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Thread: Raft Size

  1. #1
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    Default Raft Size

    Well -- I am new to this-- usually I just read forums and never sign up to post --BUT -- I have been impressed with the information and friendlyness of this site and thought I would give it a shot.

    My better half and I have been searching for rafts and finally decided that a round boat was the way to go over a cataraft-- we will use it for drift fishing but I want the availability to do some float hunting. The catarafts were just overall to heavy for an older guy in somewhat good shape. this coupled with the lack of ability to float hunt shallower rivers with hopefully a heavy load of gear and animal made the round boat an obvious better choice.

    With all of that said --- what is the opinion poll of a 14 foot raft to haul two hunters with gear and animals down a river-- and I am not talking about a deep river like the Keni but it does not have to be a trickle stream either

    Look forward the the opinions and debate that may ensue--- obviously the 16 footer is the obvious choice just want to see what the thought of making a 14 footer work.

    Drag out your fishing gear and hunting packs as the season draws near-- can not wait

  2. #2

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    You cant go wrong with a 15' raft for hunting with two folks - gear - food- and animal parts. 14' would be overloaded and 16' turns into a MONSTER on small rivers, with its width and 10' oars. The longer - more narrow "new age" hunting boats made by SOTAR and SOAR, two totally different companies, are another good option. And don't rule out non-bailing rafts- they cary more weight - cost less - roll up better - and weigh much less than self bailers and have worked well for many years before SB rafts were born.
    Just my thoughts.
    Goo

  3. #3
    Member scott_rn's Avatar
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    It has been said more than once, two hunters with two moose in a 14 footer is a bad idea. What are you planning on hunting?

  4. #4
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    My first suggestion is to get out on the water and try different boats (assuming you have not done that yet). This, more than anything else will help you decide what's going to work for you. And yes, I would row a cataraft or two, just so you know for sure that your conclusions about them are accurate. Truth is, there is no boat out there that does it all...

    Second, let the river choose the boat. Larger, deeper rivers are more forgiving than narrow, faster or shallower ones. Do you know what rivers you intend to float? If you do, that helps you a lot in terms of figuring out what will work best in those situations.

    Finally, I agree that the 14-footer is too small for two people, gear, and animals. Your idea of the 16' boat could work well... take a look at the SOTAR Alaskan. It can handle the loads you speak of, and give you plenty of lift. Goo Voght is the man to talk with on this boat. He's the SOTAR dealer for the state of Alaska.

    -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
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  5. #5
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Over the hill and through the woods Mike you and I are up way to early! For what it is most people will tell you 14ft is to small for two peeps and two moose and unless the thing has 30 inch tubes you would not be happy with floating out the that much with anyones standard 14ft self bailing boat. Goeaux Makes a very valid point about non-bailing boats and their application in the field no holes in the floor does a couple of things for you first being a bucket boat tends to weight less than a self bailing boat and two a bucket boat tends to have more lift i.. greater carrying capacity or a higher floating inflatable then a self bailing boat. When I am lucky enough to get out to hunt moose with friends and family my choice is a 15ft self bailing NRS Otter but that is me. If I were King for day I would say all types of float hunting mentioned would have to use a 15ft Otter however that would not be justice mind you this is opinion I think you would be in the ball game with the NRS, SOTAR and or SOAR models of like boats. Goeaux and Larry have spent their time in the field and continue to make advancements in designs versus application and as Mike stated there are other factors that do come in to play when making your choice of inflatable options.

    Best Wishes

    Richard "Moose" Mousseau
    BMR

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by NewMoose View Post
    Well -- I am new to this-- usually I just read forums and never sign up to post --BUT -- I have been impressed with the information and friendlyness of this site and thought I would give it a shot.

    My better half and I have been searching for rafts and finally decided that a round boat was the way to go over a cataraft-- we will use it for drift fishing but I want the availability to do some float hunting. The catarafts were just overall to heavy for an older guy in somewhat good shape. this coupled with the lack of ability to float hunt shallower rivers with hopefully a heavy load of gear and animal made the round boat an obvious better choice.

    With all of that said --- what is the opinion poll of a 14 foot raft to haul two hunters with gear and animals down a river-- and I am not talking about a deep river like the Keni but it does not have to be a trickle stream either

    Look forward the the opinions and debate that may ensue--- obviously the 16 footer is the obvious choice just want to see what the thought of making a 14 footer work.

    Drag out your fishing gear and hunting packs as the season draws near-- can not wait
    Not sure on some things --- like number of days (gear load + groceries), "animals" (Moose or two?), what rivers, etc... however, based on your posting I'd go with having the versatility of 15' Self-bailing raft for fishing AND hunting. Lots of brand names out there, yet only a few manufacturers remain standouts of highest quality and service within the inflatable industry.

    It is my experience over the years (to relate from a practical sense) that you should rent or try before you buy (when available) and even take part in some off-water as well as hands-on-water instruction. Anybody can set your sights on selling you something. No better value in gaining real-world, river-running perspectives plus the on-water introduction that may establish good habits with a newly gained level of understanding.

  7. #7
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    Well lots of opinions here so her comes mine!

    I like 14 footers for lots of reasons. The will handle a moose a bou or 2 and 2 hunters with a weeks worth of gear. 2 moose is a bad idea! The are light enough to fit nicely in a 185 and float most rivers big or small where a 16 footer is just too big! Take the Gulkana as a simple example. The canyon is a blast in a 14 foot raft but I have seen many 16 footers stuck in the rock garden and the fence because they are just hard to maneuver.


    A lot will depend upon what you need it for. If it is a pure meat boat than go with the 16 foot round but remember that a 185 has about 700 pound of capacity and a cub... well...


    Big or small I like them all!


    See you on the River!

    Walt
    Gulkana River Raft Rentals
    Mile 127.5 of the Rich!
    www.gulkanaraftrental.com
    Rafts and Canoes and Camps!

  8. #8
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    Well to all the people who posted thank you. I change mid stream as my other half was convinced that a cataraft was the way to go since we do a good amount of fishing. She was very convincing and to some agree I do agree since most of the time we will be floating and fishing and only a few times a year will I attempt a float hunt. All that said -- she and yes I said SHE found a cataraft and was ready to go take a look. It is a 16 foot NRS in excellent condition and the past owner sold it with a bunch of extras. He was obviously very meticulous and build a false wood floor along with a bunch of extras and an extremely good price made the entire package to good to pass up. So with that said I now own a 16 foot NRS CAT. The past owner had it on in the brooks range with him a buddy and two nice and I mean nice size moose on it.

    I can not wait to get started -- now I just have to get it to the lakes to start learning how to operate and a first trip to the Keni for a slow easy float for a newby.

    Any ideas about the Gulkana river--- is it safe for a newby to float after a few trips under my belt or should I leave that to a bunch of trips of experince before tackling this one.

    Thanks

    NewMoose is a happy moose

  9. #9
    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    Congrats on a fine purchase. You'll love the boat and all the memories you'll create with it.

    The Gulkana was my first float...sort of. I had hundreds of miles in kayaks, lots of Class I beer floats in cheap paddle rafts, and I survived. haha. A couple of Kenai trips will have you well prepared for the Gulkana.

    I'm sure others will chime in, but I think the first day of the upper Gulkana is the most difficult. Once you leave the lake the river is narrow, fairly fast, and has lots of rocks to dodge with a heavily loaded raft. The canyon rapids are more of a mental challenge than a rafting challenge as long as you pick the correct line. You'll find the rapids easier if you portage most/all of your gear and run them with a light, highly manueverable boat. My family has floated the Gulkana twice and had a great time on both trips.



    See ya on the water!

  10. #10
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    well New Moose first off congrats on the new Cataraft! I hope and trust you will enjoy it with the Wife, family and friends. Many in the past including my-self try and sway some folks to a couple of classes with local organizations when starting out so the first thing I will tell ya is enjoy the lakes and maybe take the time in your local area and educate, educate educate. I don't think you are lined up for Swift Water Rescue just yet but there are some places that offer beginign / moderate classes at a reasonable rate.

    Gulkana - It is not to say the most challanging river but if you take the Sailors Pit to the Richardson Bridge float a couple of times and then work from Sourdough landing down to Sailors Pit you will be fine IMO with a couple of trips under your belt. There are some rock gardens with one semi fun one between Sourdough and the Pit. I would run the Upper Gulkana with someone who has a little more time at the oars prior to attempting it on a solo mission. Again although there are more demanding floats there are some aspects of the upper river that will require more attention to detail, preparation and planning.

    Best of Luck with your new tool. Get out and enjoy a very wonderful aspect of Alaska!!!!!! Getting off the road.

    Blue Moose which of course should not be confused with New Moose unless it is a New Blue Moose.

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