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Old 08-05-2012, 09:20 PM   #1
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Raft vs. Canoe

We try to stay active while camping and picked up a canoe a couple years ago. It's 15.5 feet and rated for 800 lbs capacity but it's still a little unstable in the water especially with a seven year old inside. It's also a little rough to get on and off the roof of the TV (Expedition, it's pretty tall). I've been contemplating upgrading to an inflatable raft. Not a Walmart $20 raft, but a nice, hard transom, aluminum floor folding raft. A bit more weight and set up time, but no hoisting onto the roof and I can put a good sized outboard on it if I choose to later. This is what I'm looking at.

http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs...classNum=50605

Anyone have any experience with these types of boats? Good and bad? Thanks.
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Old 08-05-2012, 10:22 PM   #2
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Although not a canoe, hope kayak info helps some?

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ID:	4835We have used inflatable kayaks in years past. If you can't "stow" a kayak, then definitely try the inflatable kayaks. A few years back we used single person inflatables that offered room for a child or pet in front (first pic). They weighed about 30 lbs each and fit easily in our minivan while towing our little 3000lb Casita



We currently have a two person that we bought from Costco online. It seats two with room for a child in the middle and even a pet! I don't have access to the info so I can't offer that at this point (here's a link if it helps .

Otherwise, we have two smaller single person 'sit in' kayaks and the inflatable dual seat kayak mentioned above with room for a third person.

One thing to know... when you go "inflatable" you lose speed, so if you're ok with a slow experience, the inflatable will work
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Old 08-06-2012, 01:47 AM   #3
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I have an inflatable similar to what you are considering (along with a belly boat and a one man pontoon). I usually carry the boat in the front of our exp 213 when using the trailer ,otherwise in the back of the pickup.
I power mine with a 55lb mini kota at present (its rated for a 20hp outboard). When camping I take along two batteries and I can usually keep the batteries topped up with minimal generater time when in no power campsites. One thing to keep in mind with this type of boat is that even though they fold into a relatively small package they are still 200 lbs of dead weight to load in and out of your vehicle or trailer. They also can be a pain to inflate and assemble. If you are towing and hauling alot of camping gear with a 1/2 ton like me you have to think about whre you are going to put that two hundred lbs. That being said I love the stability of the boat and the ability to take the DW and the dog out with me in the boat.
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Old 08-06-2012, 05:53 AM   #4
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Thanks Greenman. I do see the extra weight as something to consider. My canoe weighs in at about 80 lbs itself so I'd be doubling the weight I bring along, but it would be inside the truck instead of on the roof. I don't put any gear in the back of my truck though aside from an EZ-Up awning. I'm hoping the benifits of the boat will outweigh the drawbacks. I already have a trolling motor to use with it. I think I may get more use out it while at home and not camping because there have been times where I felt it was too windy to take out the canoe. The raft should handle the wind and slightly choppy water much better than the canoe.
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Old 08-06-2012, 05:34 PM   #5
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I bought a boat with a 10 year guarantee that was fairly expensive. Could have bought a small "hard" boat and trailer for the same money but the versatility of the inflatable makes the nusances worth while. About the only downsides as far as handling goes with the inflatable, are succeptibility to wind (inflatable keel helps)at low speeds and more splash in rough water. Upside is that you can literally stand on the tubes without capsizing one of these (great when you have kids or dogs on board) and they are capable of hauling amazing loads for their size. If you shop around there are all kinds of accessories available as well for outfitting your boat. Nothing like trolling at dawn on a quiet lake with the electric motor, drinking a big mug of fresh coffee listening to the loons.
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