alaskan outfitters 14' bug package
What can you guys tell me about so called professional grade inflatables sold by Alaskan Outfitters in Anchorage. I was looking at a 14' foot raft that is self bailing and has a frame and two seats with motor mount and oars and a 10 year warranty. Price $2899 plus $80 for the motor mount. Are these boats Alaska tough? Looked at one today at the sport show in Fairbanks. They look like a very nice design but will they hold up. Think they are pvc matterial. Think they are made in Korea and who knows about the quility control. Have a Soar that is made in Asia and it is very well made. So please give me some feed back before I spend my hard earned money. I usually buy quality.
Fisrt things first! The Boat is a STAR the owners of STAR boats work out of S.C. and assist in the distrubtion of boats to other vendors, and is made in Korea or maybe by now China. The Boat has been on the market for well over 10 years. I use to sell them out of North Pole Archey. They are a PVC boat a neat design however you you wish to make them a paddle boat (not a good) option. The same boat in 16/18ft is none as the Kenai Drifter however I still call it a Super BUG!
That being said they tend to have a seem issue that is you can over inflate them with ease and the "weld" leaks air. Not to say it happens on every boat however you asked whats what so and each of the ones I purchases back in the day had to be repaired.
They are a decent mid line boat and it is nice to see the group of boys down at 6th Ave provide an additional warranty. STAR only provided a one year if that helps you Alaskan Outfitters must be proviing the rest. That being said you would have to take your boat to Anchorage to have it fixed and you need to ask if this warranty is no fault or limited.
Now lets talk boat to boat! The do not track as well as lets say an AIRE or NRS, the material the boat is made off is 2200 on the tubes with a 4000 wrap on the bottom heavy heavy heavy, Repairs in the field are work and you have limted space.
You can purchase an AIRE Trib 14ft Self Bailer with frame oars etc.. 10 year (NO Fault) Warranty for about $400.00 less at the same outdoor show.
Best of luck in your choice.
Here is the skinny...
Star, Alaskan Series, Alaska Outfitters, Sea Eagle (and possibly a few others) are all made by a company called Zebec in Korea.... They make boats for these brands, they make their zodiac style dingies for a few Govt's, coast guards, etc, as well as all types of decent quality inflatable products for using on the lake, pulling behind boats, and for amuesment/water parks...
While the "designs" are similar, they both sell the inflated floor style bug, as well as the uninflated floor bugs. The lengths they come in are different from vendor to vendor. Stars boats are generally "non-typical" lengths... 13.5, and 15... The Alaska Outfitters are more standard size's 12, 14, 16..
Stars inflated floor bug uses a heavier pvc all around the main tubes than the inflated floor bugs that Alaska Outfitters is selling... Equiv to a "rental fleet", heavy duty, pvc weight... But the Star weighs more too... 6th Ave-AO said they may bring in some models next year with the "rental" weight pvc...
AO also has a their boats avail in camo, something the others are not offering... Its a slightly heavier material too.
Star currently offers a 3 year warrenty
Alaska Outfitters is offering a 10 year warrenty.. and their prices are virtually identical...
I was about to buy the 15' Star Super Bug, but went into 6th ave over the weekend and ended up with their 16ft similar version (uninflated raised floor).. I had shipping quotes ranging from $240 - $900 to get the Star from South Carolina to here... Cost of my oars or half the frame...
Learned to boat in a Star 14 hurricane SB over 10 years ago now... My friend and owner of that boat is the perfect test case, takes absolutely no care for his equipment for the most part... As well as using it frequently... Its still going strong, and he's had no seams blow, nor any apparent loss of glue quality or degredation in that time...
If cost is your limiting factor, you can get a lot of boat and get some exposure to how great rafting is with these, I dont believe you will be sorry.
Hello all, just wanted to take a little time and tell you about our boats.
We are in no way affiliated with star Inflatables, We go directly to the manufacturer as does star and alaska series, and kick boat in montana, and we just got done with a new design for hobie craft kayaks. our boats are made in Korea (not china), however I could make them for less there, but I like the quality of the korean factory better, more attention to detail. We simply design our boats for durability not light weight, not speed. Most of the time we all overload our boats and most of the rivers up here we drag and pull drag and pull. So we use 4000 material just for that.we put a 10 year warranty on our boats because we Know they will last, just as Aire and Nrs does. My oppinion is that any professional grade boat you buy will last at least 15 years no matter whos brand you buy,were all in this for the same goal, to enjoy this great state. if any body has any questions our # is 1-800-276-0233 and I'll be happy to answer them, thank you.
mike shuler, owner alaskan outfitters inflatables (a division of 6th avenue outfitters)
Just an aside: I've been to Korea many times in the aircraft maintenance buisness. China too. Both countries are separated by a couple hundred miles, yet the cultures are worlds apart. Korean quality and workmanship is first class. A very close second to Japan and Germany.