inflatable raft

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by DirtFish, Apr 25, 2007.

  1. DirtFish

    DirtFish New Member

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    I'm in the middle of doing research on which inflatable raft to buy for floating WA rivers and maybe a few trips to ID and MT. (regular drift boat comes later). I've searched and read the advice posted previously and it's all great.

    I am wondering if anybody has seen or used one of the Stream Tech inflatables, specifically the Green Drake. It's a custom raft made to their specs by Maravia. Seems to have a nice frame too. A bit pricey compared to some of the other packages I've seen. Their website is http://www.inflatabledriftboats.com/. Let me know if you've got any info on these.
     
  2. Todd Ripley

    Todd Ripley New Member

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    Good looking boats...I've never seen one on the river.

    If you're interested in rafts, don't miss these in your research...

    http://www.aire.com/AIRE/

    You buy the boat and the frame separately, and the price is very comparable to the Stream Tech, maybe even a little less expensive, depending on how you out fit it. I do see a lot of the Aire boats on the river, and they have a sterling reputation.

    Fish on...

    Todd
     
  3. Canoe Rider

    Canoe Rider Member

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  4. shawn k

    shawn k Member

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    I second what todd says. I have an aire super Duper puma. Raft with an N.R.S frame. I would recommend you go to swiftwater sports in seattle and talk to them. I hear Maravia rafts are great until you put a whole in one and then you are screwed.
     
  5. Stonefish

    Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

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    I'm an Aire owner also. I have a 143D, which is wider the the Super Duper Puma mentioned above. I purchased from Dana at Swiftwater. He is a good guy and really easy to work with. I'm very satisfied and wish I had upgraded to the new boat sooner then I did.
    Brian
     
  6. HauntedByWaters

    HauntedByWaters Active Member

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    I have researched this like CRAZY. I have read HUNDREDS of websites and magazines and have talked to whitewater guides that have been guiding for 20+ years.

    Almost everything pointed towards AIRE for boat and NRS for frame. Although I haven't got her wet yet, I just bought a used 12'6" inch AIRE with an basic NRS frame after 2 years of watching classifieds.

    Some of my reasoning was: AIRE has a great reputation and a good value. If you look them up the AIRE boats aren't really that much more than the cheaper brands. They cost about midrange for a self bailer. They are definately the best "value for the money".

    NRS makes great frames for whitewater and fishing that people reccomend as well. Not as much thought goes into the frame and you could build one yourself if you can weld and cut metal but NRS is great for one MAJOR reason IMO, ACCESSORIES. NRS makes literally hundreds of attachments for their frames from fishing stuff, to anchors, to boxes, yadaydayda. Check out their website which also has AIRE boats and fishing packages like at inflatabledriftboats.com

    So anyway, NRS+AIRE is the way A LOT of people go for the reasons above.
     
  7. DirtFish

    DirtFish New Member

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    Thanks, good advice. Aire with the NRS frame is definately one of the options. I do wish the NRS frame had the anchor system coming out the middle in the back instead of the side. Do you have any problems anchoring in current and not washing back and forth?
     
  8. prosopium

    prosopium Member

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    I just purchased a pac1400 made by outcast (AIRE) and like it, its no drift boat ill say that but it has its percs. My recomendation for you would be to go with a 14 footer or larger if you want to be comfortable. My buddy had a pac 1300 and there is quite a difference. I just did the smith and if i had a smaller boat i wouldnt have been able to carry enough, and with three guys in the boat it helped to space them out. just my observations though, good luck.
     
  9. crick addict

    crick addict Banned or Parked

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    Star Inflatable 15' cataraft/Wonderbug. I think the same company makes the inflatable drift boats. Mine is 4000 denier tubes and 2000 denier on the inside. It also has the star tracking material that runs the length of the tubes. They handle like a dream.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  10. scottflycst

    scottflycst Active Member

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    I've had Aire boats for several years and wouldn't have anything else. Good people, great products and fer my fishing dollar I haven't found better value.
     
  11. Stonefish

    Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

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    Dirtfish,
    Here are a couple of pictures of the frame with the lean bars installed that Dana at Swiftwater build for my boat. The anchor comes out of the middle. I also like that there is a floor the the front, middle and back. Some of the frames I looked at only have a floor where the rower sits. I believe that is how the factory Aire frames are. I think having the front and rear floors saves lots of wear & tear on the inflatable floor.
    Good luck with whatever you go with.
    Brian
     
  12. patrick barta

    patrick barta Love'em - N - Leave'em

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    I have a 15" fishcraft http://fishcraft.com/SuperCat_Raft.html and absolutely love it. The last two years I've floated the Deschutes 4 times with it. Twice as a family vacation with 4 people and a large lab and twice as fall fishing trips.

    This year we're floating the Main Fork Salmon and Rogue. It handles like a cataraft with the security of a traditional raft. Because of the high hull we can really load it up with gear (and beer) with minimal drag.

    They ain't cheep though.
     
  13. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    I would go with the Aire/NRS setup on a "RAFT", nothing wrong with that. I ran Aire's for years, I sold my old Aire (an original at that, one of the first catarafts that came off their line) a couple years ago (not by choice, but money issues made me sell it). I used it when I ran with a whitewater outfit. They are great boats, mostly because if the shell fails, you have the tube inside as a backup. Why most guides would want them (plus they are quick and easy to patch). They're tough, easy to fix, and you get miles out of them if you take good care of them. They are not the cadillacs though. I prefer a wider stance boat though. Don't like some of the narrow Aire "fishing" rafts they have. I hate aluminum frames, but on a raft they aren't as critical as one for a cataraft. I'd definitely spend the money for a self bailer. You won't be sorry (they don't call the old ones bucket boats for nothing). Thankfully all the upper end Outcasts are made by Aire (the lower models aren't, they are imports unless they've totally revamped the company).

    Onto other makers. You'd be hardpressed to do that much damage to a Maravia. Yes, you'd be screwed if you punctured one, but you would with an Aire too. You won't find many Maravia's with puncture wounds. They have a special process of bonding everything together, so a fix isn't as easy (but it's not easy puncturing either). Sotar probably makes the best boat out there hands down, if you have the $$$, you won't go wrong. After seeing a set of Sotar tubes get drug down Hwy 12 for a good mile at 60mph, and seeing how little damage was on them, I was sold (and this was quite a few years ago). We ran that boat down the Satsop without a problem (or a leak). I think he actually ran the boat for a few years until he finally sent it back for servicing.

    One bit of advice I'll give (I actually give this to everyone who asks about boats). By the one you want the FIRST TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't go the cheap route first then upgrade later. You'll lose money, and it can be a pain to resell some of the lower end boats for anything that you paid for them. I'm not saying Aire is a low end brand. I'd still buy one if the price was right, I just love some of the higher end boats. But if you go with some of the cheaper brands, you can get hosed in the long run.

    Also, check NRS's website. They used to have a used product "for sale" area. Can find some great deals if you keep checking. I also think NWRA used to have a classifieds area as well. Great bunch of people, but you'll mostly be seeing whitewater grade stuff, probably not alot of fishing frames.
     
  14. nativewiggler

    nativewiggler Casting in the wind...

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    Really great photos... I am currently researching boats, these links help... Any more, never hurts to have another's view or experience to guide us...
     
  15. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    There is also a Yahoo Group that does buy/sell/trade of whitewater equiptment. I want to say it's River Traders or PNWwhitewater. Try either one of them.
     
  16. 1morecast

    1morecast Active Member

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    I would also recommend the Aire/ NRS combo. I have owned a Super Puma for years and I would like to say that it is the best boat I have ever owned. It is very easy to row all day and because of it's size I can get her in just about any place I want.
    Frank