Framed raft vs drift boat?

H
halibuthitman
This thread is targeted at those guys who have owned both inflatable rafts of HIGH qaulity and a drift boat. It has finally occurred to me that im probably not using the right tools for my favorite rivers, I currently use a 14' drift boat and mainly float the Nehalem, Kilchis, Trask, John Day, and Necanicum.. with a rare float on the Nestucca. I would like to start drifting the upper Rogue and N. Umqua... my inner tide is pulling me towards a raft, I have started checking them out and have seen several in the $2500-$4000 range that I would consider... so pro's and cons.. and what are the odds of popping a good raft, and how much water doe's a raft really need? should I just keep beating up my drift boat? Thanks
 
H
Halfthrive
Rafts are a little sluggish but you can drift water that would swamp a drift boat in a sec. I know guys that drift sections of rivers in their rafts that don't even have a ramp, they just slide it down the bank.
 
R
RunWithSasquatch
I have been whitewater rafting and kayaking since I was 14 (am now 26). I have been in a lot of boats, and I own a 15.6' Sotar SL Elite cataraft, have had it for 6 years. I boat with guys that have been boating for over 25 years, with many boats in there collection, from catarafts, to rafts. Some new, some old. In the years I have boated, no one in our group, or the group I boat with when i was not there have ever punctured a boat on the river (that I know of). Wear and tear happens to the material, but all in all, top end brands last, and are dependable, and offer awesome warranties!! They draft fairly shallow, for the most part, most river rock is not sharp, wood is usually the more scary advorsary. Sanz a trip on the Upper Klamath, where its nearly all laval rock, sliding over rocks is the norm. I make many trips a year on the Upper North Umpqua, and middle Rogue, rocks are part of the daily grind, and the boats keep going.

They dont back troll like drift boats
Fishing gear can be harder to keep track of
Never seen one with an anchor set up


River running is great
More stable than a drift boat
Often times much lighter than a drift boat

Framed raft vs drift boatFramed raft vs drift boat
 
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S
SantiamDrifter
Well it depends which sections you plan on running. Some water, I feel 14' is a little small.
 
F
FishFiddle
RWithSas- that is what I think is a great summary on the comparison. I like my boat because I can easily stand and move around some. I also like the option of being better able to anchor to fish from the boat or to get out and wade. Also, if anyone is headed south I would be interested in a floatilla of sorts.
 
F
fredaevans
There are times and places, different strokes, etc., etc.

Personal opinion here only. If it's a 'one day trip,' stick with your DB. If a 'multi-day' trip a raft (larger pile it in/tie it off) really brings something to the Party. The launch? A raft can take 'forever' depending upon what you did the night before, a DB is a launch it and get on with it. Lots of class 2+ water? My guess is a raft would be the far safer than a DB.

My mental possible pro vs con list goes on, but I'll spare you.

Your welcome ...
;>)
fae
 
E
eightweight
Id agree with RWS...a raft would allow you access to smaller or more technical water than a boat would...plus a raft doesn't need a ramp to launch or take out. However they are slow on the river, selfbailers get a wet floor, and pulling plugs is really a chore...I fish both a selfbailer and 13ft fishcat with and without an anchor system. really, depending on technique and water is what matters...Very tough to have an all around everything everywhere rig...but a raft is far safer if you hit anything in the river...and I have yet to see a good raft pop on a river without someone doing something utterly stupid.
 
R
RunWithSasquatch
For one more reply on this thread, drift boats to inflatables are two different beasts. The nice things about rafts is they are forgiving. If you get in over your head, your best bet will be in an inflatable. current lines, seems, eddies dont seem to grab an inflatable like the edges of a driftboat. the stability alone is 10fold, and when you flip your raft, you get wet, but you get to flip it back over and head on down river, when you flip your drift boat, you dont have a boat anymore. If you're intrested in floating the upper end of the fly section on the North Umpqua, an inflatable is the only thing you'll be able to use up there, with a couple class IV rapids, drift boats arent welcome, and when the flows drop, inflatables are able to snake through the tight slots a lot easier... just my opinions, but I dont think anyone would be disapointed adding a boat likes these to there arsenal.
 
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S
skyhammer
I use a Clacka craft on the milder rivers. My Fish Craft cat excels at load carrying and fast class 3+ rivers. The cat is harder to pull plugs with,no chines and the cat is much harder to slow down.
The cat is much heavier, nearly impossible to flip, and you don't have to worry about rocks, dents or holes.
My cat is 16', 25" tubes, the floor is 12' long and solid and a little under 4'wide.The frame has 14 pieces, plus a 3 section floor. The floor weighs 120lbs, the total weight for the raft is 525 lbs.
I need a 35lb anchor minimum to anchor up.
I use 10.5' oars as the distance between the oar locks is a little over 6'.
This is on the Alagnak River, Alaska, we are on a month long float. The cat is hauling over 2000lbs of gear and people.
Cat-on-Alagnak.jpg
Some pictures of the cat on the trailer.
Cat1.jpg
Cat2.jpg
Cat3.jpg
Cat4.jpg
The frame sitting at the take out on the Alagnak, waiting for the float plane.
Alagnak3.jpg
The tubes rolled up, ready to be loaded.
Alagnak1.jpg
Loaded cat, on the Alagnak.
raft2.jpg
My cat and a super cat in the back ground.. The super cat is like a regular raft only with a tunnel hull. It has a solid floor on top of a self bailing floor, so it has more drag than the cat.
rest-stop.jpg
Besides fishing my local rivers, the cat has made 12, month long floats on various Alaskan Rivers and shows no sign of wear.
 
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C
capblack
very nice!! that looks like an awesome trip. bet you couldnt haul all that gear in a drifter!!
 
H
halibuthitman
thank you all for your imput- Brad
 
L
linkj
I became a pro fiberglass repair man with my hard boat. Once I got tired of all the limitations of my hard boat I tried all the inflatables and none were all that hot so I designed one that does all my Clack would do but goes in the places I could not take my Clack. Inflatables are the way to go. Beware of overly complicated frame assembly and tons of bolts & fasteners. Look for a boat that allows you to stand up on the raft floor without having to bolt in heavy decking. Avoid "diminished tube" designs that do not carry weight in a well balanced fashion ie. if you have anchor on the end of the boat, a big man on the same end and oarsman sitting 25" behind center line diminished tube designs tail drag deep for poor handling and hang ups in shallows. Look for extreme durability as you will beat the boat up in shallow rocky places. Look at them all. Mine are StreamTech boats but I encourage you to check them all out and decide for yourself. Whatever you do, you will find inflatables vastly more versatile than hard boats. You will also find major differences between inflatable offerings. Be sure you know what your primary interests are before you shop, ie. Camping, Big White Water, Day fishing, durability, maneuverability, storage options etc. Good luck
 

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