This is my first posting in this forum...I have read many threads, to include many on this site, answering some of the questions of cataraft preferences and what I found is my very deliemma - which brand to choose - NRS or AIRE. I am mostly going to be drift fishing with this cat with maybe an occasional moose hunt here and there. I thought I was ready to spring on a NRS Kodiak 16' when I read many of the Alaskans in this forum sing the praises of AIRE rafts. I cut my rafting teeth on the American and Feather Rivers in Nor Cal and have even guided on those same rivers. I have mostly used NRS, AVON, and SOTAR. My buddies in Cali are telling me SOTAR and hypalon all the way. But those guys have never been here in Alaska. Grant it - SOTAR makes great rafts but at a cost. This is also not my first time here in Alaska - we moved back East to PA in 2006 (not smart) and I fought tooth and nail to get back up here and Alaska is where my family and I will grow roots so I am looking to buy a set-up that will be with me for years to come! I will mostly use for dead drifting the Kenai and maybe a few other rivers so the Kodiak, even with it's lack of rockers, will serve me fine. I also like the Orca material (really Hypalon under a different manufactuer). But the more I read the more I am leaning toward a - gasp - PVC AIRE Lion 16'. I love the no-fault 10 year warranty, really don't mind the zippers, and the stiffness of PVC doesn't warrant much worry.
I have read that many folks will tell you you can't go wrong with either company...so why am I second guessing the NRS Cat?. What am I missing? Need some help here!