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Old 03-28-2014   #1
John_in_Loveland's Avatar
Loveland, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 149
Advice on 13' versus 14' Aire/Trib rafts

I am considering purchasing a used Aire 13D raft. I have also been considering a new 14' Tributary. Aside from the obvious issues of condition and warranty, I'd like input and opinions on differences when used as oar boats:

Does going from 13' to 14' give that much more gear capacity. The shape of both seem does the 13' handle when loaded (or overloaded depending on the beer). How would they compare in skinny water (such as the MFS in September)

As far as use, it would be used for day trips on the upper CO, Browns, as well as fishing the Green, and most importantly, either the Salmon or MFS in early September

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Old 03-28-2014   #2
MT4Runner's Avatar
Kalispell, Montana
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,436
I have a 13.0sb and it is VERY similar in size/displacement to my buddy's 143D.
A 13D will be a smaller boat than a 13.0SB. A 14.0SB will be much bigger than a 13D.

The Tribs are a lot more similar to the R series.

Decide whether you want the round profile or the diminishing tubes. If you like the round profile, decide if you want the more inexpensive boat or the 10-year warranty and USA made. To me, one of the biggest benefits of the R and D series is that you can get the Sealed Pocket Floor, which makes your raft a lot more nimble..with the Tribs, you only get the water-filled open floor pocket.

13 vs 14. How many people? Dogs? How much beer, exactly?

I like my 13.0. It's awesome for daytrips on III+ with my wife and kids. It gets small quickly when the rivers get big. I've flipped it several times on the Lochsa over 14k, and once on the Alberton Gorge (III+) at 20k. It's fun when the rivers drop and the 15.5' raft is boring. At the same time, I have considered trading it for a 14.0. I have a couple of friends who run them on the Lochsa, and it's noticeably more stable when the river is running good...but I don't think it would be "boring" on lower flows.

Bigger tubes, more length = more capacity with a shallower draft. If you're concerned about dragging in the late summer, 14' will actually float higher.

If you're concerned about width, there isn't much difference.

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Old 03-28-2014   #3
Taos, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 10
What MT4runner said. Though for the southwest, the heavier bottom material on the 13D could be an issue to consider depending on how overloaded you run and how low the river is. I've doubled recommended loads in the super puma and drug her way too much with never an issue or much noticeable wear. The narrower profile, shorter waterline, and smaller tube diameter make for a better low water boat in my opinion as well. As for flipping...there are those who will, those who have, and those who will again...regardless of the boat they row.
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Old 03-28-2014   #4
MT4Runner's Avatar
Kalispell, Montana
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,436
Originally Posted by Riverology View Post
As for flipping...there are those who will, those who have, and those who will again...regardless of the boat they row.
Depends on my crew. Personally, I risk flipping with reckless abandon if the consequences of a swim are minor.

Pipeline on the Lochsa at about 8k. The open pocket floor isn't a surfing machine, but it doesn't keep me from trying!
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