NRS or AIRE Raft?? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-02-2008   #1
Telluride, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 6
NRS or AIRE Raft??

I have a pro deal opportunity on an AIRE or NRS raft. I would like a 14 footer. Which brand would you get?? And for those who may have one of these brands, which boat?
Thanks for helping the inexperienced boater!

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Old 07-02-2008   #2
raftchef's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 20

Hi Charlie,
Like you I was able to purchase a raft through a pro deal. I got an NRS 14' Otter-it was recommended to me by the owner of a Grand Canyon outfitter. I got the boat last year and have taken it on day and multiday trips and I love it. My experience is NRS is a great company but maybe AIRE is too, I just don't have any personal experience. That said, I do know people that own AIRES and love them. I'm not sure I would like the internal bladder system-I am sure both brands have their ups and downs but I highly recommend NRS.
Good luck, I am sure you will have fun with either.
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Old 07-02-2008   #3
Avon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 503
I think that hypalon material (NRS, hyside...) is superior to PVC (aire). it is not as rigid and is easier to store (roll up).

I would buy the NRS E-140 (they also make a slightly bigger one..maybe E-144??)

My $0.02
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Old 07-02-2008   #4
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Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 93
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It has to be easier to deal with the hypalon then with the bladder system on PVC boats when it comes to repairs on the fly. That and I prefer to sit on the softer rubber then on rock hard PVC (that and the hypalon is more forgiving to my kids bouncing around in the raft) is the reason I went for my Hyside. I pump it up soft when I fish off it, or have the little ones on a float trip. Pump it up stiff for serious whitewater.
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Old 07-02-2008   #5
the fort, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 672
get the NRS otter 142 - the narrower of the two 14' otters. on the pro deal, it's a great value for a great boat. why spend $1k more for the e-series? put a bighorn 2 frame on it, and you have a very solid setup.
By the waterside I will lay my head.
Listen to the river sing sweet songs to rock my soul.
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Old 07-02-2008   #6
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 13
I would recomend the NRS option because of the advantages others have named of Hypalon. With NRS, you can go with the Otter or the E series. The Otter is designed more for private boaters. It is made with a thinner fabric, making it about 25lbs lighter than the equivalent E (expedition) series boat. Otter has a 5 year warranty and the E has a 10 year. Each series has two 14' options. One option is 6'6" wide and the other is 7' wide. I like the 6'6" option if you're going to be in Colorado mostly on the Ark, Poudre, Clear Creek. If you are wanting to venture to Idaho, Utah, AZ to do long trips on bigger rivers I'd go with the 7' option. Personally, I'd go with the E-140 if I had a chance to get it with an outfitter discount. It will last you forever and if you ever want to sell it you'd probably make $ or at least break even.
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Old 07-02-2008   #7
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,620
I've got a PVC boat (Vanguard) that I really like, but if I had your choice I'd go with the Hypalon NRS, and get the E-series if you've got the bucks. I'm not too thrilled about Aire's bladder system though I've heard its easier to make on-river repairs.

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 07-02-2008   #8
Renaissance Redneck
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Huson, Montana
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,187
I cant even keep the zipper on my jeans from blowing out. I watched some guys on the salt sew across the length of a blown zipper on an Aire cat. Get the NRS. I have a 15' e series. After 4 years I heard a slight hiss from my front baffle. NRS paid the freight and repair because there was a small wrinkle in the baffle material that didnt get glued right. They have always had excellent products and service in the 15 or so years that I have been dealing with them. If you have a pro deal dont be cheap. Spring for the extra rubber on the E series.
On the other hand, I like the double layer tube idea, I think they should be laced though.
"You're gonna be doin a lot of doobie rolling when youre LIVIN IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER"
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Old 07-02-2008   #9
Telluride, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
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Posts: 57
I would get an AIRE b/c of the colors available. It all about lookin good.
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Old 07-02-2008   #10
Nathrop, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 29
Go with the NRS Expedition. Has all the D-rings for rigging on multi-day trips, plus heavy duty rubber.
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