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Thread: Purchasing Used

  1. #1
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    Default Purchasing Used

    Although the guys at Alaska Raft are REALLY helpful and nice to work with, I'm not sure I can muster up the cash for a brand new raft at this point. I'm new to rafting, but i'm looking for something that can be broke down and thrown into a C180 for (multi-person, multi-day) float hunts, as well as used for casual days on the river with friends and family for camping and fishing. I'm strongly considering the Aire Leopard or Super Leopard. For those of you that have purchased used, what are the main things to look for......questions to ask the seller......ect. Like I said, i'm new to this world of rafting, so I want to make sure I have all my bases covered before dropping a sizeable sum of money on a "new-to me" raft. Thanks ahead of time for any advice.

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    Smile Used & not abused

    Quote Originally Posted by eagleriverdave View Post
    Although the guys at Alaska Raft are REALLY helpful and nice to work with, I'm not sure I can muster up the cash for a brand new raft at this point. I'm new to rafting, but i'm looking for something that can be broke down and thrown into a C180 for (multi-person, multi-day) float hunts, as well as used for casual days on the river with friends and family for camping and fishing. I'm strongly considering the Aire Leopard or Super Leopard. For those of you that have purchased used, what are the main things to look for......questions to ask the seller......ect. Like I said, i'm new to this world of rafting, so I want to make sure I have all my bases covered before dropping a sizeable sum of money on a "new-to me" raft. Thanks ahead of time for any advice.
    Finding used and not abused rafts is not such a bad deal. There are many folks in your shoes. Here in Alaska, there's a good used market for several reasons...
    A.) The raft owners that buy a boat and use it once or twice and lose interest.
    B.) Folks that are in state for a spell with a raft - leaving state and do not need it anymore.
    C.) Combo here of raft buyers that purchased on a trial & error basis, outgrew their rafts, or are updating there boats.

    To make a long story short... lots of used prospects!

    Here are a couple of problems w/ buying used...
    1.) You often need to be familiar w/ rafts to acquire a good one - new or used.
    2.) You must understand factory written warranty information + date of manufacture.
    3.) Realize that this sort of thing depreciates like no tomorrow with some brands while certain others maintain a better resale.
    4.) Know that top brands can go well maintained 20 + years and still be great boats... while others go for a while and you toss 'em out.

    Last piece of guidance --- begin to familiarize yourself w/ the raft market both new and used here in Alaska and on the internet. Certainly call some of the companies... ask if they have used specials and what their policies are.

  3. #3
    Member Daveintheburbs's Avatar
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    Dave,
    If you have a 180, you'll find someone with a raft! I can offer a good suggeston where to start too.

    Dave

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    Check the fabric closely. Look for any cracking/checking. A little bit of checking does not spell the immediate end of a boat's life, but it does signal that the end may be coming sooner than later.

    Patches are not normally a problem, but if they were not done well they may come loose after a few years. But even then, putting new patches on is not that difficult. Still, patches reduce the resale value, so offer an adjusted price based on what you see.

    On a few boats more of an issue can be tearing of the fabric that holds the thwarts or other items attached. In some boats those places are under a lot of stress, which is the reason for the tearing in the first place. It's hard to make a patch work better than the original fabric.

    You also want to look at how well the D ring patches are holding. On many boats they are glued on, and older glue types often weren't as good as the new stuff. Most, but not all, PVC/urethane boats have welded seams & D ring patches. Not much to look for there. On top of that, the more D rings the better. Sometimes people have added extra, and that's a good thing. Many low end boats have fewer D rings, and this complicates loading & tying everything down. While you're checking the D rings, take a hard look at all the seams. Again, if the boat has welded seams, they are probably fine. If there are glued seams you want to see if there has been any slippage of the seam, or more commonly, an edge that is starting to lift. These can be fixed, but it is either work or money to get it done.

    Another issue is rowing frames. Some frames are easy to break down into small components, and others come apart in several large sections, and some don't come apart at all. Other than fly-in trips, there are a number of times that you may want to break your frame down into easier to package parts. Additionally, some frames are easily reconfigurable. These generally use aluminum pipe and either NRS, Holaender, or similar fittings. I much prefer these to welded frames.

    Also look at the oars if they are included. Figure nearly $200 each (or more) for decent ones if you have to buy them. Wooden oars are great if they are from a top manufacturer (like Sawyer), and are in good condition, but cheap wooden oars are weak and will not last. Aluminum is generally better, but composite oars are best. Now we're talking like $300 per oar though.

    Boat frames & oars come configured either for oarlocks or pins & clips. Both have advantage/disadvantage, and you can get used to either. But if you decide you want to change them, it is just one more expense to figure in to the price. (about $50-70 per oar depending on which way you want to go). And you need at least 3 oars, so if the boat only comes with two, you will need another.

    Finally, straps. If you are putting together a cataraft you will need scads of them - and that's just an estimate. And you know how well estimates are. Plan on buying more than you can imagine, then double it. Round/conventional rafts use less, but you will still need a bunch for strapping everything in. Never trust just a net to hold your gear in the boat. You need to strap EVERYTHING in. Adding a net just helps keep it all together.

    Just my thoughts.

  5. #5
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default +1 on the straps

    Helpful thread and you've got wise counsel already.

    Though much less experienced, I did purchase a used Aire cataraft this winter. Fortunately, I haven't found any of the problems Jim specified to watch for, so I think buying used is working out for me, so far. I took the raft down for storage, then just reinflated it this past week. The only parts that looked suspiciously worn were a few of the straps. When one of them broke (and yes I was trying to lift the entire cataraft at the time), I decided to replace all of them. For our first planned flyout in August, I decided my risk tolerance should be low. I'm still well under the cost of a new raft.

    Also, because you're considering Aire rafts, which have a 10-yr warranty, knowing the year of manufacture is important. Tracey suggested finding the registration number on a tag on the inside of the pontoon, about the middle. The last two digits he said represent the year of manufacture.

    You seem to be in the market at a good time. Here are ads for Leopards and Super Leopards:
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ad.php?t=51591
    http://anchorage.craigslist.org/boa/1185520903.html
    http://anchorage.craigslist.org/boa/1164076624.html
    http://anchorage.craigslist.org/boa/1148688157.html
    http://anchorage.craigslist.org/boa/1141443782.html

    Good luck.

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Great info before me here from guys who know better than I.


    Try to do an overnight leak test. Inflate the boat fully and leave it overnight to see how much it leaks. Anyone not willing to let you do this deserves to keep the raft and you should keep looking. A raft that drops too much overnight will be a real pain on extended trips that you intend to use the raft on. Better to find this out before, rather than after purchasing it.


    Good link below with info on buying a used raft...



    http://www.nwrafters.com/resourceArt..._used_raft.php




    .
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Default Outfitters have used rafts 4 sale

    I'm glad I bought my raft new, mainly because 15 years later every wear spot has a story. I heard Chuck at Nova River Runners and Ron at Backcountry Safaris are selling rafts. This winter I heard Karen Jettmar at Equinox also was selling one too....... And you know you'll still need to go to AK Raft to get all the supplies to pimp out your boat.

  8. #8
    Member ret25yo's Avatar
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    theres one on craigslist ......... type in glennallen and its a few down..

    If you cant stand behind the troops in Iraq.. Feel free to stand in front of them.

  9. #9
    Member Heg's Avatar
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    There is a lot of great advice on this thread.

    I bought Ron's (Backcountry Safaris) Sotar last Saturday to add to my quiver of boats. He is a super dude, and I trust that I got a fair deal from him. We have taken it out on four day trips so far, and I love it. After I bought it, I got online and added up what it would cost to purchase the raft new with all the accessories (3 oars, 6 paddles, frame, throw bag, and 5 type 5 pfds), and it came out to over 7 thousand dollars. He sold me the raft and accessories for 4 thousand. I am stoked to have this setup since there is no way I could have afforded the boat new.

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