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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking at a tributary raft about 8-9 years old that comes with a flyfishing frame and trailer for $2500. What is y'alls rule of thumb when purchasing a used raft? And would you say this is a good deal?

It's a 12'6 that supposedly has been stored indoors or outside with a cover.
 

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Just for comparison, I got the exact same raft from the Sawyer Store in OR this past Dec for $4200. Brand new with a DRE frame, 3 Polecat oars with Duralite blades, drybox and lots of other gadgets.
Talk to Beau, he's a joy to work with.
 

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Agree with Craven, above. I sold my 27 y/o Rogue Inflatable last summer, tough as hell 18' raft. After all those years and lots of 303 to protect it, I could still do a multi-day trip and never need to add air. I doubt there is a Star, Vanguard, Sevylar, or perhaps a Sotar that can say that. Your deal, tho, involves trailer (1000 to 1500) and (good?) frame? Does the boat leak? Look faded and weather cracked? Could work out well for you, but depends. Good quality lasts longer. And yes, for those of us in S. Oregon, Sawyer (Beau and Zac) are great to work with, and they do have the best oars...period.
 

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I'm looking at a tributary raft about 8-9 years old that comes with a flyfishing frame and trailer for $2500. What is y'alls rule of thumb when purchasing a used raft? And would you say this is a good deal?

It's a 12'6 that supposedly has been stored indoors or outside with a cover.
Does it come with oars and anything else? Do you plan on flyfishing or are you daytripping or doing multiday trips? Will the frame work for what you want to do? Do you have a decent vehicle to pull a trailer? On the surface it seems like a good deal. If everything is in good shape especially. A decent used trailer can go for $1,000 easily. The boat is a little small for multiday but could work for 1-2 people. Three if you are small. Tell us more about where and what you want to do.
 

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That sounds like a great little package. If the boat isn’t weathered badly it should be fine. You can replace the bladders on tributary rafts as well, if the jacket is in good shape you should be golden. Some of the older ones had leaky floor bladders, but also can be replaced. I’m only aware of 12’ or 13’models in the tributary line. The 13’ are a fairly wide boat as far as most 13’s go. I think they are 40” inside. The 12’ might be a little tight for multi day trips as carvedog said, but still not a deal breaker. This season might be a tough one for buying boats as many retailers are facing shortages in inventory already.
 

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That sounds like a great little package. If the boat isn’t weathered badly it should be fine. You can replace the bladders on tributary rafts as well, if the jacket is in good shape you should be golden. Some of the older ones had leaky floor bladders, but also can be replaced. I’m only aware of 12’ or 13’models in the tributary line. The 13’ are a fairly wide boat as far as most 13’s go. I think they are 40” inside. The 12’ might be a little tight for multi day trips as carvedog said, but still not a deal breaker. This season might be a tough one for buying boats as many retailers are facing shortages in inventory already.
^^
I have a 2006 or so 13' Trib. Fun big little boat. Great for 1-2 for overnights an d a FUN R4_R5-R6-R8 paddle boat.

What are your intended uses?
 

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Is say jump on it. You have to remember that the PVC, even if sun burnt a bit will still hold up a long time. AIREs use the bladder system to hold air; not the PVC. As long as the bladder is still rocking, you would still have a solid boat barring that the PVC is in decent shape. And you can get a new bladder for relatively cheap if it is toast.
 

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Spend the extra $$ and get hypalon. I have 2 Avon boats , one an 1982 & another 1985. Burg in great shape. The 1985 was used commercially and has been down Grand Canyon over a hundred times. The 1982 was an old NPS boat in Cataract. It has one wear patch where the cooler rubs. The fabric is soft & flexible, just like new.

Any PVC urethane boat is questionable after 10 years old. There are no PVC boats that can clamp the same as above.
 

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Spend the extra $$ and get hypalon. I have 2 Avon boats , one an 1982 & another 1985. Burg in great shape. The 1985 was used commercially and has been down Grand Canyon over a hundred times. The 1982 was an old NPS boat in Cataract. It has one wear patch where the cooler rubs. The fabric is soft & flexible, just like new.

Any PVC urethane boat is questionable after 10 years old. There are no PVC boats that can clamp the same as above.
So AIRE warranties their boats up until “questionable?” Hardly the case. And my 1999 AIRE Ocelot still has many years left in it. Many.
 

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So AIRE warranties their boats up until “questionable?” Hardly the case. And my 1999 AIRE Ocelot still has many years left in it. Many.
Aire’s are much better, as you have a urethane bladder inside that is protected from the sun. Others are just PVC or PVC with urethane sprayed on the outside. Urethane is not a good UV protection. Once the sun degrades the PVC or urethane coating, the boat is toast. With an Aire, you can always replace the bladders too.
 

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If price is one of your points, might consider a Saturn. Have seen them get flack on here, but I got a 14'6" Saturn in 2014 when we were just starting out rafting as a family. Thought I'd get the Saturn and then later upgrade to an AIRE if rafting became a consistent thing for us. We were unsurprisingly hooked on rafting and since have run 4-6 trips/year ranging from multi-days to family/church trips running down the same section 3-4X/day for 3-4 days. So, 6 years into having it, it has been great and have have no complaints - actually like the floor better than anything else I've seen. I wash and care for it better than my kids and give it a warm place to sleep during winter storage, so that might be a factor. I've also geared out on NRS and AIREs for comparison. The true test will be how it holds up for years 7-15. However, I only paid $2000 for it new. Basically, I'm pleasantly surprised that my starter raft has done everything we've asked of it and shown no signs of any problems after 6 years of decently heavy personal use. Need to find some wood to knock on.....
 

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I am still Rowing my 16 ft Hyside Purchased new in the 1900s from DRE. 1995 to be exact. My friend has been on many of the same trips all those years with his Aire Boats. He is now in his late 70s getting ready to do his last Middle Fork this July.
I sold a Hyside Cat to another friend who is now 80 years old. He is planning on rowing that cat this July on Middle Fork. I would never had dreamed we would all still be rowing these same boats 28 years later. My Hyside has about 4000 river miles on it. No Patches. I have had to replace the floor relief valve two times. and I am starting to get some corner delamination on a couple D Rings.
My Raft is a better Life investment for my family than I ever thought it could be. My Daughter was four when she did her first Desolation Canyon in our 16ft Hyside. Its crazy to think she will inherit it and it probably has many years left in it. My first Raft was a 16ft Udisco with a wood frame. It had to be pumped up every Hour. I loved every Hour I ever spent in it. I agree with the aforementioned, Keep them out of the sun when not in use. 303, and store them dry with Talc. I would not have rolled my boats if I had room to store inflated.
I would not hesitate to purchase due to the age of the boat. (now I want to go looking for a picture of that Udisco and find out how many Udisco owners are out there)
 

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Spend the extra $$ and get hypalon. I have 2 Avon boats , one an 1982 & another 1985. Burg in great shape. The 1985 was used commercially and has been down Grand Canyon over a hundred times. The 1982 was an old NPS boat in Cataract. It has one wear patch where the cooler rubs. The fabric is soft & flexible, just like new.

Any PVC urethane boat is questionable after 10 years old. There are no PVC boats that can clamp the same as above.
Second this recommendation. I have 2 Avon boats, a 1983 Pro and a 90's Adventurer. Thousands of miles on each and still going strong. Yep, maintenance and keeping them out of the sun is key to any boat, but Hypalon is a lifetime boat, PVC, well not so much. One poster above mentioned you can replace AIRE bladders at a reasonable cost. Another thread here was discussing just that, and it seems that the cost to do just that is about $1500.00..
 

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There is no doubt (from my research) that PVC degrades more quickly due to UV exposure than hypalon. And if I was, maybe, an outfitter with boats that never get covered and are out on a river every day from spring to fall that would be a compelling concern for me. But as private boater who might get in a couple week long trips, a few overnighters, and a handful of day runs every season, and covers the boat when not in use, I don't care. You do see hypalon boats from the 90s, even the 80s, out on the river. Some of them look remarkably good. Some look like shit. That's how you can tell whether the owners have been vigilant about keeping those boats out of direct sun when not in use, or have left them sitting around on a trailer in the sun. We've all seen faded hypalon boats with d-rings and seam covers and rubstrakes hanging off, and plenty of older boats that don't even look too bad need to be pumped up every morning. Now, PVC is used as roof membranes, geomembranes, all sorts of stuff involving extended sun exposure and it does not self-destruct in ten years. I think it is reasonable to be suspicious of glued seams on old PVC boats (and actually Vanguards seem to defy this rule), but I see no reason to doubt welded seams or the coated fabrics on the newer types of PVC boats, and as others have pointed out, Aire and Tributary boats rely on PVC in a very different way. PVC and hypalon are both awesome, both require sun protection, and it happens that modern PVC construction methods allow for a lower cost boat to be brought to market. If hypalon could be welded, I assume that we'd see lower cost hypalon boats on the market as well. As a result I think we will see more products that combine good design with this lower cost production method in the future. Those are my thoughts on this perennial topic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for all the posts everyone, it was very insightful! I got the owner to send me newer pictures awhile back and let's just say the raft and trailer have seen better days. So, I'm back on the market for a raft! I'm looking for a flyfishing setup that can accommodate two people and a third when needed.
 

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Thanks for all the posts everyone, it was very insightful! I got the owner to send me newer pictures awhile back and let's just say the raft and trailer have seen better days. So, I'm back on the market for a raft! I'm looking for a flyfishing setup that can accommodate two people and a third when needed.
You might check your local craigslist, here in Colorado I see a lot of what you're looking for for sale from dirt cheap to downright outrageous prices lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
You might check your local craigslist, here in Colorado I see a lot of what you're looking for for sale from dirt cheap to downright outrageous prices lol
I have been, but rafts are slim pickings down here in the Southeast!
 
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