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Old 07-29-2015   #21
pocatello, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 471
I didn't like the idea of water in the floor of an aire. It seemed stupid. I like light boats. Then I got a deal I couldn't pass up and realized I could not tell. It takes 5 seconds to drain on a ramp. It doesn't bother me at all rowing or paddling. It is actually a tributary, but same concept.

I ran aire cats for the last 10+ years. I opened the cat tube zippers twice. Once was to find a leak (is was a leaky valve in the end) and once was to clean it after a very silty high water trip. Someone also pumped the bladders with a pump full of water and it was nice to be able to see the water and suck it out in the sun. The silt was fairly extensive but easy to clean and put back together. it took about 2 hours not working all that hard. the mopisture took longer to get out. For Idaho at least they dried fine, didn't accumulate silt and were no more maintenance than any other boat. No smell, no problems. I felt like the fabric held up well compared to the hypalon I've used and have access to. The otters I use all have multiple spots where I've patched wear that was down to base fabric. Anywhere without a chafe strip needs babied. The Aire PVC is bomber. I do not worry about it. They roll pretty well, maybe 30% bigger than hypalon.

I like low water technical boating and Aire PVC has been amazing to me so far. The fabric makes up for any silting.

I grew up on Hyside commercially. They are great boats too. A good hypalon choice.
I have the most experience with NRS in a rental fleet. Decent boats but the otter series needs to be cared for. E series is bomber. But they roll no better than PVC.
For personal use I like my Trib. It was sad to give up my cats to get a family raft so I could take my kids more. But they are loving it and I'm confident my trib will last long enough to pass it on to my son who is 4 now when I go back to cats.
I have limited experience with Sotar. The price keeps me away. I did have urethane NRS cat tubes for a while. They were sweet. light weight for sure. I worried about durability but 2 hard season left them looking just fine. I sold them to a friend cheap with the deal that I can borrow them back any time.

Sounds like you are in the market for a premium brand. You are unlikely to be disappointed by any choice you make. Grab a boat, get on the water and enjoy.

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Old 07-30-2015   #22
OregonPaddler's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 23
Well reading everything posted on this thread has rid any concerns that i had with aire and will likely buy a boat from them. Nice to know the zippers, mildew and rollability is not such a big deal.

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Old 07-30-2015   #23
OregonPaddler's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 23
Now all I guess I'm left with is whether to buy a 14' or a 13' & a 16'. Oh decisions decisions ha!
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Old 07-30-2015   #24
north little rock, Arkansas
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 342
FWIW Lee at TBP says the new Tribs roll up better than many hypalon boats.

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