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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I am in the market for a 14ft SB raft. Want to use for Multi-day trips on rivers like Middle Fork Salmon and Main,. Also want to use for passenger raft on rivers like Gauley, Animas, Ocoee ect. Would like removable thwarts.

I know there are many to choose from. I don't want cheap and believe in paying for what you get. Trying to decide between Avon, NRS expedition and Aire R series. Any input would be much appreciated.

jerry
 

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NRS Otter

Jerry,

My girlfriend and I just purchased a 14 foot NRS Otter back in May. It fit the bill for what we needed as far as cost, dimensions, material and capabilities. We have less then 200 river miles on it, but we have done the San Juan rigged out expedition style for group support, Moab Daily at peak flow this summer, Brown's at low water and Animas Durango Daily at low water. All as an oar set-up with a Bighorn II frame. We love everything about it so far. Even though we didn't pop for the E series I still feel the Otter is Bomber enough for everything we will use it for. Eventually we will work up towards the bigger water and longer trips but for now we love doing these local rivers on this boat. I would not argue against any of the other brands/boats you mentioned but so far, I love our NRS. Their customer service seems real positive so far which is also something important. I have always heard great things about AIRE products and service; we opted for a hypalon boat because of how we transport and store (no trailer) and also the zippers in silty rivers...but we looked carefully at their product (R Series) and spoke to some reps...good people. Whatever you get, enjoy and any of those choices I am sure you will be stoked with.

MN
 

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If you get an Aire, go for the D series-way sportier with a little more space. But If you paddle silty rivers and dont clean the space between the tubes and the aircells every so often, your r
 

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The Russian
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Jerry, that is very broad question on this forum. You will probably get as many opinions as there will be replies. You should narrow down on your goals out of the raft, how much you want to spend, how many people you want to haul, how you are going to move the raft to the river and frame or a paddle setup. Then everyone can pitch in with much more detail rather than "I love the boat I have and you should get the same"

It's a very tough decision to make up front, after my first boat I spent about 6 months researching and talking to lots of people about the boats they had and then made up my own mind about my second (permanent) boat.

Alex
 

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I agree with both of the above posts - all you mentioned are good, and you'll get a bunch of people saying they love theirs.

I have the NRS Otter also, the one that is about 6 inches wider (14' x 7'). I think it's a good compromise for day trips and multi-days. The extra width provides just a little more room for the multi-day trips. It came with two thwarts, but I bought a third so I can use it for larger groups in a paddle raft setup. The only thing I would say about it (which may be true of a lot of rafts) is that it could use more d-rings (I added 4 already) and handles on front and back.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks to those that commented and recommended I narrow the range of boat i am looking for. I am looking for a boat that will be my last boat I purchase. My price range is maxed at 5500.00. I want a good top quality raft that can be used to support 3-4 people (kayakers, myself) for 8 day trips . The number of passengers in the raft for overnight trips would be max at 2 . I also want a raft that can also work well on single day trips on rivers like the Gauley, Cheat, Animas, Lochsa, Forks of Kern ect. with up to 4-6 people max.

I am leaning towards the AVON 14 self-bailing adventure. I know Avon's are good boats only thing I don't like about them are the small D rings.
I guess I am looking for opinions from owners who have or had Avons and if they are pleased with them and how well the hold up after years of moderate use. I know Maravia, Sotar, NRS, Aire ect. all make good boats. The price range for the top end boats are pretty close and differ by a few hundred dollars. Customer support is very important and wonder what people's experience with AVON is.

If anyone has had any negative experiences with Avon I would be interested. Like I said I have pretty much decided on Avon and just want to confirm that I am making the right choice by listening to others opinions on AVON boats.

Thanks Jerry
 

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The Russian
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Avon = most expensive, hypalon, bomber and I doubt you will find much negative feedback here. They track well, hold air for ever and from what I hear have great customer support.

Since you mentioned Maravia, I can pitch in for that, since that is my boat. I switched from Riken to Maravia for my final boat. Boat is awesome, tracks different than i-beam hypalon boats, hauls a ton of gear and very very stable, killer stitched floor and also welded not glued. I have 16 foot Typhoon (diminishing tubes, which was my main request). They do have all sizes and all custom build new boats. On the other hand, the boat is a bit heavier than hypalon and doesn't roll at all (has to be folded).

Now the Customer Service is totally insane! I purchased my boat October of last year, custom made, but paid sale price (cheaper than any other 16 footer top brands). I was able to custom build the d-ring placement, handles, colors, etc. The cool thing is they glued the handles/d-rings first, then sprayed the urethane on top. So it looks totally stylish.

So this year after 8 big trips, I rip a d-ring out when I was loading my boat on my trailer. Obviously I call them up, within minutes Chris called me and told me to bring the boat for warranty repair. I drove up and met with the guys at the factory up in Boise. Cool dudes, all run rivers like all us consumers. Chris (sales manager) checked out the boat and 2 days later called me and told me they weren't happy with the production of my boat, found a couple of defects so they are building me a brand new boat to my specs (new d-rings design I wanted, new handles, etc).

I know AIRE has killer support, but I was totally shocked to receive that kind of treatment from Maravia. So obviously I am totally sold on their product.

I know you are leaning towards Avon, but I thought I could share my customer service story as well for comparison. All manufacturers you listed make 14 footers, which is what you are looking for sounds like. I wouldn't go smaller than 14 foot, if you want 8 day trip and supporting kayakers.

Also, you are getting close to the end of the season, which means mega sales from all manufacturers. If you are buying new, you might want to wait a couple of months, do the research and then catch a sweet deal. October/November is when the manufacturers are trying to get rid of their inventory. Good Luck!

Alex
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks very much for you input Alex. It is a tough decision for sure. Customer service and support of a product is also very important to me. Now you got me thinking about Maravia's too. Which is exactly what I wanted from the post. I want peoples experiences with the boats. Thanks again and you information is very helpful.

Jerry
 

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that 14' avon adventurer will be awesome. dont worry about avon d rings. the patches are what give out and the way avon sews theirs in is bomber. i just worked on a 1974 avon last week. the thing is still in pristine shape with no delamination, they just wanted a couple more d rings. the ones from 74 are holding up fine. not that the workers, material, or construction are the same from 74 but avon has been making boats forever and doing an awesome job at it. i put a bunch of d rings on a new 16' 2010 avon a couple months back and it has been a long time since i have seen a hypalon boat that cosmetically perfect. attention to detail is rediculous. definitely no 10 year olds building those things. i think their new boats have a 12 yr warranty but it will be the last boat you buy if you care for it right. i havent had much experience with their customer service besides ordering d rings. seems kinda silly but another thing i really like on the new avons is the valve placement and they do roll like a dream. if you spring for the avon you wont be sorry.
 

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I've got a 13 '9" Hyside. Had it for 10 years now. Have done 5-7 day trips, (most of the desert rivers) many, many runs on the payette's, oar frame. I have a nice everything bag, drop bag, and can usually carry at least three passengers when fully loaded. The past weekend, put in the two thwarts, and did a fun paddle run on the Green (split mountain). Very versatile boat. Have run a lot of low rivers. Never had to patch, still looks very good. It will outlast me for sure, and then my daughter will get it. All of the boats mentioned will last longer than you. The Aire may not be the best choice for desert rivers. Purchase what feels right for you. They are all great boats.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for input Zach. I am going to get the Avon. Now the challenge is to catch one on sale like Alex recommended and I will wait for them to go on sale, even 10% is a lot of money . Thanks everyone for all the valuable information.

Great to have a media to get this type of information.

Jerry
 

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Congradulations on your choice Jerry. You will not regret getting an Avon. All the other brands wish they could be as good.
 

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Agree with everything everyone said but I've been rowing Avons since 79' and, well, I'm an old Volvo fan too . . . . I would say that Avons are not as nimble as, say, Maravia, Sotar, Aire and other non-hypalon boats, which are stiffer (and harder to roll). My Pro is a tank. BUT, some seasoned vets I know will tell you, a stiff boat ain't necessarily good. Hypalon boats flex, which can save your bacon in the big stuff. And, the new Avons are not the same as the old. Still great quality, but they changed the fabric some, many say for the better. Who knows . . . I tend to go with the proven deal, and I've seen Avons from the 70's still on the water. Hard to argue with that. Seems to me Avons hold their value too. The Avon company builds motor vehicle "tyres" in Britain and started building inflatables during WWII for the British Navy. The boats are still made in Wales. Talk to Clavey. All the brands you mentioned are good quality these days (compared to what it was 20 years ago when ONLY an Avon will do) but people still "gawk" when they see an Avon on the water.
 

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Clavey sometimes has "show boats" for sale in the Spring, and they also put demos on sale from time to time. Triple AAA in Denver pushes some through on sale from time to time. If you want a 16' Pro there is one on NRS GearSwap in California.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Buckcoff,thanks for sale information. Last year Clavey had a sale of 15% off avon boats and kind of watching them . Never heard of AAA but will look into them. 15% off a 5300. boat is big savings. Thanks Jerry
 

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I am looking for the same type of boat to use in swiftwater rescue, don't know which one would be better in silty muddy flood water with lots of submerged logs and trees, need something that is puncture resistant and multi purpose. We will only get one chance to buy a boat so we have to get the right one the first time. Any input is appreciated.
 

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Good luck Jerry. Adventurer is a good versatile and stable boat. I had one for about 4 years but switched back to the Pro because I like more room, including the ability to sleep on it. Also run some big water from time to time and, well, the Adv felt a little small in places (grin) but mostly it was just having more room on the boat. Of course, if it's really big water I take the dory . . . . but that's another story. Buena suerte!
PS Avon also has a 15' Expedition model that is a compromise between Adv and Pro. I would have gone there but found a used Pro for the right price.
 
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