Another AIRE boat choice thread... - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 12-26-2017   #1
 
mackay's Avatar
 
salt lake city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 28
Another AIRE boat choice thread...

Hi folks and Happy Holidays.

I am looking to upgrade my 1995 NRS e-130 to an Aire but am having trouble deciding which boat is right for me. The e-130 is a great little boat and I plan on keeping it for smaller rivers and paddling. I am looking at the following boats for multi days with passengers down the san juan/main fork salmon/deso and GC trips.

Im dead set on a custom recretec frame and dry box combo to be ordered once i pump my new boat up and measure it. The contestants are:

156R/156D/160DD

Ive read threads that claim the 3" shorter 156D doesn't hold as much gear as the 156R, even when considering its smaller tubes fore and aft, however i am partial towards the tapered design for many reasons (wind, splash, maneuverability, etc). The 136DD looks awesome but I'm worried that it is not big enough for a grand trip and that the 160DD is just too big for a guy without a flat trailer. I've paddle and stern guided several Sotar SL 14 diminishing tube style boats and loved how they pivot easily and punch waves, but I can't justify the price tag on them, or comment on how they work as a gear boat. I know the 156R is a proven gear hauler and that all these products are excellent; just looking for some more input before I pull the trigger on this large purchase.

In addition, how many Aire owners here frequently fold their boats? Besides being an awesome convenience is a flat trailer a necessity? Can they be coaxed into a 5x8 enclosed trailer assuming the temperature is reasonable?

Happy boating in 2018.

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Old 12-26-2017   #2
 
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2011
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I have a 156R and love it for both rowing and paddling. That being said I have done trips with folks that have 156D's and I doubt you will notice the difference in room or carrying capacity. The D's are definitely better for paddling, but not by enough to matter IMO. I wouldn't worry about any of that...get the boat design you like and get with it! Aire's roll just fine, not tight or light, but it doesn't hurt them any.
If you can get a good deal on one I wouldn't turn up my nose at a maravia either. They are bomber boats and most of my friends run them. Cascade river gear here in boise has some pretty good deals on used/demo boats and ones with the old logos right now...might be just what the doctor ordered.
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Old 12-26-2017   #3
 
Electric-Mayhem's Avatar
 
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
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Lots of questions in there. Here comes a wall of text in response.

The 156R vs 156D debate for a Grand boat has a pretty clear choice for me. The 156R is definitely larger then the 156D and will definitely more happily carry a bunch of gear. I know a few guys who use the R as their Grand boat and it seems to do very well. If you look at the wireframe drawings for both boats, the D starts to taper much sooner plus it has continuous rocker so the depth goes away sooner as well. This will make a bit faster and quicker to turn, but it will also draft more when you load it up a bunch. There is a significant amount less room inside because of this, so you might find yourself having a higher gear pile. The R, with its flat bottom and big tubes all around is, like you said, great for hauling gear without getting bogged down. I think the main reason you would go with the D over the R is if you planned to paddle raft with a crew of people more and use it a few times a year as a multi-day oar rig. If you are just hauling gear the R is definitely better suited IMHO. Keep reading though.

I have a 136DD as my small/medium boat, and while it may not be as deep, it actually has about the same floor space as the 156R (as directly compared during a trip with a friend over the summer that has a 156R). That said, just because there is room doesn't mean there is weight capacity and its very easy to overload that boat and it gets really sluggish and hard to maneuver when you do. The hull is really flat and the rocker happens in the last 18" of the boat, so I think it can be a bit like a battering ram and can stall in big waves. As long as you don't go crazy overloading it and you aren't expected to carry a passenger or a as much gear as the 16' boats, I think it would do fine in the Grand. I have a trip in May 2018 and I'm planning on taking it even though I have a 16' Avon that would probably take care of me and haul more gear...but that is mostly because I want a more exciting ride. I did 2 Westwater, 2 Main Salmon trips, and 2 lodore trips in it this year (with one Lodore trip being an 8 day trip starting at Flaming Gorge dam) in the 136DD and it did a great job and its certainly not going anywhere soon. I will say that if the 126DD that just went up on the website was available when I got the 136DD, I think I would have had a hard choice between them. The one thing I would change about the 136DD is to have the rocker more like the 126DD and 160DD i.e. a bit less abrubt and a bit longer. I think it would be a bit faster and would punch holes a bit better. For more thoughts, you can read my review in this thread... https://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f...tml#post617522

If I ever replace my 16' Avon Pro, the 160DD is at the top of the list. Floor space is massive, the diminished tubes really help with wave punching and minimizing the profile in the wind. I've only seen a few on the river, but the people who have them seem very happy with them. It is obviously a bit longer then the 156R, but its about the same width. The tubes are smaller, and the diminished tubes makes for, as I said already, a massive amount of interior floor space. This is my favorite thing about the 136DD, and I can only imagine what it would be like the with the 160DD. My Avon is still doing great and since I got the 136DD I haven't actually taken it out so I don't see a need anytime soon, but I do salivate over the 160DD sometimes. Maravia makes a similar boat as well but I think I prefer the Aire for various reasons (warranty and materials) but they are both good boats.

I do have a trailer, but I also got my Avon before I had it so I understand your concerns. Honestly, from a transport and ease of setup standpoint, the 156R and 160DD aren't gonna make a huge difference. They are only 4 pounds difference, and I bet they basically roll up to about the same size. The frame is about the same size too, since they are basically the same width and length. If it were me, for those reasons, I wouldn't hesitate to get the 160DD given the choice between both of the three boats you listed but its down to person preference and I'm sure you would be happy with whichever one you get.

Oh, and as far as rolling Aire rafts up...I've had a good summer and my 136DD has been rolled up in the back of my truck for most of the summer (at least when it hasn't been used...which is a lot) since I picked it up. I used my trailer a bit with it, but ended up needing it for other stuff so I've been rigging and de-rigging when I use it. I also did a few trips like the first Main Salmon trip where we did a Jet boat shuttle and I would have had to de-rig the boat anyways so I just drove without the trailer.

Its certainly no Hypalon boat that rolls up easy (my 16' Avon rolls about the same size or smaller then the 136), but it also has done just fine being rolled up. Aires aren't like Maravias where they don't deal with being rolled up for long periods of time, so I wouldn't hesitate to get one if you can't swing a trailer. Having a trailer certainly makes it more convenient, but logistically it can be a challenge for sure. At least for me though, I wouldn't hesistate to get any of the boats based on having to roll them up or not.

Oh, and while you could certainly have no problem using a 5x8 enclosed trailer for transporting stuff broken down, its definitely not gonna take an inflated raft or even a frame for a 15-16' boat when its setup. I know the frame for my Avon doesn't fit easily in a trailer that size.

p.s. I have some friends who are friends with the Aire crew, and there are rumours about a 148DD coming out. Its far from definite, but might be a good compromise for ya if you can wait. Might be worth calling and asking them about it. If its anything like the 136DD, you'll have the same amount of room as a boat two feet longer. If it comes out and it is what I imagine, part of me would be majorly tempted to sell both my current rafts and get a 126DD (or a sport cat) and a 148DD.
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Old 12-26-2017   #4
 
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 175
I have an R series and love it but also put some thought into getting the sealed pocket floor. Not only for silt but also because it makes that boat 100lbs lighter when you pull it out of the river. Im no expert and Im sure others will chime in but Id be thinking about that as much as R vs. D series.
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Old 12-26-2017   #5
 
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Lakewood, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theusualsuspect View Post
I have an R series and love it but also put some thought into getting the sealed pocket floor. Not only for silt but also because it makes that boat 100lbs lighter when you pull it out of the river. I’m no expert and I’m sure others will chime in but I’d be thinking about that as much as R vs. D series.
That is pretty hotly contested among Aire owners. Most of the guys I talk to with the standard Ballast floor have no regrets and swear up and down that it has kept the from flipping multiple times and that it does't effect speed or manuevability negatively. They are pretty dismissive of the silt concerns.

I ended up getting the sealed pocket floor on my 136DD and have no regrets. I'd love to do a back to back test between the two to see if its even worth it. I like the lighter boat and since most of the rivers I do are pretty silty, it was worth doing. I like it being a bit more sporty too, so not having to move that water around is nice.

I'd love to do a blind test of two identical setups with the floor being the only difference. It would be interesting to see if you could really tell which one was which.
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Old 12-26-2017   #6
 
Denver, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electric-Mayhem View Post
That is pretty hotly contested among Aire owners. Most of the guys I talk to with the standard Ballast floor have no regrets and swear up and down that it has kept the from flipping multiple times and that it does't effect speed or manuevability negatively. They are pretty dismissive of the silt concerns.

I ended up getting the sealed pocket floor on my 136DD and have no regrets. I'd love to do a back to back test between the two to see if its even worth it. I like the lighter boat and since most of the rivers I do are pretty silty, it was worth doing. I like it being a bit more sporty too, so not having to move that water around is nice.

I'd love to do a blind test of two identical setups with the floor being the only difference. It would be interesting to see if you could really tell which one was which.
Great input and let me clarify that I have the standard floor and have not had a sealed floor to try out. Like you said Id love to try side by side and if I were ordering another one I might just get the sealed floor to have it. It is a lot of weight sometimes to move around but it obviously provides a ton of ballast and tracking. Appreciate your info above!
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Old 12-26-2017   #7
 
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ChroniclesofGnarnia, Colorado
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Get the sealed floor. Trust me it’s a no brainer
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Old 12-26-2017   #8
 
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theusualsuspect View Post
I have an R series and love it but also put some thought into getting the sealed pocket floor. Not only for silt but also because it makes that boat 100lbs lighter when you pull it out of the river. Im no expert and Im sure others will chime in but Id be thinking about that as much as R vs. D series.
Or you can pull the boat out of the water and wait 5 minutes... it drains pretty quickly. That being said I think the sealed floor would be a no-brainer for silty rivers. I have opened my (standard floor) a couple of times and not seen any real build up or issues, but Idaho rivers run pretty clear.
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Old 12-26-2017   #9
 
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Salt Lake City, Utah
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I have a 156R. I opted for it over the D because of the extra space. With my frame maxing out the chafing strips, I'm able to have a fifth bay behind the rower that is wide enough for two rocket boxes side by side. I like it a lot.

I mostly boat silty rivers and the standard floor hasn't bothered me at all. I clean it out at the end of the season and there isn't much in there. When I load it, I winch it up onto my trailer most of the way and let it drain before pulling it the rest. No big deal.
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Old 12-26-2017   #10
 
mackay's Avatar
 
salt lake city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2016
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Thanks for the input and well thought out responses; I might make a trip up to the Idaho factory to put some eyes on these boats and will inquire about the 148DD being put into production. For only a few hundred more I am now leaning towards the 160DD. I already have a great small boat so this might balance out the fleet well enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcpnick View Post
I have a 156R. I opted for it over the D because of the extra space. With my frame maxing out the chafing strips, I'm able to have a fifth bay behind the rower that is wide enough for two rocket boxes side by side. I like it a lot.
BCPnick, do you have any photos of your frame setup? I really like the way the recretec dry boxes mount but I am also concerned about rocket box/groover placement with their deluxe frame. Currently I carry 1 groover, 1 box for seat and one spare tank and would prefer to have them in a bay rather than strapped to the decking.

Thanks again for the input!
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