him.

    I'd also recommend my former employer, Papa Bear... they really do care about providing a top notch experience. I've seen them go way above and beyond to ensure their customers have an outstanding experience.

    If your talking boats...well, I'd take the ones I own and love most likely... but I'd be getting my brother to fly them wherever I want to go so shipping is less of an issue than for folks say from outside. I use a 14 ft cat with 24 inch tubes, and a 13.5 ft Aire superpuma. Both work great in the really narrow and shallow headwaters I've encounterd on most of the remote rivers I've had the opportunity to float.

    I woudn't take a 16 ft cat out there unless (maybe) I knew it was a high water year and thought I could get away with it without having to push and wade too much. I'd rent a pair of 13 or 14 footers... then more people get to row, and the boats are lighter and easier to load and unload on a multiday trip like that, and if you were hunting there'd be plenty of room for some caribou.

    Have Fun!

    Chris

    Quote Originally Posted by ryan34 View Post
    Which product do you recommend?

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    Khazel

    Go Westy Camper Products - The Go Westy Camper Catalog

  19. #19
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    Default

    I talked to Steve (?) at Papa Bear just a few days after finding out that my buddy's health was going south. I confirmed that we'd not be able to make it this year, he let me know that they provide 14' rafts. So I did some digging in the all the correspondence to see where I came up with the idea that they were providing 13' rafts. And couldn't find anything. So somehow I came up with the idea that they would provide a 13' raft all on my own.

    Thanks again for all the input. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for 2009.

    Regards,
    Scott

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