best Zodiac (or similar) for AK
What model Zodiac (or similar) is generally considered the best all-around boat for AK?
I'll be using it for hunting and fishing.
Would I be better off with a raft for moose/ caribou hunting trips on rivers?
Seems like you might need a couple different setups. If you want a hunting/fishing setup to run an ourtboard on, it'll likely be a very different rig than one you would use for float hunting moose or caribou.
I'm looking for an inflatable to use on my saltwater boat and I've zeroed in an the Achilles brand based on personal experience with durability. I popped an Alaska Series raft twice on the first hunt I ever used it on... pretty disappointing after the 2300 dollar price tag.
I've been hit and miss on the Zodiac name, although there is a significant difference in models. You'll get what you pay for there, more than any other brand I've shopped.
You need to narrow down the bodies of water, and size of crew. Also whether this needs to be trasportable in small aircraft.
A 16' Naid or similar RIB with a honda 50 prop unit is pretty good go anywhere setup, provided anywhere isn't a shallow river. Conversley an Alaska series 11 footer with a 15 horse two stroke will cover alot of ground, has a decent payload and is very portable. There are a gamut of options between those two configurations.
Thanks, I guess I should have stated my budget also: $5k.
Body of water: All. I'm looking for a river runner (salmon and hunting), and a salmon boat, and something that should be able to get me out to some islands for deer hunting.
Size of crew: probably 2-4 (6 tops) or 2 guys, gear, and a moose.
Should I stick with a decent raft (or cataraft), or can I get a good Zodiac type boat that will fit my needs for around $5k?
Does your budget include motor?
As I've said many times before, one boat geared to do everything, will do nothing well. An inflatable big enough to take deer hunting with 4 guys will be too big for rivers, and blow your budget.
I'm thinking you're looking at roughly a 14 foot inflatable with on older 25-30 horse. It'll be a to small for running out to the islands, but not so big you can't run it on a river. We used such an inflatable to run around montague deer hunting, and it'll fit 4 guys with guns and packs, and a few deer. It would be cramped for fishing, and we had a transporter take us over and back.
I'd seriously consider prioritizing what activities you want to do most, and gear your boat choise towards them.
I have a 14 foot zodiac classic mark 4. I think I payed around 5 grand just for the boat new. I have a 25 horse kicker which is way more than I need for it. A 15 would do just fine. We did a really nice fly in trip with the 2 of us and alot of gear across lakes and down rivers. It handled great. I have had it in some pretty big waves and it did fine. Those things can take on alot of water and not sink like an aluminum would. Its alot of fun to drive!
I initially bought it thinking it would be an all purpose deal but ended up getting an aluminum skiff with a jet as well. The guys are right you almost need a couple of setups for all the different types of water around here.
A 14' inflatable sport boat is a pretty versatile craft.
Originally Posted by Paul H
I agree with Paul. I tend to use my 13'9" Alaska Series 420AR Alaskan Ranger with a 25hp 2-stroke more than any of the other sports boats I have.
The 420AR size boat is big enough to dip net with 3 people and 2 of the 150 quart coolers between the tubes. I take it out of the Deska landing to run it on the Big Sue, I also us it with 2-3 people off Deep Creek fishing; out of Seward or anywhere insight of land. Of course you do have to use good judgment and pick your days on the ocean.
Yet the 420AR small enough to beach launch with 2 guys and launch wheels, pack up and ship to Kodiak or fit in to a Cessna 180 or bigger. If you're wanting to go deer hunting do like Paul suggests and use a water taxi to get to where youíre going in comfort and take the 14í inflatable along for the ride to use once you get there.
With the new 4 stroke motors I would drop down to a 15 HP to keep the outboard light enough for one guy to lift.
Itís a great first boat that youíll use for years. Even after you move up to bigger boats there is always room for a 14í inflatable sport boat and portable outboard motor in every Alaska outdoors manís quiver.
Alaska Series Inflatable Boats,
Commercial quality at Wholesale prices
River Rafts, Catarafts, Inflatable Kayaks, Inflatable Canoes, Inflatable Sport Boats,
Thanks to all who replied. I'm sure there's no one boat for all purposes, but I need to start somewhere. A 14' w/ a 15 horse sounds like it might be the way to go.