Rocky Mountain Rafts Review | Epic Rafts or Rip Off? [2020]

Rocky Mountain’s highly affordable range of products allows a broader range of users to experience battling with whitewater rapids. Offering inflatable rafts that can keep up with the pressure of rafting without breaking the bank makes them one of the boating crowd’s favorite brands.

The brand’s continuous effort to innovate to maintain and improve its excellent quality manifests in their impressive selection of inflatable rafts. They show a simplicity that does not compromise on performance, which also opens up for better customization.

Top 7 Best Rocky Mountain Rafts Reviewed

We’ve reviewed some of Rocky Mountain’s bestsellers to help you choose a more fitting raft for your next date with the great outdoors.

  1. S-95 ThunderCloud
  2. SB-140 Self-Bailing Raft
  3. SB-180 Self-Bailing Raft
  4. SB-105 Storm
  5. SBDS-120 Drop-Stitch Raft
  6. PK-159 Peak
  7. PC-120 PhatCat

#1. S-95 ThunderCloud

SB-95 9.5′ ThunderCloud

We cannot underestimate the power the S-95 ThunderCloud offers despite its small size. It’s compact built gives you a performance nothing short of excellent that it becomes perfect for your spontaneous whitewater adventures.

ThunderCloud’s bottom has a smooth finish, allowing for smoother glides on water. The diminished tubes maximize your buoyancy but do not increase the raft’s drag, allowing for better water maneuverability. Its raised front allows for more comfortable resurfacing after steep dives, ensuring your safety as you paddle.

Its factory setup allows for three paddlers, with its compact frame letting you have more contact with the water. This feature optimizes the energy of every paddle, giving you a maximum speed for significantly less effort.

Applying a chafe-resistant layer on the bottom protect the raft from getting torn with the constant impact with rocks. Keeping this coating on the underside lets the raft remain lightweight, allowing for better portability.

Two air chambers assure that you can finish the trail safely, with a patch kit included that allows you to make a temporary fix. Welding on its entire construction ensures that this raft can take the constant beating of whitewater rafting. The removable thwarts give you more control of how you want to maximize the deck space.


#2. SB-140 Self-Bailing Raft

SB-140 14′ Self-Bailing Raft

The ultra-tough exterior of the SB-140 Self-bailing Raft lessens your worries on it being capable of handling customization. Its highly adaptable frame lets you have full control of the deck, letting you go from whitewater rafting to multi-day fishing trips smoothly.

Rock Shield Polyvinyl Chloride makes the raft’s outer shell highly durable. The material promises superior resistance to impact and is highly compact, making the raft rigid. Triple-fused seam tapes seal the entire raft’s construction, which comparatively better than glue or stitching.

Leafield D7 Valves assure you that the SB-140 will remain airtight despite its massive carrying capacity. The same valve lets you spend more time paddling than setting everything up with its efficient inflation rate.

It’s Rapid Thwart Attachment System has pins holding them, allowing for more convenient removal and re-installation. The sloped ends of its thwarts improve on its pins’ security, letting them be in closer contact with the raft’s hull. This feature allows for better weight distribution, spreading out the mass on the entire raft rather than concentrating in the center.

Laced-in floors allow for more accessible storage since you can easily take it out after using, making the raft more compact when deflated. This feature also expels excess water faster than glued on floors, improving the raft’s buoyancy.


#3. SB-180 Self-Bailing Raft

SB-180 18′ Self-Bailing Raft

The biggest among Rocky Mountain’s Raft offerings, the SB-180, is all gear boats’ mother, setting the standards high for its competitors. Its massive construction promises to be strong enough to carry all your gear and more, making it suitable for your multi-day camping trips.

It’s almost rockerless frame promises the ultimate stability, assuring that all your gear will stay dry. The smooth bottom reduces drag, which compliments the increased buoyancy in efficiently carrying massive cargo loads. These features, which make the raft relatively flat, allow you to maximize the entire deck, giving enough room for your stuff.

Rock Shield Polyvinyl Chloride keeps the frame highly weatherproof and rigid, assuring you that the raft will remain airtight. Its Leafield D7 Valve efficiently traps enough air and optimizes its pressure to ensure your safety.

SB-180’s welded construction assures you of excellent durability, making sure you get your money’s worth. If one of the air chambers gets punctured, though, you can make temporary repairs with the repair kit and wrench included in the package.


#4. SB-105 Storm

SB-105 Storm 10.5′ Self-Bailing Raft

Rocky Mountain’s SB-105 Storm lets you go from adventures on foot to the water with its compact size. Having a relatively smaller raft also enables you to traverse all whitewater classes easily with excellent control and maneuverability. Its somewhat smaller tubes let you have more contact with the water, optimizing every paddle and gaining more speed.

Leafield Valves on the two air chambers, two thwarts, and floor assure you that the raft will stay airtight from start to finish. This feature also lets you go whitewater immediately with its quick inflation and deflation. A Pressure Relief Valve will expel excess air to ensure the raft’s integrity and safety. Having separate air chambers for each tube also ensures that you will finish the course safely, with repair kits available to let you do a temporary fix.

You need not worry about the raft’s durability with its Rock Shield PVC construction. The high-quality outer shell material promises to stay rigid to ensure your safety and is resistant to immediate damage from constant impact.

The Rapid Thwart Attachment System lets you have full control of maximizing deck space, allowing for better customization. Removal and installation of these seats are convenient with pins that promise excellent security to help keep you in place as you paddle.


#5. SBDS-120 Drop-Stitch Raft

SBDS-120 12′ Drop-Stitch Raft

Much like the SB-105 Storm, the SBDS-120 Drop-Stitch Raft allows you to bring the rest of the family out from the backyard to battling the rapids. The increased size improves on the raft’s balance letting you be more stable as you paddle. Doing away with an inflatable floor significantly reduces the raft’s weight allow for more comfortable transport and storage.

The upgrade of having a drop-stitched floor improves on the raft’s buoyancy, letting you float better. This feature enables you to tread shallow waters with reduced risk for punctures and cross waterfalls safely. It also allows you to do away with casting platforms during fishing, lessening the necessary gear you need to remember.

Movement on the water becomes smoother with the elevated floor, significantly reducing drag and improving on maneuverability. The diminished tubes let you be closer to the water, maximizing every energy’s paddle and improving your speed.

Rapid Thwart Attachment Systems lets you control how you want to use the three included in the package. Inflation and deflation will be a breeze with its Leafield valves that also ensure the raft stays airtight as you slice through waves. The welded overall construction promises excellent durability, while Rock Shield PVC on the outer shell provides its resistance to wear and tear.


#6. PK-159 Peak

PK-159 15′ 9″ Peak

It only fits that Rocky Mountain named this raft Peak, for it offers the best setup for any water adventure. The raft provides an excellent overall performance that allows you to go from cruising calm lakes to traversing whitewater tomorrow.

The diminished tubes allow maximum stability by improving on the raft’s rigidity. This feature lets you be closer to the water, letting you gain more speed in crossing wild rivers. It also keeps the raft’s buoyancy low, making it usable on shallow waters.

Multiple air chambers ensure that you can safely finish the course with kits available to let you repair the raft and immediately get back to paddling. Leafield valves keep each section airtight and allow for faster inflation and deflation. Pressure Relief Valves expel excess air on each area to reduce the risk of punctures and ensure your safety. 

A high-quality Polyvinyl Chloride coating on the fabric ensures the raft’s durability and helps it stay rigid, improving on your stability. Its stretched-out construction increases the raft’s buoyancy, which allows for better maneuverability. The self-bailing floor drains excess water immediately, helping you stay afloat and letting you focus on paddling. Foot braces lock you in place, ensuring your safety as you chop through waves.


#7. PC-120 PhatCat

PC-120 PhatCat

The ultimate playboat in Rocky Mountain’s Inflatable Raft lineup, the PC-120 PhatCat, lets you jump from one wave effortlessly. Its exceptional speed, stability, maneuverability assures you the best whitewater ride all the time.

Being the only frameless inflatable cataraft of the raft, the PhatCat makes you look no further with is oversized 23-inch tubes. The giant pipes let you have a better view of the water ahead, giving you enough time to set up your moves. This feature also promises enough flexibility to let you do swift turns, improving the cataraft’s maneuverability.

Rock Shield Polyvinyl Chloride assures the PhatCat’s excellent durability, letting you enjoy the rapids for a longer time. Each tube’s bottom has additional layers of the same material to make them more resistant to abrasion and puncture. Leafield D7 valves ensure that the cataraft stays airtight despite the constant impact, and also allows for hassle-free inflation and deflation, letting you spend more time paddling.

Two air chambers on each tube assure that you will get to safety if one segment gets punctured. The included valve wrench and patch kit let you do the repairs yourself, allowing you to get back to battling whitewater immediately.

It’s cockpit’s interior offers ample space for you to bring all the necessary gear to have an excellent time. The brand’s effort at maintaining the weight at 51 lbs. makes this raft extremely lightweight, allowing for faster and more convenient transfer on solo trips.


Types of Rocky Mountain Boats

We’ve reviewed the inflatable rafts of the brand, but it also essential to be familiar with the other products they offer to allow for better decision-making

Rafts

All their inflatable rafts promise excellent durability that will allow you to go from backyard to backcountry effortlessly with their portability. Rocky Mountain makes sure they provide you with the best rafts only by testing them from creeks to Class V whitewater to ensure excellent quality. Welded construction on all their rafts assures their exceptional quality, capable of taking the constant beating from battling intense rapids.

Whether double-stitched or I beam, their self-bailing floors reduce the risk of capsizing by expelling excess water immediately to maintain buoyancy through drain valves. Upgrading to using rafts with double-stitched floors ensures more efficient drainage systems and more convenient storage and assembly.

Inflatable Kayaks

Rocky Mountain’s Inflatable Kayaks are the more fitting choice for solo or tandem riders who want to get up and get to the water immediately. These boats are entirely inflatable, allowing for more convenient transfers and easier assembly. Like the brand’s inflatable rafts, these kayaks remain airtight with Leafield D7 valves that let ensures their rigidity.

Keeping their weight to a minimum improves their buoyancy significantly, with thigh straps that will lock you in place as you paddle. Drain valves improve on these kayaks’ self-bailing capabilities, making sure you stay afloat in the most challenging whitewater.

Catarafts

PhatCat gives you an impressive preview of what Rocky Mountain catarafts can do. The abundance of speed, stability, and maneuverability lets you glide effortlessly through rapids, making it the perfect whitewater rafting companion. 

Having an extra air chamber compared to the usual dual setup adds a layer of protection to the paddler if one gets punctured. Rocky Mountain also makes sure that the tubes are more resistant to puncture by adding PVC layers to their bottom. Chafe coating on the tubes’ flat areas reduces the risk of abrasions upon contact, ensuring their durability.

All their catarafts have the right combination of rigidity and flexibility to ensure your stability as you do quick turns. This feature lets you focus more on paddling and optimize your speed, allowing for a better adventure every time. 


About Rocky Mountain

Denny Hugo’s passion for adventure pushed him to establish a brand that became one of the industry’s most prominent players. He slowly switched to maneuvering inflatable rafts from piloting airplanes, later on deciding that it will be best if he made one his own. His dedication to making the perfect whitewater raft manifests in Rocky Mountain’s extensive offering of consistently excellent products.

His goal of allowing everyone to own a whitewater raft was what drove him to pattern his business like Southwest Airlines’ model. By continuously producing innovations that make the construction process efficient and effective, they can keep operating costs low. This system enables them to keep their price range more affordable, allowing a more comprehensive customer range to afford to purchase one of their own.

Their simple mission of giving everyone a chance to enjoy the backcountry, using technology to innovate, made them one of the top manufacturers in the industry back in 2011. Upholding honesty and integrity has quickly made them a fan favorite for their reliability.


Conclusion

Rocky Mountain’s highly affordable range of inflatable rafts gives everyone a chance to experience riding through wild rapids. Their vast array of products lets you choose the perfect raft fit for the kind of adventure you want, ensuring that you will always have the best time.

While we hope that giving you a review of their bestsellers helps your search, it will be best to do added research as to have each factor affects the raft’s performance. The added knowledge will ensure that you choose appropriately to have an outdoor companion fit to your lifestyle.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does Rocky Mountain have other products aside from inflatable rafts?

A: Rocky Mountain makes you look no further with the vast array of products they offer. From inflatable rafts that are highly customizable, they also provide a complete list of everything you could need. Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs), Throw Bags, Crash Pads, and Foot Cups are only some of the accessories you could find on their website. The brand also has a help center to aid you in choosing the right equipment for your trip.

Q: What are the river tubes?

A: River tubes are devices that let you float on lazy days. They maximize stability and buoyancy to ensure your balance as you lie down and enjoy the water. Rocky Mountain offers River Recliners that promise added comfort, with options to have two or three attached. While tubing does not require much, it is best to have your Personal Floatation Devices on hand to ensure your safety.

Q: Can I use catarafts on lazy rivers?

A: Catarafts are significantly elevated to let you have a better view ahead and be more agile on active waters. They are optimized speed and are very flexible, something you do not necessarily need in cruising leisurely. Rocky Mountain offers a vast array of rafts versatile enough to fit for both floating and traversing whitewater rapids, so it is best to check each one before deciding.

Related Resources

Leave a Comment