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Looking for a R-2 to replace the Culebra I sold. Still looking for an agile and light boat capable of Class IV+ water, but with a bit of cargo capacity for some light weekend or overnighters. I caught some video of the Mini Max and it looks interesting. How does it handle? What is a realistic weight capacity where it will still perform? Can it handle overnight gear for two people? Is there something better out there?

Larry
 

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10ft Revolution Series (I think), looks like its out of production currently. This thing was a demo at ASCI and unstable as hell and just as fun.

IMO, the puma or even better super puma by aire is the best boat for eastern water. However, lots of people disagree with me.
 

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Puma and frames

I'm very familiar with Aire products. The Puma is close to the size of boat I'm looking for, but it's a tad on the heavy side. It's still in the running though. The Super Puma is a bit big for a craft I want primarily as an R-2. I haven't seen one of the NRS Revolution boats on the water and they don't seem to be making them, so they aren't a viable option either.

I can row well enough, but it isn't a priority for me. I'm primarily looking for an R-2 that is small enough to handle some of the smaller Eastern Rivers like Big South Fork of the Cumberland (or smaller) and still carry enough to make a reasonable overnighter, plus handle the larger New and Gauley. I would prefer a paddlecat, but none that I've seen have much cargo space.
 

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The company that i work for has a few mini max boats. We got them for really low water trips on the Nollichucky but it sees more use on guide only "fun runs" at high water. Its a really fun boat and R2's great! I Dont know if i'd recommend it as an only boat though. At high water it gets pushed around a lot. If you can handle that and dont mind it then it's a great boat, some people dont like that ALL the time though. It is a really stable boat despite getting pushed around i have never flipped one unintentionally. One of the biggest concerns i have when paddling it is the material. It just feels really thin and makes me nervous around rocks. I love AIRE boats and if you are considering the puma i would go with that. It is definitely a manageable size and very play able but still has AIRE's durability (not that any of our hysides have ever let me down but AIREs just feel so dam good!) i think the design would handle big water better.

I've never paddled a puma though.

Oh, and as far as light gear in a minimax. You should be fine as long as you dont go crazy. If you can fit it in the boat it will probably be fine as far as weight unless you're putting lead in your coolers.
 

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I haven't used my Mini Max for R2, nor have I done any overnights in it, but it would probably carry two paddlers and gear for a couple days depending on how light you pack.


I have had it setup as an oarboat on some technical class IV and in some bigger water class II/III with, er, mixed results. I say mixed because I was charging everything at first and soon found out that it was less forgiving than my 14' boat. It would get surfed and ejected me a few times and flipped once before I decided to take it easy and sneak stuff. It's lighter than an Aire, but less stable. With two paddlers and some gear in it it would probably be more stable. Fun boat for sure, it's nice not having to break the back carrying it. Also I think it;s a bit less expensive than an Aire, or the Sotar (which would be my first choice if I had unlimited $$). Look for the year end deals Hyside has.
 

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Super puma is only two inches wider than the puma, the added length gives some extra mass for when it rains ;-)

Ive paddled both a ton back home in the mid atlantic and ive never wished to be in the puma when im paddling the super.

Btw have you looked at aire's new paddlecat?
 

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If you are looking for a paddle cat i'd wait till star gets theirs dialed in. I know I know. But i've personally seen the prototype and know the designer and the "slice" is an awesome little paddle cat. Look for it at the Gauley they'll have it out there if you're gonna go to the fest. It was designed for R2 boating in big or technical water, drop stitch floor, a zippered storage compartment front and rear that also acts as a fairing of sorts to keep water from crashing into the thwarts and holding you up in holes or whatever.
 

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For what it's worth I've been using an older 10' NRS SB raft the past six+ years and it's been fantastic. It's small size makes it very quick to turn and correct and it's easy to sneak through lines that bigger rafts can't. It's small enough that I don't punch big holes/waves in it but rather look for a sneak. I've mainly used it on smaller rivers with a frame and some R2 and it works great for both. With the frame I've had 1 additional adult and 2 kids (snug) and without the frame I've fit as many as six teens for a fun paddle run. While I've mainly used it here in Colorado it has seen time on the MF Salmon and the Snake Rivers and it's been a fun ride. Not a lot of room for gear but with only 2 adults doing R2 you'd have enough room for a light overnight or couple of days.
One great thing about is it's light - one person can carry it (rolled or inflated) and it rolls up small - not much bigger than a rolled IK.
 

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Puma no Frame

I 2R a Puma on overnighters a lot, and also hit class IV with it on day trips, no frame. I did get a Yeti cooler that replaces a thwart to help consolidate storage, it works handy with the Aire thwart design. It's great for 2 people overnight with comfort but no chance of fitting a third.

I've never been in a Mini Max though so I can't contrast, but I love my boat for what it's worth.

Here's a link to my Puma setup and how it's evolved if you're interested.

http://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f15/critique-my-rigging-46891.html
 

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My buddy has a mini max we've been paddling it a ton this summer. Have done a lot of class IV with mainly an R3 and somem R4 two guys two girls handles great. Have done a few overnight with an R3 and gear(back pack style gear except a lot of beer) I love the thing and will be purchasing one soon! We punched sunshine hole on the royal gorge no problem when 14' boats were getting surfed left and right.
 

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My buddy has a mini max we've been paddling it a ton this summer. Have done a lot of class IV with mainly an R3 and somem R4 two guys two girls handles great. Have done a few overnight with an R3 and gear(back pack style gear except a lot of beer) I love the thing and will be purchasing one soon! We punched sunshine hole on the royal gorge no problem when 14' boats were getting surfed left and right.
As the friend/owner, the Mini-Max is awesome. Zero complaints.
 

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I should add, I bought the NRS Rev hi-5 and had to send it back. It was de-laming out of the box.
 

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We have a Mini-Max and absolutely love it. We've been R2ing it this summer, and took it on a 7 day San Juan trip. We take the whole family in it (R2+ I guess LOL) paddling. It's been great for low water and small creeks (Boulder Creek with the kids for example). It's a blast on bigger stuff like Westwater too.

In terms of rowing, I built my own frame (it's buried in the raft porn thread somewhere) and I use a 24" captains box as the dry box (and seat) and then a cooler in the other bay. I can get a couple of water jugs and a couple of dry bags in it too. Depending on what all gear you want to take, I think you can make a mini work for multi-day trips, especially in a group where you don't have to bring absolutely everything yourself. I am confident that I could do an overnight or even a few days in the mini on our own if we wanted too though. Firepan would probably be the hardest thing to stow.

In terms of the boat itself, it is lightweight for sure. It's one of the things I really love about it. My wife isn't all that big or strong, and my kids are still fairly young, so having a boat that even my son and I can carry is huge for me (and I have a bad back to top it off LOL). Even with the small frame if we row, it's easy to load and unload from a trailer. Take the frame off and paddle it, and it is a no-brainer. We carried the thing several hundred yards down Boulder Creek bike path no problem.

Maneuverability is awesome. It's very responsive, and very easy to get it where you want it to go. I prefer to paddle my Mini over running my 14 footer now, I only take the 14 footer on extended multi-days. And I really like my 14 footer.

I obviously don't have the Puma or any of the others mentioned, but you asked about the Mini-Max, and I can honestly say I'd by another one without blinking an eye. Every day of the week....
 

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My personal experience is the Puma is a much more stable boat than the Mini-Me / Max. If you're looking to paddle IV-V's, I'd recommend the Puma hands down. I recently bought one and am very happy with the decision. I know Hiwassee Outfitters in Reliance, TN still had a couple for sale over Labor Day for a good price so you may check with them.
 
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