Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-14-2010   #1
reynoldsburg, Ohio
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 8
choosing a reliable raft


I am in the market for a 14ft SB raft. Want to use for Multi-day trips on rivers like Middle Fork Salmon and Main,. Also want to use for passenger raft on rivers like Gauley, Animas, Ocoee ect. Would like removable thwarts.

I know there are many to choose from. I don't want cheap and believe in paying for what you get. Trying to decide between Avon, NRS expedition and Aire R series. Any input would be much appreciated.


riverunnerjerry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2010   #2
zbaird's Avatar
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 884
if i had the dough i'd buy an avon. you really cant go wrong with any of the mentioned boats.

zach baird
zbaird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2010   #3
Kayenta, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 95
NRS Otter


My girlfriend and I just purchased a 14 foot NRS Otter back in May. It fit the bill for what we needed as far as cost, dimensions, material and capabilities. We have less then 200 river miles on it, but we have done the San Juan rigged out expedition style for group support, Moab Daily at peak flow this summer, Brown's at low water and Animas Durango Daily at low water. All as an oar set-up with a Bighorn II frame. We love everything about it so far. Even though we didn't pop for the E series I still feel the Otter is Bomber enough for everything we will use it for. Eventually we will work up towards the bigger water and longer trips but for now we love doing these local rivers on this boat. I would not argue against any of the other brands/boats you mentioned but so far, I love our NRS. Their customer service seems real positive so far which is also something important. I have always heard great things about AIRE products and service; we opted for a hypalon boat because of how we transport and store (no trailer) and also the zippers in silty rivers...but we looked carefully at their product (R Series) and spoke to some reps...good people. Whatever you get, enjoy and any of those choices I am sure you will be stoked with.

bucket52 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2010   #4
sh$t show voyeuor/host
Barnard(Marshall), North Carolina
Paddling Since: wen?
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 285
If you get an Aire, go for the D series-way sportier with a little more space. But If you paddle silty rivers and dont clean the space between the tubes and the aircells every so often, your r
matt cook is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2010   #5
reynoldsburg, Ohio
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 8
thanks all for the input, choosing a raft is a tough decision , i appreciate all the valuable info
riverunnerjerry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2010   #6
The Russian
kazak4x4's Avatar
SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,380
Jerry, that is very broad question on this forum. You will probably get as many opinions as there will be replies. You should narrow down on your goals out of the raft, how much you want to spend, how many people you want to haul, how you are going to move the raft to the river and frame or a paddle setup. Then everyone can pitch in with much more detail rather than "I love the boat I have and you should get the same"

It's a very tough decision to make up front, after my first boat I spent about 6 months researching and talking to lots of people about the boats they had and then made up my own mind about my second (permanent) boat.

kazak4x4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2010   #7
Thronton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 665
I agree with both of the above posts - all you mentioned are good, and you'll get a bunch of people saying they love theirs.

I have the NRS Otter also, the one that is about 6 inches wider (14' x 7'). I think it's a good compromise for day trips and multi-days. The extra width provides just a little more room for the multi-day trips. It came with two thwarts, but I bought a third so I can use it for larger groups in a paddle raft setup. The only thing I would say about it (which may be true of a lot of rafts) is that it could use more d-rings (I added 4 already) and handles on front and back.
BoilermakerU is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2010   #8
reynoldsburg, Ohio
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 8
Thanks to those that commented and recommended I narrow the range of boat i am looking for. I am looking for a boat that will be my last boat I purchase. My price range is maxed at 5500.00. I want a good top quality raft that can be used to support 3-4 people (kayakers, myself) for 8 day trips . The number of passengers in the raft for overnight trips would be max at 2 . I also want a raft that can also work well on single day trips on rivers like the Gauley, Cheat, Animas, Lochsa, Forks of Kern ect. with up to 4-6 people max.

I am leaning towards the AVON 14 self-bailing adventure. I know Avon's are good boats only thing I don't like about them are the small D rings.
I guess I am looking for opinions from owners who have or had Avons and if they are pleased with them and how well the hold up after years of moderate use. I know Maravia, Sotar, NRS, Aire ect. all make good boats. The price range for the top end boats are pretty close and differ by a few hundred dollars. Customer support is very important and wonder what people's experience with AVON is.

If anyone has had any negative experiences with Avon I would be interested. Like I said I have pretty much decided on Avon and just want to confirm that I am making the right choice by listening to others opinions on AVON boats.

Thanks Jerry
riverunnerjerry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2010   #9
The Russian
kazak4x4's Avatar
SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,380
Avon = most expensive, hypalon, bomber and I doubt you will find much negative feedback here. They track well, hold air for ever and from what I hear have great customer support.

Since you mentioned Maravia, I can pitch in for that, since that is my boat. I switched from Riken to Maravia for my final boat. Boat is awesome, tracks different than i-beam hypalon boats, hauls a ton of gear and very very stable, killer stitched floor and also welded not glued. I have 16 foot Typhoon (diminishing tubes, which was my main request). They do have all sizes and all custom build new boats. On the other hand, the boat is a bit heavier than hypalon and doesn't roll at all (has to be folded).

Now the Customer Service is totally insane! I purchased my boat October of last year, custom made, but paid sale price (cheaper than any other 16 footer top brands). I was able to custom build the d-ring placement, handles, colors, etc. The cool thing is they glued the handles/d-rings first, then sprayed the urethane on top. So it looks totally stylish.

So this year after 8 big trips, I rip a d-ring out when I was loading my boat on my trailer. Obviously I call them up, within minutes Chris called me and told me to bring the boat for warranty repair. I drove up and met with the guys at the factory up in Boise. Cool dudes, all run rivers like all us consumers. Chris (sales manager) checked out the boat and 2 days later called me and told me they weren't happy with the production of my boat, found a couple of defects so they are building me a brand new boat to my specs (new d-rings design I wanted, new handles, etc).

I know AIRE has killer support, but I was totally shocked to receive that kind of treatment from Maravia. So obviously I am totally sold on their product.

I know you are leaning towards Avon, but I thought I could share my customer service story as well for comparison. All manufacturers you listed make 14 footers, which is what you are looking for sounds like. I wouldn't go smaller than 14 foot, if you want 8 day trip and supporting kayakers.

Also, you are getting close to the end of the season, which means mega sales from all manufacturers. If you are buying new, you might want to wait a couple of months, do the research and then catch a sweet deal. October/November is when the manufacturers are trying to get rid of their inventory. Good Luck!

kazak4x4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2010   #10
reynoldsburg, Ohio
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 8
Thanks very much for you input Alex. It is a tough decision for sure. Customer service and support of a product is also very important to me. Now you got me thinking about Maravia's too. Which is exactly what I wanted from the post. I want peoples experiences with the boats. Thanks again and you information is very helpful.


riverunnerjerry is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Topic Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Choosing the right size Limey Kayaking | Gear Talk 5 05-02-2008 04:50 AM
Need Help Choosing A Boat matt913 Kayaking | Gear Talk 2 07-04-2007 05:28 AM
need help choosing a boat matt913 Whitewater Kayaking 13 07-01-2007 10:07 PM
Reliable Water Mid-May? Nickdanger Whitewater Kayaking 2 03-31-2004 09:21 PM

» Classified Ads
NRS Otter Raft, 14ft

posted by rbigler

Brand new NRS Otter raft purchased in 2015 for family...

2" Seat Riser Kit for NRS...

posted by penguin

Ever feel like you sit low in your NRS oar frame? I did, so...

14ft Rocky Mountain raft

posted by lawy

14 ft Rocky Mountain raft nrs frame 3 11ft Carlisle oars....

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:02 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.