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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,


I'm in the market for a do-everything boat, and the 146DD seems like the front-runner, but I'm not sure if I'm missing something. ~60% of my days will be single days on I-III water with 2-3 anglers (including rower) and a dog on the boat. The rest of the time will be class II-IV western overnights and extended trips. I imagine setting up a frame with decking as well as angling seats that can be removed at times.



The 14.5 Sotar Strike is appealing for fishing, but doesn't look like it would do too well with a lot of cargo in class IV. The classic round tube boats are great with gear and heavy water, but not so much for passenger comfort or wind.



I can't afford a Maravia, and while other companies make diminishing tube boats (Sotar SL, NRS 139D and Otter Dodger XL) I like the Aire warranty and relative closeness of their HQ. Are there other boats I should be looking at?


Thanks!
 

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Well, for 1000.00 more (AND the floor comes installed too unlike the AIRE) you would have a boat that will last twice as long, doesn't have zippers or bladders, the floor doesn't hold water, it's Hypalon and not plastic, in MY opinion it's a no brainer..
https://www.nrs.com/product/1085/nrs-e-140-self-bailing-raft
Why are you set on a diminishing tube boat? I've run both, and really can't see a huge advantage truth be told.



My 2¢, your mileage may vary.
 

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And for $50 more than that, get a hyside, comes with another thwart, slightly longer frame options and more colors than red or blue. Order a hyside and call it a 15 year investment, or order the Nrs and do the same. I have an aire ducky and it’s fun, but cleaning sand and stuff out of the chambers sucks. It’s a deal breaker for me. And the life expectancy of hypalon vs pvc seems like a no brainer on such an investment.
Have we talked you out of it yet?
 

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For what it is worth.

You wrote
"I'm in the market for a do-everything boat"

No such boat exists or at least after many decades of looking for it, I have not found a do every thing raft, kayak, golf club etc etc

My advice is select the brand and model raft you like the most now, buy it and get on the river soon as you can.

What you like is the way to go. Most every rafter I have met over the years (my self included) has their own ideas. I own or have owned multiple boats and none of them did every thing as well as I wanted them too do.

Just get the boat you like and enjoy it. Sooner or later you will buy another boat.
 

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Have you seen a DD in person? The front and rear tubes are about the size of a water wing after being double diminished. If you're loaded heavy and hitting IV's I'd think you would want more aire up front to stay on top of the water.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Why are you set on a diminishing tube boat? I've run both, and really can't see a huge advantage truth be told.



My 2¢, your mileage may vary.



Thanks for your 2 cents. My impression (mostly from the interweb and marketing hype) is that a diminshing tube boat will get pushed around significantly less in the wind. The majority of my time on the water will be spent fishing on the Flathead, which is mellow water and has a pretty reliable upstream breeze. It also has better sight lines to the trouty water directing in front of the angler since you're not looking over a big tube, and more room in the bow for feet/dogs/empty beer cans. BUT I haven't really been in a diminished boat and I've never rowed one (other than a super puma, which isn't really comparable) which is why I'm asking y'all. Sounds like I was maybe kidding myself about the burlyness of Aires.



My impression was that Aire's last a really long time. I won't be super hard on a boat, but I do want something that'll last at least a decade without much headache. Most of the water I'm on is extremely clean so I don't worry about silt in the floor, and my usual takeouts involve backing a trailer with a winch straight into the water, so the drainage issue isn't that big of a deal to me. The floor design does still seem a little overly complicated though.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
For what it is worth.

You wrote
"I'm in the market for a do-everything boat"

No such boat exists or at least after many decades of looking for it, I have not found a do every thing raft, kayak, golf club etc etc

I know there's no one boat to rule them all, but I'm likely to have a kid in the next year, and this is probably the only raft we'll own for the foreseeable future. There's no way I'm gonna turn down a Salmon or Selway trip because my boat doesn't have the idea spec sheet, so this boat is going to have to do everything I do.



Reading the input I've got, I guess my question boils down to: How much of a compromise will a heavily-loaded diminishing-tube boat feel like in Class IV? Will I really be missing those fat tubes in the bow and stern?
 

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Have you seen a DD in person? The front and rear tubes are about the size of a water wing after being double diminished. If you're loaded heavy and hitting IV's I'd think you would want more aire up front to stay on top of the water.

I guess that's really what my question comes down to. I can evaluate the different floor constructions, cost etc, but I really don't know how much the little pinner tubes in the bow and stern effect performance and cargo. I don't imagine ever needing to have the huge gear mountain, even on extended trips, but on the Smith I will have an angler on the stern and cargo back there too...
 

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And for $50 more than that, get a hyside, comes with another thwart, slightly longer frame options and more colors than red or blue. Order a hyside and call it a 15 year investment, or order the Nrs and do the same. I have an aire ducky and it’s fun, but cleaning sand and stuff out of the chambers sucks. It’s a deal breaker for me. And the life expectancy of hypalon vs pvc seems like a no brainer on such an investment.
Have we talked you out of it yet?



Given that the boat is gonna be trailered, garaged, mostly used on putins/takeouts where you can back a trailer into the water, used for 30-50 days/year in extremely clean water, I'm honestly not too worried about the durability thing. Aire and NRS are the most local boatmakers (ID from MT) so they've got better dealer support and are easier to get to if I need to take it in to get repaired.



So... no, not talked out of it yet but I really do appreciate the feedback. I think I'm now just re-thinking the diminished tube thing, in which case the NRS boats are appealing just because they've got such a great track record.
 

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I was just looking at a 146dd yesterday. The diminishing tubes are definitely smaller than my buddy’s round Aire tubes. But looking at the wireframes the dd has more rise in the bow than the R series so I’m not sure how that helps with the wind argument.
 

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Maybe consider an Aire 143D.
Lighter than the 146DD and the bow and stern tubes don't diminish nearly as much. Also, much less upturn at the ends since wind is a factor for you.
Aires are burly and will last you a very long time.



Sent from my iPhone using Mountain Buzz
 

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For what you are after the 143D might make more sense. The DD has small tubes in the front but a ton of rocker. I like a flatter boat for fishing and a rockered boat for whitewater. The D bridges that gap. If your goal with the DD is to beat the wind I don't think you'll notice a bit of difference, wind wise from the D that has slightly less diminish but less rocker. The DD was really build as a paddleboat/ whitewater boat. If I had to pick an AIRE and wanted to use it for an all around fishing/gear boat I'd probably go with a D, 2nd an R and 3rd a DD.

If you don't care about the zippers and maintenance, an AIRE will be a good boat. They are hands down the longest lasting PVC boat on the market. I regularly work on AIRE's that are 20 YO and the PVC is fine on most of them that haven't been abused. Treat the boat well; don't let it bake in the sun 365 and it'll do you just fine. Open it up every year or two, clean it out and lube the zippers.
 

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For about $2000 less you can get a 14' RMR if you're ok with PVC. You sounded like you'll be trailering so could be ok.

If I had the money I'd get an NRS. If I was trying to save money I'd get an RMR over an Aire for a few reasons including zippers, bladders, and cost.

I have an 8 year old 13' RMR and I roll it after every trip (gasp... the horror!) and it's still going strong with zero issues or indications of problems from rolling.
 

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Just got a 16' DD, I know its bigger than what you want but for what its worth, handles exceptionally well, punches waves, has a great wind profile. My 2nd
Aire boat
 

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Thanks for your 2 cents. My impression (mostly from the interweb and marketing hype) is that a diminshing tube boat will get pushed around significantly less in the wind. The majority of my time on the water will be spent fishing on the Flathead, which is mellow water and has a pretty reliable upstream breeze. It also has better sight lines to the trouty water directing in front of the angler since you're not looking over a big tube, and more room in the bow for feet/dogs/empty beer cans. BUT I haven't really been in a diminished boat and I've never rowed one (other than a super puma, which isn't really comparable) which is why I'm asking y'all. Sounds like I was maybe kidding myself about the burlyness of Aires.



My impression was that Aire's last a really long time. I won't be super hard on a boat, but I do want something that'll last at least a decade without much headache. Most of the water I'm on is extremely clean so I don't worry about silt in the floor, and my usual takeouts involve backing a trailer with a winch straight into the water, so the drainage issue isn't that big of a deal to me. The floor design does still seem a little overly complicated though.

Well, given that the breeze is rarely hitting you head on, and the comment about the rake being as high as it is, not sure what benefit you'll reap from the double diminished tubes as far as wind. As far as AIRE's lasting a long time, I've seen some 10 year old AIRE's that looked to be in new condition, the owners take the bladders out and wash the insides of the tubes, lubricate the zippers and keep them stored inside as you do, AND I've seen some that have to be sent back to the factory every year to be fixed, handles tearing off, stitching failing, d rings popping off, floor bladders failing....

Buying an AIRE used to be justified to some by the low initial cost and the 10 year warranty. Me personally I don't like the way they handle, they are more like a surfboard SOTAR than any other boat I've been in, and the floors taking on water gives them a sluggish feel.



From everything you wrote, I'd recommend taking a long hard look at the NRS or Hyside.
 

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And for $50 more than that, get a hyside, comes with another thwart, slightly longer frame options and more colors than red or blue. Order a hyside and call it a 15 year investment, or order the Nrs and do the same. I have an aire ducky and it’s fun, but cleaning sand and stuff out of the chambers sucks. It’s a deal breaker for me. And the life expectancy of hypalon vs pvc seems like a no brainer on such an investment.
Have we talked you out of it yet?
I'd argue that an Aire is easily a 15 year boat. My Trib is going on 10 years, and my 156R was a commercial boat for 6 years, and I've now been hammering it for 7 or 8. I figure it will get to 20 years easily.



But it's not a 30-40 year boat. You'd still have a Hyside or NRS on the river long after your kids or grandkids took your Aire to the landfill.


Have you seen a DD in person? The front and rear tubes are about the size of a water wing after being double diminished. If you're loaded heavy and hitting IV's I'd think you would want more aire up front to stay on top of the water.

I don't know if you intended that or not, but awesome pun, my dude.


I agree. The D series (and DD series) are really wet rides. Awesome for a paddle boat. Probably good for fishing. Not good if you have passengers who want to stay a bit dry except for the big hits.



Thanks for your 2 cents. My impression (mostly from the interweb and marketing hype) is that a diminshing tube boat will get pushed around significantly less in the wind. The majority of my time on the water will be spent fishing on the Flathead, which is mellow water and has a pretty reliable upstream breeze. It also has better sight lines to the trouty water directing in front of the angler since you're not looking over a big tube, and more room in the bow for feet/dogs/empty beer cans. BUT I haven't really been in a diminished boat and I've never rowed one (other than a super puma, which isn't really comparable) which is why I'm asking y'all. Sounds like I was maybe kidding myself about the burlyness of Aires.

I'm currently in Aires...no complaints about their durability. You're also hearing from people who get a lot more grit with their water, and who have a lot more direct sunlight--grit is hard on zippers, and sun is hard on PVC. Neither of which we have much of up here.

Buddy of mine has a 143D, but he hasn't aired it up yet this season.


My impression was that Aire's last a really long time. I won't be super hard on a boat, but I do want something that'll last at least a decade without much headache. Most of the water I'm on is extremely clean so I don't worry about silt in the floor, and my usual takeouts involve backing a trailer with a winch straight into the water, so the drainage issue isn't that big of a deal to me. The floor design does still seem a little overly complicated though.

I don't think many people understand just how clean the water is up here. :)




I won't try to sell you on an Aire just because I have two. They're good boats...but Maravias, Sotars, Hysides, and NRS are great boats, too. I spent a ton of time rafting with my daughters from the time they were 2 and 4 on up. They'll be 16 and 18 this fall. It's a great family activity.


There's no "do everything" boat, but for our local water and the occasional multiday, it's really hard to top a 14' raft. Like a Toyota Camry or Labrador, they're not perfect at everything, but they're damn good for almost everything. (15-16' is TOO BIG for daytrips with the family, 13' is too small for multidays).
 

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There's too much generalization on what length is good for day vs multi-day and "do everything". You all realized boats have different widths and straight sections too? I've owned 13', 14', and 15' boats. Currently 13' and 15'. My buddy's 14' is wider than my 15'. My 14' was skinnier than many 13' and 13.5's. I think a 14' is a great ID and MT do it all. But I wouldn't rule out 15's and even some 16s. A couple anglers, rower, and a dog and the extra foot of boat is nice. It's really nice if you have a family on a Main trip. You could also make the 14' work and it can be better for skinny, shallow water and moving hole to hole to find fish if not weighted down too much.
 

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of all the boats I've ever owned, the one I hated the most was a 14 footer. Why? Because it was the "do-everything" boat.

Could it take 2 passengers? Sure if it's an r3 day trip, or stern and bow fishing stations with no gear.

Could it handle extended self support trips? sure, but even solo, it was never roomy. hope someone else has the group gear...

Could I fit down tight techy low water? yeah, but it doesn't have the agility of a small cat for creeking, or the wide load spreading platform for a low water MFS off the top.

I don't plan to ever own another 14 footer. It was never ever ever best for what I was doing with it.

When I'm solo, I never want a boat bigger than 12-13'. When I have passengers/group gear, I always want the big boat.

If I were in your shoes, I'd go bigger, 15 or 16. I didn't see anything in your intended plans that demanded a smaller boat. A lightly loaded 15 is so nimble and stable. Take on the bodies and gear for long trips. Run the floor soft and don't let low water stop ya

Add a used 13' next season if you find you need a solo/day trip boat.

The one-boat solution is a trap!
 

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of all the boats I've ever owned, the one I hated the most was a 14 footer. Why? Because it was the "do-everything" boat.

Could it take 2 passengers? Sure if it's an r3 day trip, or stern and bow fishing stations with no gear.

Could it handle extended self support trips? sure, but even solo, it was never roomy. hope someone else has the group gear...

Could I fit down tight techy low water? yeah, but it doesn't have the agility of a small cat for creeking, or the wide load spreading platform for a low water MFS off the top.

I don't plan to ever own another 14 footer. It was never ever ever best for what I was doing with it.

When I'm solo, I never want a boat bigger than 12-13'. When I have passengers/group gear, I always want the big boat.

If I were in your shoes, I'd go bigger, 15 or 16. I didn't see anything in your intended plans that demanded a smaller boat. A lightly loaded 15 is so nimble and stable. Take on the bodies and gear for long trips. Run the floor soft and don't let low water stop ya

Add a used 13' next season if you find you need a solo/day trip boat.

The one-boat solution is a trap!
Interesting perspective. As the owner of a 13' and a 15.5' boat, I can't disagree with you.

But the absolute worst position to be in?
Not having a boat.
 
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