RMR 16 SB Raft review by TBP

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    Lee Arbach TBP

    The best value out there, RMR SB 16, on a commercial grade sixteen foot raft! The 2013 RMR’s have some small but important improvements, including a 1″ increase in the height of the floor mounting grommet strip. This should decrease some wear areas a bit on the floor bottom, and make an already super stable raft even more so. Additionally, there are more I-beams in the floors of the new RM rafts, for a smoother floor and a tighter fit against the side tubes. The welded area of each D-ring has increased for 2013 as well, making for even higher pull strength, and there is more stitching over a wider area of the webbing that holds the metal D and the lift handles. The combo handle/D-ring patches have been angled too, further increasing their strength and the comfort when being used. Lastly, the thwart attachments are made with thicker material on the 2013’s, not that we saw any problems with the 2012’s in this regard.

    Please note that this raft has to be ordered by phone. It’s way too huge and way too heavy in for UPS, and our shopping cart is not formatted to calculate motor freight fees, so call us at 925-820-BOAT Monday through Saturday to place your order.
    RMR 16 SB Raft – RMR New Player – Old Style Quality!

    Rocky Mountain inflatable rafts and catarafts (a.k.a. RMR) are relatively new to the rafting industry, though at this point they do have about four years of experience behind them and they have grown & improved at a higher rate of speed than any boat company we’ve seen. Although there are many imported pvc brands on the market, with the exception of AIRE’s Tributary line most have traditionally been glued rather than welded, and glue leads to eventual seam failures. Even if the better glued brands hold up for ten to fifteen years, there will still come a day when you have to put a large quantity of pvc in a landfill.

    Rocky Mountain whitewater boats now become the second Chinese import brand (after AIRE’s Tributary line) with welded seams, floor I-beams, and bulkheads. D-rings & all attachments are also welded. In addition to the main seam overlaps, RMR also welds seam tape over both the interior and exterior side of each tube joint. This is something that a few pvc boat manufacturers don’t seem to bother with, yet the lack of seam tape quite often means their inflatables have air retention that is less than stellar, especially as those boats age. Not so with RMR – the extra step of adding seam tape to the interior overlaps prevents air wicking along the exterior edges, and the outside seam tape makes it even more reliable.
    Construction Method for RMR 16 SB Whitewater Raft

    Individual pieces of the Rocky Mountain boats are not cut out one at a time with hand-traced cookie cutter patterns and scissors. Instead they are sliced out en masse with computer controlled band cutters like the AIRE’s and Tributary’s, and by foregoing much of the usual hand labor the cost to produce each raft or cat tube goes down. We are glad to see someone has taken the reigns to provide an extremely economical alternative to the many glued pvc inflatables out there. There are those folks who either cannot afford an AIRE Tributary boat, or who feel they would rather not have a bladderized inflatable for whatever reason. We would point out that AIRE’s technology (they use the same manufacturing process for both the Tributary imports and the U.S.-made AIRE line) is well proven, and that the Trib’s remain far easier to roll/fold up than the Rocky Mountain equivalents. On the other hand, the Tributary’s run 25 to 30% above the cost of the R.M.R’s. Making boating affordable gets more people on the river.
    RMR 16 SB River Raft’s Hardware and Fabric

    Most sizes of the RM rafts have twelve stainless D-rings, and if you need more we usually stock plenty. Six of the twelve D-rings also have lift handles incorporated into them. Frame chafers cover most of the tube top. Two removable thwarts are standard and if you want a third thwart, they run a very reasonable $125. The base fabric inside the 33 ounce pvc is a very strong 2000 denier polyester, and wrap-up layers on the underside of each raft toughen them up even more – though as mentioned at the end of the first paragraph those extra layers also make any raft that has them a bear to roll up. RMR uses the low profile Leafield C-7 valves throughout. The C-7 is a bit slower than the B-7 especially during deflation, but the problem with the B-7 is that it’s high profile cap seems to bash paddle crew knuckles no matter where they are located. Such is the case with the 13′ and 14′ Tributary rafts.

    Wrap-up floor overlaps and frame chafers are glued even on the Rocky Mountain boats, because there is no other way to adhere large panels of material. Does the five year warranty cover frame chafers if they come loose? Within the warranty period, if large portions of a chafer or floor wrap-up came loose, yes they will cover it. So far that has never happened.

    RMR’s 16′ self bailing raft has 22″ main tubes and is 7’6″ wide if both thwarts are blown up tight. If the thwarts are not in the boat, it will be between 7’4″ and 7’5″ wide, so use those numbers for frame measurements. You must subtract 1″ to 2″ from the widths of almost all brands of rafts if neither thwart will be inflated.

    All Rocky Mountain rafts have four main chambers, plus the two thwarts & floor. Again, 2013 raft interiors are light grey, not blue as shown in some of our photos. We do not have the exact weight on the current 16′ RMR yet but we will post it when we do.
    Important Feature – Laced Floor in RMR 16 SB Rafts

    One of the most surprising features of the self bailing RMR boats is that they have lace-in floors, not permanently mounted ones. Should something happen to your floor, your can unlace it if you have the time, and UPS it to RMR instead of trying to ship the whole boat on a truck line. Laced floors cost far more to produce, but they have the benefit of draining a raft quicker than glued ones can. It is quite unusual to find a laced floor on a raft of this low price.
    RMR 16 SB Raft Warranty

    Warranties on all RMR boats are five years. The standard colors for 2013 sixteen footers are blue with light gray floor tops & thwarts, or a solid gray. We have not seen a solid gray 2013 so we don’t know if they are a monotone, or two different shades of gray.

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