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Old 06-11-2013   #1
bioboyd's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 2
Newby wants IK info

It's finally that time: I'm looking to buy my first whitewater IK, so I hope to learn from your experiences and opinions. First, some clarification: I plan to use an IK about 50/50 on multi-day whitewater trips and mellow day trips. A used tandem boat is preferable, I think, to accommodate gear and/or a friend. Hyside and AIRE seem like quality brands. NRS has a great reputation, too. Thoughts? Thanks!

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Old 06-11-2013   #2
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,929
My wife has an AIRE/Tributary Tandem TomCat that suits most of our needs. Great for both multi-day and day trips. Definitely an entry level IK that fills the niche of the average joe (aka, my wife and I). Completely comfortable taking it on multi-day self support trips.


Cheap purchase
Usable on rivers and lakes
Plenty of space for gear and passenger
Comfortable seat for entry level


Heavy, (54 lbs) which can be difficult to manage alone
Overly flexible towards middle, i.e ready to taco
Bloody long
Limited warranty

If you are looking for a one-time lifetime purchase, I would consider a higher quality model with better warranty. If you are looking for a model that is useable in a lot of conditions with the potential of upgrading to a more technical boat later than I would consider this a worthy purchase.


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Old 06-11-2013   #3
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 176
I have an NRS bandit that I really like. I've had it on a multiday trip in Montana that was about 5 days and carried all my gear no problem. That was 2 dry bags full of gear (one in front of my foot pegs, one behind the seat), a gear bag with my whitewater gear for when we came to rapids, and my fishing stuff. It'll easily do class IV. I've had complete whitewater newbies take it out and do class III/IV their first day on the water. It's about 20 pounds so easy to haul around too.

If you think you'll be taking passengers a lot though, it's probably not the boat for you. I've taken passengers, but it's more of a short duration lark. I wouldn't try and do it for a full run or in serious whitewater.
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Old 06-11-2013   #4
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1966
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 427
Lots of info here.
Inflatable Kayaks & Canoes

Tandem gives you the flexability I think you are looking for.
Agree, Aire Tributary Tomcat is a good, economical, first boat -- agree with the listed pros and cons.
Boat people (above) speak highly of the Tributary Strike -- I have never been in one.
The Aire Lynx II is a great tandem -- I have the single version and it rocks.
Hyside Padillac has gotten pretty expensive but is bomber, very stable, a bit more of a tank than the Lynx.
The Aire boats have a bladder system zippered under an outer shell -- if by chance you mostly run silty rivers, that may not be the best.
I'd love to try a Sotar, but haven't had the chance; also a Thrillseeker.
Have fun looking. Try some different ones out if you can!

I see commercial outfits (guides/renters) using Hysides and Tributaries a lot, so you might find some used, ask around. I got my Trib Tomcat Tandem for $450 used a few yeras ago from a rental joint in great shape -- my single lynx is the bomb for day trips; Hyside tandem for multi-day; Tomcat has become mostly my "guest" boat. All the tiedown loops in the AIRE boats are nice.
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Old 06-11-2013   #5
prescott, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 276
tandem is the way to go.

you can always go to canyon reo and rent an aire tomcat tandem. i think they go for $15/day.

that will at least give you an idea.

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Old 06-11-2013   #6
Montrose, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 274
without any doubt the tandem tomcat by tributary is the best solid inflatable at a very reasonable price. it can carry a 700 lb. payload ; but is agile enough to make quicker turns in alot of must rivers. I have 2 tandem and 1 single tomcat. Seats are not the best but I have found a easy solution to the crappy straps that come with them. Give me a call at 970-497 6512 glad to give you all of my river years of knowledge. Chow.
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Old 06-11-2013   #7
shappattack's Avatar
Up North, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,148
single or double older aire lynx is the tits as they say in the parlance of our time.
Double for bigger water and/or more gear

single for more difficult terrain

search craigslist, we have 7 IKs all aire, all great deals used
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Old 06-11-2013   #8
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,404
Aire. You'll have it for life, it's not too heavy, and there seem to be a fair amount of used ones out there.
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Old 06-12-2013   #9
bioboyd's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 2
Hot damn! Thanks for your candor, folks. I appreciate it greatly. The problem with waiting for the end of the season (a.k.a. a good deal on a used, higher-end boat) is that I can't use it NOW during my field bio job along the North Platte in Wyoming. However, in October, I'll be back in AZ for a month-long float down the Colorado through Grand Canyon and then some. Don't wanna wait, if you know what I mean
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Old 06-14-2013   #10
Truckee, California
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 8
Wow. Good company here.
Good luck with your new boat Mike. Glad to know you are still rocking the biologist work! I just got a Jacks Plastic IK earlier this year and it is way fun. Much easier to get around than the raft, and the low water year is not a problem in my new rig. Craigslist worked out for me; super good deal with paddle. Just have to be patient.
Nice to see some photos Shappart! Long time! My crew is still talking about a Jarbridge-Bruneau, now I'm thinking about low water in the Iks!?
And Bob? Bob J? Serious water man. Just told a fishing story about you the other day... Are you gonna be in Toulumne this summer? Wanna run the T in duckies? Wanna show me the Arsonist?

Oh yeah, some advice.... Buy the best gear you can afford. An older high quality product is better than a new cheapo. And AIRE is an awesome american made company. They back up their products.

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