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Thread: Packing a raft for a 12 Day Float

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    Default Packing a raft for a 12 Day Float

    I was looking for advice on packing a raft for a 12 Day float trip for moose and caribou next fall. Two guys at about 350# (combined) on a Class I, II River. The boat most available to us is a NRS 14' self bailer. How much gear can we take and what is the best way to situate it? Is this even going to be enough boat in the unlikely event we both get moose?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Southerner View Post
    I was looking for advice on packing a raft for a 12 Day float trip for moose and caribou next fall. Two guys at about 350# (combined) on a Class I, II River. The boat most available to us is a NRS 14' self bailer. How much gear can we take and what is the best way to situate it? Is this even going to be enough boat in the unlikely event we both get moose?
    You are asking the right question here... NO the 14' is not the suitable boat for your float hunt. Particularly venturing out on one of your (if not the) first floats here in Alaska for 2 guys, 12 days gear and food, with space for Moose and Caribou. Likely in this scenario, you'll think a Hare or Grouse will be enough additional.

    When you say "boat most available to us is an NRS 14' self-bailer." ---- please explain. Are you borrowing, renting, buying, bringing your own boat up, etc.?

    If renting or buying... no reason not to go 15'-16' self-bailer. There is a huge difference in interior space, hauling capacity, shallow water draft, while maintaining good handling characteristics... over any disadvantages like running out of space plus bogging down a 14'.

    For example... in or fleet of self-bailing rafts and cats, just about every party of 3-4 out on multi-day trips (looking to go single boat) much prefer our 15' self-bailers due to the ample extra space they provide with the nice shallow draft performance. They are the same price in our rental fleet as the 14' at $80/day multi-day rate... so it's a no brainer for the kind of trip you described and a better option.

    You asked about how to situate your gear -

    First keeping a low center of gravity with nothing sticking up too high on the raft is important... less tipsy around hazards, fewer chances to loose stuff, better streamlined for winds, stuff not getting caught up in any overhanging brush/trees.

    Gettin' into the right boat... a compete comprehensive package (done by highly-organized professionals - no mistakes).

    Familiarizing on how to eguip. the boat... What you have, how to rig it, where stuff goes (we personally assist you with this).

    Having a 'game' plan for meat and trophies... (we address this and help you with suggestions & planning)

    Having the right gear plus good dry-bags... Very important - can make or break the whole trip.

  3. #3

    Default Raft?

    A couple of years ago me and my brother did a long float hunt on a class 1-2 river. We had a 13' standard floor raft w/ homemade frame and cheapie oars. It worked. We only got 1 moose but we sure tried to get another. I learned a lot from that trip. After that trip I have vowed that the next long float hunt I would have a 15-16' self bailer with a good frame and good oars. The only thing that I liked about the small raft is it sure makes portaging easier and in some cases you can squeeze through where a larger rafts cant.Now that it has been a couple of years I am starting to forget all the problems and I even catch myself thinking that we should do it again.

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Good advice before me here. I would suggest you get Mike Strahan's book, "Floathunting Alaska". It is for sale in the forum store and online...


    http://www.alaskafloathunting.net/


    This is a great book and will be of great utility to you.

    My thought, if you dropped the moose from your list, you would be fine. If this is your first float trip, going after bou alone may be enough to keep your interest. In doing so, it would simplify some other aspects of your trip. Food for thought at any rate.

    I take float trips in Alaska each fall. Usually in arctic NW north of Kotz. If you want any suggestions on food/gear/etcs.. shoot me a PM. I see you are from NC (as I am). Not so easy getting your gear to Alaska, is it? Any info I can offer, just shoot me a PM.
    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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    Member cusackla's Avatar
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    Default Get Good Advice, than go! 14ft NRS Self Bailer is Plenty!

    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    Good advice before me here. I would suggest you get Mike Strahan's book, "Floathunting Alaska". It is for sale in the forum store and online...


    http://www.alaskafloathunting.net/


    This is a great book and will be of great utility to you.

    My thought, if you dropped the moose from your list, you would be fine. If this is your first float trip, going after bou alone may be enough to keep your interest. In doing so, it would simplify some other aspects of your trip. Food for thought at any rate.

    I take float trips in Alaska each fall. Usually in arctic NW north of Kotz. If you want any suggestions on food/gear/etcs.. shoot me a PM. I see you are from NC (as I am). Not so easy getting your gear to Alaska, is it? Any info I can offer, just shoot me a PM.
    I would agree with getting good reference material and learning as much as you can before hand.
    Couple of things:
    - What is your rafting experience. If it is very little, find a rafting outfit close to you and take a course or two. Get some river time.
    - Learn as much as you can about the river you are going to hunt.
    - This one works for me. On fly-ins only take the gear you need, than take good food. Food is weight you don't have to fly out, so get the right gear, go light and use any left-over weight capacity for good food.


    Here is a picture of us in a 13ft NRS Otter Self-bailer. As you can see it can handle a bunch of weight. Get some advice and do a bit of training and you will have a blast. Whatever you do, get good gear go light but don't go cheap
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cusackla View Post
    - What is your rafting experience. If it is very little, find a rafting outfit close to you and take a course or two. Get some river time.

    Great advice. We went up to Nantahala Outdoors (rafting outfit) in the Smoky Mountains of NC this June for some oar raft instruction. Spent three days on the water with a great guide and got some class III experience. If this interest the OP, shoot me a PM and I can give you the details. This is a great way to get some river time in an oared raft (rare in the south) before heading to Alaska for a remote float.
    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.

  7. #7
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default And match the gear to the conditions...and experience

    First, disclaimer I guess - I'm still a newbie in this discussion, but interested in participating. In my view, so there's no doubt, experience trumps all here (AK) hands down and I defer to all who've been successful in the field.

    In Dennis Confer's excellent book (2006 version), Hunt Alaska Now, there's a great photo (opposite the Intro page) of what looks like 2 guys, 2 moose and 1 caribou in a 13-14 ft round raft - probably not self-bailing. Two guys, 2 moose racks, 1 caribou rack, a wooden rowing frame...and maybe as little as 6-8" of tube above water in the back. It’s not hard to find pictures like this – and at the time a 13 or 14 foot round raft was maybe the pinnacle of technology for accessing Alaska’s prime hunt regions, I suspect those hunters didn’t wait (hey catarafts/catacanoes and tubular aluminum frames are coming!). No doubt it's been done, but the untold story in such photos seems to me the great hazard in setting out under-equipped. If these 2 guys were experienced, then they might have done great. If they were newbies and especially a little unlucky –well, those are the risks worth anticipating - that would be a lot of meat to waste.

    Friends who float-hunted the Sheenjek years ago, told me a long (12 day) hunt with unanticipated warm weather was actually made worse by successful game encounters on a gentle river. Go figure, eh? Warm weather and a slow river made keeping the meat from spoiling (a tragic waste AND a game law violation) very challenging. And so it seems to go during the Fall in Alaska: conditions can make all the difference. Weather: hot/dry versus wet/cold. Water levels: high/ floating versus low/dragging -which can depend on rains, early cold weather or late hot weather (glacial melt). Like lots of other gear, the challenge often is to anticipate the conditions you'll face, then find the best gear match and hoping you're right. With rafts, the pros and cons of one size/design raft give it advantages and disadvantages, depending on conditions. And then there's luck too.

    Experienced guys/women who hunt here successfully probably can do more with less - through the years, they've figured out the rivers, terrain, likely conditions/demands with favorable odds. Newbies (my hand is up here) it seems do well to listen for, as Paul Harvey used to say, "the rest of the story" - the unforeseen problems one might have to deal with if the shiny parts of your dream lose their luster in the field.

    Float trips are a lot of work - and on a successful hunt you'll be moving meat to/from meat racks everytime you move camp.
    Oh, and there's a time limit - to book your air taxi service before they fill.

    Good luck and I'll listen and learn with you. Good, informative thread.


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    Thanks for the information everybody. I think I am going to look into getting a little bigger raft. If that doesn't work out then I think we can probably work with the one we have. We both have some rafting experience, although not with the kind of loads we may be tackling. I think that we will try to get together for a trip this summer to reassess and coordinate our skills and to learn a little more about boat handling and loading in general. The idea of a caribou hunt only has ocurred to us, but I have been fortunate enough to take a couple of caribou in the past on a hunt in Quebec. I would love to get another one, but for what may be my one and only Alaska trip I am definitely focusing on moose.

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