Which Inflatable Tandem for whitewater (III)?? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 05-18-2011   #1
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 5
Which Inflatable Tandem for whitewater (III)??

So I am looking to get into an inflatable tandem kayak for whitewater so I can take my wife and occaisionally my son(15) down some runs. Thinking eventually along the lines of Browns Canyon, Parkdale, on the Arkansas. I have been a hard shell kayaker up to class IV but not done any inflatables. I see Aire Tomcat, ZOIK RF and Alterego II at reasonable prices but they seem fairly different in design of floor and hull. I am not expecting an inflatable to be like a hard shell but want to get something that is suited to whitewater, not just meadering on flat water. I would prefer to keep the cost for the boat under $1200 if possible. The manufacturers propaganda does not help much in decision making and I am hoping for some real world input.


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Old 05-18-2011   #2
treehugger's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 199
I would have to say the Aire IK's are really nice and well put together. THey do pretty well in whitewater. I have a Seaeagle 380 which I bought when I was a newb. I run class III and IV with it solo, It's big stable and slow. But I can load alot of gear in it. THe boat has not had any leaks except the floor which is pool toy quality. The d rings break and the material does not hold up well when you try and remove the old patches. THe seats are garbage. Had to buy a sewing awl and restitch them after the first two times out. Basically don't buy one. But it got me on the water and now i am hooked. You should also look at the soar inflatable canoe's. A bit spendy but they look pretty bomber. IK's will feel like you are paddling a pig compared to a hardshell. I've done some III tandem runs with mine and I don't think that I want to try IV unless it is a good day to go for a swim. But I see a few people doing it. But they are pretty forgiving and good to get less experienced paddlers on the river. You don't have to do a winters worth of pool sessions before you get on the river. And with a hardshell and a tandem ducky you can do some overnights. Another Idea. Two duckys and a cataraft frame=ultimate in versitility.
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Old 05-18-2011   #3
Montrose, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Feb 2008
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I've been running duckys on III/IV SW/W CO rivers for a while now and have rented, borrowed or bought a lot of what's out there. I used to be against the Aire/Tributary Tomcat because of the double layer pvc/vinyl design and their weight, but they have a lot of positive features. They're pretty easy to patch and repair, they're stable-especially with two paddlers, they have a ton of lash points and they are cheap. You can get a new one for $750. If you get one, install D-rings or carabiners in the lashing loops so you don't wear them out pulling cam straps through them.
I have a Hyside Paddilac, which I love because they're almost mini rafts, but they are pretty spendy and can be slow to bail. I've also run NRS Maveriks before. These boats are really nice, made from Hypalon and are a lot ligher than the Tomcat, but seem to be easier to flip in IV. They'd be right in your price range. I haven't run the Bandit before, but it seems to be a cheap version of the Maverik with an untested material. I'd stay away from these if you can.

The nicest, most bomber and manuverable ducky? IMO, its definitely Sotar. You'll pay for it, but you'll have it forever. I'm not sure what a new two seater goes for, but its got to be pushing 2k/2k+.
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Old 05-18-2011   #4
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Lakewood, Colorado
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I grew up paddling a tandem Aire Lynx. Solid and reliable though not the most comfortable. I have a Sevylor River X K1 which is bomber. I've never paddled the tandem (k2) version but I'd suggest looking at it. Sevylor uses good plastic, the design is comfy, and they come with a good price tag.
On the river, I can abandon who I am and what I've done. However brief it lasts, while on the river I am nothing important and everything insignificant. I am flotsam, and happy to be so.
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Old 05-18-2011   #5
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1966
Join Date: Jul 2009
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MY GF is very comfortable in the tandem Hyside Padillac. We've done the Yampa in later June, so not huge water, (didn't do Warm Springs -- it was our first time on WW and the guide didn't recommend it), Gates of Lodore in September, "Alpine Canyon" on the Snake south of Jackson many times -- never ever flipped if that is a concern -- definitely WW worthy -- in fact not really flat water worthy. I was thinking of buying other tandems, but she had experience in the Hyside from the Yampa trip and was sold on it -- feeling safe. I know they just got even more expensive, but perhaps a used one from an outfitter would get in your price range. I have heard excellent things about the Aire Lynx II, but no experience -- I do however love my Lynx I, so would expect the Lynx II to rock -- not quite as barge-like as the Hyside. Have you checked out theboatpeole dot com (it is a step above the manufacturers' marketing talk).
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Old 05-18-2011   #6
Crested Butte, Colorado
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Have you considered a shredder? you would be able to run harder stuff w/o as much swimming.
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Old 05-18-2011   #7
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 207
Sevylor Xk2

I currently have one of these. It's the only non-pool toy boat that Sevylor makes, as far as tandems go. It handles very well, and is very rigid--floor inflates up to 10 psi. The material is reasonably tough pvc, but not as tough as the Hypalon of a hyside or an Aire. The biggest downfall is that it bails too slowly, so that the whole boat is full of water. And with two adults, you'll always be sitting in an inch or two of water. That said, the boat is still alot more fun to paddle than the sluggish Hyside Padilla--paddled on of those thru the Grand a couple years ago. I would like at both of the Zoik models--the RF looks good, but I've never paddled it.
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Old 05-18-2011   #8
Join Date: Jun 2004
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CB Rob, to be honest I don't know what a shredder is....
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Old 05-18-2011   #9
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Johnovice, thanks for the tip, I will check that site out also.
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Old 05-18-2011   #10
Ward, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2007
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sent you a pm, have a Hyside 2-man if you're interested
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