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Old 06-09-2015   #11
laterwagged's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 247
Stay away from Advanced Elements kayaks. I've never paddled one, because I value my life. I HAVE seen two of them shredded on a local Class II run (different days).

I currently have a Lynx 1, NRS Bandit 1, and a Tributary Tomcat in my fleet.

1. The Bandit (Which isnt' made anymore) and the NRS Outlaw are similar in design, and I was a bit too heavy for them at 210 lbs. They are rocker heavy and will tend to ride "over" waves rather than crash through them. This is good and bad, depending on the water you are paddling. I haven't paddled the Outlaw, but have heard reviews to back up the fact that its similar to the bandit. I would be interested in trying one out just to see how the drop stitch floor feels. It should add some nice rigidity. The outlaw is pretty affordable at $695.

2. The Aire Lynx is the best all around IK on the market IMO. It is stable and performs well in class IV water. They have run almost anything that a hard boat has run at this point. It handles my weight with no issue, I can even pack gear for a 2 day trip on class III water. Getting a used Lynx is a good bet unless you have $1400 to spend.

3. Tributary Tomcat - this was my first IK and it served me very well on class III water for a couple of years. I blew out a zipper on it in a hole and Aire repaired it and didn't even charge me shipping (under warranty). For a first time IK owner that is budget conscious - this is probably the boat to choose. It does perform anywhere close to the Lynx, but it is a solid boat in class III water and it costs less than half as much as a new lynx at $599

Other Options.

I have heard people speak well of the tributary Strike boats before, but they are considerably more than the tomcat - enough so that I personally would consider buying a used Lynx before a new Strike.

I also have paddled an Aire Outfitter, and I really like this boat for big water or multiday trips due to the larger tubes.

but can you see its opposition | comes a-rising up sometimes | that it's dreadful and position | comes blacking in my mind | ....and then I see a darkness
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Old 06-09-2015   #12
InflatableSteve's Avatar
Cave Creek, Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 671
Another vote for Aire! Though hard to go wrong with any high end whitewater inflatable.

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Old 06-09-2015   #13
Dipshit with the most.
carvedog's Avatar
Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,496
Originally Posted by slickhorn View Post
Their whitewater line is rated up to class III. It is not a whitewater boat.

If you want a whitewater inflatable, get a real boat made with stronger fabric, seams, and valves. There are tons of great boats, they are all capable, and which you like best will come with experience more than performance differences.

Look at AIRE, Sotar, or NRS. Avoid the bathtub boats like a Hyside Padillac.

Personally I think the AIRE Lynx 1 is the best all around option, it can haul overnight gear or run the steeps.

I have paddled the Aire quite a bit and they are great, low maintenance boats. Never had to repair one, so don't know about that. Stiffer and easier to turn than the NRS and Hysides I paddles, then I got a hardshell.
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Old 06-09-2015   #14
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 78
I recommend one of the Jack's Yacks models by JPW (Jack's Plastic Welding), i.e., 1 or 2-man. We have an older 1-man and a newer 2-man (they've been reintroduced lately after ceasing production of them for a few years) and like them both. They have more rocker than most of the competition which makes them better in rapids. They have larger diameter tubes than the Aire Lynx series (12" vs. 11"). They also come with the option of a built-in inflatable floor or one that's removable if you prefer. Both of my boats are of the built-in version which is what we recommend.
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Old 06-09-2015   #15
Fort Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 49
I've been cruising the Poudre in an NRS Bandit (up to, and including class IV) for the last month. It's close to 10 years old and I've never done anything to it other than 404 a few times a summer.
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Old 06-09-2015   #16
Plunk your magic twanger!
Gremlin's Avatar
New Castle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,105
Originally Posted by mervo View Post
I've been cruising the Poudre in an NRS Bandit (up to, and including class IV) for the last month. It's close to 10 years old and I've never done anything to it other than 404 a few times a summer.
404 is next level!
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Old 06-09-2015   #17
Learch's Avatar
Dundee, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 655
+1 for the Lynx I, you can find them used. I got a used one for $350 with an older style foam floor (not produced anymore) and it is great. I am 300 lbs and I just took it down 14 miles of class III with a class IV in the mix. It did great, even with a fat guy on board. They are really stable, very reliable boats. Read about how Aire builds their boats. They have a great history with little quality control issues and the best warranty in the business. I've had two Aire IK's now and have been very impressed with both of them.
Sotars are also great boats, but they are the high end of IK's as far as price and options. Sotar will build you pretty much whatever you want, in any color, any length, custom tube diameter, etc. That last run I did had 4 Sotar SL kayaks on it, and every one had different lengths, tube sizes, and colors. One even had a custom logo that said "Sotard" (A common name for us Sotar owners)
Wishing I was on the river instead of surfing the web...
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Old 06-10-2015   #18
Fort Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 49
Originally Posted by Gremlin View Post
404 is next level!
This is what happens when my kid wants my attention while trying to think about boating! 303!!!!
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Old 06-10-2015   #19
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1966
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 427
Originally Posted by Learch View Post
...That last run I did had 4 Sotar SL kayaks on it...
Did you notice any performance differences between your Lynx and the Sotars? -- difficult comparison I guess given that the Sotars were not identical and the paddlers were also different.
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Old 06-10-2015   #20
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,408
After reading all of this thread, the bottom line seems to me is:

if you can find a good deal on a used Aire Lynx, buy it
bite the bullet and buy a new Aire Lynx.

Get on the water and have fun. Get experience on the water and then determine if you want to keep the Lynx or sell it for another model or stay with the Lynx.

I bet you stay with the Lynx! If not the resale value is good and I do not see used Lynx staying on the market very long.

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