Originally Posted by calendar16
Aloha AIRE Runners!
Hello, Hello, Is there anybody out there?
You can share some AIRE?
As a kayaker who bought a raft for the same reasons you state, I've sold my 11' Hypalon self bailer and bought a lightly used 14' Aire 143D. We simply needed more carrying capacity than the 11' could handle.
We've run both strictly as paddle boats and the 14' allows us to bring more friends along. I didn't have a material preference and was shopping, like you, at lower price point.
While the Hypalon (Momentum Oriole) boat was not a Hyside, the construction was similar in design to the NRS Otter series.
Having owned both I can agree with raftus who states there are pluses and minuses in any boat choice.
Hypalon Hyside Pros:
Light weight (consider this if you ever plan to R2 with your wife) Carrrying a heavy boat can be a b$tch with 2 people.
Folds up really small compared to Aire
Very easy to repair
Hypalon never felt as "solid" as the Aire PVC/bladder construction
Seam tape prone to wear damage and peeling
Hypalon tends to "stick" on rocks more than Aire
Aire PVC Pros:
Can be run rock hard making them more agile than a Hypalon boat (raft sizes being equal of course).
Welded seams are smooth as butter. No seam tape.
Bomber outer skin. It would take a lot to rip through that outer shell.
No fault 10-year warranty
Slides over rocks better than Hypalon
You can place the thwarts anywhere in the boat
Drains really quick!
non-sealed floor pocket does hold water in the under side of the floor bladder until it's picked up out of the water. I'd estimate about 5 gallons worth. Not really noticeable until you pick the boat up at the end of a run.
Possible repair headaches. Knock on wood, I haven't come across a repaiir yet...but I have slid over many rocks with no visible signs of damage. I imagine fixing a puncture on the underside of the floor bladder would be the hardest to repair. The main tubes and thwarts are pretty easy to get into with their full length zippers.
Pretty heavy. I went from an 85# hypalon boat to a 160# PVC boat. At nearly double the weight, the Aire pretty much rules out R2'ing for me and the wife. We need at least 3 to get it to the put-in. There are times when I wish I still had the small boat, so only buy as large as you think you really need.
Rolls up large. The Aire boats simply do not package up small if you intend to shuttle with anything smaller than a Subaru wagon.
Hope this helps with some of your decision making.
Also, if it's down to the Tributary or Rio Bravo, I'd say neither as well and would point you to the AIRE specials page where they have a 130R for a little less than a new Tributary.
Best of luck!