Thoughts on the Aire 136DD and 146DD - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 12-08-2018   #1
 
bcpnick's Avatar
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
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Thoughts on the Aire 136DD and 146DD

I'm thinking hard about pulling the trigger on an Aire 136DD with a sealed floor while the current sale is going on. I'd love to hear from people who have used it on what your thoughts are after having it for a while. I've read through all of the existing threads here on it but not much has been said recently.

Here's my use and background and why I'm leaning towards it. My last boat was an Aire 156R with the standard flood. I used it for 3 years and sold it this past summer. It worked well as a first boat because most of my friends didn't have their own rafts so I was hauling lots of stuff for kayakers and passengers. Now I know more people with their own boats so it's less of an issue. The 156R was awesome but it was pretty sluggish and almost seemed too stable at times. I want a funner ride. I rowed my friend's 143D with sealed floor a bit this year and it was like a sports car in comparison. Super easy to maneuver and quick to get into position. I don't like the shape of the D series though as it doesn't seem as ideal for a frame and cargo. I really like how the DD is straight on the sides and the 136 pretty much has the same cargo layout as a 14' raft. I mostly do multi day river trips in the 3-8 day range. A lot in the southwest so the standard floor in my 156R was kind of annoying to have to clean silt out of periodically. This year I did Lodore, San Juan, Cataract and the Middle Fork and that's the kind of stuff I want to continue to do. I'm a backpacker at heart so I don't mind pairing down my equipment to make the smaller boat work.

I've also considered Maravia but haven't really been sold on it, and the price premium isn't great. And none of the models have really struck me like the 136DD. And I guess I just like Aire for a lot of other reasons. Also, I trailer my raft and have plenty of indoor storage to keep it inflated year round so that aspect isn't an issue for me.

Anyway, thanks in advance for any opinions and insight, especially from people who own or have rowed a 136DD.

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Old 12-08-2018   #2
 
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Lakewood, Colorado
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I've weighed in on it in other threads, but I still love my 136DD and its my go to boat these days. I took it down the Grand last May and it did great and was a ton of fun to have something more sporty then my 16' Avon Pro that I'd previously taken down. Had a few swims and a near flip, but that was because I was messing around and trying the "hard line" in a couple of class 3-4 rapids (GC 1-10 scale).

I agree that the diminishing tubes and straight flat floor for most of the raft is great. There is so much room its actually pretty easy to overload the boat IMHO. I will say that I feel like the super flat rocker profile with a sudden kick on the end makes the boat a bit more sluggish then others in the same size range, but its also a lot more stable and tracks more as well. If you load it right, it definitely carries more weight then most other boats its size.

I got the sealed floor in mine and have no regrets. I've never rowed a standard floor Aire, not to mention a 136DD (I've only ever seen one other 136DD on the river) so its hard to compare...but for my use the sealed floor seemed like a good way to go.

If I had to change one thing about it, I think I'd make the rocker more similar to the 126DD and 160DD. The kick is a bit less aggresive on those boats and starts a bit further towards the center of the boat. It feels like the 136DD acts like a battering ram in holes instead of riding up and over sometimes. Perhaps its just me, but I feel like the abrubt rise plus the long flat floor makes it stall in holes more then I expected. I've definitely had a few surf sessions in it. They have all been very controlled and never resulted in a flip, but it doesn't punch through stuff as well as the 13' Hyside it replaced.

I will say that I recommend 10' oars for it as well. Most people I talked to recommended 9' oars, which I had from the Hyside that this boat replaced so I used those for the first couple months of owning the boat. I actually came to almost dislike the boat for a while due to it feeling slow and hard to make moves in, especially when it was loaded down. I went to 10' oars and that all went away. I also went to a wider frame at that time, so the leverage difference wasn't huge but the amount of power I could get out of the change went up dramatically.

So yeah...I highly recommend the DD series. The 160DD is high on the list of boats I'd replace my Avon Pro with if I ever decide to (not in the cards at the moment). I have since bought a Hyside Mini-Max for day trips, but the 136DD still gets a ton of service with multi-day trips and I don't forsee it leaving my fleet anytime soon.
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Old 12-08-2018   #3
 
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Salt Lake City, Utah
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Thanks Electric-Mayhem! That's really interesting on the oars. What width frame are you running? And what's your seat and oar tower setup? I'd love to see a pic of your rig if you have one handy.
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Old 12-08-2018   #4
 
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Lakewood, Colorado
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I honestly don't have a great one showing the current setup...keep forgetting to snap one when it is set up. Here is probably the best I have that shows the whole thing...



The outside rails(its double rail frame with decking) of the frame are ~78" wide and I have the Downriver "fitting" style oar towers that sit off the side of the frame and I tilt them out slightly so they are probably ~80-82" apart. I like tall towers and I think these are about 12" to the top of the hole where the oarlocks sit into. I sit on my Cooler(the Canyon Coolers Prospector 103 fits in this boat like its designed for it BTW) with a pad, so my butt is probably 4-5" above the frame. I think I set the oars up so its 30" from the tip of the oar to the oarlock stopper surface and that gives me about 2" minimum between oar handles (plenty of room for thumbs).

Two Dryboxes up front, a nice roomy captains bay, and a half bay behind the cooler that can take Rocket Boxes or Water Jugs horizontally. I do an everything bag behind for my duffle pile, and usually toss a catchall bag and a propane bottle and whatever miscellaneous items that are easy to strap in up front. I usually prefer to go Solo with this boat, but a passenger can pretty easily sit on the front drybox without risking getting hit by the oars. Oh, and I have two of the "personal" size boxes that Frontier Play sells that strap to my decks next to my cooler for all my easy access needs. I prefer that to having captains boxes down inside the raft...I like to have lots of room for my legs.

Its probably gonna be a while until I have it all set up again to be able to take better pictures. Earliest is probably February for the Salt (if it runs...crossing fingers) or a early season Westwater trip.
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Old 12-08-2018   #5
 
Nye, Montana
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I called Aire about 6 months ago and they said they may be coming out with a 146DD this spring. I've been waiting to see if that happens.
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Old 12-08-2018   #6
 
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I talked to them about that too and they actually sent me a prototype wire frame sheet. It was just a 160DD Wireframe sheet with the dimensions crossed out and the 146DD ones written in so you don't get any idea of the shape...but I bet they sell a couple of them if/when they come out.

The dimensions were basically the same as the 136DD but a foot longer. About the same width, smaller tubes by half an inch, about the same rise and a 114" 2" waterline. The Chafe strip length was only 83.5" for some reason, which makes me think it will have more progressive rocker like the 160DD.

The date on it said August of 2017 though...so if these are far from hard figures and may not represent what the raft will be if it comes out. They said they were in the testing phase. Rumours about the 126DD came true, and I think they have both been succesful enough to make the 146DD happen.
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Old 12-09-2018   #7
 
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Pretty sure you can order the 146dd for next spring. The rocker will be more like the 16dd, I believe it has roughly 2 inches less kick than the 136. I have the the 136 and agree completely with electric mayhem. I have expressed the exact sentiments elsewhere. It is a great all around boat with tons of room, almost too much as you will be tempted to overload it. The prospector cooler fits it so perfectly it should be on your list if you do buy the 136. I have the standard floor and will testify to it saving me from more than one flip! It is my personal preference, but I agree the sealed floor might be better for your locale. You definitely wont be disappointed either way.
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Old 12-09-2018   #8
 
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Sorry tried to load a few pics, not having to much success.
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Old 12-10-2018   #9
 
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Salt Lake City, Utah
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Thank you all so much for all of the comments on this.

I looked into the 146DD and I can order it. It's 4-7 weeks out but so is the 136DD with the sealed floor so no big deal there. That said, the dimensions I was given make it not that appealing compared to the 136DD. I haven't seen a wireframe but I was told it is 1 foot longer but 2" narrower. The tubes are 20.5 rather than 21, leaving it with 37" in between. Probably still good for a Prospector, but I'd be a lot more inclined it was as wide as the 136DD. I'm awaiting clarification on that.

I'm feeling really indecisive on oars. I'm planning on an NRS frame that is 66" wide on center, so more like 67.5 total width? The minimum frame to sit on the center of the tubes is 59 so I figured this would be the right width to still put on some side boards. My last boat had a minimum of 66 and I went with 72 and it was a great fit. I'm going to put 10" NRS towers on it and row from a dry box. My friend has the same setup but on a 143D and he says his 9' oars are perfect. I'm leaning toward 9.5 for this as it has slightly larger tubes and a little extra length shouldn't hurt (I hope).

mttodd, what size oars are you running? And what size frame, towers, kind of seat, etc? I'd love to see some pics. Feel free to email them to me if they won't upload. [email protected]
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Old 12-10-2018   #10
 
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Hey Nick, I’ll email some pics, I can’t seem to load from my phone to the buzz. Used to work, not sure what that’s about. I’ll get dimensions too. I built it with wwmw double barrel fittings and NRS fittings for the rest. Built the dry boxes and the cradles for them. I have nine foot oars, 8 inch towers and row off a foamed dry box. I’m 5’11” 210lbs, works well for me. I’m really hesitant to suggest anything longer than 9.5’ oars for this thing, it’s just not that big. I ran 9.5s on my Zephyr and it was a much larger boat. I’m a believer in the 1/3 in 2/3 out formula. Distance between the locks minus 3” divide by two, take that number and multiply by three and that will give you a really close number for over all length. Given your plan includes 10” towers and raised seat 9.5’ might be perfect. Maybe borrow some 10’s and see once you have it all in hand. Might work great, but you also might be working really hard and taxing your shoulders unnecessarily.
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