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Old 11-28-2008   #1
Galax, Virginia
Paddling Since: 1974
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 39
Tributary rafts: Theboatpeople

I would appreciate any info about Tributary rafts (13sb and 14sb). The price seems almost too good to be true. I mainly so day trips and need a raft that will roll or fold up easily at the end of the day, but I don't want an el-cheapo raft that won't last me at least 10 years. Any suggestions? A bucket boat is OK for me as well.
Also, a company out of California, Theboatpeople, have great prices on Tributary rafts. Anyone have any experience doing business with these folks? I live in Virginia so I'm going to have to pay $$$ for shipping so, CA,CO, ID it's all the same to me. Thanks

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Old 11-28-2008   #2
TakemetotheRiver's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 05
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,477
I just ordered 2 aire landing pads from them. I spoke to Lee. He answered the phone every time I called, called me back with answers to my questions within a couple hours, made sure they arrived on time (I needed them within 3 days) and wrote me a handwritten thank you note. I was very impressed with the personalized service. And the product was $15 cheaper than on other websites. I would endorse them.

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Old 11-28-2008   #3
bigwatertoby's Avatar
Winter Park, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 54
They are a PVC boat so they will roll fine at the end of the day but you won't want to store it rolled. It needs to be stored open and slightly inflated. If space is a concern a Hypalon boat would be a better fit for you.
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Old 11-30-2008   #4
Richmond, Virginia
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 51
Rolling PVC

Hey Richie where in VA are you? I am in Va too and bought an Aire Puma last year. What river are you running?

To answer some of your questions.... PVC has been great for me. It rolls easily but yes Hypalon rolls easier as it is more flexible. I spoke with Sheena at Aire and was told it is okay to store your Aire PVC raft loose rolled if space is an issue. Not sure how this applies to Tributary Rafts or other PVC brands but this is AIRE Rafts and I was told this by Sheena an AIRE rep.

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Old 12-01-2008   #5
Kendo's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 155

I bought a tributary 12sb, last year, I love it, I dont have alot of room so I have to stowe it in a (NRS)bag until I use it, the hardest part is that you have to make sure it is clean-sand and rock free before you fold and stowe. I have a oar frame set up and it makes it easier for both my lovely girlfriend and dog to come along.
I would suggest to use talc if you stowe for longer than just a season, I have also seen a spray protectant-amor all -type product oil base, I have heard good things about but am apprehensive since it could make the pvc stick together if folded tight and snug for longterm storage..
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Old 12-01-2008   #6
shappattack's Avatar
Up North, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,149
There are lots of PVC boats out there that are stored rolled at the end of the seasono with out any effects for many years, mine included which is an Aire boat. as previously stated clean and dry is the most important for long term storage (avoid the mold!) As far as PVC vs. Hapalon rolled size (based on my boats in my shop), you are only talking a few square inches difference in the footprint between two similar sized boats, not even noticible unless you are transporting the thing in a GEO metro or else you live in a cardboard box behind 7-11.
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Old 12-01-2008   #7
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 7
I got a 14' Tributary from the boat people a year ago, I've been impressed w/ performance and price. I've put about 25 days on it and had a big smile on my face. One thing. the floor blew out on the 3rd or 4th day out. AIRE replaced it no questions, and I had the impression they were dealing with a bad batch of floors and had sent out many replacements.
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Old 12-01-2008   #8
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 646
I've dealt with 3-4 times. These guys know their stuff and take care of you. If you have any questions, ask them.
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Old 12-01-2008   #9
Groveland, California
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 201
Lee at theboatpeople is great to deal with, he pointed me towards a Trib 14 SB, which I just received about a month ago. I was very impressed with the build quality, especially for the price. This is my first raft, and will be building a frame and outfitting it over the winter....the only experience I have with it so far is pumping it up in the living room and "camping" in it with my daughter, which was a blast.....I can't wait to get on the water in the spring!

I am storing it rolled, as suggested by Aire.....they just recommend a loose roll, as mentioned above.

Last I talked to Lee, Aire was planning to bump prices considerably before the end of the year, $500+ on the 14SB, so if you are thinking about it, you might save some cash if you buy now....he can give you the scoop on that.
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Old 12-03-2008   #10
The Box, ~
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 199
Tributary's Are Good

Tributary makes a great product for the money. The bladders are the identical material as in the AIRE boats and made on the same machines, but the difference is that Tributary's are made in China and AIRE in Idaho. Base fabric is identical. AIRE's have a slightly heavier coating of PVC than the Tributaries. There are only about three differences:
  1. 10 year no-fault warranty
  2. Couple less D-rings
  3. Chafe strips
My previous generation AIRE tubes are identical to the current Tributary tubes. Basically, the current Tributary rafts and cats are the previous generation of AIRE's.

This last season I saw a lot of Tributary rafts running commercially out West here.

Frankly, the Tributary rafts will last the average user on this website a lifetime of personal use. I have friends who own $5k-$6k rafts (rubber only) and they only get out one trip a year. More boat than they'll ever use!

Yes, PVC can be more prone to damage than Hypalon, but I believe that it is drastically miss-represented by many on this website of the problems of PVC. I have a 10+ year old PVC boat, and now many others as well, who all roll our boats up and store them in our garages during the winter and have had no problems. I just make sure not to unroll or push against the boat when it's frozen.

Are you planning to use this mainly as an oar boat or paddle boat? I can then share my thoughts on the sizes.

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