New Raft

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by cjflyfish, Aug 26, 2009.

  1. cjflyfish

    cjflyfish New Member

    I am new to rafts and packing rafts. It will be my first raft/boat that I've owned. I have been in a few other rafts but they did not have a Modular frame like the NRS. I believe the one raft from what I have seen had a Down River Equipment frame that is pretty much set up one way with all the components in their place. So i'm just trying to get ideas so i can get it set up the way I want it. The other was a NRS OTTER with a NRS Fishing frame, but it was really basic and mainly set up for single day trips. I would still like to add a more fixed cooler position as well as maybe some dry storage.

    I spent some time at Andy and Bax this past weekend so I could see and feel the boats. It helped give me an idea of their size and they had some packages put together as well. I like the idea of visiting a put in. Maybe it can be a fishing/raft research trip.

    I noticed the close outs and factory seconds on AIRE's website yesterday. Seem to be a few with carpet burn and old serial numbers for sale.

    I do like the sounds of the AIRE 130D or 130R.
  2. NJackson

    NJackson New Member

    The NRS will be wider which makes it more stable, however you sacrifice some maneuverability for this stability. The extra cargo room is nice, as is the ability to roll the boat. Hypalon is rad for durability, PVC tends to break down quicker/be more finnicky.

    However, the AIRE destroys a NRS in terms of tracking. The design of the boat and the floor construction (the membrane that takes in water) helps it track better, and actually compensates for the lack of stability due to the narrow design of the boat. The AIRE being more narrow is also more maneuverable.

    I would suggest checking out Hyside boats before you make a purchase though. They are of hypalon construction, and track just about as well as an AIRE, if not as well. They are bomber boats. The company I work for has some that are almost 20 years old, and have held up better than most of the NRS boats, and that's with 30-40+ days on the water a year.

    All this info comes from my experience guiding paddle boats
  3. Shapp

    Shapp Active Member

    "PVC tends to break down quicker/be more finnicky"

    Please elaborate,

    And does this apply to the Aire PVC outer shell, urethane inner bladder construction of the Aire system? There are a to of 15+ year old Aire's out there that have no more breakdown problem then a hypalon boat.

    Further I have some none Aire PVC boats that are of this age and still going, which have been stored rolled and dried their entire life.

    The only thing I would agree with is that glued hypalon seams are going to outlast glued PVC seams.
  4. NJackson

    NJackson New Member

    ^It's just from my experience with the boats we have. The PVC Maravia's we have tend to spring leaks after a few years, whereas most of the hypalon boats are 8-10 years old and still hold hair. This however are commercially used boats, which see far more use than a flyfisher's boat will.
  5. Shapp

    Shapp Active Member

    For clarification, older maraivas were notorious for pinhole leakage. Maravia construction does not use the inner urethane bladder system that Aire uses, so those issues do not apply to Aire boats.
  6. Ray

    Ray Member

    I've guided several really boney late season trips down the Selway (Class IV) in Maravia rafts. I've done it in a 13' Spider, a 14' Williwa 2, and a 16' Williwa 1. My favorite boat was the 14 footer. Here's why. It had more room than the Spider and drafted less water. It was narrow enough to scrape through some very narrow slots, yet was big enough to take a standard frame. The 16 footer was a bit cumbersome in the skinny water and left less room for error in the really technical rapids. I like the lighter weight of the PVC boats vs the hypalon, but you really can't go wrong with either NRS or Aire.
  7. Stonefish

    Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

    I was in the same situation as you a few years back. I ended up getting the Aire 143D over the Super Duper Puma. It just fit the type of fishing I do and had the room I was looking for.
    While it is only 9" wider the the SDP, it seems even bigger then that when in the boat.
    I know I made some sacrifices in maneuverable with my choice.
    I've rowed all three Puma models. They are great boats as well and I don't think you can go wrong by going with an Aire.

    Good luck in your search for a new raft.
  8. LBC

    LBC nymphing beads with a spey pole.

    iagree, I have a 143D We loaded it all summer/fall with gear, 3 dudes, and 2 labs. Still floats through skinny water, and the maneuverability was great IMO. I put the NRS frame on it and its BA. Couldn't be happier and wouldn't trade it for anything else. Good luck with your purchase if you haven't made it already!
  9. BirdyinBOI

    BirdyinBOI Member

    I'm trying to build a fishing cat with 10' Maxxon tubes. I also want it Class 3 capable. I like the NRS frame components but the tubing is just too large and heavy for a small 'toon. I wish NRS had 1 1/4" 'ish aluminum tubes with smaller size Low-Pro fitting. Maybe the smaller aluminumn wouldn't be strong enough... ?? That would be sweet if it was. I'm having a very hard time here in Idaho finding a competent welder to build me a frame. Any ideas?
  10. Joe Mateas

    Joe Mateas Member

  11. matalpa

    matalpa Member

    The Aire SuperDupaPuma and the Outcast 1400 are the same boat. The frame on the Outcast boat is not as high-quality as a real whitewater boat, but it is fine for most any river you would float for a relaxing day of fishing. Might be another option for you, especially if you are looking at used boats.

    I have rowed and fished out of both boats- they are both ok. Not nearly as much room in the boats as it seems when you are in a shop. They are definitely full with 3 people in them. If you are serious about over-nighters I am not sure you could do them with more than 2 people in the boat. The lack of dry storage on a raft really is a drag, too. I have lots of dry bags, but I sure love all the storage on a drift boat.

    I second the ease of repairs on Aire boats. Slap tear-aid tape on the bladder and you can make it back to the truck.

    If you want to talk to real expert, call Alaska Raft and Kayak and ask for Tracy. He knows more about rafts than anyone I have ever met. Also lots of threads with this question on the Alaska Outdoor Directory, if you want to dig around.