Choosing A Raft

Rocky Mountain Rafts (RMR) has been making durable and affordable rafts for over 10 years. We make a boat for every kind of paddler from flatwater fishing and floating to intense and steep whitewater. Our paddlers enjoy rowing in oar-rigs, paddling solo, to sharing the ride with many passengers. Whether you are new to paddling or you are a seasoned expert, we are here to help you pick the best boat for your needs. Keep in mind, many avid paddlers end up owning more than one raft to suit a variety of scenarios. If you are looking to only own one boat, consider each of the following topics and apply them to your highest needs and most likely scenarios. 

Still have questions? The RMR team is a paddling family with diverse experience on the water. We are committed to excellent and honest customer service. Contact us today. 

OK, let’s get started…

Flatwater vs. Whitewater

-If you only ever plan on paddling flatwater casually you can consider the Livery Series a lightweight and affordable option. These boats are designed for flatwater or gentle moving water without rapids. They are the least expensive boats and also the lightest. These are perfect for families and outfitters looking for a durable boat with maximum chill potential. The Livery rafts come in 10.5’, 12’, and 13’ sizes, seating from 1 to 6 paddlers. 

Please note: If you ever intend to boat on any kind of whitewater or wish to haul significant weight for fishing or overnights you should look at our self-bailing model rafts below. We have an extensive quiver of rafts to suit any kind of whitewater, overnight, or fishing excursion. All of the boats Rocky Mountain Rafts makes, with the exception of the Livery Series, are self-bailing. 

Raft Size in Standard Models 

Understanding which raft size best suits your needs is a great place to consider next. Once you gauge your ideal size range, you can begin to consider other details. There are likely multiple rafts that will serve your needs so understanding the sizes to passenger ratio will be helpful. Let’s break boats down by size…

9.5’: We have one raft, the 9.5’ ThunderCloud, that comes in as our most compact standard raft. This self-bailing i-beam floor raft is ideal for R-1ing, R-2ing, and R-3ing (meaning: 1,2, or 3 paddlers). It is very maneuverable and small enough for tight creeks and boulder gardens. It performs well in big water and is perfect for adventurous paddlers. The smaller size does mean that it can be less stable than similar rafts of larger size. We do not recommend this boat for families with children on whitewater. 

10.5’: We also have only one raft in the 10.5’ size, the Storm, in a i-beam floor style. The Storm is a fan favorite because it is capable of so much. This boat is appropriate for R-1 up to 4 paddlers. The sweet spot is 2-3 paddlers. This boat is more stable than the 9.5’ ThunderCloud but also a little heavier. Small families can enjoy this boat, but if you often have 4 paddlers or ever want more look up to the 12’, 13’, and 14’ models. This boat is also an anglers’ favorite for 1-2 people. 

12’: Our 12’ boats are very versatile rafts that can still be flexible from 2 paddlers to up to 6. This boat is very stable in big whitewater yet can still hang on some creeks. Families often enjoy this size because they can still be hauled by 2-3 people. If you find that you have 6 paddlers frequently, we recommend sizing up to the 13’ raft for added buoyancy. This boat is available in I-beam and drop-stitch floor options. 

13’: This size is very close to the 12’, however the extra foot makes the ride a little comfier and more buoyant for 6 paddlers. This boat is available in I-beam and drop-stitch floor options. 

14’: These boats are the bread and butter boats for hauling a literal boat-load of passengers, overnight gear, or fishing. These boats all share the same design elements as the 12’ and 13’ but differ in capacity. You have more room for everything and can even fit a passenger in the back next to the guide if you are using paddles. The boat is also very popular with folks looking to row. Remember to consider the added weight of a longer boat and if you will have assistance in moving it to the water. This boat is available in I-beam and drop stitch floor options. 

16’: The 16’ raft is similar to the others however it has only two thwarts rather than 3 like the last 3 models. This boat is meant for overnights and oar frames, thus the extra space in the middle. This boat is available in I-beam and drop-stitch floor options. 

18’: The 18’ raft is meant to be strictly a gear boat. It has no center thwarts for passengers. It also comes in an I-beam floor option only. 

Peak Series

All the boats listed above, whether I-Beam or drop-stitch, are appropriate for both whitewater, flatwater, and fishing scenarios. The Peak Series listed below are designed for the Outfitter in mind that runs whitewater in majority, with seat capacity as an additional priority. Our standard models above are also excellent for outfitters.

PK-134 13.5’: We designed the PEAK 134 self-bailing raft after speaking with outfitters from all around the country and listening to their needs. We built one raft that will fit the needs of a wide range of rivers and outfitters. The hybrid design provides a stable platform for big spring flows and will maximize your profits by running a six to one ratio. The same raft can float higher and turn quickly during the low water months by lightening the load to four paddlers and eliminating the need for a second fleet of low-water boats. Our main goal was to build a bomber raft for an industry leading low price. 

PK-159 15′ 9″: We built the Peaks to fit the needs of outfitters on a wide range of rivers and water levels. Our semi-diminishing tube design provides a great platform for any water level. The Peak offers enough stability for big Spring flows and buoyancy for those low-water months, allowing you to run eight passengers and a guide. The same raft floats higher and turns quickly during the low water months, by lightening the load to six paddlers. This eliminates your need for a second fleet of low water boats. The Peak is a bomber raft that we are proud to offer at an industry-leading low price!

I-Beam and Drop-Stitch Floors

Several of our raft models come with two different floor options, all being self-bailing. Standard boats with I-Beam floors are listed by SB (for self-baling) and Drop-Stitch models are listed as SBDS (self-bailing drop-stitch). While these floors do have differences, all of our boats regardless of the floor are appropriate for whitewater and fishing. (Livery Series excluded). If you are on the fence of which floor type you want here are some helpful differences to consider. 

Our I-beam floors are best suited for swift moving water and whitewater, performing best in these conditions. We recommend the I-beam floor to people who are looking for one raft to perform on both whitewater and for fishing. If you are mostly fishing on flatwater and class 3 or less we recommend the drop-stitch floors. 

Our drop-stitch floors are lighter and ride higher, which is perfect for reaching tight fishing holes on the river. Drop-stitch floors take less space than a traditional I-beam floor, giving you more room to carry gear, and the floor design makes it easier to walk around while providing a stable platform for casting.

Please remember both styles are versatile and will be able to cross over from whitewater to flatwater and fishing. 

Need a Frame for your boat? We make those too. Check out our frame guide here.

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