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Thread: Suggestions on inflatables!!

  1. #1

    Default Suggestions on inflatables!!

    I'm looking at buying an inflatable to put in a wheeler trailer and tow in to remote lakes to go fishing. I was wondering if someone could suggest a good length and some brands to go with. Obviously Zodiac and Achilles are more money, but I hear you get what you pay for. I would also be bringing along a 2 to 5 hp motor to help push me around. I'm looking to probably be able to take myself and 3 other people out and fish comfortably. Any help would be great. Thanks

    Alaska_Lanche

  2. #2
    New member
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    Sams club in Anchorage has a pretty good looking rubber boat, it's not a cheap toy like you might expect. I think it was 9' which may be too small for you. I don't remember the price but it was pretty cheap.

  3. #3

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    I used to have a 16-ft inflatable that would fish 2 comfortably. There's not as much room in an inflatable as you might think.

    For the most durable fabric, I recommend hypalon although it's more expensive than PVC. I also hear that PVC is harder to patch, but that may have changed in recent years.

  4. #4
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    If you're looking at 4 adults, you'll want something in the 14 foot range, and you'll also want about 25-30 hp, as 4-5 hp will never get you on plane. A 4-5 hp engine is hard pressed to plane two adults in a 9' inflatable.

    The smallest boat that would likely do what you want would be a 10' inflatable with a 9.9 horse, but you'll be hardpressed to fish 4 people from it, especially comfortably. You'll likely be much happier with a smal aluminum boat for your use vs an inflatable.

  5. #5
    Member polarisblake's Avatar
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    Default Buy a Zodiac!!!

    I say you oughta buy a zodiac and a nice 5hp.

    Let me guess your buddy already bought the nice new riverboat that you have no problem enjoying and you would like to have something that you and your friend might be able to use. Definately don't go cheap!!!!

    Just my 2cents.

  6. #6
    Member AK NIMROD's Avatar
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    8-10 footer will not really be big enough for 4 people. floor space maybe 2' x7' in 10 footer. 10 footer- 2 to fish out of and 3 to transport point to point, oh you could do four but it would be very crowded. i ran 15 hp on my 10 footer and with 3 people might get up on step. i have owed 6 inflatables over the years since 1978. best all around boat for Alaska.(2 ten footers, 3- 14' and a 16') when you get one get lauching wheels makes life alot simpler.
    that said!
    take a look at my classified on this site " 5 boats for sale" i have a 14 foot inflatable has only been used on a 1 week float trip and 2 days in the Kenia . can't find any pictures of it. my 14 footer does ok with 3 people on Kenai using 25hp if i was buying motor for it it would be a 35-40 it is rated for 40hp tiller steering and 50hp with console. power is your friend. brand is Pheonix- good quality korean made boat i think in conjunction with Achillies.
    $1800 or with older homemade trailer $2000. PM me if interested or if you have any specific questions about inflatables.not an expert but have some experience with them.
    i check this site regularly......a week from to day will be unavail for a week.....brown bear bowhunt
    RETIRED U.S.A.F. CAPT.; LIFETIME MEMBER NRA; LIFETIME MEMBER ALASKA BOWHUNTER ASSOC.
    MASTER BOWHUNTER EDUCATION INSTRUCTOR; MEMBER UNITED BLOOD TRACKERS; POPE & YOUNG MEASURER

  7. #7

    Default

    Dear Alaska-Lanche: I read your question - and then I read the replies. You asked a specific question and then received general ramblings from guys who comment on every single topic that comes up. Same thing happened to me when I asked a specific question about a specific outboard motor. Offers to sell me stuff, and opinions I never sought.

    With that said, I will offer a reply based on my having faced the same circumstances you mentioned in your question. I have purchased 5 different inflatable boats in the past that I've used in Alaska. Zodiac classic hypalon , Zodiac Zed vynil, Avon hypalon, Achilles hypalon with air floor, and Titan vynil. The Zodiacs and Avon had wooden floorboards and were 10' -to- 12 1/2' in length. The Achilles air floor was 11' 2". The Titan is 11' 9" in length with aluminum floorboards and a generous beam.

    Weight is always a consideration with these portable boats, so is the ease with which they go together (or the lack of ease). I purchased the Achilles air floor model because it was lighter in weight and was the latest thing to hit the market. I hated it. The available interior room on inflatables is alway something to consider because the large tube diameter of the sidewalls take up considerable interior space, but really is just an unavoidable fact of life with all inflatables. The sidewall tubes come in handy for the guy driving the boat with tiller steering, you just sit on the side of the boat and and have plenty of leg room. With air floor inflatables a good 3 or 4 inches of freeboard is lost to the thickness of the inflatable floor. You and your passengers will end up sitting with your knees in your chins - sorta like the feeling you get when sitting in a kindergarteners chair. It was a bouncy, balloony, pain in the neck to operate under power. I paid a premium price for the Achilles name and found the workmanship and materials no better than any other I've ever run.

    These days, I am convinced that any of the different inflatable brands on the market in Anchorage boating stores are about equal in quality. All of them are made to high standards. Hypalon coated fabric used to be superior to the plastics/vynil fabrics available 20 years ago. However, with the technology and advancements in the plastic/vynils that protect against UV damage and strengthen them for abrasion resistance and tear strength - I'd say vynil/plastic inflatable boats are just as good, if not better, and cost far less than hypalon rubber. My experience out in the field with both types bears this out. All of them were tough and durable. Repairs, if any, should be made using a two-part adhesive that is designed for use with plastic or vynil boats. Hypalon rubber requires it's own blend of two part adhesive. Other than those repair requirements, you will never know the difference between the two fabric rivals when you are on the water in your boat - most of the arguements for and against are the result of advertizing hype and bull****.

    The aluminum floorboards go together and assemble easier, but weigh more than the older style wooden floorboards. The 11' 9" Titan boat is about the limit for small size when fishing with 3 men on board. We can, with no room to spare, haul a stack of shrimp pots, fishing poles and white plastic buckets with our gear in them to keep the gear up off the floor. Add the 3 1/2 gallon fuel tank for the kicker, plus clothing, lunch, and rain gear for 3 and some emergency gear and you quickly fill the boat up. You mentioned wanting to haul the boat in to remote lakes on a 4 wheeler trailer? The bundle for any of these 11 to 12 1/2 foot boats when folded up is a pretty substantial load. Add 20 to 25 lbs to the advertised carry weight. Remember, those advertised boat weights are without the carry satchel, oars, footpump, repair kit, ropes, etc.

    A 5 or 6 horsepower, four stroke outboard will push you along at 3/4 throttle barely sipping fuel at about 6 knots with a full boat (Even a small outboard that size will get you on step when solo).
    You will need a 15 horse outboard to get on step and zip along with 3 men on board. Any bigger 4 stroke outboard will be too heavy to be considered something portable that you can easily haul around with your boat package. I prefer 4 strokes because they are quieter, use far less fuel, and the smoke fumes from the two strokes is a nuisance when trolling or idling . Plus, 2 stroke fuel eventually makes the floorboards, gas cans, transom, and anything else on board oily and slick. However, if you don't care about those minor issues - you can't beat the small, carburated two strokes for power and lightweight portability. 4 strokes need to be carried in an upright position or laid on their side in just the right fashion when you are transporting them around in the field.

    I really like Tohatsu outboards in the smaller horsepower range. The Tohatsu are tough, reliable and a great value bargain. Suzuki makes a really nice, 100 lb, 15 horse 4 stroke outboard that is several hundred dollars cheaper than Yamaha or Honda and comes with a 6 year warranty if you buy it before the end of April. If you go 2 stroke, you can purchase a 25 horse, 100 lb outboard with tons of reliable power, but it will really drink the gas. Any outboard in these horsepower ranges will be carburated just like the good old days and the bigger they are the more they suck down the fuel like a drunk (it's not the cost of fuel that is the issue, it's the extra weight, room, and hassle of having to carry extra fuel to get from here to there and back).

    If I had it to do over again, I would get the 12' 9" Titan, maybe twenty pounds more in weight than the 11' 9" Titan that I've enjoyed for the past few years. If there are going to be 4 of you on board, they make a really nice 13' 9" model as well. Titan brand boats are the best bargain there is on the market as far as I'm concerned. Typically, they are several inches wider than other brands, giving you more interior space. You can buy two of them for what you'd pay for one of the heavily advertised brands such as Avon, Zodiac, or Achilles. I've owned them all and really find no practical or discernable difference in quality of workmanship or materials. Titans no longer are available with the wood floorboard option - aluminum floor is the way to go now. Marita Sea & Ski in Anchorage carries Titan brand inflatables at prices that are as cheap as you can get them off the internet.

    Hope this helps.

    Tommy SoHappy

  8. #8

    Default

    Dear Alaska-Lanche: I read your question - and then I read the replies. You asked a specific question and then received general ramblings from guys who comment on every single topic that comes up. Same thing happened to me when I asked a specific question about a specific outboard motor. Offers to sell me stuff, and opinions I never sought.

    With that said, I will offer a reply based on my having faced the same circumstances you mentioned in your question. I have purchased 5 different inflatable boats in the past that I've used in Alaska. Zodiac classic hypalon , Zodiac Zed vynil, Avon hypalon, Achilles hypalon with air floor, and Titan vynil. The Zodiacs and Avon had wooden floorboards and were 10' -to- 12 1/2' in length. The Achilles air floor was 11' 2". The Titan is 11' 9" in length with aluminum floorboards and a generous beam.

    Weight is always a consideration with these portable boats, so is the ease with which they go together (or the lack of ease). I purchased the Achilles air floor model because it was lighter in weight and was the latest thing to hit the market. I hated it. The available interior room on inflatables is alway something to consider because the large tube diameter of the sidewalls take up considerable interior space, but really is just an unavoidable fact of life with all inflatables. The sidewall tubes come in handy for the guy driving the boat with tiller steering, you just sit on the side of the boat and and have plenty of leg room. With air floor inflatables a good 3 or 4 inches of freeboard is lost to the thickness of the inflatable floor. You and your passengers will end up sitting with your knees in your chins - sorta like the feeling you get when sitting in a kindergarteners chair. It was a bouncy, balloony, pain in the neck to operate under power. I paid a premium price for the Achilles name and found the workmanship and materials no better than any other I've ever run.

    These days, I am convinced that any of the different inflatable brands on the market in Anchorage boating stores are about equal in quality. All of them are made to high standards. Hypalon coated fabric used to be superior to the plastics/vynil fabrics available 20 years ago. However, with the technology and advancements in the plastic/vynils that protect against UV damage and strengthen them for abrasion resistance and tear strength - I'd say vynil/plastic inflatable boats are just as good, if not better, and cost far less than hypalon rubber. My experience out in the field with both types bears this out. All of them were tough and durable. Repairs, if any, should be made using a two-part adhesive that is designed for use with plastic or vynil boats. Hypalon rubber requires it's own blend of two part adhesive. Other than those repair requirements, you will never know the difference between the two fabric rivals when you are on the water in your boat - most of the arguements for and against are the result of advertizing hype and bull****.

    The aluminum floorboards go together and assemble easier, but weigh more than the older style wooden floorboards. The 11' 9" Titan boat is about the limit for small size when fishing with 3 men on board. We can, with no room to spare, haul a stack of shrimp pots, fishing poles and white plastic buckets with our gear in them to keep the gear up off the floor. Add the 3 1/2 gallon fuel tank for the kicker, plus clothing, lunch, and rain gear for 3 and some emergency gear and you quickly fill the boat up. You mentioned wanting to haul the boat in to remote lakes on a 4 wheeler trailer? The bundle for any of these 11 to 12 1/2 foot boats when folded up is a pretty substantial load. Add 20 to 25 lbs to the advertised carry weight. Remember, those advertised boat weights are without the carry satchel, oars, footpump, repair kit, ropes, etc.

    A 5 or 6 horsepower, four stroke outboard will push you along at 3/4 throttle barely sipping fuel at about 6 knots with a full boat (Even a small outboard that size will get you on step when solo).
    You will need a 15 horse outboard to get on step and zip along with 3 men on board. Any bigger 4 stroke outboard will be too heavy to be considered something portable that you can easily haul around with your boat package. I prefer 4 strokes because they are quieter, use far less fuel, and the smoke fumes from the two strokes is a nuisance when trolling or idling . Plus, 2 stroke fuel eventually makes the floorboards, gas cans, transom, and anything else on board oily and slick. However, if you don't care about those minor issues - you can't beat the small, carburated two strokes for power and lightweight portability. 4 strokes need to be carried in an upright position or laid on their side in just the right fashion when you are transporting them around in the field.

    I really like Tohatsu outboards in the smaller horsepower range. The Tohatsu are tough, reliable and a great value bargain. Suzuki makes a really nice, 100 lb, 15 horse 4 stroke outboard that is several hundred dollars cheaper than Yamaha or Honda and comes with a 6 year warranty if you buy it before the end of April. If you go 2 stroke, you can purchase a 25 horse, 100 lb outboard with tons of reliable power, but it will really drink the gas. Any outboard in these horsepower ranges will be carburated just like the good old days and the bigger they are the more they suck down the fuel like a drunk (it's not the cost of fuel that is the issue, it's the extra weight, room, and hassle of having to carry extra fuel to get from here to there and back).

    If I had it to do over again, I would get the 12' 9" Titan, maybe twenty pounds more in weight than the 11' 9" Titan that I've enjoyed for the past few years. If there are going to be 4 of you on board, they make a really nice 13' 9" model as well. Titan brand boats are the best bargain there is on the market as far as I'm concerned. Typically, they are several inches wider than other brands, giving you more interior space. You can buy two of them for what you'd pay for one of the heavily advertised brands such as Avon, Zodiac, or Achilles. I've owned them all and really find no practical or discernable difference in quality of workmanship or materials. Titans no longer are available with the wood floorboard option - aluminum floor is the way to go now. Marita Sea & Ski in Anchorage carries Titan brand inflatables at prices that are as cheap as you can get them off the internet.

    Hope this helps.

    Tommy SoHappy

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommy SoHappy View Post
    Dear Alaska-Lanche: I read your question - and then I read the replies. You asked a specific question and then received general ramblings from guys who comment on every single topic that comes up. Same thing happened to me when I asked a specific question about a specific outboard motor. Offers to sell me stuff, and opinions I never sought.


    Tommy SoHappy
    Gee, Tommy SoLonely, what's it like to be SoSmart? Thank goodness you were there to save Alaska-Lanche from all of our general remblings. A lot of what you said was previously covered by others (who used fewer words).

    I read the specific question that you asked and the answers that you received (and the "opinions that I never sought"). It looked to me like several people tried to help you out and gave you their experiences and opinions. If you ask for help in this forum, I'm sure many people will be glad to try to help. On the other hand, if you post a question and expect to receive a direct, absolutely correct, to-the-point answer (many times these do not exist), and then berate others for not telling you exactly what you want to hear, then good luck next time you need help.

    Signed,
    Rambling Man
    Last edited by skydiver; 04-24-2007 at 00:29.

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