Raft Sustainability/Durability. YOUR INPUT IS NEEDED - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 11-22-2010   #1
 
Gunnison, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 28
Raft Sustainability/Durability. YOUR INPUT IS NEEDED

In researching sustainable raft companies with an emphasis on materials, I've found I'm ranking the "best of the bad". Rafts are made with materials such as Hypalon, neoprene, PVC, and urethane coatings; all of which aren't exactly environmentally friendly. In April 2010, Hypalon was dropped from production by DuPont because of its environmental hazards and now bears a new name but is basically the same product. PVC has been deemed the "poison plastic" and carries a heavy load of nasty baggage with it.......with that, the rafting industry has a long road ahead towards more sustainable products so I'm looking into a more tangible idea: durability.

Manufacturers can talk up their products but it's the user/consumer that puts the products to the test. Looking at these four raft companies:
NRS
MARAVIA
HYSIDE
AIRE

Who's boats that can take abuse, wear and tear, and last?

Thanks for your input

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Old 11-22-2010   #2
 
Goshen, New York
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 63
They are all strong and long lasting. You can not go wrong with any of them.
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Old 11-22-2010   #3
 
The Mogur's Avatar
 
Oregon City, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1972
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 497
If you are looking for a raft with minimal environmental impact in its manufacturing, your options are limited.



Good load-carrying capacity, easy to find repair materials, a bit unresponsive in whitewater.
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Old 11-22-2010   #4
 
Colo Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2004
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I've been very satisfied with my Hyside since 2002. Durability was a factor in why I chose Hyside back then. Some old NRS's I've seen still look good, too.

The key to the durability of any raft from a good company is doing the proper maintenance as frequently as needed. Washing, 303 protectant, stowing it open if you can (as opposed to rolled up) during winter, rinsing off sand & silt, stuff like that. That kind of common sense thing.
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Old 11-22-2010   #5
 
mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: '92
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dunno...i usually just burn my raft at the end of each season
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Old 11-23-2010   #6
 
buena vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
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i think the old hysides are the most durable, still have many of em that work pretty good from the 70's, and they've seen more than their fair share of low water river miles. The newer ones don't seem quite as durable, but still last. The NRS boats are the most durable boats on market right now i think. The hard plastic on the aires doesn't take well to constant inflating and deflating,,, i don't even think theyre suppose to be deflated..and they're pretty lite and tippy for bigger whitewater...and the floors on the maravias seem under par, and take on water, and don't track as well...just my opinion though; all good rafts
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Old 11-23-2010   #7
 
Gunnison, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mogur View Post
If you are looking for a raft with minimal environmental impact in its manufacturing, your options are limited.


Good load-carrying capacity, easy to find repair materials, a bit unresponsive in whitewater.

yep, rafts aren't leading the green parade
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Old 11-23-2010   #8
 
Gunnison, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbob View Post
i think the old hysides are the most durable, still have many of em that work pretty good from the 70's, and they've seen more than their fair share of low water river miles. The newer ones don't seem quite as durable, but still last. The NRS boats are the most durable boats on market right now i think. The hard plastic on the aires doesn't take well to constant inflating and deflating,,, i don't even think theyre suppose to be deflated..and they're pretty lite and tippy for bigger whitewater...and the floors on the maravias seem under par, and take on water, and don't track as well...just my opinion though; all good rafts
Hyside and NRS both use mainly hypalon in their rafts, which from what I've found so far is much more durable and a lot less bad than the PVC of AIRE and Maravia
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Old 11-23-2010   #9
 
Beaverton, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2005
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Never mind dragging a non-aerodynamic object across the country.

Yay for 15 mpg on a good day!
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Old 11-23-2010   #10
 
Froggyinmyboat's Avatar
 
NoWater, Wyoming
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 6
I've got a well used 1976 Avon bucket boat (hypalon) that is still going strong. Holds air as well as a newer boat. I don't think you can do much better than hypalon for longevity or durability. I imagine that the manufacture by-products of Hypalon are pretty nasty. But if you can expect to get 20-30 years of use per raft that has to somewhat offset the initial toxic load. (I really just wanted to brag about my old boat)!
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