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Old 01-12-2014   #1
Oregon City, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 1
Achilles or NRS Part Deux...

So, since I know I'm going to get this, I did look at this post here: Achilles Raft Thoughts?

I want to buy a new 14' raft for fishing the Deschutes and some coastal rivers. It comes down to two models - the NRS E-142 and the Achilles 14' SB. I'm getting quoted about $3200 for the Achilles, $5000 for the E-142. (Gulp).

I want a raft that I can drag over rocks if needed single-soldier and will be a 20-30 year boat. It won't be garaged, unfortunately. From what I can gather, this comes down to a PVC vs Hypalon type discussion between these two brands:

Achilles (Hypalon)
Not responsive, slow
Soft sides (hard to stand up in for fishing)

Fabric is the most durable
Good return policy from Achilles

NRS E-142
(does it weather well outside? Will I need to cover it with w a tarp in summer as well as aerospace protectant?)

Stiffer, rows better
legendary durability

Does anyone have any input on which model they've found best? Am I right in thinking that the pros of the E-142 don't outweight that high expense? And will Hypalon be able to handle being ungaraged in summer?

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Old 01-12-2014   #2
Searching for water....., Nevada
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 168
They are both "hypalon" (NRS uses the same material sold under a different name). The NRS E-series are bomber boats but are still rubber so some think they are "slow". Does the Achilles have the full wrap double bottom?

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Old 01-12-2014   #3
duct tape's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1974
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 640
There's also Hyside.
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Old 01-12-2014   #4
BCJ's Avatar
Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 523
Achilles are good quality. Buddy of mine has one that's about 22 years going strong. But NRS are also good these days. Hyside is the only one left that is double-sided hypalon. If it were me, I'd go with Hyside for that reason.
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Old 01-13-2014   #5
River City, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 195
My first raft was a 1980's 14' Achilles bucket boat that was still going strong 3 years ago when I sold it. It was an ancient boat that was a retired commercial boat covered in patches, and I was never concerned to take it on wilderness rivers.

My current boat is an Expedition Series 14' NRS that I absolutely love.

In between I have owned a 1990's 14' Hyside. We also use to use the same Hyside boats when guiding and those boats can take a beating.

Point is, all 3 are Hypalon, and all 3 high quality rafts that are going to last you decades with proper care. Besides mechanical wear nothing degrades a raft faster then UV exposure. So yes you will need to 303 your raft. All of the rafts will be fine stored outside, but you'll want to throw a tarp or cover over them to keep the dirt, weather, and sun off it. You sound like you'll be rolling the raft in the off season for storage? If so then good choice with the Hypalon boats. One other thing about Hyside is that they use a Urethane coated chafer on the bottom of the raft. Nice because that is slicker then Hypalon floors for all the single soldier across rock raft pulling you plan on doing.

They all row great. It is just my humble opinion but I don't find the performance of these brands that vastly different. Bigger factors are the rower's skills, total load weight, weight distribution, etc.

Bottom line is you are not going to go wrong with any of these 3 brands for what you have described for performance and durability, assuming you properly take care of the raft.
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