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Thread: Raft transportation?

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    Default Raft transportation?

    What is the general consensus on raft transportation? Is it necessary to have a trailer or is roof transportation acceptable. I have seen folks driving around with fully inflated rafts on the roofs of SUV's and trucks and they don't seem to have a problem (legal or otherwise).

    I'm looking to pick up a raft down in anchorage this weekend, and plan on hauling it deflated in the trunk of my car. But I was just wondering about transporting it inflated on top of my truck later in the summer.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fbxballoon View Post
    What is the general consensus on raft transportation? Is it necessary to have a trailer or is roof transportation acceptable. I have seen folks driving around with fully inflated rafts on the roofs of SUV's and trucks and they don't seem to have a problem (legal or otherwise).

    I'm looking to pick up a raft down in anchorage this weekend, and plan on hauling it deflated in the trunk of my car. But I was just wondering about transporting it inflated on top of my truck later in the summer.
    What size is the boat, and what size is the truck?

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    13 foot (13'3" x 6'9") or 14 foot (14'3' x 6'10") Aire Tributary on a 15 x 6 foot vehicle (Jeep Grand Cherokee). So it would overhang by 9 or 10 inches on the sides, but would fit lengthwise with some overhang on the front windshield depending how much I hang it off the back end. Weight shouldn't be an issue, raft would obviously be unloaded.

    I'm more concerned about the legality of it, I think dimension wise it wouldn't be a problem. I use to see a little ford ranger driving around town with a similar sized raft and thought it was a decent way to transport without the cost of a trailer.

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    I don't see any legal issue. Your under wide load size and tall is like 14 before needed permits I think.
    I some times carry a 11' double end raft on top of a Subaru. What I did is I built a wood rack out of 1x4 and 1x6s and made it wide enough to give the raft a good support. I use NRS straps like we use on the rafts and strap it to the roof top rack. Then ratchet strap the raft down. If you where going very far I would just let the air out as it will buck the wind pretty good. If you unload it and flip it upside down it will be a little less wind drag. Not sure you will want to go 55 but it should work for short trips.

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    Cataraft owners will always want a trailer. Putting catarafts together at the put-in is a pain, time consuming, and upsetting to everyone else waiting in line wanting to use the ramp to get going on the water.
    "Round" rafts work with their flat frames transported on top of a camper shell go together, get put together in only minutes and a trailer is a luxury, not a requirement.
    Dennis

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    Thanks for the reply. I guess I'll just make sure everything is tied down sufficiently and see if I get pulled over. Good idea on flipping the raft though. I'm sure that would make it quite a bit more aerodynamic, but I will have to see if it obscures my vision too much.

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    I have friends that carry boats on the top of their SUV or pickup. It works fine if you tie it down well and keep the boat stiff enough not to fold on you. I've seen cats on the roof as well. They're just harder to load up high.

    I often put my cats and a round raft on a small trailer, stacked 2-3 high when needed. They don't weigh much. But more often I take them collapsed and assemble at the river. I've gotten pretty good at refitting a cat in a short time. But I don't disassemble the frame, and will often have that on the roof rack. A boat on the roof sucks fuel, but so does a trailer with an inflated boat on it. Trailers are just easier to work with.

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    After some time googleing I found the actual vehicle load regulations. Looks like it shouldn't be a problem except for the reduced gas mileage. Thanks for the feedback guys.

    http://touchngo.com/lglcntr/akstats/...section012.htm

    Highlights:

    "The width of a vehicle, including load, may not exceed 102 inches" (8'6")

    "A vehicle, including load, may not exceed a height of 14 feet"

    "A load or equipment may not overhang or extend more than

    (A) three feet beyond the front bumper of the vehicle; or

    (B) four feet beyond the rear of the vehicle."

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    You'll be better off if you just buy a 12v electric pump (less than $100) and plan on inflating the raft at the put-in. You can carry your frame on the rack without much issue, but you'll increase the risk of damage to your boat or vehicle if you put the raft on top. You can inflate your boat with the 12v pump, top it off with your hand pump, strap down the pre-assembled frame, and load your gear and be ready to float in about 30 minutes. Personally, I wouldn't want to deal with all of the potential issues of having a raft on the roof for the few minutes it would save me at the put-in.

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