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Old 05-31-2009   #1
Fort Defiance, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1900
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 17
Which 13.5 foot boat??

Hey everyone, I'm looking at purchasing a new boat, have decided on the size, and really am just looking for thoughts on which company. I'm trying to decide between the Hyside Outfitter Pro or the NRS E-136. I know both companies make a great product, but I'm just curious if anyone has opinions of one being better than the other. At the moment I am leaning towards the Hyside because it's 109 pounds vs. 134 pounds with the NRS. Any other thoughts to factor in? Thanks a ton in advance!!!

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Old 05-31-2009   #2
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 18
Not sure on these two boats. We run AIRE 13.5 Boats and they are great! They are stable enough to run large waves with a heavy load and are super repairable if needs be. Also they come with wear pads to prolong life if used with a frame.

Go with AIRE you won't be disappointed

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Old 06-01-2009   #3
Wirednoodle's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 114
Just based on customer service alone I would have to throw SOTAR out there.
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Old 06-01-2009   #4
Fort Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 213
Hyside for sure

NRS also makes a great boat, and although I have not paddled them much we use Hysides and they work great. If you are getting the outfitter series they are really durable and strong. Plus like you said they are light and track really well.

Their customer service might take a little while to get back to you but when they do they are alway really helpful.

I have paddled several of their products and love them all (shredder, mini-me, 14')
There is always a reason not to...
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Old 06-01-2009   #5
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,347
Yeah, I love my SOTARs, and if you go through a local rep you can always get a discount. But the NRS E series is great also, but as you note, heavy. They are made in Mexico, I think Aire are made in Idaho. I've seen Mr. & Mrs. Aire boating on the Lochsa, and because of that I'd choose Aire over NRS. I like local products and people. But I'd (almost) always choose a SOTAR over an Aire, they are even lighter. And you can customize it, multiple colors, very pretty!
I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 06-01-2009   #6
nomad, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 47
NRS all the way

I vote for the E-136. I have guided with both Hyside and NRS boats for many years and personally think the NRS boats are much better. The NRS 08,09 models have dropped a little weight and I believe are a touch narrower than the Hysides. They track extemely well. I own a E-135, which is the 2002 version of the 136 and absoultely love it.
Both are 1st tier boats and I sure you would enjoy either one. Neither have bladders or PVC. I have owned a lemon hyside in the past (really freak situation) and had a terrible time with Hysides customer service. Just my 2 cents. Let us know what you decide to do. Good luck!
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Old 06-01-2009   #7
Thronton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 665
Hyside, NRS, Aire - I don't think you can go wrong with any of those from what I can tell. I just bought my own boat myself, and I spent the last several months doing all the research I could to try to answer that question. I know an outfitter, and he LOVES Hysides. He also owns an NRS Cataraft. He's a big proponent of Hypalon boats, so that's the direction he steered me.

A co-worker of mine does a LOT of rafting, and he owns an Aire. He swears by it, especially for the warranty and the design. The bladder design is probably the best feature (says the outfitter I know too). It's PVC though, so probably won't last as long, may require more care, more suseptible to sun, etc.

When I talked to the people that actually sell them, I got pretty much the same repsonse on those three boats. One person I talked to claims Hyside quality has gone down the past couple of years, but other than that, it was almost a toss up between the three.

In the end, I went with an NRS Otter series because I liked the idea of a boat that could last me well into my retirement. LOL It happened to be on sale too, making it a bit less than an Aire actually.

Good luck with your decision, and I hope you get your boat soon! Any chance you'll be on the Salt next spring (I see you are in Arizona)? That was my Dad's first whitewater trip (before they dynamited Quartzite Falls). Talk about a newbie! LOL

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