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I rowed one down the Yampa at 28,000 and it handled great, not quite as good as an Avon Pro, but still really, really good in big water. If choosing between a 14, 15 or 16 footer, I'd go with 16. I have a 14 foot Otter that I have abused the heck out of, and it has held up great. I can only imagine the extra rubber on the E-160 would be even more durable, and that it would last many years. I feel like the 14 is just a hair too small for what I like to do. Its certainly hard to beat the NRS boats for value for your money.
 

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I've found the E material to be surprisingly soft and prone to easy rubs down to the scrim material. For instance I have a 150E that is a 2016 and has 5 or so wear patches, but my 156R aire is a 2008 with significantly more miles and no rubs, or patches. I like the ability to roll the nrs much easier buts to me that is the only advantage.
Just wanted to jump in on this thread because I'm looking for rig myself. E150 and the 156R are on my list. Which one do you prefer if you could only have one and why?
 

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Just wanted to jump in on this thread because I'm looking for rig myself. E150 and the 156R are on my list. Which one do you prefer if you could only have one and why?
I've had both, at the same time. I have to say I greatly prefer my AIRE 156R. It's a little narrower for the rivers I love to run at low water and hauls just as much gear if not more than the E150. I had all sorts of issues with the NRS material being really soft as I mentioned earlier in this thread, I believe. The AIRE has gone everywhere and anywhere and never had any issues.
 

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I've found the E material to be surprisingly soft and prone to easy rubs down to the scrim material. For instance I have a 150E that is a 2016 and has 5 or so wear patches, but my 156R aire is a 2008 with significantly more miles and no rubs, or patches. I like the ability to roll the nrs much easier buts to me that is the only advantage.
I'm looking into getting one of those two boats E150 or the 156R. Which one do you prefer to row?
 

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I prefer my 156R. It's a bit skinnier and tracks like a dream with a gear load. If you do go with the AIRE and you run desert rivers I would suggest the non-ballast floor.
 

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I've found the E material to be surprisingly soft and prone to easy rubs down to the scrim material. For instance I have a 150E that is a 2016 and has 5 or so wear patches, but my 156R aire is a 2008 with significantly more miles and no rubs, or patches. I like the ability to roll the nrs much easier buts to me that is the only advantage.
That is weird, I have used around 8-10 e series rafts for work and found the material to be among the best available for durability. Certainly way better than anything PVC like an AIRE. Not trying to say that your experience is not real, but my experience with quite a few different rafts has been the opposite.
It may be the newer material is just not as robust as the stuff of years past. I have ~15 yo NRS and (2) friends each have boats 20+ yo. All have been well used. About the only issue between the 3 is the wear strip on a tube peeling off of 1. Another friend got one a few years ago and it already looks considerably worse for wear than our older ones, but really shouldn’t.

I bought a new NRS paddle board and it came with a pinhole on an upper side seam. When I contacted them about it their response was to direct me to their YouTube video on patching it.

Both of these examples reinforce to me that the old NRS are great, but there are better alternatives available now. YMMV.
 

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To address the E series rubber issue. I will say I have commercially guided many NRS rafts and witnessed them take a crazy amount of abuse. I bought a 2012 that was brand new, never used but several years old and have to admit after two really easy trips I had som wear problems and one small hole. THinking that this may just have been a one off, I sold this boat at a very good price and I have purchased a brand new 2020 E150 (that I didn’t get to use this season) to see I feel it was just that boat. I will say I was super bummed with my last experience because as I have said I am around boats a ton and had never experienced what I did with that one, even power washing caused some issues on the floor. That said, they have always stood behind their products and I have had enough good experiences to purchase again, will let people know how it goes. For me it’s a hypolan issue that’s what I want so it’s NRS or Hyside, and the specs on the E150 make for a really nice two person multi day boat.
 

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Gary F
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I have rowed and paddled many different boats as I was a commercial guide for years both, multi-day and one dayers. I cut my teeth on Avons BEFORE they came out with the big tube pro. I paddled Avon adventurers, sotars, momentums, aires, hysides, udiscos, and others that I didn't even know what they were. Personally, I have had small boats, cat boats, and bigger boats.
I absolutely love my 160E. I've had mine for 10 years now. I also have the narrow 14 ft otter which, I also love. These days we mostly do multi-day trips like on the Salmon(s) so I love the space. I could load the boat down with 3 weeks worth of gear (food, beer) like for the Grand, and the boat handles great; It pivots, tracks, and is very predictable. I can't say that when I had a jaguarundii. I have friends who have the aire 156, or the sotar sl and they love their boats. Having said that they never were commercial boaters and didn't have the benefit of trying different make boats. The other thing about sotars and maravias are they sure are expensive! Another friend has a Riken with diminishing tubes. He loves it but the passengers definitely get wet.
I have my boat set with a custom, adjustable 4 bay frame. I sit on a 47in dry box. I carry 2 of those, and a 125qt cooler in the frame. I can and many times do, carry 4 rocket boxes in the foot well on a plywood cargo deck. Outside of the frame I use a plywood cargo deck in the back and a soft beavertail in the front so, I can access the valve if need be. On long trips I generally carry 1 ea 125qt cooler for frozen foods, 1 ea 125qt cooler for veggies and condiments, etc., another 100 qt cooler for beer and other things and a 65 qt cooler for lunches. Additionally, we have the groover and groover stuff, dishwashing kit, extensive first aid kit, fishing gear, repair tool box, etc. If I could handle an 18 footer on dry land like, loading, unloading, etc. I would get 1. The 16 is my limit when it comes to "manhandling" the boat on land. both my wife and I are small. My set up is very flexible. I also bring another cooler frame if I need it. It also doubles as a frame that fits a row of rocket boxes. It all depends as you all know, on how many other boats or boaters with experience, and kayakers are on the trip. If you have kids and/or kayakers, the gear piles up quick.
I had a 15 foot campways river ryder bucket boat back in the day. It was a great boat but I was always over loaded. Luckily, I never flipped that boat as I had gear tied to gear piled high. My narrow 14 otter is another great boat. I would give all of the same recommendations for it as I do for the 160e. I got the narrow because I mainly use that boat here in Montana where most of the water is small. However, it has the length for the Salmon if need be. I have let friends use that boat when we go to the salmon.
The discussion of size ALL depends on your needs and experience. Sure, you can make a tandem IK work but for me/us, I like the full bar, I like the dutch oven deserts, I like the gourmet multi-course meals. HAHA. Sure beats backpacking foods and sips of water.
As far as the rubber goes, I glued on wear patches before I even took the boat out. The floor both, under and over seems bomber. Before I made the cargo decks that fit, gear definitely would rest on the floor and against the sides. Other than staining the rubber there has been no unusual wear. Though I never have had to patch my boat I have worked with hypalon when I worked commercially and it is easy and forgiving to work with.
My recommendation is get whatever boat you can get a deal on. These days, they all seem good. Just get one that is big unless, you only do small rivers or are not going to do week long or longer, trips. for extended camping. if you have kids and a girlfriend/wife you really like and want on trips, don't get a diminishing tube boat. Also,don't get a boat that is too small. You'll be surprised between additional bodies on your boat and their gear, how all of a sudden your boat is just packed to the gills--hahaha. If you are oscillating back and forth on size and trying to decide on "a one size fits all boat", then you need more than 1 boat. Don't feel bad...we have a 16, 14, 12, 2 tandem IK's and 2 single IK's.
Happy boating!
 

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I was faced with the same choice a couple of years ago and opted for a entire new rig. Hyside 16 XT, Mad Cow frame, captain's boxes. I was able to adapt my old dry boxes to the new frame. While I could have gotten by with my 30 year old Avon Pro for a few more years I am glad I went with a new boat. I like my equipment dialed in and also like doing my own work. So designing what I wanted for the new boat and fabricating the various pieces was for me fun as well. I also went with a flatbed trailer after 40+ years of lugging boats around deflated. View attachment 61141 My wife rightly pointed out that when I have to hang up the oars I will have something of value to pass along and don't have to worry about having equipment fail while on the river. Nothing like the new boat smell! Being a die hard Avon snob I am quite happy with my Hyside. I feel it actually rows as well or better than the Avon did especially with a heavy load. I have friends who have Sotar and Maravia 16"' foot boats and both are very satisfied with their boats.
what length of frame do you have on your 16XT?
 
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