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Discussion Starter #1
Any opinions on Aire Lion vs NRS 16' Kodiak cataraft tubes? I ordered my NRS Kodiak tubes in December and the earliest delivery they said they could give me was end of March. Then it was pushed back till end of April. Now they are saying mid June. Kinda pissed at the whole situation, especially seeing as how it is me continually having to phone them for updates that keep getting pushed back. They offered me a deal on a set of aire Lion tubes which are basically the same size but I would much rather have the Kodiak. Just looking to hear some other opinions.
 

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I'm sure there is a certain amount of personal preference involved, but for me, this would be an easy decision. I'd take the Aire. I've got friends with both. The Kodiaks seem to inevitably leak around the cones. The Aire warranty is superb, and they make a great boat.
 

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I own an Aire Lion 16', Aire Leopard 18', Aire Ocelot 14' and an Aire Lynx 2 so maybe I'm a bit biased. I briefly owned an Aire 14' Lion but didn't see using it immediately so I sold it to a best friend who I determined desperately needed it sooner than I did.

During semi-retirement I worked at a raft store and before then I could buy pro-deals. So for most of my life I could pretty much buy almost at wholesale anything I wanted. I bought what I wanted and what I considered the best catarafts made. If I were to buy a raft I'd scratch my head a little but probably still buy an Aire. You can't beat their warranty and they are made right here in North America(I see you are from Calgary). Wait, maybe the NRS is made here in NA also.

BTW, I also wear a well worn AIRE baseball cap. No surprise I guess.

The NRS Kodiak is a good cat but I suggest you not wait. I feel for NRS concerning their delayed delivery. We once had a shipping container two months late. It can be a deal killer.

BTW, why were you set on the Kodiak so firmly. I must admit that the 28" diameter and 3 chambers per tube is much improved over there earlier 16' cat.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Other than the kodiaks looking cool, I didn't have a legit reason for choosing them. The local rafting community is pretty small and I've never seen an aire cat. I had a set of 16' rivercat tubes (25" Dia) that I had bought used off of a friend that went to the kodiaks. Last year the raft got sucked under and through a log jam with me and my dog in it. Raft is toast but dog and I survived. My buddy with the kodiaks liked his but honestly neither of us has had much else to compare it to. You are right about the kodiaks being made elsewhere. They are made in Mexico. On my previous cat, I did have a few nosecone problems. I replaced one cone because someone had overtightened it and cracked the cone and another one cracked either from a rock or it got caught on the edge of the trailer when unloading the boat. Can't say as I was impressed by the nose design on the NRS. They are a huge pain in the ass to replace and you need to cut a huge hole in your tube to replace them. Then its really tough to apply even pressure while you wait for the silicone to dry. I prefer the look of the kodiaks but the more I research, I may go for the aire.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Has anyone had problems with water leaking in between the outer tube and the inner one? It would be a pain to dry out and another thought I had was is an invasive species check might want to take a look in there too. That could be a huge pain if they ever got that curious.
 

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Don’t know about your last question, at least as far as Aire cats go, the air raft Floors could hold invasives pretty easy though.
My friends that do own an Aire, are super happy with them, and I would probably buy a Lion in a heart beat. I have seen the same people have to replace there NRS nose cones, and having titty tassels on a cat, is super important to me, I grab mine all the time, you add rope or straps to Aire tubes pretty easy, not so much with an NRS. I’d save a buck,get it quicker, and possibly even a better set of tubes, in some ways.
 

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I owned a 16' lion and loved it.. no issues with water between the layers. I bought it used from a guy in red deer canada. I have no real experience with the nrs but having short straps on the tips of the tubes is really nice. Passengers ride on tge tips of the tubes on hot days and gives them a handle. Also great for landing the boat. Outdoorplay.com has a cupon for 20% off the lions right now. Code is MAX20.. knocks the pruce down to $2400

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Good questions Red. In the age of invasive species the zipper could be a problem. I really only get water in my LION zipper when power washing(not on full pressure setting) and then very little. The Lion zipper is very elevated on the tube.

A friend periodically has to clean his old Aire 16 raft of silt and typically removes at least a 5 gallon bucket of mud. His boat when loading on a trailer is like trying to move a giant bull walrus.

Here is an excellent discussion of the silt problem.
Self Bailing Whitewater rafts and silt
 

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Take a look at the Aire Leopard 18' also, NRS has at least one blue model in stock. Sportier than the more flat bottom Lion tubes but more picky about weight distribution. I'd take my Leopard 10:1 over my dad's Kodiak 16', YMMV.
 

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Aire Lion 4 me

I love my 16 Aire Loin. I also have a 13 foot NRS raft. Both GREAT boats, but you can't beat Aire Cats. Better resale as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the info everyone. I decided to go with the Lions. They dropped the price for me because of totally blowing their delivery date a few times.

Can anyone recommend some good videos or write-ups about how to patch the Aires?
 

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Look up the tear aid repair for the inner bladder and watch the baseball stitch video for the outer shell... aire recommends just stitching the outside bladder until you get it off the river for them to professionally repair.. easy for me being in Idaho not so easy for you. So you might look into actually patching. i think both nrs and aires sites have videos on repair.

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Congratulations. I think you will love your new boat.

Tear aid was mentioned. Totally out of context but it is great stuff. I always carry both flavors not just for me but in case I'm on the river with someone with a Coleman tent or any tent with FIBERGLASS TENT POLES!(Another current thread on MB).

Sorry, sorry, but been there done that doing repairs on a cheap tent many times for some other river partner. But then again, I guess I've done repairs on many expensive tents also for one reason or another. Anyway, never travel without Tear Aid.
 

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I've got NRS River Cat Tubes and an Aire Raft. Love the design of Aire. They are bomb proof. Honestly I wanted the 16ft Lion tubes but couldn't find a deal on them used or new that matched the River Cats I got which were in like new condition. The only upside for me is I don't have room to store my rafts inflated and the hypalon River Cat tubes roll nice and tight and store compactly.

I'll definitely be getting Aire tubes when the River Cats bite the dust. You made the right choice and I'm sure you'll be happy with it long term.

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