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11/29/2012 12:01 PM
 

I love being on the water, but I have a marked preference for smaller rivers over lakes and big rivers. To date I have owned a cataraft (18'), 17' v-hull aluminum boat, and now (in concert with Evan) a 13' zodiac style boat and we both have canoes (mine is 13 feet).  A couple of things I have found over the years. If I can't launch the boat on my own it is not getting used. For my uses the simplicity of a single outboard with a tiller handle is far prefered over a consol drive.  Having a boat you can paddle if the motor dies is key.  Boats are an easy way to travel a lot of country and access some country those without boats can't. Finally, the lowest maintenance possible is also nice. 

When I was a kid I took the red cross white water class, but since then haven't spent much time in them. I am also a big guy so stability is important to me and my little one man job is not stable for my size at all, or maybe I should say my comfort level.  Ideally, I would like to be able to launch on my own, and motor up river and float back to the truck.  However, the rivers around here have a decent amount of water, but they also have numerous gravel bars to cross. The zodiace, actually a nouvrania, draws to much water, especialy if I try to use the motor.  Plus you have the issues of upkeep on an inflatable.  Same issue with a cataraft or round boat (upkeep).  To date the only boats that seem to be maintenanceless are the canoes.  As a result, I find myself looking at canoes and freighter canoes (square stern so a little kicker can be use).  The first is a truck top one man job, and the later really requires a trailer for ease of use. 

So the question is what do you/have you used on the water and your thoughts on them.  Later when I get a bit more time I will try to throw up some pluses and minuses of my various setups with pics. 


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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11/29/2012 1:20 PM
 

This is something of a tangential answer, but since I got one a few years ago I've become a rabid fan of Alpacka rafts.  Being able to have a boat/paddle/PFD rig which is 8-10 pounds all in opens up all kinds of trips.  

-There's a modest learning curve to rigging, but on class I and II rivers you can easily strap a bike to the raft and thus run your own human-powered shuttle.

-Park, hike and fly fish up river as long as you like, then float down.

-Two people can fit in a larger boat for river crossings.

-Easy user modifications make carrying skis simple, which makes a great exit from spring ski traverses.

-They're great (stable, quick turning, very low draft) for low-volume whitewater, and low-water rivers generally.

-My favorite is being able to do fast and cheap versions of popular pack-in wilderness float trips here in NW MT.  Most folks will pay 1500+ for a pack train drop on the South Fork of the Flathead, and do that trip once or twice in their lives.  I've done it three times in as many years, carrying thirty pounds max, with no more expenses than food and gas.  The Middle Fork of the Flathead is similarly expensive and time consuming, with most folks getting flown in and taking a week to enjoy it.  I can run it at lower water later in the summer, have better fishing, and do it at a leisurely pace over a 3-day weekend with a car shuttle that is 40 minutes each way.

They are slow, and struggle in a headwind.  Not a good choice for extensive flatwater.

 
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11/29/2012 2:53 PM
 

Scot I have been lusting after a River Ridge Canoe for years. For what I do it seems ideal and it might just be what you want. They do have a Boone and Crockett price though.

 
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11/30/2012 12:30 AM
 

If you like stand-up-and-dance stability, an outrigger works for gentle rivers like the Yakima. Here's my old rig that I sailed and motored for a few years. A  2 hp motor can mount on the rear crossbeam if you lose the platform. I've since moved on to a true sailing outrigger canoe for the Columbia.

i16.photobucket.com/albums/b24/huskyrunnr/myyacht.jpg

I've been meaning to make a small drift boat using really light stitch and glue construction, then shoe the bottom of the hull with UHMW sheet to drag it over whatever. I'm guessing I could get it to weigh about 100 lbs.

I've read somewhere, on an Alaska-centric forum I think, about some sort of long tiller extender so you can sit forward in a freighter canoe? Sounded intriguing.

 

 
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11/30/2012 2:05 AM
 

We run NuCanoes, 12', oars and oar locks, swivel seats with backs, in Class 1 and 2 water, and lakes(afternoon, wind driven whitecaps, at times), and any flat water we can get permission to float on.

Stabile.  525# gvw.  Plenty of room for one person and gear.  Two folks with limited gear also works.  Pretty decent in the wind.  Nible(oars and locks).  100#s empty, 6 1/2 ' pick up bed transportable(with tailgate down), we stack two on a simple set of "shelves".  One person can easily load a single, two people can load two(lift to our upper shelf requires two of us)

Seems to be holding up well with the(numerous) rock contacts.

Supposed to take a small outboard(no experience with outboards in these boats).

Domestic product, nice, helpful people.

www.nucanoe.com

 

 
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11/30/2012 10:48 AM
 

Scot I also use a Buck's Bags pontoon boat extensively for salmon and steelhead fishing. Very stable, water worthy and easy to handle by yourself. Thay are a paddle only proposition and are sit down only so may not be what fits your needs. 

 
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11/30/2012 10:51 AM
 

14' Aluma Craft canoe with flat back.  Just looked at one and it looks perfect.  3.5' wide x 14' long with an canoe style front end w/flat rear for engine mounting.  Has two plank style seats widthwise and is about 60#.

 

http://spokane.craigslist.org/boa/3382715686.html

 

Kinda looks like it might be your huckleberry.

 
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11/30/2012 1:42 PM
 

If I was by a river system that could provide access to large areas of backcountry I would buy one of these:

 

http://www.thunderjet.com/thunderjet_us_jets_denali.html

 
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11/30/2012 4:19 PM
 

oldpinecricker wrote

14' Aluma Craft canoe with flat back.  Just looked at one and it looks perfect.  3.5' wide x 14' long with an canoe style front end w/flat rear for engine mounting.  Has two plank style seats widthwise and is about 60#.

 

http://spokane.craigslist.org/boa/3382715686.html

 

Kinda looks like it might be your huckleberry.

 

I'd get one a tad longer for two people.  The best of its class is probably the square-back Old Town.  It is worth the coin, a friend has one and it has been "down the river" for many years.  The guys' dad bought a Pelican like I have and it worked great in use but the hull wore through in about three years use.  Patches with GFlex epoxy were only temporary.  Unless you have a really killer deadlift, about a 4hp kicker is max for adding the kicker to the boat after the launch.  With a canoe you'll need a light (and it can be one of the really LW aluminum) trailer.  Don't tow it with the kicker in place.  Launch and then add the kicker.  With this rig, you need a trailer, but you don't need a launching ramp.  Two can carry the rig and one can drag it.

 

For fishing, rig up a drag chain and always drift with the bow UPSTREAM.

 
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12/3/2012 1:14 PM
 

 

Great recommendations guys. I will try to hit this in order:
I have looked at the pack rafts a lot and have almost bought one a couple of times. The thing that always held me off is that they seem to be a pretty special use boat. They excel for the trips you are talking about, but for general use they seem to be pretty limited. For instance I can’t take my dog and pack, or even another person for the day. In Oregon, I didn’t have any trips readily available like you are talking about. I will need to do some research for here in CO.
The River Ridge and Alumacraft are great examples of the freighter style canoe that I am talking about. Scott is another brand with a great reputation, and several of the big canoe companies make one like that as TAK has point out. The issue is finding someone with one of the smaller ones who has both paddled it and motored it. I am hoping to get a boat that does both well. The zodiac has a 20hp motor, and while I can solo mount it and take it off it is heavy and a pain in the butt. I would really like to go with something lighter in the motor department, which indicates a lighter boat as well. I would also really like something that didn’t require a trailer, and a lot of the freighters are 100#s plus. Sportspal makes a nice lightweight freighter style, but so far I don’t know much about it. Snakey, why the River Ridge specifically?
112Papa you have me intrigued with the Nucanoe given our similarity in size. Are you running the standard model or the frontier? They look to be basically ride atop kayaks, and the couple I have paddled were pigs. How well do these move along completely under your power without a current to help? They look to have a pretty low freeboard. Do you ship a lot of water in rapids and waves?

Wes, that is pretty similar to my last boat. Nicer, better for shallow water, but in essence about the same. Those boats are great, but what I have learned is that they take a lot of upkeep especially if you aren’t using them on a regular basis, and needing to do upkeep can keep me from using them. The entry level price is very steep. Storage can be a pain in the butt, and they are noise and thirsty. They also move out and I have found I like to slow down, even if under power, and enjoy things. If I lived somewhere like AK were travel by water was a key task or got to the point where I was wanting to spend lots of time or do big trips on a regular basis I would probably start looking that way again. Although I would probably just get one of the big Scott canoes and a surface drive and call it a day.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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12/3/2012 2:19 PM
 

Scot the 2 reasons that I am on to that one are..... a friend had one (though I never was in it) and swore by it, saying it did all the things they said it would and I never tried to find anything else because, though I would love one, I can't afford one at this time. Not being in the market keeps me from exploring what else like that is out there. Seems you have found some other ones that are in the vein. My pontoon boat and friends (like you) with bigger boats have gotten me around as much as I have time for these days.

 
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12/4/2012 2:16 AM
 

Scot,

We run the standard 12' boats.  The Frontier was not available when we made the purchase.  Having used the standard, and looked at the Frontier, I would buy the Frontier.  Here's why.

Our needs are sometimes solo, sometimes with a second person.  Sometimes with gear, sometimes with a little, sometimes with alot of gear.  Moving the seat to optimize the load distribution is recommended, especially when the gear load is light, less so when the gear load is heavier.  Moving the seats is do-able with the standard, it just takes some time/effort.  the rails on the Frontier make the movement of the seats quick/easy. 

I would describe the NuCanoes as a boat, less a kayak.  I boat with some people who use sit on top kayaks.  I have not run on a sit on top kayak, so my experience/opinion is limited.  I can go most places the sit on top kayaks can go.  I am stable in the water, where at times, the kayak people look to be challenged with maintaining stability.  I use oars and oar locks.  I can move quickly with the oars, and I can make the boat turn responsively by manipulating the oars in the proper way(I am still learning the various skills necessary to deliver boat movement on demand).   For me, in my uses(Class 1 + 2 water along with lakes/ponds), I find the boats to be nimble.  I did some canoe work earlier in life.  Given my top heavy CG, I like the NuCanoe much better.  I think the way we have the boats set up(oars and oar locks) allows me to operate the boat with less skill than may be required for the various kayaks and canoes.  That is a limitation of the operator(me).

I think the boats move well under their own power, without a current(my experinces are limited to lakesand wide/slow sections of rivers, in this case).  Since I am not a kayaker or a canoe-ist, I can not compare among the alternatives.  The smaller folks I boat with, with lighter kayaks, are remarkable performers in moving and standing water.  In the longer haul on still water, I don't know if a kayak or canoe would, with similar loads, would outperform me in a Nucanoe.  I am well suited for rowing.  And, oddly, I enjoy rowing, which helps.

I am not well enough versed to know what "ship alot of water" means.  Taking a guess, if you are asking about water coming into the boat, so far, that has not been an issue.  With modest loads in the 12 ', the boat actually rides more on top of the water than I suspected it would.  The floor is set up in a way that removing water from the boat is pretty straight forward(sponge).  With Class 1 + 2 rapids, not alot of water comes into theboats.  I have oriented the boat into some head winds, and resulting wave action.  The way the boat is built, taking the waves(and wind) head on results in little water getting into the boat.  If the water gets too rowdy, I wait out the wind, or get toward the sheltered area of the water(near the windward shore) to get out of the wind(waves).  Sometimes, I just beach the boat and wait and watch, usually in awe.

If I missed any of what you are asking, let me know, and I'll try to dial in my response more toward what you are asking.

112Papa

 

 
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12/4/2012 10:12 AM
 

Thanks for the further info, and you guessed right on what shipping water means.  The reason I asked is that in all the pictures it looks to have very little freeboard (amount of boat out of the water), which is usually a recipe for water over the side in heavier water like rapids and wind driven waves. A very intriguing boat. As I look at them more they are starting to remind me more of a pirouge in style.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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12/4/2012 1:29 PM
 

Agreed that packrafts are very specialized.  Some folks get one thinking it'll be a substitute for a canoe or IK, which they are not.  Performance-wise they're the opposite of a flatwater canoe.  NW MT is the best place outside AK for packraft use.  Between the Escalante, Dirty Devil, Muddy Creek and the like the CO Plateau is up there.  Grand Canyon has recently changed their BC permit policy to accomodate backpacking trips with sections of floating, and it's easy to portage a 6 pound boat.

Even the largest person could fit a pack and dog in one of the two large Alpackas (Double Duck or Explorer).  Two "average" sized folks can fit in one of these, with packs.  My wife and I (5'8" and 5'11") have done numerous river crossings in my Yukon Yak, but it's a tight fit and I make another trip with both packs first.

 
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12/4/2012 1:36 PM
 

Wow, I guess I should have checked. I haven't been on their site in awhile in large part to avoid temptation.  Last time I was on there the Denali was their biggest size, and it looks like they have added several other models. 

Like I said I need to do some research on the new area. 


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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12/4/2012 4:44 PM
 
I was seriously going to pull the trigger on an Alpaca raft, butttttt, I looked into Larry Bartlett "Big Rig" and I promise you that yous like it better than an Alpaca raft be wise you sit up in the raft and your butt stays drier. If I can stop buying HK's I will pick one up. I want one because it can haul two guys our size and gear.
 
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12/4/2012 10:53 PM
 

Scot,

Once upon a time I had an Easy Riders 17' Ouzel.  Sadly, it was stolen during the move over here.  It was equipped with a third seat, oar locks, a removable motor mount and an anchor mount.  At 75ish pounds it was relatively easy to muscle around, on both land and water.  If your intention is to use it in fast moving water, I'd encourage you to get some bladders.  Jim and I used to go up the Puyallup as far as we could and run the class 2+ white stuff until the longer stretches of the flat water all the way out to the Sound.  Cigars and a beer or two along the way.  Those were good times.

Anyway, if nothing else, they are definitely worth a look.  I wouldn't go too short if I were you, especially if you are contemplating throwing in a pack and another person or a dog or two.

http://www.easyriderkayaks.com/ouzel17.htm

Be safe!

Allen

 
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12/5/2012 9:54 AM
 

Before I bought my first boat the two finalists where the ProPioneer and a cataraft.  I have been to the store in FB a couple times and talked to Larry on the phone. I have also read his book.  Great reference for AK float hunting.  I am still very intrigued by a ProPioneer actually. I didn't realize he was doing a pack raft.

Bush,

Did you ever sail the Ouzel? One thing that intrigues me about some of the boats I am looking at is the ability to add a sail. I know you have some sailing experience, and mine is limited to a pleasure cruise on a 18th or 19th century mail packet out on the Sound one day.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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12/5/2012 3:35 PM
 

Scot,

Nope, I never attempted sailing with the Ouzel.  Having owned and competitively raced large and small high-performance sailboats, it would have been an exercise in frustration due to the inefficient aero/hydrodynamics...and probably not all that safe without outriggers.

When there is enough wind to sail, small bodies of water tend to have winds that are highly variable in both speed and direction.  That said, I could definitely see implementing a small kite (spinnaker) while heading downwind on a larger body of flat water like the Columbia, Lake Chelan or even the Sound, at least until the chop kicks up.

Allen

 
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12/6/2012 10:25 AM
 

One can "sail" a canoe with an umbrella using an oar as a rudder, just pop it up and go. I did it a lot as a kid but the paddle back can be a killer since it is so easy to go a long way with the wind. Tacking with an umbrella would take some learning I think.

 
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