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Discussion Starter #1
I think I've doped out which rafts make sense for me - looking either Aire (143D) or NRS (Otter 140). I've seen a few mentions of end-of-season (or pre-season) sales after reading thru dozens of threads on this board. When do these occur and what might I be saving in waiting for a sale?

Any head-to-head opinions on these two rafts also welcome. I'm in Missoula MT and probably doing class III and below for the most part. Some multi-day trips with kids. Would like to store deflated in winter.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I should say that I've already read most earlier threads on these 2 boats, so the comparison question is basically w/r/t anything not already covered. Main question is when do sales occur and what do you save?
 

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I bought a 130D this year. The quality and warranty sold me on the Aire. I think it would be tough to get one on sale this time of year. I bought mine as a factory second and saved a bunch of money from Aire. Good luck.
 

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You already answered your own question: pre or post-season if you want new but save a few bucks (sometimes 20% or more). Alternatively, if you have the money, the best time to buy is once you've made a decision. Problem with waiting until post-season sales is that all the rivers will have dried-up and you won't get to play with your new boat for months.
 

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IMO AIRE makes the best boat on the water, not even counting the warranty. NRS is good, but the D series are slick. A "D" won't haul as much or be as stable, but it would be a blast and be super quick. If looking for a stable gear hauler, get an R or an otter. If you're looking for a fast and fun boat that will last the rest of your life, get this:

AIRE 143D Self Bailing Raft
 

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since neither is a very specialized boat and you are looking at both hypalon and pvc, there is a pretty sweet price on the vanguard 14fter blue/white at clavey right now. $2750. just throwing it out there.
 

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Probably a little big but isnt there a nice lightly used 156r on mountainbuzz ads for a good price? I would say go as big as you can afford --- i think a larger underloaded boat in shallow bony water is easier to manuever than a smaller one with the same amt of gear
 

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Hey if thats an ocelot then it looks like a 143 under it? I wonder if the guy selling it is confused and would possibly sell it for less?
 

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You sound just like I did in April when I was in the market for a new boat. I have a family of four and will spend most my time on the Spokane River, and Alberton Gorge with a couple of mulitidays slipped in there, perhaps on the Deschutes, John Day, Hells Canyon, and Salmon Rivers. I was leaning heavily toward a 143D and had an opportunity to row it, and a 156D, and it was a no brainer. The 156D is an awesome boat, especially for those with a family. The floor is a bit deeper and tubes a bit larger which makes the family feel safer. Also, with the diminishing tubes and narrow profile this thing is a corvette on the river, highly menoverable. I picked up my boat brand new from AIRE in the spring for 1400 bucks off! It was an old seriel number boat, actually a 2008 (gotta go 08 or newer for the chaffe pads), but it had never seen a river mile, and the no fault 10 year warrenty is from the date of purchase. If anything buy an AIRE boat. Look at used boats for sale, rarely do you see an AIRE with a patch, lots of other boats out there with patches.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks to all so far for the input. I may have to take a look at the 156D. I've rowed a 16' boat quite a few years ago- can't even remember the brand - and it was like a supertanker. It may have just been a poor design - or maybe the contrast w/ my friends' boats (Maravia Spyders, NRS 14' cataraft) which I also rowed.
 

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Just FYI - Preseason and post season pricing is available to dealers only. A retailer may decide to extend that discount to a retail customer, but don't expect to get the boat at the preseason price.

The good news is that Aire's are worth every penny, even at full M.S.R.P.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Ah - that's good to know... and post-season is September-October-ish? (Options around here tend to dwindle in August, except this year.)
 

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I got my 156D in April, there were about 10 old seriel number boats, and they were gone within two weeks. I did have to purchase my boat through a retailer, but I paid the AIRE advertised discount price. The nice thing about going through a dealer is that I didnt have to pay for shipping from the factory to the dealer. I went through NRS in Moscow, Idaho and was able to save big bucks on taxes and shipping by driving the 1.5 hours to Moscow to pick it up. Also, NRS gives you a 10 percent discount on all accessories when you guy a boat through them, so I went ahead and had them cut me a custome length frame while I was there. They were very accomidateing, even gave me a sweet deal on some rowers pants from the bargin room! Here is a picture of buddies 143D and my 156 for comparision.
 

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Avatard said:
Hey if thats an ocelot then it looks like a 143 under it? I wonder if the guy selling it is confused and would possibly sell it for less?
Wide angle lens makes the front cat tube look bigger and rear tube looks much smaller. 156r nice boat
 

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Look at Aire web site they post sale pricing on old stock, blems, and used gear. Any of their dealers should honor those prices and as in my case, provide courtesy shipping (free) to the dealer
 

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When I was shopping last year for a raft I almost bought the 14' D---then my brother called me and offered his near new 14' Sotar with frame, dry box and 3 Cat oars for 3K--of course I had to buy it!

For the money though, you can't beat Aire, I've owned several cats over the years and have never had any problems.
 

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I had an Aire 143D and loved it, bullet proof its a great raft unfortunately i had to sell it a few years back. I am now back in the hunt for a boat only this time i have a smaller budget. in the past 10 years i have owned 3 rafts, Air boats are awsome just to darn expensive, i looked at every option avalible and decided on a Rocky Mountain Raft, all seams are welded no glue $2100 for a 14 foot raft and its built like the high end rafts very nice boat. I figure i will replace it in 3 years anyway so why spend the extra on an Air
 

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You should really check out the RMR brand as well. We have a 14 footer on display in our shop if you want to check it out. We also have a demo that you can take out to get a feel for it.

I will also have a used Aire 156 for sale at the end of this season, if you can wait. It is our rental, that comes on a trailer. So i'll be selling the entire package for a great price. It's in really good shape still, with downriver frame pretty decked out.

Nick
 
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