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Discussion Starter #1
Hey y'all...

I am torn right now on a decision between either the Aire or Hyside...both I have found at good deals but which would you say is a better choice?

I turn to you, my cyberfriends, for any and all advice and insight you may have.

Thanks for the help and whichever one I may choose I would like to offer you a beer or two or three on my boat of course...for your help!

-Cal
Carbondale, CO
 

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Neither of these boats has a great rep for quality. I would not get either.

Funny thing is with the Hyside's Rio is it was introduced as a great money saver over the far superior Outfitter line yet the prices are nearly the same. When you figure the costs on adding a frame chafer,d rings, the outfitters thicker hypalon that the Rio lacks... it's a no brainer to just step up to the Outfitter.

Also, Hyside is currently having a Warehouse Sale...you might find a deal there. Check their site.
 

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I've also heard bad things about the Tributary series, particularly the first year of release. Since then they've been upgraded some, but the first year out they fell apart under moderate use.
 

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A few things to consider:

14' - a great general size, big enough (just barely) for the Grand Canyon and Cataract Canyon, but still small enough for Clear Creek (barely). In my eyes this is the most versatile raft size.

13' - A better size for general Colorado use, fits better on smaller rivers/ large creeks and at lower levels. But quite small for multi days and big water.

Hypalon - Personally I prefer hypalon over PVC, some people prefer PVC. AIRE uses urethane bladders inside PVC shells. Newer AIRE's have welded seams on the PVC so the outgassing problems for glued PVC are avoided. However for proper repair of welded seams you have to send the boat back to the factory, with hypalon you can glue it back together yourself as good as new.

Weight - I think that the Hyside is lighter (111 lbs with 3 thwarts for Hyside vs. 123 for the AIRE) and would make a better R2 boat if that matters to you.

Thwart attachments - Personally I don't like the AIRE thwart attachments because I find it hard to get good foot wedges, especially with my back foot. The advantage is that with the AIRE you can place the thwarts anywhere you want - personally I haven't found the need for this, but it is an option.

Seams - the Hyside has a lot fewer seams, whether that reflects a positive feature with a smoother waterline and fewer wear points or simply a design that reduces production costs is up for debate. it might be both.

Sorry that this doesn't yield a clear recommendation, but boat boats have their pluses and minuses, it is for you to decide. Feel free to ask more questions and I will try to answer them.

Tubers is right about the price - when Hyside first introduced the Rio Bravos they were at a much lower price point, now the difference on a 13 foot boat with 3 thwarts is about $100. And if you look at their PDF catalog and PDF Price List for 07 they don't even mention the Rio Bravos - my guess is that they will discontinue them since the price point is no longer significantly differentiated.
 

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I personally don't like the bladder system Aire uses and the way the water gets trapped in them. I've dealt with a friends boat trying to get rid of the mildew smell you get, if you roll them up and don't dry them proper after each use. The zippers to get into the bladders ......for use of a better word......suck.... and you need to soap them good to get them to move. They need to be worked by hand and not with a pair of pliers. (You'll be sorry if you don't heed this warning.) I'd hate to have to fix an Aire boat on a big river trip. Unzipping to fix a hole in a bladder doesn't sound like my type of fun.

I vote Hyside............or possibly look at a Vanguard.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I appreciate all of your insight. I take all of your comments to heart but also wonder what a kayaker lookin' for a boat for the wife and dog and friends should do to get quality while at the same time not break the bank?

Buying bomber used sounds good but seems hard to find at the same time and then the fact of having to oufit it with frame, oars, etc. it certainly adds up.

I hear a lot about the pain in the arse of the Aire system in regards to patching but is it really that bad? I mean I would say yeah in theory that it sounds like a tedious task but how many of you out there might have actually had the problem and would say you would rather sink the boat than stop and patch?

I have also heard that the Rio Bravos are just not worth it and that the poor glue job on this series has been a bad rap for the company?

Most dealers of multiple companies seem to keep talking up Aire products. I am still just learning from you, them, and anything else in between.

Still seeking your knowledge.

Keep the comments coming...thank you!!

Curious mind still curious,

Cal
 

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In terms of patching it doesn't happen often - I am in my 8th season of guiding and I have put holes in boats twice and had to re-patch someones else's work once. That works out to something like one patch per 200 trips. You just know going in with an AIRE that a patch on the river is gonna take some real time. But it also won't happen very often and no one is gonna sink the boat instead of patching it. If it is a day trip you probably won't even think of patching on the river anyways.

I got my used Hyside 14' outfitter pro for $800 - it was smoking deal, but I have had a lot of friends pick them up for around $1700-$1800 after 2-4 years of commercial use. But you are right, even at that it isn't cheap when you add in oars, frames, paddles, and all of the other things you can/need to buy.

A lot of people do talk up AIRE products, I still haven't figured out why that is exactly. Personally I haven't seen many raft companies running AIRE boats although I am sure that some must. Maybe they have better margins so dealers talk them up? Pure speculation on my part. I would love to hear from AIRE owners why they chose that particular boat, I am probably missing something.
 

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14, Aire Tributary vs. 13 Hyside Rio Bravo

Check out Down Rivers Colorado Series. I have a 4 year old pvc model that has been great. Theyve upgraded to hypalon I beleive. Around 2800 dollars. great for private boating.
 

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Aloha AIRE Runners!

Hello, Hello, Is there anybody out there?

You can share some AIRE?

-Cal

Hey Calendar,

As a kayaker who bought a raft for the same reasons you state, I've sold my 11' Hypalon self bailer and bought a lightly used 14' Aire 143D. We simply needed more carrying capacity than the 11' could handle.
We've run both strictly as paddle boats and the 14' allows us to bring more friends along. I didn't have a material preference and was shopping, like you, at lower price point.

While the Hypalon (Momentum Oriole) boat was not a Hyside, the construction was similar in design to the NRS Otter series.

Having owned both I can agree with raftus who states there are pluses and minuses in any boat choice.

Hypalon Hyside Pros:
Light weight (consider this if you ever plan to R2 with your wife) Carrrying a heavy boat can be a b$tch with 2 people.
Folds up really small compared to Aire
Very easy to repair

Cons:
Hypalon never felt as "solid" as the Aire PVC/bladder construction
Seam tape prone to wear damage and peeling
Hypalon tends to "stick" on rocks more than Aire


Aire PVC Pros:
Can be run rock hard making them more agile than a Hypalon boat (raft sizes being equal of course).
Welded seams are smooth as butter. No seam tape.
Bomber outer skin. It would take a lot to rip through that outer shell.
No fault 10-year warranty
Slides over rocks better than Hypalon
You can place the thwarts anywhere in the boat
Drains really quick!

Cons:
non-sealed floor pocket does hold water in the under side of the floor bladder until it's picked up out of the water. I'd estimate about 5 gallons worth. Not really noticeable until you pick the boat up at the end of a run.

Possible repair headaches. Knock on wood, I haven't come across a repaiir yet...but I have slid over many rocks with no visible signs of damage. I imagine fixing a puncture on the underside of the floor bladder would be the hardest to repair. The main tubes and thwarts are pretty easy to get into with their full length zippers.

Pretty heavy. I went from an 85# hypalon boat to a 160# PVC boat. At nearly double the weight, the Aire pretty much rules out R2'ing for me and the wife. We need at least 3 to get it to the put-in. There are times when I wish I still had the small boat, so only buy as large as you think you really need.

Rolls up large. The Aire boats simply do not package up small if you intend to shuttle with anything smaller than a Subaru wagon.

Hope this helps with some of your decision making.
Also, if it's down to the Tributary or Rio Bravo, I'd say neither as well and would point you to the AIRE specials page where they have a 130R for a little less than a new Tributary.

Best of luck!
 

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I don't know much about either of the boats you're asking about, just that I don't like the idea of the bladder system (think about stagnant water or sand hanging out in there) and haven't heard anything good about the Rio Bravo.

Even with the wear on it, this is still probably a much better boat than either that you're looking at and probably won't cost you much more, if any:
http://www.mountainbuzz.com/swap/showproduct.php?product=7816&cat=3

Good luck making your decision,

-AH
 

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I would check with the outfitters, most will be selling boats in the next few weeks. I know quite a few people who have picked up used hysides for $1000-1500 that will probably last forever. Good, durable, easy to repair boats for the type of use you're looking for. There is also a shop in Salida (forget the name, anyone?) that a lot of outfitters use to dump boats after the season ends. I'm also looking for a raft, and everything I've heard makes me want to stay far away from AIRE. They're heavy, slow, and don't track well.
 

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Just A FYI I have a good friend that has a Hyside and the thing is constantly in Denver at Down River getting the floor repaired and this guy babies this raft. I also was told buy a person that fixes rafts that Hyside has gone way down hill in quality. Im not trying to talk Shi! BUT... It has happened 3 times in 2 seasons. The NRS boat is a nice choice. I was always a Hyside fan till I saw what my friend has gone through. Call Down River and ask them what they think!
 

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I like Aire

I am not a guy who takes very good care of my gear, trucks, sleds, ect. I figure they are there for me to use not to constantly maintain, clean, baby. In this respect Aire is an excellent choice....I feel I can run rivers at a lower level because if I scrape a rock,, I got that thick ass PVC. Drag it at the put-ins and take outs. No big deal. I've rowed a friends 14' Sb and I had an Aire Cat. Bombproof -- both of them with little to no maintenence. As for the Tributary...I think the PVC in thinner so you don't have that thick skin.
 

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Just for the record. The Tributary series use the same floor and thwarts as the regular Aire series. Only the main tubes of the Trib's are made of the lighter PVC.

Cal, Take the "I heard" :roll: posts with a grain of salt, and try to focus on the advice of those who actually use these things.
I heard Bose makes great sounding speakers. :roll:
 

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Cal-

I bought an AIRE Trib 14' package in May. I've only been rafting for 3 seasons, but the guys I know own various AIRE boats and don't have problems. Found a good package deal on the Trib w/frame, oars, box, etc. at a price that seemed great to me (with advice). We've been around with it (Ark, CO upper and lower, Clear Creek) and put about 20 days on it. Done both paddle team and oars. Just got off Westy this past weekend and she did great on that.

So, can I say it's reliable long-term, no. What I can say is that it's provided a great season with no issues to date. Easy to roll up and stow with 2 guys. Watched the repair video that came with it, looked reasonably easy to field repair-hope I will never need to do that.

As far as some of the other comments, I do note that it goes over rocks pretty easy, no damage so far. I'll also echo the sentiment that it seems like the perfect size for Colorado as we have run everything from the local CC to big Westy.

Anyway, whatever you end up deciding...enjoy!

EZ
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Y'all Are Awesome!!!

Thanks to all of you for the great comments, suggestions, etc. I feel educated just from reading everyone's posts.

I am not sure what will become of my raft purchase as I am now facing the realities of owning a house. The after-work runs on Shoshone in my Dagger Mamba have made me think long and hard about a raft purchase right now. I really want to but is it the right thing is the main question I keep asking myself.

I know when I am ready to pull the trigger and buy a raft sometime within the next 9 months I will heed all of your advice. Thanks for edumacating me on raft qualities, pros and cons, and everything else!

Hope to see you all on the river sometime soon, really soon!

-Cal
 

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I own both a Hyside and an Aire raft and have used them both a whole bunch. One thing is that both companies make great boats regardless of what others on this site say. My Hyside is a 1995 model and I have put over 1000 river miles on it since I bought it three seasons ago. That hypalon boat is as good right now as it was new I'm sure. No fade, no leaks, Chafe guard holding up etc. on the other hand, I just bought an Aire boat this past winter. It is solid as a rock. Yes, I'm sure the bladder system could be a pain in the ass to repair but one thing people don't think about is you can repair them on the river without any glue. You can use duct tape and a clear thick tape that comes in the repair kit. No waiting, no glue sniffin', nothing. To me that is a real bonus.

One thing I did not see people mention is that PVC boats are alittle trickier to store over the winter. You must store PVC boats inflated over the winter to keep them from creasing and wrinkling. To me that is the only draw back to PVC, otherwise it is the idea raft material. This may be a problem for people who don't have room.

Plus, as mentioned, they have a 10 year warranty that can't be beat. If I remember right, their policy is that if the repair is from a pilot error, you pay shipping, if it is a manufacturing error, you pay nothing. That's what sold me. If you want a boat that lasts 20 years, by an Aire. But Hysides are sweet too and have their own advantages. The Aire tributary series rafts have changed the material they used for their bladders this past year, they are more bomb proof then they were the first year they were made. I always find that being patient, not being too cheap will get you a good boat. Yes, the tributary boats are alittle cheaper, but won't last as long as the regular Aire line of boats. Why buy one boat now and another in 5 years, when you can just wait and get one good one that will last for 20 years??? Talk to Ron at Riverboat Works in Salida, he is a Hyside and Aire dealer and will set you straight as well as build you a sweet ass frame for it.
 
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