Aire 143R VS NRS E-140 - Mountain Buzz

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Old 01-22-2011   #1
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,465
Aire 143R VS NRS E-140

This is a tough decision. We'll be getting a new boat in the fall and having owned and loved Aire and NRS boats I thought I'd reach out for some opinions. I want excellent tracking, extreme longevity, and exceptionally fast warranty work, if and when it's needed.

They're about the same weight. The Aire has the floor pocket that takes on water and keeps the boat heavy on the bottom. I like this, but my experience with the Aire IK and Puma series is that it didn't fell that dramatic - but maybe I would have flipped more without it... It's also available in Urethane for about a grand more.

This will be my boat for paddle rafting - Poudre, Ark, Gore, Gauley, etc. as well as my Grand Canyon boat next time we go. It needs to last 20 years.

I guide on NRS boats and have for several years now, but if anyone owns the Aire I would gladly drop a case of beer to try her out with you in June.

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Old 01-22-2011   #2
North Bend, Washington
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 476
I guide mainly on AIRE boats but have used NRS boats too. I'm looking at getting a boat of my own soon and based on how I like the tracking of the AIREs better than NRS- I'm planning on gettting an AIRE 143D when I can get enough $ scraped together. Just my .02

Oh and I like the colors of AIRE better...but that might just be a girl thing.
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Old 01-22-2011   #3
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
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Thanks Kendi, and it's not just a girl thing. I ordered my IK in dark purple and my raft will be the same if we get the Aire!
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Old 01-22-2011   #4
the grove, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jul 2008
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The Aire with the upgrade to sealed floor pocket cost basically the same as the NRS. I don't think you can argue that NRS has better customer service than Aire, It would be hard to determine which boat may actually last longer, but why not go with the American made boat, unless you really want a hypalon rig? But then again I have a purple Aire and am biased, although I used to have a Riken too. Regardless, its a great conundrum to be in, having the cash to get a new rig!
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Old 01-22-2011   #5
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Fort Fun, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 35
I have a 143D and am very pleased with the boat so far. I would also say that Aire's customer service is top notch and they have a service center down in Denver (Inflatable technologies) if ever needed.
Look me up in the spring if you want to head down the Poudre.
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Old 01-22-2011   #6
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,722
Memory not that good, but I think I got my Aire 143 regular tubes from the factory on their winter sale 2005 or so. Lots of trips and when I wash it down at home, still looks new. One super low water trip down Lodore left me with a lot of worry but bottom looked the same at take out as it did at put in. Always rowed mine so no feedback as a paddle raft.

Never a seconds trouble with this raft. No garage space so I roll mine up and store in a shed.

Speed and handling seems to be as good, sometime maybe a bit faster than my other buds 14 footers.

I got this boat based on seeing other buds rowing them on the river, it is made in America and Aire service is legendary.

I hear complaints about mud in the zippers, but never had to unzip and after trips on muddy runs like San Juan a good wash down, I see no dirt in the zippers.

Good reports on NRS expedition series as well, Aire might be a tad lighter which is important when loading trailer by my self. I store mine in one of the NRS bags which makes handling much easier and much recommend this bag.
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Old 01-22-2011   #7
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,165
Personally I don't like Aire's system of attaching the thwarts for wedging your feet during paddle rafting. The front foot goes in okay (not as secure as NRS or Hyside), but i have never liked the wedge i get for my rear foot. When I've been in other peoples boats I never want to be in the front paddling because I feel very unstable. It's less of an issue for the person guiding the boat, but still present as I usually end up banging my shin against one of the cam buckles holding the thwart in. Aire may have changed the specifics of their system in newer boats to make it work better - I haven't been in anything newer than early 2000s Aire's. Of course a bunch of foot cups can reduce this issue fairly quickly. With AIRE boats you do get nearly universal thwart placement, but the folks i know with these boats seem to make marks for their thwarts and just place them in the same spot all the time anyway. So I don't know that the ability to move them around is actually a big advantage once you get over the novelty of it.
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Old 01-22-2011   #8
Costa Mesa, California
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 142
I vote for NRS. I dont like the Aire floor or thwart attachment.

Thats my buddies hand. Its the NRS 143.

The rest of that run is here.
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Old 01-22-2011   #9
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
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Thanks everybody! I'm hoping to do the Urethane 143R in dark purple if they don't gauge me too bad on the upgrade.

Dana, I'll be looking you up for a Poudre trip this summer. I could borrow an NRS and rig it and we could swap back and forth and compare! Of course we'll post the results in this thread. If only summer would get here sooner....
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Old 01-22-2011   #10
slamkal's Avatar
vancouver, Washington
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,148
From experience I'd go with the airecell over hypalon. I once tore a big gash in an nrs cat just pulling it on the shore I like the concept of a fast field repair and then sending it back for a free factory repair

There is a seconds aire 143 on aires specials page. It's not purple or urethane however. I'm guessing the issue is the color match??
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