Outcast Striker appreciation post

skyriver

Active Member
Ok, I'm not paid by Outcast. Just honest appreciation and I know people are always looking for feedback about crafts they might be interested in. So here it goes.

I purchased it new in March of 2019. I've taken it on several day trips and one 4 days & 3 nights (solo) on the river trip. So far, I love it. But I'll give some things I like and some things I don't.

The things I like-
Outcast Sporting Gear/NRS/AIRE company is top notch. They respond quickly and make top quality stuff. I also own a Commander so that gave me confidence in their gear.
The fact I can fit it in the back of a hatchback or wagon when deflated. It's only 100 lbs total, so the raft itself is only about 70-75.
Minimal frame so when broken down it still fits in the back of a car. The seats are the most awkward thing to pack.
Really like how it reacts in the water. Solo or with 2 guys. I'm 250 with waders and wet boots on and I've had buddies up front nearly as heavy and it still drives nice.
IGS (Integrated Gear system) from Outcast is nice. I can use the big bag that came with the Commander or the newer smaller bag they make for all these boats.
I also have a Scotty Anchor mount and rod holder.
The lean bar looks goofy, but it works. I'm 6'4" and can lean into that with confidence. It's not going anywhere.
It fits in the back of my truck, or as I prefer, on top of my tonneau cover. I don't have to assemble and blow up at the river if using my truck. No trailer needed. It's 9.5' long.
The seats are awesome. We'll see how they hold up. The floor is awesome. It's self-bailing and if you don't like bailing water or water coming over the top from rapids makes you nervous then don't buy anything without a self-bailing floor. Unless it's a drift boat. ;)
A 36 qt cooler fits perfectly under the front seat.
Front seat swivels which makes it easier to get in & out. (More on this later)
As mentioned, I spent 3 nights on the river (in November when temps were in the 20s) and was able to pack plenty of stuff. I installed a carrier rack from old car rack I had to the front seat mount. Obviously, would have been different with 2 dudes, but I think I could still swing it since I can fit 3 tubs around the driver seat and still have room in front and back. See the pics.
Overall...love the thing. Totally worth the full price ($2499) I paid and would totally do it again.

The things I don't like-
The assembly for the frame is not a huge deal and I believe the benefits far outweigh my whining, but it does require keeping track of the 8 frames pieces (plus the 2 seat pieces) and slipping those together before inflating. Mind you, no tools required so just mostly me whining.
The lean bar- So this thing works. No doubt. But there are a few things we've noticed. 1- makes it way harder to get in and out of the boat. Told you it works! ;) If we're not going to be fishing out of the boat, we leave it at home. It's super easy to take off.
2- Not so easy putting back on. I've gotten way better at it. Usually use a scraper or ruler to help thread the keeper on there, but it's definitely a practice in patience. Options have their price I guess.
No back platform. I know I could build something, but other boats like Catchercraft and Flycraft have nice platforms out back that would help stow more crap that would make even day trips easier. And would allow more flexibility on over night trips. Again, it's just a 9.5' raft and I'm getting greedy, but it would be a nice feature.
The stock oars are not terrible, but for the price I paid it would be cool if they just put Cataract KBOs (7 or 7.5') oars on them. I will do this upgrade for sure.
The steel oar locks are also not terrible, but brass out of the box would be nice.

Here are some pics:
On the truck
Striker_Truck.jpg


On the Skagit
Striker_Skagit.jpg


On the John Day solo trip...packed!
Striker_JohnDay.jpg


2 man config and packed. Haven't actually done this on the river yet, but confident it would be fine:
StrikerMaxed.jpg
 

nutsack angler

guide fish don't count
Glad the boat is working out for you! I bought one when they first came but there wasn't enough rigidity in the frame-to-raft connections so Outcast was cool enough to let me return it. They said I probably didn't have it pumped up enough :rolleyes:
 

skyriver

Active Member
Glad the boat is working out for you! I bought one when they first came but there wasn't enough rigidity in the frame-to-raft connections so Outcast was cool enough to let me return it. They said I probably didn't have it pumped up enough :rolleyes:
That sucks it didn't work out. What year was that?
Nice that they took the return. They seem to be good for that type of stuff. One of the reasons I bought their raft.
On mine (a 2018 or 2019), the only time I feel that the rigidity is an issue is the front seat. It sits higher than the driver's seat and definitely a little prone to lean back too far. Especially if you put your feet up on the front of the raft. This is only bad when I'm down on pressure though. And even when I'm down on pressure I always have a 36 qt Igloo under the seat (fits perfectly) so the frame leans on that and it's not an issue. I have felt the oar locks move too much when down on pressure as well. Not good when you're digging hard. But again, only an issue when I'm down on pressure.
I'm always monitoring it. And always have a hand pump on board.
We'll see how it holds up over time. The good news is I can always slap a frame on there if I want. It's the same exact size and shape as a 9.5 Tributary raft.
 

nutsack angler

guide fish don't count
I think it was 2016. I had the same issue with the front seat and especially the oar locks. To the point where I was popping the oars through rapids. I tried to stay on the pressure but my floats vary so much that I couldn't live with a boat that needs constant monitoring and still enjoy fishing. I hope Outcast reads this stuff because it's a sweet concept that just needs a bit more metal to be fully capable and more importantly safe. Something more along these lines https://hyside.com/product/welfelt-frame/
 

skyriver

Active Member
I think they must have improved it since then.
We were on the Deschutes at the end of May when that crazy thunderstorm came in. There were 2 of us in the raft and we had one of those big-time pucker moments because of the gusting wind. I pulled dangerously hard (it had to be close to bending/breaking an oar) on the stock oars for several minutes straight just to keep us out of the sweepers and rocks since the wind was blowing us to the left shore. I never did pop out of the stock steel oar locks. I never want to be in that kind of wind again!
I've also had a couple other "oh shit" moments on other rivers and have never popped out. I think if the oar lock tower would have flexed too much I would have popped out.
I have NRS oarlocks on the way (thanks Tim!) and Cataract KBOs (with Cutthroat mini blades) planned. We'll see if that changes anything.
 

skyriver

Active Member
Team Rubbermaid Bins for life!

I swear we've got like 40 of them around.
Haha! That's right!
My buddies give me shit about them all the time. I've had the green one for no less than 20 years. It's been used and abused and just keeps going.
 

Shapp

Active Member
Nice review, also if someone might be looking at the same sized boat, but with a different frame setup, the Tributary 9.5 is basically the same, but you can put a simple adjustable frame on it.

Also the NRS canyon dry boxes might be a good option for an upgrade at some point. They are a little spendy, but a lot easier to lash down in awkward places. We have some of the old YorkPaks that the NRS boxes are designed after, and they definitely are easier to strap to the boat.

Cheers,
Shapp
 
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PJSea

New Member
Thank you for the review. Really useful insight. I’ve been evaluating options and am leaning towards the Striker - this helped confirm some of the pros and cons. Thanks again.
 

Mel King

Active Member
I love my stryker also. It's 2 months old and has been on all kinds of water from small rivers to some fairly large ones. I haven't noticed any problems with the oar locks giving way which was my major concern before I floated it. I bought it from Anil and he talked me out of upgrading the locks and oars. I'm a happy camper. My drift boat and pontoon will probably collect dust for a while. It's actually a hoot to row and is quick to inflate from being totally deflated. Light to move around and fits in our small wagon.
By the way Anil got mine in 4 days and knew all the ins and outs so he shortened my learning curve. He's a great guy. He knows what extras to get so its fully functional.
 

TeenyBigs

Active Member
Nice review, also if someone might be looking at the same sized boat, but with a different frame setup, the Tributary 9.5 is basically the same, but you can put a simple adjustable frame on it.

Also the NRS canyon dry boxes might be a good option for an upgrade at some point. They are a little spendy, but a lot easier to lash down in awkward places. We have some of the old YorkPaks that the NRS boxes are designed after, and they definitely are easier to strap to the boat.

Cheers,
Shapp
Shapp,

I have been comparing the various 2 man rafts for some time now and have narrowed it down to the Tributary 9.5 or the Striker. What frame works best on the Tributary. As best I can tell on the website, the Longhorn frame fits the raft, but, the site says this frame is not for fishing. I’m thinking you could attach a lean bar section. Would love an information you have, feel free to PM me so that I don’t stray from the topic.

In order to stay on topic, see my Striker reply below.
 
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TeenyBigs

Active Member
Skyriver,

Thank you for this post and the excellent descriptions. You are on my exact parallel path.

I have a few questions (below). Feel free to PM me if they are too specific for this forum.

In addition to owning similar boats, I also use my truck with tonneau cover to transport my inflatables. Makes life so easy. I digress, but, with help from those on this forum I built a platform to transport my fully equipped Super Puma so I wouldn’t need to use a trailer. Needless to say, your post was on-point and very timely for me.

I owned a Super Puma for about 15 years and loved it. Used it for day trips and multi-day trips. I then sold it and bought a Hyde drift boat which gets used, but, I wanted something to explore smaller sections of the river and smaller creeks. So, I bought an OSG Commander 5 years ago and just bought a second a few months ago. Love my commanders, but, I do miss being able to have a fisherman up front fishing. I want the portability of a small inflatable, but, the luxury of fishing while moving (I don’t like using fins with my Commander). Aire/Outcast has been great and I would prefer to purchase from them. Hence my interest in the Striker.

I absolutely love that you took a multi-day solo trip as I recently mapped out what is required to do that in my OSG Commander, and though it pencils out it would be tough to do.

The Striker seems like the perfect compromise.

A few questions, my apologies if they were already covered.

1) Have you had to portage? My guess is that with 2 people this is super simple. But, how would it be solo? I would imagine that you had a portage or two during your solo multi-day trip, but, maybe not. I would think that unloaded it would be doable, though 100 lbs can get heavy for 1 person. Any experiences/information you have would be great.

2) It looks like you used rod cases to store your rods during your multi-day trip(s) and the 2 man config (which I agree will work just fine). Do you also use that system for single day trips with friends? I used that system with my Super Puma and it works great, but, I have been spoiled with being able to keep rods strung up in the drift boat. Have you seen any DIY options that would allow you to store a 9’ rod without breaking it down?

3) what pound anchor do you use? I have a 12 lb anchor that is way too much for my Commanders (I now use a 5lb anchor). It seems like a 12 lb anchor should be enough for the Striker and 2 adults as long as you aren’t using it to anchor up in faster water.

4) What bag do you have strapped to the front in the 2-man config? Is that the smaller frameless boat bag?

Thanks again for the post.

TinyBigs (aka Bryce)
 
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skyriver

Active Member
Hi Bryce,
I'll go down the list...
1- I haven't had to do a true portage yet. I've had to drag it a few times, but no portages. If just out fishing, 2 guys could portage pretty easy. If solo and loaded, I guess if I had to I would unload everything and then drag if possible. If dragging was not possible or too hard on the boat, I would probably be forced to deflate. Once deflated, the frame (and seats) could be removed and then roll it up and carry it. It weighs about 100 lbs all setup, but without frame & seats I would say it's only 60-70. I move it rolled up from one side of the garage to the other all the time. I put 2 straps on it and grab it like a bail of hay. If out in the wild and multi-day, you do what you gotta do. Easier than a drift boat or 13/14' raft, I know that!
2- I haven't found a nice full rod setup yet. I'm spoiled in the Commander. I can keep 3 or 4 rods rigged up, behind me, full length the whole time. Now, solo, you'll notice in the On the John Day solo trip pic that I have a full rod on the left side rigged up. When we fish 2 in the boat and are just moving to the next hole, like on the Deschutes, we just put all the rods on the left on the frame and we both exit the right and then grab the rod. It's not terrible, but I would like something a bit more secure for those times we are fishing out of the boat more often. Especially on the D or the Yak when the wind kicks up! I have soft bungie wraps I use to at least secure the rod (handle) to the frame.
3- I have a 25 lb pyramid anchor. It's a bit of a beast, but I don't like boats floating away. I only anchor in shallow stuff, but with 2 dudes the raft does have more drag than you'd think. Again, in case of wind, I like the 25 lber.
I had a 16 lb chain anchor on there and it didn't stop well enough for my taste. A 20 lb pyramid would probably be perfect.
4- That bag up front is the NRS 70L high roll dry duffel. I am able to fit my tent, sleeping bag and air mattress, along with a down coat in there. It's a really nice bag.
Since it was going to be cold, I packed like I was damn near car camping. I brought a Lil Buddy heater and everything. Charcoal, a few other heavy items I wouldn't necessarily bring on a warmer trip. If it was summer or earlier in the fall, I would have had at least 2 less tubs. As it was, the front still wasn't as heavy as a big dude. I think I remember all my crap weighing in at 155. Could have packed the kitchen sink and still been fine! :D

You could totally pack for a 3 or 4 day trip and 2 dudes if one guy is packed & solo in the Striker (or Trib) and the other guy tags along in the Commander. I can think of a few advantages of having a Commander on the trip. Of course, the guy in the Commander is in the water more than he would be in the raft which would need to be considered in the cold temps I was in. For summer or early fall, no biggie. And, leap-frogging each other down a river can be very productive. Good luck with your decision!

Stacy
 

TeenyBigs

Active Member
Thanks for the quick reply!

Super helpful. Using the Striker as a gear boat with the Commander option is perfect.

I will also check out the 70L dry bag.

Just talked with Outcast and they won’t be back in stock until October 1st. Now the hunt is on.
 

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