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Posted: June 01, 2009

Colorado Cool Stuff: Down River equipment boats and frames

Down River makes pro and “weekend warrior” rafts, “catarafts” and inflatable kayaks

Eric Peterson

Founded in the late 1980s, Down River started as “two guys just making frames” for whitewater rafts, says Zach Svoboda, the company’s store manager. New owners Mike and Christine Prosser bought the outfit in 2000 and the growth curve got steeper.


“They’ve grown the business, got into making our own boats, and added a little business-savvy.” Down River makes pro and “weekend warrior” rafts, “catarafts” and inflatable kayaks (“duckies”), as well as its high-end custom raft frames for paddlers and anglers, including deluxe fishing frames with casting platforms and lean bars. Says Svoboda: “The frames are the backbone of Down River’s business and what draws people in the door.” Watercraft: $900 to more than $5,000 for a 16-foot raft. Frames: $600 to $2,800. Made by the Down River Equipment Co., Wheat Ridge, (888) 467-2144,

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Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at

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