16' Aire Lion - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 1 Week Ago   #1
 
Castle Rock, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2018
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16' Aire Lion

So I currently have an Ocelot and love it. It's a great boat for a single person and some overnight gear. When my wife comes along, it gets pretty crowded and ends up being overweight. Since all of my gear has been designed around a cataraft, I want to stick to a cat. I am a big fan of Aire and really want to stick with them. So my question really is, is the 16' Aire Lion a good choice? I am a western river floater. Deso, Upper C, Westwater, and the Ark are my most frequent rivers. I realize the Lion could handle all of these rivers but is this a good choice for whitewater? Again, I realize the Lion is a gear hauling machine, but I want to really know if the Lion is sporty enough for Westwater and similar. To complicate things further, it would be nice to have a rig that I could take down the Grand. Is this the cat that I am looking for?!

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Old 1 Week Ago   #2
 
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Golden, Colorado
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The 16' Lion is my boat of choice. Considering I own an Ocelot, a Leopard and have owned a 14' Lion, the boat of choice is the one I leave rigged on the trailer ready to go anytime to do anything. Even at low flow it is preferred over any other cats I've owned since when loaded it has a very shallow draft. The 14' Lion wasn't large enough to rig as I like, a trailer containing dry box in front, a trailer for large cooler in back and a large three bay between. Since it is "gear hauler" it is more willing to be maneuvered when necessary.

The only complaint has been from a friend being that is too large. She says that on the Grand she doesn't even get wet. (Well, carry more gear and you'll get wet!)
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Old 1 Week Ago   #3
 
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Golden, Colorado
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BTW Sparks1000, I sold my 14' Lion to a friend who had and Ocelot. On multiday trips such as Dinosaur or Deso his NRS frame bottom on the Ocelot was nearly touching the water.

He loves the 14' Lion but I think if his wife was with him it would again be "crowded"(but at least the frame wouldn't be in the water).

Now I'll venture into realm of trouble and disagreement with my fellow Buzzers; I don't consider the Aire Jag 16' to be the solution to the problem YOU are trying to solve for the rivers you prefer to like to run. I'll leave it at that for now.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #4
 
Castle Rock, Colorado
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Ron,
Thanks for your replies. You hit the nail on the head. When I am loaded, my drop rails are very close to the water. So that makes the cooler and dry box very close to the water. I love it for a quick overnighter, by myself. But two folks is much. I do like the Jag but I think you are correct, it might not solve my problem. I like the 16’ Lion I just hope that it isn’t too much of a barge going down whitewater.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
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Jag: sporty
Lion: less sporty, handles more weight
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Old 1 Week Ago   #6
 
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Golden, Colorado
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If you are thinking about doing the Grand in your own cataraft, as opposed to a (COMMERCIAL!) painless private where you rent everything, the AIRE Lion 16' is the boat.

The performance curve on the Jag and Leopard, which are just a up-sized Ocelot just drop off very disappointingly when putting weight on them.

I actually have my Leopard rigged, tarped over and ready on my second trailer thinking someday that Peg will row it on a June trip lightly loaded and it would be our sleeping rig. So far the response has been "screw that notion, I'm kayaking". So much for our dedicated sleeping rig. So, the Leopard is a loaner for visiting friends/relatives, as long as they have a trailer hitch.

To be fair, the 16' Lion is a barge. If you want to hit every eddy on the Ark at low to moderate flows; it just won't fit in some eddies but neither would the Jag using the same frame.

The only time the 16' Lion really sucks is during an upstream or crosswind gale. Since no boat is fun in a gale; be happy, launch early and camp early.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #7
 
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Golden, Colorado
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That brings up another quandary, when would I back my truck up to one or the other.

I would back my truck up to the Leopard trailer if I wanted to do a lighter- loaded-sport run of the Grand, lighter loaded high water run of Cataract or lighter loaded high water Selway to think of a few.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #8
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If you want to add a person and a little gear, sometimes, I would think the jag would fit the bill better than the Lion. I have a buddy who takes his jag on all the rivers you mentioned with 2-3 passengers and has run the grand three times in it. Its a low rider in the Grand, but who cares. You are not making multiple big moves or running shallow water in the grand. I Took it down the middle fork at 4' with a passenger and a bunch of gear and never felt overloaded. The lion is a gear pig and will be much less splashy and sporty fun while day tripping. I think the jag will bridge that gap for you while catering to your most often demands.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #9
 
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Golden, Colorado
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Another thing about he Ocelot, Jag, Leopard design is that their performance degrades quick when misloaded. By this I mean the trim. When solo boating you might have a perfect trim but then you load it up for a long multiday and put on a passenger you might find your boat severely bow or stern heavy. A cat doesn't like that situation. For example, when stern heavy the stern tends to try to get downstream ahead of the rest of the boat. On the Grand when bow heavy you find your boat catching eddy lines and spinning off into eddies. This is further complicated when your passenger prefers the front or back of the boat from time to time. Another example is occasionally I'll see a Jag set up with a casting deck and the "fisher-person" out front will cause the boat to be tilted forward.

Point is, the Lions don't tend to be quite as susceptible to these loading issues.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #10
 
Castle Rock, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2018
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That’s interesting, Ron. Our Ocelot is brutal when two people are on it. It’s always a game to get it trimmed properly. Thanks to everyone for the replies. This is tremendously helpful.
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