Aire Raft vs. Vangaurd Raft - Mountain Buzz

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Old 02-24-2008   #1
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 11
Aire Raft vs. Vangaurd Raft

Ok, thanks for all the previous posts in providing me with information on raft materials. I have narrowed it down to the Aire 130D and Vangaurd (VG) Venture 13. From my research these rafts are both PVC and similar in dimensions, both 13' long but the Air 6'-4" wide and the VG is only 6' wide. This seems to be as far as the similarities go. The material thickness on both rafts are completely different. The Aire has lace in self bailing for as well, what are the pros and cons on this type of floor? I could not find if the VG used the air bladder system like Aire, does anyone know? I have also read that the VG will take 2.75 psi, but I have also heard that the VG has a pressure relief valve that will never let one air it up that tight, any comments?

I would like some info as to which raft is the best all round fishing package from folks who own and have rowed/fished both.

Has anyone had any experience with their warranty departments?

I have rowed the VG and tracking was superb to the hypalon boats I've rowed. Any feed back on the Aires tracking/manuverability?

FYI, I have attached a pic a sweet rod holder that a company in Montana is making. They also make a great beverage holder that comes with a complimentary 'coozie'. Some cools guys getting started with custom raft accessories, check em' out.

I have also attached a pic the frame that I'd lke to purchase from swifwater sports in Washington. The only drawback (I see) is that the frame is zinc plated steel tubing as opposed to aluminum. What are folks opinions of the frame being made of a corrosive metal even though it is plated. Seems like I will be asking for trouble down the road...

What is the difference between the Carlisle, Sawyer, and Cataract oars and blades? Is the cost worth the benefits? Wood, aluminum, fiberglass, plastic, rope wrapped, counterbalanced, cobra oar-locks, standard oar-locks???????????? Please help!

I am sorry for all the questions, but I greatly apprciate your feedback. One day soon I will be able to return the whitewater info train with other green horns looking to get their feet wet.

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Old 02-24-2008   #2
Join Date: Feb 2008
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Use Mirosoft Offie Picture Manager to open the second image.
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Old 02-24-2008   #3
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
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The VG does not have bladders, that is an aire only trait I believe. I've been real pleased with my air, but it doesn't see that much abuse.

pressure relief valves, to my knowledge, are only for the floors in most boats.

for gear hauling wider is good. if you're doing mostly fishing, maybe narrow is good? I don't fish.

(seven two 0)-298-2242
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Old 02-24-2008   #4
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at my house, Montana
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Bladders & floors

I believe I have read in many places drawbacks of bladders. You might search this forum or others and see what folks have said.

It is easy to send a lace in floor back to the factory for warranty repair, and or in the future it is easier to replace.

If you are looking at PVC, why not maravia?
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Old 02-24-2008   #5
Join Date: Feb 2008
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Maravia... The rich mans tube

They are a little to proud of their products, but I am sure they are Caddilacs of the river.
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Old 02-24-2008   #6
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Unincorporated Douglas County, Colorado
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I'm guessing that if the bladders in Aire boats were a real problem, you wouldn't see so many of them on the river.
But I run 2 Aire boats, so I'm bias. So far, it hasn't been a problem.
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Old 02-24-2008   #7
caverdan's Avatar
C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
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If your in the market for a an Avon as they track like no other.

I own a couple of old Avon's, an NRS cat, a Campways bucket boat, Hyside Mini-mee and a first year 12' Vanguard (Along with a garage full of friends and my brothers boats.). My favorite boat of them all is my trusty 12' Vanguard. I had a little problem with the thort attach points the first year and the owner of Vanguard went out of her way to get it fixed right. Their warranty is first rate IMHO. That being said, I also have friends with Aire boats and they stand behind their product as well. My Vanguard is a rare hypalon model, but their PVC ones I've seen are just as bomber and well built.

The big difference from other boats is the floor thickness. I believe mine is 8" but could be thicker. It keeps my feet high and dry and makes it punch through holes like no tomorrow. The few times I've rapped it on rocks, the stiffness of the floor has kept it from sticking, totally rapping, and/or submerging.

The design of my Vanguard is exactly the same, almost seam for seam, as the 12' Avon Redshank bucket boat I have in my garage. I also like how it has wear strips all the way around the boat. It has the Avon style steps/handles front and rear. The tag on my boat says it will haul 1100kg. I'm sure the floor thickness has something to do with that limit. I'd buy another Vanguard in a heartbeat if I didn't have more boats in my garage than I can float in a lifetime.

Here's the secret if you haven't picked up on it yet. A Vanguard is a well made Avon at half the price (with a double thick floor) but it's made of PVC instead of Hypalon. (All Avon's are Hypalon)

The problem I've seen with Aire is that water gets trapped between the bladder and the outside skin. If you like to drop, roll and store them after a trip, they mildew fast and it's hard to get the smell out once it starts. you really need to store them unrolled. #2 is the zippers. There are tricks to opening and closing them without breaking them. One is to use wax or paraffin on them and be very gentle if you try to use pliers. If you mess one'll be sending it off for repair.

I'm not a big fan of lace in floors. They just don't track the same as a glued in one. We had an Avon 14' in our fleet for a while that had a retro fit, laced in floor and we ended up getting rid of it and replacing it with another old Avon self bailer.

If you lace them too tight they can have a hard time self bailing. I was in a friends Star on it's maiden voyage down Browns. It was high water (2000+) that day and we surfed a hole between River Runners beach and Ruby Mountain. We literally sunk the thing and came out full of water. It took like what seemed several minutes to bail. Of coarse we loosened the floor up at Ruby Mountain and had no further problems.
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Old 02-24-2008   #8
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That rod holder is sweeet.

We broke a rod last year from folks walking around the boat.

$100 though. I think I can make one with some PVC pipe.
With cunning skill like a duck walking a tightrope at night
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Old 02-24-2008   #9
caverdan's Avatar
C. Springs, Colorado
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Originally Posted by miker View Post
That rod holder is sweeet.

I think I can make one with some PVC pipe.
I agree. With the pictures you could make your own pretty easy. Their drink holder has a major design flaw in doesn't have a lid to keep the splash of river water out.

Check out this drink holder called a River Betty. web2 My brother makes um. Class V tested and approved.
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Old 02-24-2008   #10
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Huson, Montana
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I saw some guys on the salt one day lose maybe half a day stitching a blown zipper on a Aire. Theres something about zippers on boats I dont trust. Maybe cus the fly on my jeans wont stay up.
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