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Which raft should I buy for overall (fully loaded and empty) whitewater performance?

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Hello,

I'm looking for some advice. I am considering either the Aire 160DD or Maravia Typhoon. I have an Aire Super Duper Puma and have been very happy with it. I recently purchased an RMR drop-stitch 16'. While I loved the drop stitch floor, I felt like this boat was very unmaneuverable and felt myself yelling, "you pig!" when trying to correct it and move it forward. I paddled that boat on the Snake (Hells Canyon) and the Yampa, FULLY loaded with 4 people and then virtually empty on the lower Gauley and I felt the same on all rivers (i.e., slow, unresponsive, hole-bait). I think that RMR is a great fishing boat, but not great for whitewater.

I sold that boat and am now looking for a replacement. I'm loyal to Aire because I love the SDP I've had for 12 years. However, its floor traps sand (and invasive species) and the floor is not as pleasant to stand on as the drop stitch

My question: Regarding maneuverability, does the drop-stitch floor take away from that, or help it. Again, I love walking on that floor, but I worry that it will hurt my tracking and ability to punch holes when lightly loaded. Both rafts have the diminished tubes.

Any advice and war stories are appreciated.

Thank you.
 

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I’ve never noticed a huge difference in performance between Ibeams and drop stitch, and I’ve owned several of both. What I do notice is weight, which is where the RMR’s struggle. I think Maravia and Aire are both great boats, but the invasive species concern would make me lean Maravia personally.
 

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I know lots of people who have the 160DD and really like it. Typhoon seems like a decent boat too.

Not sure the drop stitch floor has as much to do with maneuverability and speed as the design of the boat does. I know on my 146DD, level of inflation for the floor makes a big difference. Its MUCH faster if I have the floor lightly inflated then it is when fully inflated. It probably accelerates a bit more and spins more and punches better at full inflation, but if you are trying to make miles having it at 1psi vs 2-3psi seems to make a big difference in speed. I think it catches more current in that mode and tracks better too. I put this down to the tubes having more water between them since the floor isn't as far into the water.

In regards to the floor trapping sand and invasive species...Aire has the option of a sealed floor. My 146DD has that option and I like it a lot. Still a bladder system...but the outer shell is sealed with a ti-zip on top (which is also covered in PVC). No ballast holes on the bottom of the boat. Some people swear up and down that the Ballast floor has saved them from flips and I suppose that could be...but as someone who does trips on silt sandy rivers I like having the sealed floor.
 

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The real question is Aire 160DD with sealed floor or NRS E-162D...
Wrong! Typhoon vs Mistral.... I personally think the drop stitch floor makes the boat more spritely, but that's compared to an AIRE floor that holds water... Disclaimer, I was a maravia dealer for 8 years so am a tad prejudiced ... The entire boat will likely outlast the AIRE if both are cared for equally simply due to the urethane coating...
 

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You should consider the Streamtech Steelhead, made by Maravia for Streamtech in Boise. Drop stitch floor and a rocker bow and stern is unbeatable for rowing performance. Not 16' but plenty capable of multi-day gear hauling and rowing far better than a ballast in the floor design.
 

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I own a typhoon and a spider. Both by Maravia. The spider is Maravia’s unashamed copy of the super puma by Aire. I can tell you that the Typhoon is a pig compared to the Spider. The Spider is very nimble and reactive. I haven’t ever rowed a super puma but the spider’s pretty close.

That said, I love my Typhoon, the diminishing tubes in the bow and stern double or triple the gear I can haul. Honestly, the large Pacific River Bag is too small. I wish they had an XL.

It is definitely possible to overload the Typhoon and that affects its maneuverability but I think that’s possible with all boats.

Another thing I like is the floor. You can pump it up hard for big water or soft like a noodle for low water. Not heavy at the takeout like an Aire while the floor drains.

Another plus is Urethane. Bulletproof.

I do find the 22” tubes are a bit harder to get into when I am trying to get back into the boat.
 
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