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Thread: Rafting question

  1. #1
    Member Yukoner's Avatar
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    Default Rafting question

    Gentlemen.
    Never hunted before out of a raft, but more and more, the idea is gaining traction with me.
    How much water does a "typical" raft need to float assuming you are going relatively light, and you have a moose on board.
    lots of variables I know, but just looking for a rough idea. I know how much a loaded PackRaft needs, is it similar?
    cheers
    Never wrestle with a pig.
    you both get dirty;
    the Pig likes it.

  2. #2
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    Much has to do with the type of raft you choose to use. We have 17 rafts in our fleet and all are bucket boats because they need very little water, keep meat dry and are lighter (fly out needs) than self bailing boats.

    Walt
    northwestalaska.net
    Float Hunts
    Unit 23-Kotz
    907-259-4290
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  3. #3

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    With most rigs you hope for 6" draft. The river may give more than that, but shallow riffles usually have a good pillow over them on average rivers with good flow. At least we use 6" as a minimum for most heavily loaded inflatables.

    Larry

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    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    How you distribute the weight has a big effect too. The weight should be supported more or less evenly by the main tubes and not the floor. This includes the weight of the rafter(s). You mentioned packrafts. You might have noticed your butt is the first thing to drag because the weight is not really supported by the floor. Typically, for rafts supporting the weight is done by suspending the items from the frame or cargo platform if using a large raft. Frameless systems on smaller inflatables use cargo platforms as you've probably seen in Larry's videos.

    On big, deep rivers you can bring the kitchen sink...literally if you don't mind rowing the extra weight. I've found myself trying to pack lighter and lighter because less crap is just easier. However, there is a time and place for comfort items.

    All of this gear (with the exception of a small dry bag with our daily on river necessities and our big, lightweight Paco sleeping pads) is off the floor and supported by the main tubes. Obviously this was not a fly-in trip so comfort items like the seats got the thumbs up.


  5. #5
    Member Yukoner's Avatar
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    Great info, thanks very much.
    So avoid self bailers. What size/type raft should I look into for 2 people, light gear and a Moose? How forgiving are rafts in general to being dragged while loaded? I know the PRs can sure take a beating. I have a river in mind for this type of hunt, and there would be dragging, no question, but very rounded rocks, nothing sharp.
    Never wrestle with a pig.
    you both get dirty;
    the Pig likes it.

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    Bucket boats (non-selfbailers) will carry more weight and are lighter. That is where the advantages end. If you are looking for a raft to use for an occasional whitewater run there is no doubt you'd want a self-bailer. If you don't want your feet on a cold, uninsulated floor l(non-bailer) than the inflateable floor self-bailers are the way to go. Depends on your primary needs.

  7. #7

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    Yukoner, I do agree with Birdstrike in general. But we designed the Levitator with a 4" thick drop stitch floor and is fully self bailing with convertible caps on the holes to be closed off for load hauling. With option, you get a raft with a warmer hull on the feet in cold weather, as well as additional weight allowance, with no water inside the hull over the floor when you load it down. Just another options.

    This raft has a 64-oz total coverage on the bottom with the chafe guards, so dragging wont be an issue.

    A 2014 Levitator.jpg

  8. #8
    Member Yukoner's Avatar
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    What sort of draft does that boat have with a Moose and 2 guys and gear?
    Never wrestle with a pig.
    you both get dirty;
    the Pig likes it.

  9. #9

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    if you keep the bail holes closed, about 4" if loaded evenly. With 2 guys and 2 moose with gear (6" or so).

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    Oars change of subject but a good question.

    Couple of years back I looked into have a short oar made into two pieces but with standard Oar Size versus the minis. Cataract stated no issues can be done. Larry in your opinion when the length, size and load carrying capacity reaches a certain weight would you consider upgrading the oars for the bigger boats to a 7ft length 1 7/8 inch style?

  11. #11

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    thats a great question, Moose. Our designs are on the skinnier side of the game, so oar weight is felt more in the shoulders for most captains. To counter the weight of the larger oars, we make them in a Counter Weight (well, Advanced Composites does anyway for us). It makes the oar carry weight more by nearly 2 lbs, but it helps to reduce shoulder strain on the river.

    As for the question though, a loaded Pioneer X-stream can be rowed with 7.5' length mini magnum (small diam oars) or the 8' models. For these boats these lengths seem ideal, though most prefer the 7.5 length for overall fit. The longer the oar the more leverage. I've never had one break regardless of our loads, so i trust the small diameter shafts for boats in the 13-18' length and less than 50" in width with moderate loads.

    Would I go with a large diam oar shaft for the skinnier designs? no. But some guys prefer the overkill and that's cool, but totally overkill. I've asked AC to build me a mid diameter shaft for the Levitator, between the large and the small shaft size, but they declined. So for now we're sticking with the large diameter oars for the Levitator with counter balanced handles.

    Hope this helps.

    Only personal preference, of course.

    larry

  12. #12

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    The lightest and easiest combo for normal size larger oar diameters is the Advanced Composite Cataract or the Pole Cat oars by Sawyer. I prefer the composite for longevity. But i have cut large oars down to 8 feet with the blade to run my old Magnums...works fine.

    larry

  13. #13
    Member Yukoner's Avatar
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    So what would be, in your estimation, the optimal load for the levitator for use in shallow rivers? 2 people, gear and room for a Moose, 3 people, 2 Moose? Any way to rig a small OB on it? Thanks for the info.
    Never wrestle with a pig.
    you both get dirty;
    the Pig likes it.

  14. #14

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    Yukoner, that's a slightly loaded question because "shallow" is a subjective term. But, let's assume all things come down to "dang, that looks shallow" being a channel less than 7" deep.

    One year myself and two buds took one Levitator for a moose hunt. By the end of the trip we all three shot moose. The depth we drafted at first was recorded literally skimming the surface, maybe 2" (800-lbs on board if you don't count the 2 gallons of Jack Daniels).

    3 guys, gear, plus one moose and 1.5 gallons of Jack = 3.5" draft

    Plus 2 moose and 1 gallon of Jack = 4.5"-5" draft

    plus 3 moose and no Jack = 7.5-8.5" draft

    Wow.jpg

    I'm sure a transem can be used with the Lev because guys have done it. I haven't. But, AK Raft and Kayak has sold an aluminum transem for some of our Levs and guys have used long shaft motors. Not sure about feedback on that approach. No personal knowledge.

    Larry

  15. #15
    Member Yukoner's Avatar
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    "Loaded" being the operative word with that much Jack along. I thought you travelled light? Although that's a better choice than beer, with a much lower specific gravity.
    Thats great information. I realize shallow is completely subjective, but the data you posted is really helpful. The videos on your site give a really good idea of what that boat can do, especially the dragging part.
    cheers
    Never wrestle with a pig.
    you both get dirty;
    the Pig likes it.

  16. #16

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    It might be obvious from our site, but to remind you on some points:

    1. The Levitator is now made with PVC, with 32-oz chafe guard strips along the bottom surface. The old SOAR model in that photo was made of hypalon and coated on the bottom with urethane.

    2. The new floor design has caps that screw closed for dryer and higher performance. The floor itself only extends 1-2" below the side tubes, so you'll float a little higher to start with. The old SOAR model's floor extended down below the tubes about 4".

    Hope this helps.

  17. #17
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Birdstrike View Post
    How you distribute the weight has a big effect too. The weight should be supported more or less evenly by the main tubes and not the floor. This includes the weight of the rafter(s). You mentioned packrafts. You might have noticed your butt is the first thing to drag because the weight is not really supported by the floor. Typically, for rafts supporting the weight is done by suspending the items from the frame or cargo platform if using a large raft. Frameless systems on smaller inflatables use cargo platforms as you've probably seen in Larry's videos.

    On big, deep rivers you can bring the kitchen sink...literally if you don't mind rowing the extra weight. I've found myself trying to pack lighter and lighter because less crap is just easier. However, there is a time and place for comfort items.

    All of this gear (with the exception of a small dry bag with our daily on river necessities and our big, lightweight Paco sleeping pads) is off the floor and supported by the main tubes. Obviously this was not a fly-in trip so comfort items like the seats got the thumbs up.
    Birdstrike,
    what is the length and make of the 3 seat raft you have the pic of? someone else asked that question but I didn't see a reply. I am doing a moose hunt this fall and have 4 people committed, but may possibly have a 5th. would that arrangement be better than having 3 rafts with a solo guy in one?
    thanks

  18. #18
    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    That is a 15' NRS Otter with a Bighorn frame also from NRS. There is a cargo platform across the stern to support some of the gear, a drybox with more gear, a dropbag with still more loose gear, a cooler, and two ammo cans containing the groover.

    If you are planning on hauling a moose I would forgo any idea of swivel seats. They just add more weight/bulk to your gear pile but they sure are nice on a roadside class I/II fishing & camping trip. I have not hauled moose in my boat yet...only caribou. Unless the river was deep and mostly single channel, or I was close to the takeout I would think twice before adding another moose to the pile.

    Your chosen river and the level during your float will determine how much weight you can put in one boat. Your air taxi budget will mostly determine whether you want to take 2 or 3 boats. Rowing is more fun than riding IMO. However, if a third boat requires another flight you might need to cram everyone together in 2 to stay within budget. Airplanes are the most expensive part of a float hunt.

  19. #19
    Member Yukoner's Avatar
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    Can anyone recap the pros and cons of catarafts vs rafts for float hunts? Need to get this all sorted out before I pull the pin and get an inflatable.
    Never wrestle with a pig.
    you both get dirty;
    the Pig likes it.

  20. #20
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    Easy choice....one of each!

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