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Discussion Starter #1
Hi! First post here; although, I have followed for a decade or more.

We are getting ready to purchase a 14'er, and we have narrowed it down to the Tributary 14HD and 14' NRS Outlaw (because we have access to great deals on both). When I guided, I only rowed and paddled rafts with plain old I-beam floors. No pockets. No bladders. Nothing of the sort. So now I'm trying to get back up to speed and figure out the floors on both of these models.

1) What should I expect with basic floor maintenance of both of these?
2) Does the Trib floor fill up with a little bit of water like other AIREs? As in "on purpose," and if so, what's the consensus? Good? Bad? Ugly?
3) I see the "new" NRS Outlaw has "Easy, zippered access to the floor bladder ... hidden under the stern thwart." Does this zipper situation remedy some of the issues with the old models filling up with silt?
4) It seems like the older Outlaws had serious drainage issues. Anyone have experience in whitewater with the newer Outlaws?

For context, we will use this raft primarily for mellow overnights. Nothing more than class III. Not so much for fishing.

Thank you for sharing your experiences!
 

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Ive had both boats. I wasn’t super crazy about my Outlaw. It got the job done, but I didn’t like the floor, and I feel like the PVC shell wears poorly. It still holds air, no patches, but it looks terrible after 4 years. The Trib is a bit heavy compared to the regular Aires, but it is very durable and well made boat. The Trib colors suck if that maters. At least the Outlaw comes in a few colors.

I’ve replaced both now with a 156R and a 143D. If you can get a deal, you are not going to regret either. I’d take the Trib over the Outlaw. Here’s the old Outlaw alongside our 156R. Good luck with it!
62945
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ive had both boats. I wasn’t super crazy about my Outlaw. It got the job done, but I didn’t like the floor, and I feel like the PVC shell wears poorly. It still holds air, no patches, but it looks terrible after 4 years. The Trib is a bit heavy compared to the regular Aires, but it is very durable and well made boat. The Trib colors suck if that maters. At least the Outlaw comes in a few colors.

I’ve replaced both now with a 156R and a 143D. If you can get a deal, you are not going to regret either. I’d take the Trib over the Outlaw. Here’s the old Outlaw alongside our 156R. Good luck with it! View attachment 62945
Super helpful. Thank you. The Trib colors are terrible, but I can deal with that if I have to.

What is the deal with the floor on the Tributary? Do you have to clean out the pocket/shell/whatever it's called on a regular basis? Does it collect silt?

And how did the Outlaw drain? I definitely don't want to feel like I'm in a bucket boat/sluggish when I need to be stealthy.

Really appreciate your help! Thank you.
 

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It’s been my experience that it’s really hard to run class 3 and under with any self bailer and get it to bath tub for a extended period of time. Sure maybe a little after a big hit but even continuous class 3 there is time for the water to bail out. Now continuous class 4 and 5 are a different story. I’m not the biggest fan of bladder style boats but I run a lot of silty rivers and store my boats rolled. I have owned one (Ik) and after a high water San Juan trip it was filled with silt. I was on a trip with a new star and a new trib last summer. I liked the shape of the star better wider, bigger tubes, more kick and a longer flat section. I’ve always thought the tribe had a wired shape and I’m not really a fan of diminishing tubes. Which on another point if your worried about it filling up diminishing tubes will allow for more water to come over the bow. I should also note I’ve owned pvc boats but I prefer rubber. I would encourage a friend to go the star route you will be able to get a bigger frame on it. I’ve seen negatives with both brands.
 

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I should also say that one on of the main reasons I really didn’t like a bladder boat was that since I store and transport them rolled it took a lot of time to get the floor to dry out after I used it. Like days if I didn’t unzip it and lay it in the sun which then lead to me learning how to fix zippers and keep spare zipper parts In my repair kit. The IK I owned was a trib tomcat tandem and I really enjoyed having the boat on small creeks and stuff but I did go through two bladders in two years but I used it at least 60 days In that time
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It’s been my experience that it’s really hard to run class 3 and under with any self bailer and get it to bath tub for a extended period of time. Sure maybe a little after a big hit but even continuous class 3 there is time for the water to bail out. Now continuous class 4 and 5 are a different story. I’m not the biggest fan of bladder style boats but I run a lot of silty rivers and store my boats rolled. I have owned one (Ik) and after a high water San Juan trip it was filled with silt. I was on a trip with a new star and a new trib last summer. I liked the shape of the star better wider, bigger tubes, more kick and a longer flat section. I’ve always thought the tribe had a wired shape and I’m not really a fan of diminishing tubes. Which on another point if your worried about it filling up diminishing tubes will allow for more water to come over the bow. I should also note I’ve owned pvc boats but I prefer rubber. I would encourage a friend to go the star route you will be able to get a bigger frame on it. I’ve seen negatives with both brands.
Thanks for this input. I don't love the diminished tubes, either. And I definitely prefer bigger tubes, but that Outlaw floor has me nervous. Seems like there are more gripes with Outlaws than with Tribs . . . but I know NRS has made quite a few improvements over the past few years, and I haven't been able to find many reviews about their newer boats. Thanks for sharing some Star positives. Definitely helpful.
 

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Super helpful. Thank you. The Trib colors are terrible, but I can deal with that if I have to.

What is the deal with the floor on the Tributary? Do you have to clean out the pocket/shell/whatever it's called on a regular basis? Does it collect silt?

And how did the Outlaw drain? I definitely don't want to feel like I'm in a bucket boat/sluggish when I need to be stealthy.

Really appreciate your help! Thank you.
ah. Yes - Tributaries have a ballast floor like other Aires (*except sealed floor models, I don’t think this is available on Tribs). On the bottom of the floor are small clusters of perforations that allow water to enter. Personally I love the ballast floor concept. Some folks have the misperception that you’re adding hundreds of pound of water, but that’s not the case. If the waters in the river, it’s neutrally buoyant. If the boat is being lifted out of the water in the event of a flip, then the weight can help prevent it. *This is no excuse to be a inexperienced or sloppy oarsman. I run a very heavy 16’ oar rigged raft and don’t have issues going where I need too.

I haven’t rowed a sealed floor. I kinda don’t want to. I bet they’re awesome. But pricey.

I don’t run silty rivers often, so I haven’t had an issue With large amounts of debris. I do have to clean them out yearly, and while dirty, I don’t really find much in the floor. But I enjoy maintenance. The answer to your question is that yes, you need to clean them out occasionally.

My old Outlaw has a different floor than what’s currently available from NRS/STAR. The old design was basically a SUP attached to the floor a bucket boat with holes cut in the floor. However, the new design is similar in that the integrated drop stitch floor has a ring of 3/4-1” holes around the perimeter at water level. Water is always coming up through the holes and my floor had a ring of water constantly around it. It was a muddy mess in there. Perhaps the new Star raft floor design is better. I like the Aire sewn in floor.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
ah. Yes - Tributaries have a ballast floor like other Aires (*except sealed floor models, I don’t think this is available on Tribs). On the bottom of the floor are small clusters of perforations that allow water to enter. Personally I love the ballast floor concept. Some folks have the misperception that you’re adding hundreds of pound of water, but that’s not the case. If the waters in the river, it’s neutrally buoyant. If the boat is being lifted out of the water in the event of a flip, then the weight can help prevent it. *This is no excuse to be a inexperienced or sloppy oarsman. I run a very heavy 16’ oar rigged raft and don’t have issues going where I need too.

I haven’t rowed a sealed floor. I kinda don’t want to. I bet they’re awesome. But pricey.

I don’t run silty rivers often, so I haven’t had an issue With large amounts of debris. I do have to clean them out yearly, and while dirty, I don’t really find much in the floor. But I enjoy maintenance. The answer to your question is that yes, you need to clean them out occasionally.

My old Outlaw has a different floor than what’s currently available from NRS/STAR. The old design was basically a SUP attached to the floor a bucket boat with holes cut in the floor. However, the new design is similar in that the integrated drop stitch floor has a ring of 3/4-1” holes around the perimeter at water level. Water is always coming up through the holes and my floor had a ring of water constantly around it. It was a muddy mess in there. Perhaps the new Star raft floor design is better. I like the Aire sewn in floor.
So informative! Thank you for breaking it down for me. Not having experience with AIREs, I could never make sense of the concept. I've got it now. Thank you!
 

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I have an older 14' Outlaw (maybe 2016) and I have been pretty happy with it. I haven't really noticed a problem with it draining fast enough, but I haven't run the grand or anything where the boat filled right to the gunwales. I have run the Green a couple times, Westwater, Cataract...the boat bails water. The floor is quirky, and has both positives and negatives. There is some water around the edge of the floor where it wells through the bail holes, but jesus, you should see how much water is on the outside of the boat. Doesn't bother me. A bigger issue is that it can take on some silt. I had a fair bit after a San Juan trip, but the floor comes out pretty easy for a rinse. You also musn't drop crap down there. If something goes under the floor it's pretty much irretrievable until after the trip. I haven't had it happen, because I'm attentive to it. NO CANS on the floor. What about the positives? It's a very firm, flat drop stitch floor, easy to stand on, and it doesn't have the pressure relief valve and the silting problems associated with that, and can take tremendous pressure, and has no baffles, so those not infrequent issues with older I beam floors with blown baffles are out. And one more obvious thing: the bottom of the boat that is exposed to the most abrasion is not air holding, and it's thick and slick. It's important to keep the floor unloaded so it floats as high and dry as possible, but it's well protected from everything outside the boat.

I've always admired the Tributaries, which seem like a very proven design for a good price. They run a little narrower for the length. I've contemplated upping to the 16 Trib because my frame and kit would swap right over with some extra length for a trailer frame. Now the Outlaw 15 is another contender, since it has common width with the 14. I think the new floor design looks smart. Doesn't change the size of the bailing holes, but I'd think it would reduce or eliminate silting and certainly would prevent stuff from slipping under the insert. Maybe less visible water around the margin as well. I personally think this design is going to become a standard way of producing value oriented boats with drop stitch floors. I would consider a newer outlaw given the competitive price.
 

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I think your getting a better quality boat with a Trib IMO. Solid Aire construction, just a little heavier and less warranty than the American manufactured Aires. I have a 156R and a Trib 12. Love that little boat.

I think the new Outlaw's are actually Star boats?
 

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ah. Yes - Tributaries have a ballast floor like other Aires (*except sealed floor models, I don’t think this is available on Tribs). On the bottom of the floor are small clusters of perforations that allow water to enter. Personally I love the ballast floor concept. Some folks have the misperception that you’re adding hundreds of pound of water, but that’s not the case. If the waters in the river, it’s neutrally buoyant. If the boat is being lifted out of the water in the event of a flip, then the weight can help prevent it. *This is no excuse to be a inexperienced or sloppy oarsman. I run a very heavy 16’ oar rigged raft and don’t have issues going where I need too.

I haven’t rowed a sealed floor. I kinda don’t want to. I bet they’re awesome. But pricey.

I don’t run silty rivers often, so I haven’t had an issue With large amounts of debris. I do have to clean them out yearly, and while dirty, I don’t really find much in the floor. But I enjoy maintenance. The answer to your question is that yes, you need to clean them out occasionally.
I agree with all of this.
I don't love but don't hate the ballast floor on my Trib. It doesn't "track" but does have a lot of inertia. Norcalcoastie is right--it's neutrally buoyant, but it also has mass and tends to stay moving (or stopped) and does take effort to change direction. If you get off your line, you can't do a couple quick side draws to pull yourself back on line, you kind of have to plan ahead and stick with it. But it also pulls you through some spicy lines that would stall other boats.

A bunch of pics of my Trib 13.0:

The sealed floors are awesome, but not available on Tribs.
I like the sealed floor in my 156R because it's my multiday boat and multiday boats aren't by definition nimble. I like that it has saved my ass a few times (my excuse for being sloppy?!) .


I've always admired the Tributaries, which seem like a very proven design for a good price. They run a little narrower for the length. I've contemplated upping to the 16 Trib because my frame and kit would swap right over with some extra length for a trailer frame.
My 13.0 Trib is wide for a 13. It's like 40" inside the tubes. I think the 14.0HD Trib is wide for a 14.
I agree that the 16.0 is narrow for a 16.
 

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My 13.0 Trib is wide for a 13. It's like 40" inside the tubes. I think the 14.0HD Trib is wide for a 14.
I agree that the 16.0 is narrow for a 16.
Well, the 14 Outlaw is 7'3" wide with 22" tubes and inside width of 43" (pretty standard NRS 140 sizing), and the 14 Trib is 6'9" with 20" tubes and 40" inside, according to manufacturer specs. The difference gets more pronounced at 16, where the 16 Trib is 7'2" wide with 22" tubes and 42" inside. Like I said, I've geeked out over this because I've looked for options to get some more length (ergo space) without having to get all new frame and oars and such. And I am pretty sure I could put my current frame for my 14 outlaw on the 16 Trib and all the dimensions would work fine, but I'd get 2 extra feet for a trailer frame.
 

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My buddy's 16.0 feels REALLY long and skinny next to my 156R
But my 13.0 feels really big and wide next to my buddy's 143D!

I'm less familiar with the 14.0, but have been in a couple.
 

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My buddy's 16.0 feels REALLY long and skinny next to my 156R
But my 13.0 feels really big and wide next to my buddy's 143D!

I'm less familiar with the 14.0, but have been in a couple.
yeah, when you look at the specs, you can see that Aire's idea of scaling (at least with tribs) is mostly stretching the length, whereas NRS scales up more across all the dimensions. I just looked at the Outlaw 160: 7'10". Pretty sure to move to that "big" 16-footer I'd need longer oars and a wider frame.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I think your getting a better quality boat with a Trib IMO. Solid Aire construction, just a little heavier and less warranty than the American manufactured Aires. I have a 156R and a Trib 12. Love that little boat.

I think the new Outlaw's are actually Star boats?
Thanks, jamesg. I'm glad that you love your Trib 12. The warranty is the same on both the Outlaw and the Trib, so that's a toss-up. Both have their quirks, but I am happy to hear from happy owners of both. It definitely helps in this process.

And yes, the Outlaws are Stars, but NRS purchased Star.

Thank you!
 

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I agree with all of this.
I don't love but don't hate the ballast floor on my Trib. It doesn't "track" but does have a lot of inertia. Norcalcoastie is right--it's neutrally buoyant, but it also has mass and tends to stay moving (or stopped) and does take effort to change direction. If you get off your line, you can't do a couple quick side draws to pull yourself back on line, you kind of have to plan ahead and stick with it. But it also pulls you through some spicy lines that would stall other boats.

A bunch of pics of my Trib 13.0:

The sealed floors are awesome, but not available on Tribs.
I like the sealed floor in my 156R because it's my multiday boat and multiday boats aren't by definition nimble. I like that it has saved my ass a few times (my excuse for being sloppy?!) .




My 13.0 Trib is wide for a 13. It's like 40" inside the tubes. I think the 14.0HD Trib is wide for a 14.
I agree that the 16.0 is narrow for a 16.
Thanks MT4Runner! I love the pics and appreciate this review. Great info about the Trib floor and the pros/cons of it. Thank you.
 

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I owned a 14' 2015 Outlaw until last year (new 16' SOTAR, heyo!)

My friend bought a 14' RMR around the same time I got my Outlaw, so I got to do a lot of side-by-side comparison. I'd recommend going the RMR route if you can. I don't think it's much more expensive, but it's a lot more "straightforward" in terms of a self-bailing PVC boat. No bladders like Aire, no ever-changing design like the Outlaw, and I think the warranty is longer. My stepdad also enjoys his 16' RMR.

As luck would have it, my buddy is contemplating selling his boat package. PM me if you'd like me to put you in touch with him.
 

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FWIW, for the 2021 Outlaws, they have moved the floor into a pocket, much like the Trib. It is still drop stitched, but it will take on ballast now just like a Trib. The older models did this anyway to an extent, but now it will be inside of a pocket.

I still think the Trib is the better buy. I still see 1st year green Tributary's (now almost 20 years old) still on the water and looking fine. If you can find one of the older light blue models in good shape, they used essentially the same fabric as the AIRE's of their same generation.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
FWIW, for the 2021 Outlaws, they have moved the floor into a pocket, much like the Trib. It is still drop stitched, but it will take on ballast now just like a Trib. The older models did this anyway to an extent, but now it will be inside of a pocket.

I still think the Trib is the better buy. I still see 1st year green Tributary's (now almost 20 years old) still on the water and looking fine. If you can find one of the older light blue models in good shape, they used essentially the same fabric as the AIRE's of their same generation.
Thank you! Great info.
 

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yeah, when you look at the specs, you can see that Aire's idea of scaling (at least with tribs) is mostly stretching the length
That makes a ton of sense then that the 13.0 is wider, 14.0 is similar-ish to other 14's and the 16.0 feels skinny.
 
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