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Discussion Starter #1
Looking for opinions here. I think it’s time for myself and my family to add inflatable kayaks to our rafting trips. Now I gotta choose which ones.

Here is where I’ve landed (I’ll go through my reasoning next). Do I get an Aire Tributary Tomcat Tandem or do I get 2 Aire Tributary Spuds?

We mainly do Snake, Salmon, and Colorado rivers. Adults will use these. But so will pre-teens on up. We can clip them to the raft through big stuff (class III+), but I bet the adults will choose to run it all in whatever we buy (when it’s their turn).

We played in a few spuds this Summer on the Salmon. I was very surprised at how the “youth” kayak serviced the adults. No issues as far I’m concerned. And they where really nimble and tracked well. I became an Aire convert on that trip (other people had a Aire rafts....Aire makes a good product I can say from first hand experience now).

I’ve been in NRS outlaws and Mavericks and found that they didn’t track well, I was always wet ie my butt was below water line most of the time), and compared to the Aire, they where a little soft (those Spuds where rock hard). So unless something significant has changed, NRS is out for me.

I don’t want to spend 1/3 as much for a raft and only get a kayak. Therefore the Lynx and outfitter are out.

So 2 Spuds or one tomcat tandem. Thoughts??
 

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I've never been in a spud, they look like lots of fun! If you want a sporty boat they look like the ticket.

If you go with the tomcat you have the option to bring someone new to the sport to get them comfortable and can haul gear if you want to do a low water or smaller run.
 

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Looking for opinions here. I think it’s time for myself and my family to add inflatable kayaks to our rafting trips. Now I gotta choose which ones.

Here is where I’ve landed (I’ll go through my reasoning next). Do I get an Aire Tributary Tomcat Tandem or do I get 2 Aire Tributary Spuds?

We mainly do Snake, Salmon, and Colorado rivers. Adults will use these. But so will pre-teens on up. We can clip them to the raft through big stuff (class III+), but I bet the adults will choose to run it all in whatever we buy (when it’s their turn).

We played in a few spuds this Summer on the Salmon. I was very surprised at how the “youth” kayak serviced the adults. No issues as far I’m concerned. And they where really nimble and tracked well. I became an Aire convert on that trip (other people had a Aire rafts....Aire makes a good product I can say from first hand experience now).

I’ve been in NRS outlaws and Mavericks and found that they didn’t track well, I was always wet ie my butt was below water line most of the time), and compared to the Aire, they where a little soft (those Spuds where rock hard). So unless something significant has changed, NRS is out for me.

I don’t want to spend 1/3 as much for a raft and only get a kayak. Therefore the Lynx and outfitter are out.

So 2 Spuds or one tomcat tandem. Thoughts??


Go with tomcat. Much more room and I feel like it would be more forgiving then the Spud.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have a Tomcat, the plastic skin is not very durable. If I had to do it over, I'd try to find a used Hyside.
This is a fair point. However, I never seem to find used gear. Is there a specific classified site (or a place here on the buzz) that people use for white water gear? KSL in the Utah/Idaho/Wyoming area has a few things occasionally. Craigslist seems to have very little.

I appreciate the point on durability as well. Great insight. Most of the rivers I’m on are high volume, so very little abrasion risk.
 

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I bought a Tomcat single for the wife and a tandem for me. Love the boat, have not had ANY problem with wear on the tubes - seems to be as tough as any other PVC raft material. I also bought the removable skeg for the single on flat water which is a big improvement for tracking. I have zero complaints about the boats. They are stable, whitewater capable , easy to paddle and I can load up the tandem for self supported trips. Price is a really good value - paid about $1200 for both. Yeah, if we were wanting to push the limits of the IK world there are more capable boats but these are great for the "tag along" rile and self supported class III trips
 

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Spud and Strike.

Bought my 9 year old a Spud this past year, it is awesome! He's got many miles of pure smiles on it. However, there isn't much room to grow in there, he'll most likely outgrow it in a year or two...but he's fairly tall.



For older kids, maybe consider a Strike. Got one for my 14yr old and it is a pleasure to paddle. Lower profile front doesn't catch the wind, tracks straight enough to use at the lake. Really nice design, extremely light and uses urethane bladders in stead of vinyl. Aire's inflatable footrests work great too, but won't fit in the Spud...strapped a yoga block in the bow and that keeps my son in place.



FWIW, I've had Outfitter, Lynx II, and currently have Sotar IK. If I had no need to carry gear, I'd consider another Strike for myself.



..whatever you end up with, your kids will have a blast.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the suggestions and opinions shared! The Strike sounds like one to look at as well. I think I’m convinced that some combination of these three options (Spud, Strike,Tomcat) will be right for my crew.

It actually sounds like there is no perfect answer, just get a few and get out on the water again and again and again.

Since the season is winding down maybe I’ll let end of season bargains or holiday sales influence the decision. Thanks again!
 

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For reasons unknown i own them all. The strikes allways the winner for kids and newbies. The tomkats are good off c.l. for cheap or i guess an overnight but they are dogs in the water. We all have the best time in the tandem . Its just fun and it bends in half and gets surfed its great for kids in front or newbie in front grandma or dog or beer . My 15 yr old loves it and she thinks about us as a team and goes on and on about our strokes and bracing and high siding and how if we practice maybe we can enter a competition. Seriously its fun in the sun. I have never bought one new and i paid 500 for tandem and 100 for a dirty flat tomkat. I know other cool dads are buying SUPs for their kids though . Onky one i need now is that really cool one from west virginia. Reason my guys dont like links is they are more tippy and we all have hard boats for that and we arent very good at any of them really lol!
 
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