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Thread: Pro and Cons of Buying a Used Raft

  1. #1

    Default Pro and Cons of Buying a Used Raft

    Besides the obvious of patched tubes, what are the proís and conís and things to look out for when buying a used raft up to 10yrs old? Leaning towards a Cat from Aire, NRS or Gary King, but the Puma series also looks intriguing also. It seems like if they are well cared for these things are indestructible.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruckup View Post
    Besides the obvious of patched tubes, what are the proís and conís and things to look out for when buying a used raft up to 10yrs old? Leaning towards a Cat from Aire, NRS or Gary King, but the Puma series also looks intriguing also. It seems like if they are well cared for these things are indestructible.
    Thanks
    If the boat is less than ten years old and it's made by AIRE, it is still under warranty. Regardless of how many owners it has had. None of the other brands you mentioned make this claim. In fact, I don't believe any other raft manufacturer offers that kind of warranty.

    I have a brand-new Super Leopard AIRE built for me on a warranty claim, so I can personally testify to the quality of their warranty. It's the best in the business.

    To verify if the boat is less than ten years old, look at the serial number. The last two digits are the year it was made.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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  3. #3

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    Personally-- I feel what the fabric a used raft - cat - ect. is made of is much more important than any warranty. If it doesn't break why worry about warranty? They are not that hard to fix yourself, if it is a decent boat to begin with. I find welded rafts last longer than glued ones. Ask the big time white water companies, who beat the hell out of theirs every day of our season, what they use!! Have been doing this a long time and have never put a hole in the brand that I use other than with an ice ax - was an easy fix too. Still have a 20+ year old Navy SEAL raft from the "G.I. Jane" movie, that is in new shape.
    Just my humble thoughts--
    Goo

  4. #4
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goeaux View Post
    Personally-- I feel what the fabric a used raft - cat - ect. is made of is much more important than any warranty. If it doesn't break why worry about warranty? They are not that hard to fix yourself, if it is a decent boat to begin with. I find welded rafts last longer than glued ones. Ask the big time white water companies, who beat the hell out of theirs every day of our season, what they use!! Have been doing this a long time and have never put a hole in the brand that I use other than with an ice ax - was an easy fix too. Still have a 20+ year old Navy SEAL raft from the "G.I. Jane" movie, that is in new shape.
    Just my humble thoughts--
    Goo
    +1. Excellent post!

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  5. #5

    Default Pro and Cons of Buying a Used Raft

    Quote Originally Posted by goeaux View Post
    Personally-- I feel what the fabric a used raft - cat - ect. is made of is much more important than any warranty. If it doesn't break why worry about warranty? They are not that hard to fix yourself, if it is a decent boat to begin with. I find welded rafts last longer than glued ones. Ask the big time white water companies, who beat the hell out of theirs every day of our season, what they use!! Have been doing this a long time and have never put a hole in the brand that I use other than with an ice ax - was an easy fix too. Still have a 20+ year old Navy SEAL raft from the "G.I. Jane" movie, that is in new shape.
    Just my humble thoughts--
    Goo
    Yeah, I agree with goeaux here. I am nowhere near the rafting expertise of others, but can tell you that the new hypalon Achilles raft at the sportsmans show and my '87 model are nearly in identical condition. Mine has been well cared for and it still has many years on it. Get a good quality raft that has been taken care of. Age is just a number....

  6. #6

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    This is pretty much what I had expected but it is nice to hear it from folks who have years of experience. So when looking at used rafts I'm thinking the key areas to inspect are; that the tubes hold air and have not been previously patched, the seams on the outer covers are not frayed or ripped, the D Rings are not coming off, the valves function correctly, and that the frame and components are not broken. Does this sound about right? It seems like pretty common sense stuff.

    Thanks

  7. #7

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    Ruckup, Your right on top of it-- Good luck- There are some really good used boats around and some hammered ones too Just check them out good!!
    Goo

  8. #8

    Default Pro and Cons of Buying a Used Raft

    Yeah Ruckup,
    Sounds like you are in the right track inspecting all that stuff. When I went to buy mine, a patch anywhere made me nervous. I have since realized that a patch or two in the floor (not on the tube) is not a big deal to me since the floor is not pressurized.
    Also, if it is just a valve issue, you can order new valves. Mine leaked air a little but because the O-rings were worn. I went to the Home Depot and solved that problem for $2. If you see an indication that it is something other that just the valve, I would be wary. Just a few thoughts.

  9. #9
    Member scott_rn's Avatar
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    Ruckup,

    What are you buying it for? A cat vs. puma are very different regarding capacities and purposes.

    Materials are very different too (weight, durability, flexibility). Make sure you read Mike's page on inflatables - http://outdoorsdirectory.com/gear

    Aire rafts have two layers, if the inner layer is shot - you're in for a big expense. The aire website teaches how to clean them and everything, that doesn't mean it has been done.

    Like Geaux said, there is a quality difference. Do you want to buy a daewoo, a cadillac, or something in between?
    My only gear sponsor is the salvation army - Dick Griffith

  10. #10
    Member scott_rn's Avatar
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    Ruckup,

    What are you buying it for? A cat vs. puma are very different regarding capacities and purposes.

    Materials are very different too (weight, durability, flexibility). Make sure you read Mike's page on inflatables - http://outdoorsdirectory.com/gear

    Aire rafts have two layers, if the inner layer is shot - you're in for a big expense. The aire website teaches how to clean them and everything, that doesn't mean it has been done.

    Like Geaux said, there is a quality difference. Do you want to buy a daewoo, a cadillac, or something in between?
    My only gear sponsor is the salvation army - Dick Griffith

  11. #11

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    Scott
    I do realize the difference between the two but I think either would work fine for me. I plan to use it to get two to three people out on the water, such as the Kenai, for fishing and just enjoying the outdoors. However I will probably also use it for a hunt or two sometime in the future. Ultimately it would be nice to have a few different models to use for specific purposes but the budget right now will not allow it. I'm thinking around a 14-16ft raft depending on the model does this sound right? For the round raft I was considering the Super or Super Duper Puma but I'm leaning towards a Cat. You did bring up a good point about the inner tubes for the Cats. I looked on the Aire website and they were not as expensive as I thought they would be but it still would be a chunk of change if it was an unexpected expense. I will add the inner tubes to my check list as it couldnít hurt to check.

    Cwm907 and Goo
    Thanks for the advice also. I will definitely keep it in mind about the floors and valves.

    Thanks

    RuckUp

  12. #12

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    As far as the selecting a Daewoo, a Cadillac, or something in between? I'm leaning towards buying a used higher quality raft maybe a Caddy or Lincoln lol.. Aire, NRS, or Gary King are first to come to mind. It will all depend what I can find in my price range and in good shape but Im pretty set on sticking to a reputable raft company even if I have to wait a while. No Wal-Mart models

  13. #13
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default Pro and Cons of Buying a Used Raft

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruckup View Post
    As far as the selecting a Daewoo, a Cadillac, or something in between? I'm leaning towards buying a used higher quality raft maybe a Caddy or Lincoln lol.. Aire, NRS, or Gary King are first to come to mind. It will all depend what I can find in my price range and in good shape but Im pretty set on sticking to a reputable raft company even if I have to wait a while. No Wal-Mart models
    I thought Gary King rafts were Imported from china though I could be mistaken. On a side note Daewoo as a brand no longer exists in the US however their cars are still available just re-badged with the classic American bow tie on the grill. Yup, sold by the very same company that brings you Cadillac.

  14. #14

    Default Made in China?

    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    I thought Gary King rafts were Imported from china though I could be mistaken. On a side note Daewoo as a brand no longer exists in the US however their cars are still available just re-badged with the classic American bow tie on the grill. Yup, sold by the very same company that brings you Cadillac.
    LuJon
    Well if thats the case I may have to rethink Gary King Rafts.....I had heard they were well made? Aire is looking like the front runner.

    RuckUp

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    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    Don't discount the NRS Otter series. The Otter series is a lighter weight version of their Expedition series. They are plenty tough for a private use. If I was a hardcore whitewater user I'd hands down pick a SOTAR. However, AK Raft & Kayak uses Otters in their rental fleet so they can hold up to plenty of abuse.

    I've been on commercial class III/IV/V trips throughout the US using SOTAR, AIRE, NRS Expedition, AVON, etc and they are all great boats. But price is a factor for most of us. If your boat is going to be used hard each summer like those in an outfitter's fleet you need the best. The reality is that we'd all like a Mercedes but if all we're doing is driving back and forth to the grocery store a Ford Taurus might work just as well and leave some extra $ for groceries (i.e., raft trips, frame, oars, etc).

    A compareable sized NRS Otter is lighter, costs less, and rolls up smaller than an Aire boat. The Aire (not Puma) boats are made in Oregon and slide better over wet rocks. The NRS Otter series are made in Mexico. The Pennel Orca (hypalon) material does not slide as easily off wet rocks of which you will run into plenty of here in AK. I own a 15' Otter and have been very happy with it. I'll probably be adding another smaller round raft the next couple of years so my boys have a separate boat to row and something smaller when it's just the dogs and I on a day trip fishing the Kenai. I'll definitely look at the SOTARS but might end up with another Otter.

  16. #16

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    Unless I have spent too much time underwater-- AIRE and their Puma model are still made in Idaho from pvc and SOTAR equipment is still made in Merlin, Oregon, out of urethane? At least that is where the ones I buy come from??
    Not sure about the Asian gear. Just back from Kamchatka and though we always use SOTAR there, was able to run a fine raft made in St. Petersburg, Russia. Well built, welded SOTAR clone for less $. Should have my hands on one by next season, with our new Iceland flights direct from A-Town.
    Please correct me if I am wrong.
    Sincerely,
    Goo

  17. #17

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    I haven't seen any Sotars while shopping around but after looking at their webpage I would highly consider one if the condition and price was right. The Otter is also another nice round boat that I would also snatch up.

    The reality is that we'd all like a Mercedes but if all we're doing is driving back and forth to the grocery store a Ford Taurus might work just as well and leave some extra $ for groceries (i.e., raft trips, frame, oars, etc).
    Without a doubt I can probably get away with a Taurus but if I can find an older Mercedes in good condition and a solid price... I'm in!

    Thanks for the feedback.

  18. #18
    Member bigdog's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Ruckup;1171072]I haven't seen any Sotars while shopping around...

    Check Larry B's website I thought I saw a sotar for sale there not sure what model but maybe just check.... Good Luck

  19. #19

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    Be sure and check the serial # on it and SOTAR can give you the whole History on the boat.

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    Member cod's Avatar
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    I have posted on previous threads regarding my love for my ten foot Aire Puma. My wife bOught a used one from the shop that sold Aire in Anchorage about 18 yrs ago. Tough as nails. In fact I've done ten plus days on remote (sorta) river and don't even bring the repair kit. The boat can spin on a dime. Love it. I'm sold on my Aire.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

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