Holiday’s Unique Boat DesignOctober 4, 2021
By Justin Malloy
Holiday’s unique boat design is well known in the river rafting community. Seeing one on the water is instantly recognizable and undeniably beautiful. Many years of brainstorming, tinkering, and experimenting have gone into fine-tuning our design and in clever ways, features that contribute to their beauty and uniqueness also add to their functionality. The experienced folks at Maravia Rafts manufacture our boats in Boise, Idaho. Over the years, they have worked with us to perfect our custom design and their attention to detail delivers a superb, durable product.
An example of the unique attributes of Holiday’s boat design is the low profile and diminished front tubes. This decreases wind resistance and allows the boats to crash through waves rather than ride above them. Also, you don’t see piles of cargo taking up half of the boat space because the rigging system allows everything to be stowed low and in the center of the boat. This keeps the center of gravity low, reducing the chances of flipping over.
What makes that rigging system possible are our custom built wooden frames. The brainchild of our founder Dee Holladay and Director of Operations Tim Gaylord, our frames are designed with safety and efficiency in mind. Bag spots are placed to offer cushion for passengers’ comfort while relaxing and to ensure safety in the whitewater. Repairs in the field are much easier with wood as compared to the more common aluminum frames. Also, they are designed to be rigged once at the beginning of the season and to be de-rigged only at the end of summer. This is a blessing for the guides, as many other systems demand you rig and de-rig for each trip.
Finally, the trait that most obviously distinguishes our boats from the rest is our colors. Early in Holiday’s history, Dee realized how hot to the touch his grey Army surplus boats would get in the desert sun and knew he needed to make a change. In a way that displays his creative mind and confident initiative, he painted the tops of them all white, leaving the red stripe along the side and the bottoms grey. These days, Holiday’s trademark colors of white and red extend beyond the boats to our river bags, ammo cans, property signage, and more.
None of this is to say our rafts are objectively better than any others. After all, diversity is the spice of life, and every design has its pros and cons. But our boats do serve as an apt metaphor for Holiday’s ethos and values: efficiently offering safe voyages through awe-inspiring places in our own romantic and beautiful way.
Originally from the suburbs near Cleveland, Ohio, Justin made his way to Utah after graduating from Ohio University with a degree in exploring and having fun… If not on the river or in the kitchen, you’ll find him wandering the mountains, drinking coffee, or writing down words he hopes will come across as sensical.