L: 7.2 ft, W: 3.1 ft; 12.5 lbs
As soon as we inflated the Bolder we knew we were in for some fun. Just carrying the special ops-style matte black, overbuilt raft made us feel badass – like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando. Then we locked ourselves into the cockpit: a comfortable two-chamber air seat, thigh strap, with the ability to brace our feet against the 12-inch tubes. The supportive and comfortable sitting position felt good for hours and gave us impressive control over the boat. Within a few minutes one tester was surfing and spinning it in a hole. Because the seat can be adjusted into two different positions the Bolder felt balanced and capable lightly loaded or with a heavy overnight pack. But the self-draining floor really made this the most capable whitewater craft. While the Alpacka Gnu’s optional skirt would help, this is the only raft we tested that didn’t swamp in splashy waves. It also came ready to paddle with bow and stern lines and grab handles. But all that whitewater performance costs on land. Like a seal, out of the water the Bolder is cumbersome, the least packable raft on this page at 12.5 pounds and 2 feet-by-1 foot rolled up. Regardless, we couldn’t flip this thing when we tried. If the objective promises serious whitewater or will push our paddling ability this tough and capable boat will be our first choice.
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