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My first post. The Buzz is a great community and has been a good resource as I try to work through my research to buy a new raft. In my surfing I came across the following product and they are currently avialable:

"Avon / Zodiac Milpro Adventurer River Raft: You don't have to be a River Guide or Special Forces Commando to appreciate the quality and worksmanship that goes into each and every AVON Raft. Now available to the public, the Adventurer is 14' of pure dynamite for any white water run anywhere in the world."

I'm told that the rafts are made by Zodiac using the original specifications that the original Avon rafts were manufactured. I think the rafts are build at the same facility even.

What do you think....Avon quality or suspect imitation?
 

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There are two of these in the US, or so I'm told. One of them is at Dvorak's on the Arkansas between Nathrop and Salida. I'd contact them and Zodiac by phone.

I've seen it on the river and it looked nice, though I think it's a 13 footer.
 

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Ron at Riverboatworks in Salida had at least one fourteen footer in stock last time I was down there. He can definitely order them for you if its gone.

They look beautiful, like Avons always did. From what I can tell, they are using the same material that they did a couple years ago when they were still calling them Avons instead of Mil Pro. Its not the old, badass, dark Avon grey material, but nothing is.

Avon Boats have been owned by Zodiac for years. Zodiac has made rescue boats out of hypalon for a long time and they are awesome. If you wanted to pony up the dough for one I dont think you'd be disappointed.

The only negative (my opinion) change that I noticed, during the short look I had at it, is that they did away with the exterior seam tape on some of the seams. It shouldn't be an issue since it is just a protective layer and doesn't have anything to do with the structure but I always liked the protection aspect of exterior seam tape. For the price, I'd like to see it have all the bells and whistles of any other high end boat.

FWIW, Lots of other boats dont have the exterior seam tape, (NRS Otters and AIRE's to name a couple) and I have never seen issues because of it.
 

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dont make them like they used to, or do they?????

lots of good information above. we sold the 'old' avons for years - from the 70's through 2000'ish (mainly motorboats, dinghys and RIB's) and they were great boats

i have been thinking about one of these as well and my only hesitation is that I have heard 'they don't make them like they used to'. specifically from a popular and respected shuttle / outfitter in Vernal who said they just don't hold up like the old avons did, so they have switched to NRS (note this is regarding the 5-10'ish year old avons first made after they were bought by zodiac, not the new milpros)

it would be great to hear some feedback regarding quality and durability of avons from this 'questionable' generation, and also any intelligence about whether the milpros are the same as these, or if they are back to the quality of the 'old days'
 

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They're still made in the UK out of the same material. I bet by the same people. Somebody call them and find out. The outfitter in Vernal has no idea what he's talking about - these boats are too new to have had any problems yet.

The prices at that Oregon shop are retarded and I want the 16 footer!
 

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yep, made at the same shop in wales actually. probably had some staff turnover in the last 40 years so maybe not the 'same' people though

sounds like you are pretty confident neither dvoraks nor riverrunners know anything (despite riverrunners owning many of that generation that did develop problems very quickly).

and also that my question is not legitimate (asking for some recent info, while being pretty familiar with the old ones having sold over 100 of them and being close friends with the former, pre-zodiac, importer)

great to have you on the forum!
 

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I said that the "guy at Dvoraks", specifically the guide that told me a few weeks ago that there were only two of these in America, didn't know what he's talking about. I would suggest that Bill or the communal knoweldge base of Dvoraks is nothing short of comprehensive. The fact that Dvorak's bought one of these only lends credibility to their quality.

I then suggested that statements about the durability on these BRAND NEW boats by "a reputable shuttle / outfitter" is likely unfounded. I never mentioned River Runners, you did.

But anyway, thanks for having me on the forum Tex. I'm just trying to figure out the same thing as the OP before I drop coin on my next boat.

Rowdog, welcome to the forum, BTW. Lots of opinion, and unfortunately egos, on here. Let us know what you learn from Riverboatworks. It'll be worth the visit - Ron has a great shop!
 

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Us at River Runners in Colorado have no experience with the new Mil Pros.

The Zodiac/Mil Pro I saw resembled nothing of a Avon. Different tube sizes, thwart attachments, and it looked to be lighter material. Unfortunately I wasn't able to look at it as much as I would have liked, so take it with a grain of salt.

I think they're suspect.
 

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relax man

I said that the "guy at Dvoraks", specifically the guide that told me a few weeks ago that there were only two of these in America, didn't know what he's talking about. I would suggest that Bill or the communal knoweldge base of Dvoraks is nothing short of comprehensive. The fact that Dvorak's bought one of these only lends credibility to their quality.
maybe. or maybe they only bought one because they aren't sure about the quality and want to check it out before the buy more. i interpreted it as the latter

I then suggested that statements about the durability on these BRAND NEW boats by "a reputable shuttle / outfitter" is likely unfounded. I never mentioned River Runners, you did.
i can't see the 'unlikely' part in your response. everybody know the outfitter in vernal is river runners, and most agree they are in the same class as dvoraks. i trust their opinion on boat quality when they are running a fleet all year long and problems show up the first year. 'falling apart' is what they said. not saying that is try for all but it is enough to make me think twice about that generation of avons

actually the mil pro boats aren't really new.... same design for decades and as you said, coming out of the same factory. and made by the same company (zodiac) that made the avons since 2001. unknown material, but different than the good 3M stuff avon used until 2001 which is no longer being produced - may very well be the same stuff used in zodiac-made avons since 2001.

so the mil pros may well just be like the 'newer avons' with a different sticker. i would like to hear from someone knowledgable if anything has changed in the last 3 years besides the rub rail and the name on the boat. if so , i am in

so it's these 'newer' avons that river runners had all the problems with - enough for them to stop using them altogether. i am hopefull things have been sorted out but curious for some information besides

But anyway, thanks for having me on the forum Tex. I'm just trying to figure out the same thing as the OP before I drop coin on my next boat.
i don't stoop so low as to call names - haven't seen it much here and it is really sad to see. moved here from colorado to work by the way. but agree it does seem we are looking for similar info. you just don't seem to be receptive

Rowdog, welcome to the forum, BTW. Lots of opinion, and unfortunately egos, on here. Let us know what you learn from Riverboatworks. It'll be worth the visit - Ron has a great shop!
yea, ego, i see it too
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I called the folks down at River Works on the Ark. as was suggested and unfortunately did not get a lot more info. as they explained they do not carry the line. Anyway, super helpful folks and took the time to answer questions I had on Hyside and Maravia brands as my research goes on.

I did call the distributor (Inflatable Boat Center) offering those impressive deals. I was informed that the boats are built to the same specifications as the Zodiac era Avons. Will they hold up and perform for years as many high quality brands have demonstrated......only time will tell I suppose. Is it worth the "gamble".......not sure I'm ready to pull the trigger. My timing seams to be pretty good buying a new boat since there are several brands out there with solid boats, responsive customer service and competitively priced. Thanks to all those who have responded and if you have experience with the Zodiac Mil Pro let us know what you think.
 

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I called the folks down at River Works on the Ark. as was suggested and unfortunately did not get a lot more info. as they explained they do not carry the line. Anyway, super helpful folks and took the time to answer questions I had on Hyside and Maravia brands as my research goes on.

I did call the distributor (Inflatable Boat Center) offering those impressive deals. I was informed that the boats are built to the same specifications as the Zodiac era Avons. Will they hold up and perform for years as many high quality brands have demonstrated......only time will tell I suppose. Is it worth the "gamble".......not sure I'm ready to pull the trigger. My timing seams to be pretty good buying a new boat since there are several brands out there with solid boats, responsive customer service and competitively priced. Thanks to all those who have responded and if you have experience with the Zodiac Mil Pro let us know what you think.

Ok, what's their warranty, pardon my question if it's already been mentioned.


Sent from my iPhone using Mountain Buzz
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Warranty: I when I spoke with the distributor (Inflatable Boat Center) they did not have any firm warranty statement to share. Adam the sales rep. was going to check and get back to me. When I hear from him I'll update the post with that info.
 

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These new boats are not the same, zodiac started producing a US fabric to be compliant with the berry amendment to compete with wing in a military contract. The unsuccessful attempt and failed testing led to the excess of this new fabric which is now being turned in to river rafts and dumped on the public to exhaust the fabric supply. So thats why the good deal at IBC which is a few hours south of me now and I have been in there. This shop down in Oregon is just liquidating them because of the purchase deal they got and moving them on at the discounted price like intended. Everyone else is trying to cut the fat hog on the boat it looks like as usual.
 

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These new boats are not the same, zodiac started producing a US fabric to be compliant with the berry amendment to compete with wing in a military contract. The unsuccessful attempt and failed testing led to the excess of this new fabric which is now being turned in to river rafts and dumped on the public to exhaust the fabric supply. So thats why the good deal at IBC which is a few hours south of me now and I have been in there. This shop down in Oregon is just liquidating them because of the purchase deal they got and moving them on at the discounted price like intended. Everyone else is trying to cut the fat hog on the boat it looks like as usual.
So is it the fabric that is failed, or something else? If it is a boat produced by Avon with Avon quality fabric, it looks like a pretty good deal. But if they are the only dealer of this boat in the US, they should have a warranty program sorted out by now. I wonder if they intend to make any more after this batch they have.
 

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I do have experience with Zodiac era Avons used commercially. The seam tape was the first thing to fail. It began peeling off the first season. They performed better than any other boat in the fleet and handled like the sweet old Avons, but the lesser durability and increased maintenance didn't make the high cost worth it. If it had a good warranty, (and if I had that kind of coin) I bet these MILPRO boats would make a badass private rig. The abuse a boat takes on commercial GC trips can't really be compared to what a thoughtful private owner would put to it...
 

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These new boats are not the same, zodiac started producing a US fabric to be compliant with the berry amendment to compete with wing in a military contract. The unsuccessful attempt and failed testing led to the excess of this new fabric which is now being turned in to river rafts and dumped on the public to exhaust the fabric supply. So thats why the good deal at IBC which is a few hours south of me now and I have been in there. This shop down in Oregon is just liquidating them because of the purchase deal they got and moving them on at the discounted price like intended. Everyone else is trying to cut the fat hog on the boat it looks like as usual.
What is the source of this info?
 
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