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Thread: Questions about the new Pristine Ventures boats

  1. #1
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Questions about the new Pristine Ventures boats

    Hi folks,

    Some questions came up in another thread, concerning the new Pristine Ventures boats, and I thought a new thread on this topic would be a good discussion.

    Before I get to my questions, I want to say that I applaud Larry's work in this field. It takes a lot of time, money and determination to produce something new in a field where it seems that almost anything has been tried. How do you come up with something truly new and innovative that meets the unique needs of Alaska float hunters in ways not already covered by existing products? It's not easy. I believe Larry's experiences on remote rivers in Alaska have given him a unique insight into those needs that many manufacturers do not fully appreciate, because they are targeting all markets, not just Alaska float hunting. This has forced float hunters to "adapt and overcome" with the tools on the market. Larry is modifying the tools or, in some cases, trying to make completely new tools, specifically to address the needs of Alaska float hunters. He's found some unique ways to secure loads in his canoes that, as far as I know, have not been tried. This method allows hunters to properly suspend loads just off the floor, which addresses impact damage that can happen when the floor of the boat is pinched between the riverbed and heavy loads of floor-loaded meat and trophies. Other canoes lack this feature. He's also constantly looking at the weight and bulk issue, which is very important to fly-out hunters who not only have to ship their boats to the charter, they also have to load them into the aircraft, unload them in the field, and sometimes portage them long distances. Weight and bulk are very important factors for float hunters.

    As I mentioned in another thread, I do have some questions about these boats, which are not addressed on Larry's site. The boats are built in a Chinese factory that also makes Maxxon Inflatable boats. For those who are unaware of Maxxon, their stuff is generally considered mid-range on the quality scale. One of their specialties are ship-to-shore dinghies. Product durability is a question, particularly UV degradation, which is somewhat problematic when it comes to PVC fabrics. Because Larry's boats are built by the same company that makes Maxxon, a natural question arises concerning the fabric itself. Is it the same fabric used in the Maxxon boats, and therefore, can we expect the same issues with that material that we see with Maxxon? At any rate, here is a list of my questions so far:

    1. Do these boats use the same fabric used on the Maxxon boats?

    2. Is the base cloth nylon or polyester? Each has different properties and there are reasons one might use poly with plastic, and nylon with rubber, though not all manufacturers do this.

    3. Are you using identical fabric on the Wilderness X-Stream and the new Levitator? (The new Levitator shows an 1100 denier base cloth, but you don't show the numbers for the X-Stream).

    4. What denier is the base cloth used on the Legend?

    5. PVC boats are prone to wicking, and different manufacturers control it in different ways. How do you control wicking? (for those who may not know what wicking is, it is discussed AT THIS LINK. It's important, because it leads to flat boats.)

    6. I see additional armoring on the bottom of the tubes on the new Levitator. Is the floor itself also armored, or does it use a thicker material than your main tubes? I'm asking, because manufacturers typically use a heavier fabric on the floor than on the main tubes, then they armor the bottoms of the main tubes. The combination gives the bottom of the entire boat additional protection in shallow water. Your site doesn't say if you are using thicker floor material.

    Possible Areas of Disagreement

    We will have to disagree on some of the information you have on your site, but perhaps you have facts of which I am unaware on the following issues. If so, please correct my misunderstandings, as I want to communicate accurate information.

    From THIS PAGE:

    You are saying that the move from rubber (Hypalonģ and neoprene) to PVC has helped you do two things:

    1. Save Boat Weight

    I am not aware of anything intrinsic to rubber materials versus plastics that would accomplish either of these goals. From my understanding, it's all about the thickness of the material, which is expressed in ounces. So 32 ounces of Hypalonģ is an identical weight to 32 ounces of PVC. Did you achieve the weight savings by going to thinner material? If so, how is this going to help you with wear issues, given PVC's tendency to scratch and gouge, versus the tendency of rubber to wear more evenly?

    2. Increase Boat Capacity

    While plastics have certain performance characteristics that make them superior to rubber in some situations, I am not aware of anything unique to plastic materials that would give them greater load-hauling capacity than a rubber boat. What is it about PVC that is giving you greater capacity? I realize you added removable plugs in the bailer holes on the new Levitator, which gives users the ability to open or close the holes (an excellent idea, by the way). But that's a feature that could be used with either material. It's not a characteristic unique to plastic.

    From THIS PAGE:

    You are saying that you moved to a drop-stitch floor because the pressure relief valves on I-beam floors tend to leak as they become clogged with glacial silt and such. What is it about the I-beam floor that would cause a higher failure rate of pressure relief valves over those used in drop-stitch floors? The valve is a separate item which is installed in the floor, and has nothing to do with the means used to keep the floor "flat".

    You are saying that I-beam floors are more durable than drop-stitch floors. How do you support this claim?

    You are saying that drop-stitch floors are easier to repair in the field than I-beam floors. How are you repairing the floor in the field? Are you using urethane tape or external patches? Tape is a temporary repair, and an excellent solution in field conditions, however the floor will need patching at some point. In most cases this is done from inside the floor, to avoid patch edges that catch and can peel off over time if applied incorrectly. It's very difficult to patch the interior of a drop-stitch floor, because of the thousands of fibers exposed inside the floor. Properly repairing a drop-stitch floor from the inside is anything but easy. What are you doing differently to make it easier? This is potentially valuable information if you have a new method that's working for you.

    Okay, I think that's it on my questions. I wanted to get this posted so I can get on to some other things.

    I appreciate all the work you have done in this field, and I hope you see these questions not as challenges of some kind. They're just honest questions that hunters need to know about.

    Regards,

    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

  2. #2
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    The Internet is a beautiful and ugly thing all in one.....

    I am all for public exchanges of knowledge and information , because it's helps us all grow as hunters, boaters, and individuals. What I am not a fan of is public pissing matches. Yes... Everyone will always disagree with someone about something and it is fine to express that feeling. But really??? Do you have to try so hard to talk crap?

    There are some obvious answers to some of the questions you pose.
    -maybe he doesn't disclose everything to avoid copycats
    -if a lighter weight material is used it can still have the same, stronger, or weaker strength than the old standby material. Different materials have different strength to weight ratios
    -also, if a lighter material with similar (or greater) strength is utilized, the designs can be changed by increasing tube volume, which in turn gives you added flotation capacity, while still weighing less

    I realize you both do a lot for the float hunting world, and I don't have many contributions to this forum, but post more pics and how to's and less trash talk please

  3. #3

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    Mike, i'm wary of conversational traps with you bud. There's no secret to how our boats have allowed customers to benefit in the field over traditional designs.

    I moved away from Hypalon in 2010 when Dupont stopped making the good hypalon. It was great timing because SOAR's customer service was waning by then, so it was time redesign my boats and do something more for our customers and our business.

    PVC boats are easier to repair in the field, especially in cooler environments.

    By compromising on the coating of the 1100 denier nylon, designs can be made with larger tubes and overall hold more weight. This compromise means two things: 1) you're not buying a bomb-proof watercraft made with 60-oz coated nylon, so users must take better care to avoid sharp object in general. 2) you get a boat that rolls smaller than 60-oz PVC boats and is lighter than a 60-oz coated boat and the rubber counterparts.

    You may claim that by using a 1100 denier coated PVC with only 30-32 ounces that you're getting an inferior product. But that's not the case. In my opinion the real advantage is a lighter rig that rolls up reasonably to fit inside bush aircraft. The abrasion properties of PVC is still greater when moving a PVC boat over wet rocks than a hypalon boat over the same stretch.

    Wicking concerns: We dont have issues with wicking. The material is coated on the inside and the outside over the nylon base fabric. However, all boat makers admit that wicking is present with all boats to some small degree, which means boaters might need to top off their boat after sitting all night, especially in cool environments.

    PVC has better UV protection than hypalon. It's cheaper to manufacturer because labor is less and material is less expensive. Hypalon must be abraded before seams are chemically bonded, PVC doesn't.

    The Legend uses a 30-oz PVC with 30-oz chafe guards on the bottom (2 layers with 60-oz protection over high-impact areas). Convertible SB caps on this model as well.

    The Pioneer X-stream uses a 32-oz PVC with 32-oz chafe guards on the bottom (2 layers with 64-oz protection). Convertible SB holes on this one as well.

    The Levitator uses a 32-oz PVC fabric with 32-oz chafe guards on the bottom. Convertible SB holes as well.

    The drop stitch floor has no pressure release valve. The DS floors are more rigid and flatter than an I-beam construction, and failure has not been noted with our drop stitch floors, whereas the SOAR I-beams had a 15% failure rate over time. I-beams are costly to repair properly, whereas if a floor failed on our boats, we just replace it for less coin to avoid the labor of a shop rate fixing an I-beam floor which would likely fail again anyway. The boats have a 5-year warranty, so it would not cost the customer a dime to replace a floor if it ever failed.

    Overall, using the PVC material with lighter coatings has allowed us to combat the intrinsic difficulties of our industry: Initial cost of the boat, bush logistics with size and weight restrictions, field performance, heavy payloads, and a more rigid hull design.

    Our tapered bow and stern design, as well as the lashing system and seat/cargo design provides the hunter or angler every opportunity to excel in the field and haul out heavy loads. If the cost is offering a boat that weighs less and packs up smaller than your touted bomb-proof AIRE designs, I'm all over it. Our boats work for our customers and our needs.

  4. #4
    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    Thank you Larry for progressing this segment of the inflatable market. I love my 15' SB but realize it is not optimal for all trips. It's great to know there are options out there for smaller, quality craft when certain waters and trips call for it.

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    I know the rafting world is changing and fast but for my money I will stay with Hypolon. I have 17 inflatable boats in my livery and I have to admit that I have 2 PVC inflatables. I like them but for hunts loaded down with meat and horns I will go with AVON boats..Bomb proof!

    Mike and Larry...Be nice!

    Walt
    Northwest Alaska Back Country Outfitters
    Float Hunts and Drop Camps
    Unit 23-Kotzebue
    www.northwestalaska.net
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  6. #6
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Hi Larry,

    I am very sorry if it felt like I was trying to trap you in your words. Thatís not at all my intention. I have been updating our Inflatable Canoes Page on the site, and was missing some data on your boats. Additionally, I wanted to round out my own understanding of your products, so when my hunters ask about them, I can somewhat reasonably discuss them.

    I am very concerned about the inconsistent standards that are used to measure quality and performance. The industry has been plagued over the years with overblown claims and misinformation that makes it very difficult for potential customers to draw head-to-head comparisons that use the same criteria. Consequently it breeds brand mistrust among hunters who know something about this stuff, and confusion among those who do not. And then there are the majority of folks out there who simply do not know how much of the information is important and what is irrelevant. Itís made even more complicated by the varied needs of Alaska float hunters. Some are primarily concerned with boat weight, some with durability in shallow water, some with sheer carrying capacity, some are all about price and others look at a combination of factors. In the end, sorting through the morass of conflicting information and different standards of measurement becomes confusing at best. When I look at these things I generally go a bit deeper into the issues than the average hunter, simply in an effort to have as complete an understanding of the products as possible.

    When the Pro Pioneer came out I had a variety of concerns about the product, and those concerns have persisted. Some of those concerns are as follows:

    ∑ Inconsistent product quality.
    ∑ Glue smears, fabric voids and other evidence of sub-par workmanship.
    ∑ Neoprene boat bottom. Makes the boat VERY hard to drag over wet rocks.
    ∑ Persistent design defects. The largest of these was the floor being built 11Ē too long for the tubes.

    To my knowledge, none of these issues have been corrected, and yet this boat was touted by users as one of the best boats for Alaska float hunting. And those issues seriously affected performance, depending on the river. The difficulties of the neoprene floor quickly manifested themselves in the field, as hunters discovered how difficult it was to drag that boat, especially when it was loaded. The oversized floor issue forces the tubes to arch upward, forcing the bow and the stern to sit deeper in the water. This causes the boat to ground out bow-first in shallow gravel bar situations. When that happens, the current swings the stern around and the boat comes to rest either sideways in the water, or it can completely swivel around so the stern section is facing downstream. This is exactly the opposite of where you want to be if you have other obstacles to deal with just downriver. Of course itís not an issue on all rivers, but it is a potentially dangerous issue on some of them.

    When the first-generation Levitator was released, I expressed some concerns about the flat profile of the boat. It had no bow or stern rise at all, which caused concerns about splash-over and game meat getting wet. I was very grateful that you gave the second generation Levitator 4Ē of lift in these areas, and I am sure that users who were paying attention noticed a real difference.

    You move from rubber to PVC is, in my opinion, a change that will have mixed-bag results. On one hand, PVC has superior rigidity / less flex than rubber, which usually expresses itself in a stiffer, better performing boat. Hunters using Oar Saddles on this boat should see a noticeable difference in the amount of flex at the rowing station, though the reports I got from Kent Rotchy (the designer of the Oar Saddle) and some other users indicated that the Pro Pioneer didnít have much of a flex issue in this area. I would imagine that some of this has to do with inflation pressure. But because you can pressure a PVC boat higher than a rubber boat of comparable fabric thickness, itís probably a given that your plastic boats will out-perform rubber boats with respect to flex.

    The wicking issue is important, because it causes boats to go soft, as air travels through the edge of the fabric on the inside of the boat, through the base cloth, and exits the boat on the exposed outside edge. AIRE controls this by using a urethane inner bladder to retain air pressure. The PVC outer shell is simply structural support, with no air-retentive qualities needed. Maravia addresses this by spray-coating their PVC boats with urethane, effectively sealing all exposed fabric edges. Others (such as Incept) seal the exposed fabric edges with seam tape. This gives the fabric a finished look, but the primary purpose of the tape is to seal the exposed fabric edge to prevent wicking. I saw one of your earlier models of the Wilderness X-Stream and I think it had seam tape. If so, thatís a great feature. I donít know if you guys did that on the Legend.

    Anyway, I really appreciate you taking time to post a detailed response. As I have said in many places, and say here again, I have no dog in this fight (if itís being interpreted as a fight). On the contrary, I am simply trying to provide insights that may be useful. And I say again that I appreciate what you are trying to do for hunters out there who are looking for better designs and better ideas. You have been bold about challenging the norms, and, like all innovators, have made mistakes along the way. The only way to avoid making mistakes is to not try. You are not a guy whoís going to sit on your hands and do nothing, and I appreciate your proactive efforts to improve and innovate in a market that is almost ignored by others in the industry.

    Regards,

    -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

  7. #7

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    It's always something, huh?



    Peace

  8. #8

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    Man Larry you look like a rookie, your bouncing and spinning off the bank every corner. I like how you cut the tape at 2:40 before you flipped, rookies jump off the downstream side of a moving raft... I would expect much better boat control from a self proclaimed expert!

  9. #9
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Ouch FinFever however funny. Sorry Larry it was!

    I really don't have much to add to the conversation that already has not been reviewed and or explained. I will however put my perspective on the subject but only because we all have opinions and you know what is said about that.

    I have the following boats in the rental fleet I am taking apart slowly but surely:

    AIRE, Tributary, NRS, Achillies, Star, Maxxon, JP Marine, Sotar, and Pristine Ventures Xtreme

    I was never a fan of Soar or the Pro P however it is not to say that Soar did not make a good boat it is just that I did not care for the design and or manufacturing of said boat. I also do not care for the glued Avons over the past several years IMO get with the times for AVON even commercial guys are shying away from their Big boats because of Glue issues and price points.

    Each boat manufacture has it plus and minus factor and each boat and or type of inflatable i.e. Self Bailer, Bucket Boat, Cat etc.. I purchased for a specific reason for my rental fleet.

    I like the 15ft Otter it is a boat that can accomplish multiple things that fit the applications I use them for. The one thing I do not like about the otter is its lack of rigidness but its plus factor out weights that.

    That being said I am also a fan of Plastic Boats i.e. PVC over Polyurethane however PVC is not as tough IMO however the price point is much more reasonable and for the average yearly user it is a great niche for the market and meets most if not all the needs of float hunting, fishing and recreation use.

    I feel blessed I have had the ability to be able to try most if not all of them at one point or another and very blessed to have been able to rent them to clients and provide my opinions and get great feed back on what they thought of those boats in use. I like them all just some more than others.

    Concerning Larry's ventures into the boat market I feel the Pioneer Extreme is a boat I would purchase again it has meet and or exceeded all my needs as well as my clients for its application and that is all anyone can ask for in this business. It holds good weight, has held up well enough that I would buy more for my fleet if I were staying in the business of renting inflatables.

    Does it replace any of my other boats for their intended purpose (NOPE) however it has its place and more and more as people venture into places wear that application is a requirement for a rental it fits the Niche as well as my 15ft Otter fits my requirements for what I do.

    When you break down the three basic applicable principles for what I consider purchasing or renting a boat things seem to sort them-selves out.

    What is your intended application?
    How much does it cost?
    What type of Warranty does it have?

    If you plan calls for a ten day float hunt for 2 people and our plan is to harvest two Moose and you wish to purchase one boat you have to choose the correct boat. If you plan is a ten day hunt for one person and plan on harvesting one moose your boat will be a different choice and so on a so forth. If you plan on flying into a remote location with two people in a Super Cub it may dictate your boat options and limited your ability to hunt from one boat and so on and so forth.

    Most times there is never one correct do all / catch all that meets everyone requirements so Choose Wisely or purchase two!

    Still all and all a great conversation to be had and great input from the leaders in the industry Mike and Larry I appreciate you all having the conversation in public.

    Kind Regards

    RMM

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    it's hard out here for a pimp...

  11. #11
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Good words as usual, Moose. Much appreciated, and I believe you captured some of my thoughts as well.

    Thanks!

    -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

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    Larry that video was sick, nice work.

    What brand were the white sleds?

    Thx

    Nick

  13. #13
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    For those interested in knowing the differences between rubber (Hypalon / CSM, neoprene) boats and plastic (PVC, urethane) boats, we have lots of information about it on our general Inflatable Boats Page.

    -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

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Muche View Post
    Larry that video was sick, nice work.

    What brand were the white sleds?

    Thx

    Nick
    my question as well.

  15. #15

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    Those white sleds were home made by a pilot friend of mine. He made them to nest inside his super cub hull perfectly. They worked well for us dragging that moose out of the woods over tundra and down small hills and across creeks, but coming off that 4-tier ridge top was a bugger.

    I'm working to come up with a refined version that might be able to roll up after use and stow inside a raft or backpack. No promises yet, but my gears are cranking on a way to make an affordable and versatile sled for backcountry use. I can think of a lot of applications for a sled like that.

    Larry

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