Need help from all the AIRE-heads - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 11-27-2012   #1
 
San Francisco, California
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 110
Need help from all the AIRE-heads

Hi, everyone, I am really a newbie here seeking some help getting started. I just sold my 12' and am ready to move onto a bigger boat for a growing family.

I am about the pull the trigger on a Aire 156. I was set on 156R until someone steered me towards 156D. I have 4 children (3, 5, 8, 10) and am thinking of taking them on multiday trips on mild rivers here in Northern Cal, Southern Oregon (Lower Klamath) for 3-5 day trips in the summer. The rest of the time, it will go on class III to IV with a couple of paddler in the front and me rowing. 90% of the time, it will have a rowing frame on it.

Can Aire owners chime in on which boat will have more room on the boat? I am not too worried about carrying capacity or getting wet. I am also thinking of going with SFP for ease of cleaning/storage.

156D is meager 40' wide inside the tube, and 156R is 42' but the former gives extra 8" (4' + 4' from the 18" tube diameter). Will I be better off with D or R? I know that R will be a bit more stable. Or should I spring for a real 16'? Another boat I was thinking of was NRS E160 which is 7'7" full 47" width inside the tube. But, I don't want to go too big for the rivers here in the northwest are not that wide.

Please share your thoughts or experiences. I don't want to spend the kind of money I am about put down, and regret later. Thank you for any help.

Theodore

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Old 11-27-2012   #2
 
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Kalispell, Montana
Paddling Since: 1997
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156R owner here. I haven't ever been in a 156D, but my good friend has a 143D.

6 people is going to be a huge load for overnight/multiday in any boat, but very comfortable in a 156 boat for day trips.

Your needs will change in only a few years. Your 8 and 10 year-olds will be rowing on class II-III in 4 or 5 years, and IV in maybe 6 or 7. All 4 will be getting bigger. I would recommend against dropping $4,500 on a brand-new raft when in a short period of time you will more likely want a quiver than a single raft. Shop for a used one!!

Go for the SFP for cleaning/storage and maneuverability. I went from a Maravia with a dropstitch floor to my 156R with the regular floor pocket. I preferred the maneuverability of the slick, no-ballasted floor.

Short term, you're probably going to be most comfortable in a real 16. You're not going to get a ton of wave action, but you've also got two smaller kids and you DO NOT want a flip. A ways down the road, you might find that a pair of 14's or a 13' and 14' and a 156 or 160 fits your needs better. My old Maravia was a true 16 and I took it down a lot of narrow rivers in the 8 years it was my only boat.
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Old 11-27-2012   #3
 
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Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1987
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Diminishing tubes gives you more interior room in front and back, but less flotation and a splashier ride for passengers. 15.6 is a great sized boat for smaller/medium sized rivers if its not overloaded.
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Old 11-27-2012   #4
 
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Durango, Colorado
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E160!

I went from a 143D, which was awesome, to an E160. I had to upgrade for the growing family too. There are usually two adults and three kids on my boat for trips. They are nine, six, and two. There was no way I could comfortably carry passengers and gear with my old boat, comfortably. I was afraid of the E160 being sluggish and huge compared to the 143D but it isn't at all. I love it and suggest you go that route. Lots of room to move about is good for everyone.
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Old 11-27-2012   #5
 
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Kalispell, Montana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coloradopaddler View Post
I went from a 143D, which was awesome, to an E160. I had to upgrade for the growing family too. There are usually two adults and three kids on my boat for trips. They are nine, six, and two. There was no way I could comfortably carry passengers and gear with my old boat, comfortably. I was afraid of the E160 being sluggish and huge compared to the 143D but it isn't at all. I love it and suggest you go that route. Lots of room to move about is good for everyone.
Could you comfortably add an additional 10 year-old and still be comfortable/safe for overnight trips?
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Old 11-27-2012   #6
 
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portland, Oregon
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Look at the inside width and compare to std cooler sizes and dry box sizing. I think 44" is a std long dry box and 40" is typical large. 38 or 36" is std. Not to say you can't add a water jug alongside
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Old 11-27-2012   #7
 
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I had a 156 D and you can fit a lot more in the R series. The D series gets real narrow real quick in the bow and stern which makes it hard to rig in my opinion.
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Old 11-27-2012   #8
 
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Durango, Colorado
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I do add water jugs to the sides of my coolers/dry boxes. Our last trip we had two more little ones on our boat for most of the float. I just like the fact that that I can make a paco dance floor on my bow and have a low gear pile in the back with my new boat.
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Old 11-27-2012   #9
 
San Francisco, California
Join Date: Nov 2012
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Thank you, everyone for the feedback. I will certainly take all the advice into consideration. I will be going with an old serial boat that has warranty. Another boat I am considering is RMR 16' that is full 7'6" with 47 inch inside just like the E160. I don't think I can afford a brand new NRS at the moment.

I feel like the 156D is a good compromise between size and maneuverability. My biggest concern is whether I will be able to put 4 little kids + wife + frame/gear for 3-4 day trip on flat water with a few class II-III. I will mostly likely let the kids hike on any rapids.

I am used to living minimally. I think 1 cooler, 1 drybox under my seat, and a dropbag with table/seat in the bow, and the rest of the gear on the stern will do, but the narrow width of 40" and the point that gumbydamnit made worries me.

It looks like the E160 or any full 16 footer is a huge step up from 156D.
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Old 11-27-2012   #10
 
San Francisco, California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gumbydamnit View Post
I had a 156 D and you can fit a lot more in the R series. The D series gets real narrow real quick in the bow and stern which makes it hard to rig in my opinion.
Is this in comparison to 156R or a full 16 footer? I can't imagine 156D being much smaller than 156R given that R has 22" tube front and back.
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