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Old 09-20-2006   #1
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1
advice on which inflatable kayak to buy

Hi all--here's my story: i would like to boat on class 3 rivers, narrow and/or wider, more volume, pool drop or creeks for up to a month at a time with my boyfriend/friend. I used to guide on class 3 rivs. in rafts and have i hardshell kayaked on 4's, but i get scared in hard shells. so now i want a boat that i can challenge myself on, but still choose to do mellow rivers on and MAYBE moose hunt (although--IK's don't hold much weight). i am in alaska which requires lots of fly in access points and i am thinking of tripping to costa rica with the boat.

I am looking at the Maverick II, Bandit II, Lynx II, Super Lynx, Tom Cat tandem, and Strike II. (basically the tandem IK's in the NRS catalogue).

They all seem similiar to me with slight difference in the amount that they weigh (24#, 39#-48#), the size of the rocker (9.25"-18"), the length of the IK (12'5"-14"), the width is VERY similiar, and the Fabric is either Hypalon, Urethane coated nylon or PVC with Urethane bladder. The prices vary quite a bit: $649-$1400.

What can you tell me about usability of the boats: how easy is it to attach gear, adjust seats, push through holes. Do any of the boats track better or maneuver easier. preferences between AIRE, Tributary and NRS boats--why?

ANYTHING you can tell me about why one boat is better than another would be helpful!


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Old 09-20-2006   #2
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 524
If you're looking to haul some gear around with you some of the time, and don't mind a few funny looks, check out Jack's pack cat:
They're actually fairly nimble for a ducky, although they don't hold a candle to an AIRE Force.

I mean, seriously, how many kayakers can run their whole trip without a car?
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Old 09-20-2006   #3
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 17
I've used both the Aire and the NRS, single and two seater, the only thing I had issues with are the seats/ back rest, the NRS had a cool balloon that was easier on my back then the Aire but both were fun..

Hope this helps..
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Old 09-20-2006   #4
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
my wife enjoys our nrs maverik, seems very solid
"Yesterday I was clever and tried to change the world. Today I am wise and try to change myself." -Rumi
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Old 09-20-2006   #5
Colorado Springs Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 254
If gear capacity is your priority, the Lynx 2 (the only tandem I've paddled) can hold a hell of a lot of gear. I'm an old school kayaker so I'm used to big boats but the Lynx 2 is a BIG boat for solo paddling. I've used it on low water, rocky, class 3 and it did fine. But it sure isn't the boat for tight eddy turns or, heaven forbid, creeks. Especially if you are a small person its just a lot to push around. Otherwise it tracks great and certainly can handle big water.

If paddling performance, and not capacity, is your priority I recommend going with a single IK. The single Lynx is a great versatile boat, tracks well, and can still hold plenty of gear for a self-supported trip. There are lots of good boats to pick from in this category and others are often cheaper.

I personally will almost always grab one of my single IK's vrs the Lynx 2 for self-supported use unless I'm in real lounge mode with the big cooler.

"up to a month at a time"... ooh I'm envious!
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Old 09-20-2006   #6
willieWAO's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 154
I dont know if hyside makes a tandem, but i would reccomend hyside because of their durability and reputation. Of course they are a little more pricey. Youll get what you pay for.
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Old 09-21-2006   #7
G.J., CO
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 44
I too have been searching for an IK! On another forum I ran across some enthusiasts that just rant and rave about the Stilleto by Star. Does anyone know anything about these boats? It looks like a great single person boat but it is extremely long at 12'6". Check it out-
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Old 09-21-2006   #8
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 10
forget the doubles

forget the doubles, I have done several long ducky trips, including a class v first descent. The aire lynx is great and will carry all you need for a pretty long trip, I have done eight days and took a lot of luxury items as well as all my camp gear. Also took it to Costa Rica and did several trips there as well. The doubles give you extra capacity but you don't really need it. The aires have excellent tie down capabilities and some great accesories like their cargo hold. P.M. if you want more free advice or tips.
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Old 09-21-2006   #9
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909
More IK info/discussion here:

My only advice: avoid the Seyvlor. It embodies the saying, "There's the right way, the wrong way, and the French way."
Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 09-21-2006   #10
El Flaco's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,879
Here's the ultimate inflatable:

Seriously, though- the Bandit is a decent low-cost option, but the seat backs are a little flimsy. I got one for a fun alternative for other folks while I row, and the feedback it that it's not ultra-supportive for sitting upright and paddling forward. I'm going to modify it a little for the next raft trip, but it's basically a way to give the heavy drinkers in their own boat. It also has more of a tracking-hull design - good for the San Juan or Ruby Horsethief, but not exactly a Browns Canyon IK.

At least sit in a bunch in your budget range. If for some reason I was going to get and IK for running anything III or harder, I'd look at the Aire-Force style (more rocker, a little wider).

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