Seeking information on inflatable boats.
I am new to boating and have been doing a lot of research on inflatable boats. I am not exactly sure what to go for. I would like to use it for hunting and fishing. The areas I will be doing those activities in will be Quartz Lake, Upper Tangles Lakes (Denali Highway), and Clearwater Lake/River.
I have been looking at the 12.5 foot Seamax Ocean380.
I have questions about how the boats ride with some weight in them, i.e. two grown men, hunting gear, a couple of caribou or my two boys and I going out fishing. I understand that weight will have a factor no matter what, but with a powerful enough motor do they work as well as a regular boat?
Does the water pushing against the front of the boat while in motion have a big factor on speed an so forth?
How well do they hold up in the Alaskan environment?
I have spent a lot of time in various rivers and lakes in Alaska, so I know all about how depth can change really fast and all of that. Do these boats handle those type of changes? Example being running in to a sand bar and so forth.
I appreciate any and all advice and even some advice on what type of regular boat I can be looking at.
I am not looking to put a whole lot of money in to this since I am a beginner and just want to get something that will be safe for a couple of years to learn the ins and outs of it all.
Thanks in advance.
I own 20 inflatables and a host of rigid boats as well so I look at this with questions that should lead you to an answer.
-how many times per year do you expect to use the boat?
-what type of water to you think you will be on? Whitewater, lakes, outboards?
-do you expect to be using the boat in 5 years? 10?....
-How many people do you expect to haul?
Ok now lets look at the price question.
-Rule of thumb is if you expect to own that boat for 10-15 years you need to look at Hypalon is the material of choice for durability and ease of repair. There are lots of PVC rafts on the market and they look nice, don't weigh much, are super stiff and CHEEEEEP! But you get what you pay for guys!
I own 5-6 PVC inflatables and all are AIRE products. Last a long time and cost a bit more than the Chinese products. In this area you really get what you pay for. Most PVC boats are a 5 year boat when they are treated right. If you beat them up like I do well many are throw away pool toys. The sun destroys PVC boats fast! Cold weather make touching a PVC boat a really bad idea. If your paying under $2k you are most likely buying a pool toy! Don't ever look at most PVC products that are used. I get 2-3 families who come into my yard every summer looking for boat repair and almost all are low budget PVC boats.
Good luck and I hope this helps!
Gulkana Raft Rentals
Northwest Alaska Back Country Outfitters
Mile 127.5 Richardson HWY. Gakona Alaska
Welcome to the forum! If you've been reading the forum pages for any length of time, you'll notice that Alaskans often prefer to spend a little more for their outdoor equipment if it means getting something more reliable. When you are out in the wilds depending on your gear for your survival, you don't want to suddenly encounter a quality control issue because the manufacturer went cheap.
Assuming you're focusing on the inflatable sportboat design, powered by an outboard, you might get more feedback if you post this in the Power Boating section. The Jet Ranger line from Alaska Series is one that has a great reputation on the forum, and the customer service by Jim King is reported to be among the best. A call to Jim might be a good place to start.