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Thread: Alaska Series raft questions

  1. #1
    Member wjackson's Avatar
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    Question Alaska Series raft questions

    I am thinking about buying one, either the Kenai Drifter-16 or the 450 special SB, not sure yet. I am hoping to talk to anyone who ownes an Alaska Series and find out what they think and the pros and cons. Any comments or advice welcomed.

    Also, I'm a new member and have been reading thru all the posts and think its a great site, too all those who offer their advice and the moderators who keep it going thanks.

    William

  2. #2
    FBKShunter
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    Default Alaska Series

    I've had mine going on 3 years now and couldn't be happier. I would recommend alaska series to anyone looking for a raft. Jim is a nice guy to deal with, a little slow to respond once in while, but it seems he's one guy trying to do a lot of different things.

  3. #3
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Jim King's Boats

    WIlliam,

    You might have a look at our inflatable boats poll before you lay out your cash; there's some good info there. Also, I put together an inflatable canoe test a while back, in which Jim King's boats were discussed. This might be helpful.

    I believe Jim's boats are all built overseas in large batches prior to the season (or at least, most of his boats are built before the season). With other companies that do this there can sometimes be supply problems, as they only order what they think they'll need. This creates a potential for being out of stock later in the season. Also Jim told me that he offers a five year warranty in which he personally reviews all warranty claims. He seems like a guy who would provide good customer service. On the other hand, AIRE offers a ten-year, no fault warranty, which means that it doesn't matter what happens to your boat (bear ate it, it flipped off the trailer and was lunched by a semi, over-inflation, laceration on sharp rocks, etc) AIRE will replace it or repair it for you at no cost. The only exception is if you have to ship the boat to them for repairs, you have to pay half the shipping. But there's an AIRE dealer right here in Anchorage (Alaska Raft and Kayak), so local repairs in most cases shouldn't be a problem. AIRE is currently the only company on the market offering a warranty this good.

    Hope this helps!

    -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

  4. #4
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default Kenai drifter

    The Kenai drifter is a great boat that acts like a Cat due to its raised self bailing floor. It is an outstanding boat. Jim orders your boat made for you in the color you want and with several different options that you may want on your raft. you can have Armor put on the bottom if you want, extra D rings, and even a heavier PVC material if you like. He orders several times a year and so you know when your boat is coming in. He does have the ones that he shows at the Fair and such and can sell those when he has them in stock, but most people want to pick a color etc.
    I have one of the Kenai Drifters here at my place and it gets used on the Kenai several times a week. these boats are bullet proof, and I have never had to patch or repair a single raft. Its nice to have a boat like this that although it comes with a No Fault Warranty, you should not ever need to use it, and if you do have a problem, Jim has a great shop where he can repair it for you in Anchorage. I have one of the Alaska Series in my fleet now for over 6 years, it gets used almost every day all summer long. It sits out in the weather and still looks great. It has never had a patch or any other repair done to it.
    Max

  5. #5
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Questions for Max on Kenai Drifter

    Max,

    The Kenai Drifter, modeled after AIRE's Puma series, looks like a pretty good boat. I know with your operation, you have boats that are out in the sun for a lot of the season. Have you noticed any fading or other issues with U/V degradation? That is one aspect of these boats I have little information on.

    WARRANTY ISSUES

    You mentioned that Jim is offering a "no fault" warranty... last time I spoke with him he indicated that he evaluates all warranty claims and decides whether to cover it or not, based on issues of abuse, etc. A no-fault warranty covers everything, no matter what the reason, and has value because sometimes there are disputes between the user and the manufacturer as to what constitutes abuse. I looked at the warranty page on his website just now and it looks like perhaps it's changed since I spoke with him on this issue a couple of years ago. The bottom line is if the boat is damaged for any reason, you pay the shipping to him so repairs can be done. If it turns out that the repair was due to "wear and tear", you also pay the return shipping. If the repair was due to defects in materials or workmanship, he pays the shipping. It appears that in both cases the repairs are free. I know he runs a small shop here in Anchorage, and he may be outsourcing his repairs. I don't know who does them for him, and I don't know if there is any lag time in getting a boat repaired this way, but this would be something I would want to know if I was a potential customer. Just a thought. Anyway, the difference between this and what AIRE is offering is that the warranty lasts ten years, and they will cover the return shipping regardless of cause. Another difference is that they're a much larger company and can likely turn a boat faster. I believe major repairs are done in their Idaho facility, but others can be done right here in Anchorage.

    KENAI DRIFTER PLUSES

    I've heard good things about the Kenai Drifter, and the add-ons are a nice plus. Of course, D-rings can be added to any boat, but the only way you can get a different thickness of material with any of the Puma boats is to get the one made for Outcast, which is thinner. The regular and Super Puma series come with a 1670 denier base cloth (the fabric laminated between the coatings of the material) with a thicker PVC coating on the bottom of the boat than they have on the sides.

    PVC AND AIR RETENTION: BUYER BEWARE!

    Since PVC has a poor track record in air-retentiveness, AIRE uses a urethane inner bladder. Jim's boats are similar to Maravia and SOTAR in that they spray-coat the PVC material with urethane, which seals it. Jim adds a rub strake around the perimeter of the boat, which covers the seam and may also serve to control wicking. Wicking is a problem encountered with PVC boats using heavy base cloths; basically air enters the exposed edge of the material inside the boat, and bleeds through the base cloth between the coatings, and exits the boat along the exposed seams on the outside. To keep this from happening, some manufacturers use seam tape on the outside seams of their boats (see attached image, which shows both a rub strake running on the seam between the floor and top of the tubes, and seam tape running down along the seam between tube sections). You'll see this tape on most all exposed seams, except with things like wear patches and chafer strips, which are glued on top of the raft fabric. I don't know if Jim's rub strakes are there to control wicking or not, but if the boat holds air, who cares? Manufacturers have been getting a lot better at making a quality product and it wouldn't surprise me if Jim simply puts the strakes on because it helps prevent side-impact damage.

    At any rate, I mention this simply to say to anyone purchasing a new boat that they should let the boat sit fully inflated for a couple of days in a garage or other controlled-temperature area, before they make a final commitment. You don't want a leaker, and if the boat goes soft just sitting there, better keep looking. Another way you can check for wicking is to spray some soapy water on the seams and see if it bubbles, but this requires someone who really knows what they're looking at; the escaping air bubbles are usually very tiny. I'm not going to name names on this (it was none of the companies I've mentioned in this thread), but some manufacturers have had major problems in this area.

    KENAI DRIFTER AVAILABILITY

    Thanks for the info on the Kenai Drifter! I checked Jim's website and he lists several of them as being available right now. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to see several boats available for purchase right now. For those interested in the Kenai Drifter, they're listed as the "KD" series boats (is there a way we could talk Jim into making this page more intuitive for customers? We don't know the model numbers! Anyway, if I'm reading it correctly, he has three of them in stock right now; one new and two used.

    Regards,

    -Mike
    Attached Images Attached Images
    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

  6. #6
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default Kenai Drifter

    I went to Jims shop in Anchorage. His shop is several thousand square feet. He has a separate room that he repairs boats in. The boat he was repairing when I was there was one that a Bear had gotten into. He told me that his warranty is NO FAULT, and that even if it falls off your trailer as you are going down the highway, he fixes it free.
    I don't know about any leaking problems. I have 4 of his rafts in my fleet and I have never had to "TOP OFF" any of my boats. They sit out all summer long. The UV protection is excellent. I had a NRS 16ft cat in my fleet a year or two ago, It was a great boat also, but it took on that dusty look after the first season of constant Alaska sunshine. My Momentum rafts are pretty good at the UV resistance, but they don't hold the air that good and are not as tough of a raft. I had a Maravia raft that was used on 6 mile, and it was tough but after 2 seasons started to separate from the outer coating that they spray on. I do have an 18 foot Kenai Drifter at my place now. this is its second season and it looks great and is a real responsive boat for as long as it is. The floor being 5 inches higher makes it so it does not touch the water unless loaded up heavy, or in rough water. The 14 foot and then the 16 foot would be my personel choice.
    Max

  7. #7
    Member wjackson's Avatar
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    Default

    Max and Michael

    Thanks for all the info and advise. Ive looked over alot of rafts and I find the Alaska Series to be of top quality and I like the fact that the owner is a local person I can talk too, even if his boats are made overseas. Ive met Jim at the sports shows and I think he is a stand up guy and a square shooter.

    I was wondering about the performance and handling of the KD series. I read another thread on this site somewhere where people were having problems with what I understood to be a similar boat design called the bug or something like that. Something about all the bad traits of a cat and a raft in one. It seems to me that Jims design is the best of both worlds but maby not. I know that there is no such thing as the do it all boat and in Alaska its hard to have just one boat that will do evrything perfectly with all the different types of water we have and the places to go. I was just looking for something that will make a decent all arround boat. What do you guys think?

    Max if you have one of those Kenai Drifters at your place Id like to come take a look. Let me know.

    As far as UV deteration ive got a Riken bucket boat and the sun is murder on it. I wipe in down with 303 constantly and still find I must keep it covered. I dont know if its the boat mfg. or the hypalon material but either way I'll never owne another one for that reason.

    William

  8. #8

    Default correct information from the source part 1

    I generally donít comment on Mike Strahanís commentaries because I think he generally wears the bias of his opinions squarely on his sleeve for all to see.
    However when I see in-accurate information posted regarding my Alaska Series Inflatable boats, I feel the need to post the accurate information


    Fabric, UV Fade, Air Retention, Coating, Seams and Rub Strakes
    The fabric I use in all my Alaska Series Inflatable Boats was originally developed for building water park sleds. These sleds are used at water parks in the sunniest, highest UV areas in the world.
    This is the same specific plastomer blends of PVC, Urethane, UV inhibitors and other plastomers that are used in my Grizzly Hide Fabric. This fabric holds up very well in the sun. The UV resistance of this fabric is one of the reasons even the older Alaska Series boats always look new and bright on the river.
    Coatings
    There are two methods of coating inflatable boat fabric that Iím aware of, these are Calendaring and The STS Coating Process also called ďSol-TypeĒ coating. Neither process requires spraying to apply the coatings.

    Calendaring - is a process of using rollers with heat and pressure to press the coating into the fabric. Laminating the fabric between the layers of coating. (Very similar to using a heat laminator over paper to make luggage tags or signs or protect your maps) I have been told due to the heat and pressure used in the calendaring process there is about a 10% loss in the tinsel strength of the base fabric once the process is done. The calendaring process also allows the air wicking that Mike mentions do to the way the coating adheres to only the top and bottom services of the core fabric. The higher the denier the thicker the thread of the core fabric the more space between the air retention layers for the air to wick through. This is only a problem if the seams are not properly built. (Iíll cover seams after this fabric discussion). Calendaring is used on all boat fabric coated with rubber coatings. Rubber coatings include neoprene and Hypalon/neoprene blended fabrics. Calendaring is also used on some but not all Plastomer coated fabrics. Plastomer coatings include blends of PVC and Urethanes. But in general as far as the air holding properties and porosity of all the inflatable boat fabric coatings. They all hold air just fine. On a properly built boat youíll experience more pressure change from heating and cooling during the day then youíll loose through the pours of any fabric. Inflatable boats require very low air pressure in the tubes generally between 2.5 PSI to 4 PSI. so thereís not much pressure to push through the fabrics. Iíve seen PVC coated high pressure drop stitch floors hold 20 PSI for months on end without loosing a breath of air. The only exception to this is that Hypalon has a very high porosity this is why it is never used 100% in inflatable boat fabric. Hypalon is always blended with Neoprene when used in inflatable boat fabric. The percent of Hypalon will range from 25% to 90% of the outside of the calendared laminate. The inside laminate will generally be from 75% to 100% neoprene for air retention.


    The SRA Coating Process of Sol-Type coating starts with the core fabric being totally saturated in a liquid vat of the soup mixture made up of the coating plastomer. Once the fabric is saturated with the plastomer soup mixture. The process then uses cold rollers to control the coating thickness.( It is very similar to running the wash through a ringer.) I feel this process has several advantages over the older calendaring technology. First off it does not weaken the core fabric. This coating method also fully saturates the core fabric with the coating and fills all the gaps in the weave of the core fabric making the fabric one homogenous piece, this not only gives the fabric better air retention it also increases the adhesion strength and the abrasion strength of the fabric. With the specific placement of the rollers this also allows the fabric to be coated thicker one side of the fabric to increase the wear-ability of the fabric. I favor the SRA Coating process and this is the type of fabric I use in all The Alaska Series Inflatable boats. The specific blend of plastomers used in the Alaska Series Grizzly Hide fabric is the complete soup mix in the fabric coating. There is nothing sprayed on the fabric or the final product.

    Spraying?
    There are few companies that spray layers of urethane for skid pads on the bottom of their boats and Maravia sprays their entire boat with urethane after itís been built.
    Both Maravia and Sotar use calendared fabrics. Maravia and Sotar each use a different Plastomer blend for their fabric coatings and different core fabrics. Both their blends are different from my Alaska Series Grizzly hide fabric.

    The best forum threads Iíve seen on boat fabrics was posted back in March of 2005 by Daniel S. Here is the link
    http://www.outdoorsdirectory.com/akf...d=38415&a=view


    SEAMS- There is several types of seam styles on the market today. Some are welded, some glued and some sewn with zippers. Some are a simple over lap, some are double overlapped and some are triple over lapped. All the seams on the Alaska Series Inflatable boats are a Triple over lap seam using 4 layers of fabric. This is the most labor-intensive type of seam, but it is widely considered the strongest and most air tight of the glued seams. (Glued or welded has itís pros and conís as well)

    The in-side seam tape is the most critical seam for the air retention of the inflatable float tube. The inside seam tape fabric thickness is generally about half the thickness and half the denier of the tube fabric. It is also cut on the Bias of the fabric so it tends to mold to the inside seam edge of tube fabric it will also flex with the boat without stressing the seam in any way. The flexing and molding properties of the in-side seam tape is especially important where you have more then 2 edges of fabric that seam together. If youíre boat is leaking through the seam the in-side seam tape is where you have to trace your leak back to. The inside seam tape also stops any air from wicking through any fabric.
    The Tube fabric over lap and the Out-side seam tape are the structural part of the seam they should each have at least 1 inch of overlap for strength.
    The out-side seam tape on all Alaska Series Inflatable boats is 3 inches wide.

    All Alaska Series inflatable Boats are AIR TESTED- just after the inside seam tape stage of production each Alaska Series boat is Air tested in the factory for 3 days. This happens before the overlap seams and out side seam tape seams are finished. This makes it easier to locate leaks and correct them early in the production process. .

    I agree with Mike about air testing your boat for 3 days in a controlled environment when you first take it home. I display at several boat shows during the course of each year. This gives me an opportunity check out other brands of boats and to watch which brands hold air when the boats are new out of the box and which brands have a problem with quality control and air retention.

    The Rub Strakes on the Alaska Series Inflatable boats are to help protect the outer edge of the tube. This is an area where all brands of inflatable boats tend to get a lot of damage and wear.. The rub Strike also gives a nice trimmed finish to the top edge of the double material side and bottom wear patches these type of additional wear patches are common and often standard on many of the Alaska Series boats. The Alaska Series Inflatable Boats come standard with many extras missing on other boats. Such 6 rubbery easy on the hands lift handles, extra D-rings, rub stakes and Grizzly claw Armor.
    When compared side by side with most other boats, the other boats look a bit striped down.


    It looks like I ran out of space so I'll have to make a page 2
    Good Boating

    Jim King
    Alaska Series Inflatable Boats,
    Commercial quality at Wholesale prices
    River Rafts, Catarafts, Inflatable Kayaks, Inflatable Canoes, Inflatable
    Sport Boats, Inflatable Jet Boats, Tenders and Dinghies.
    WWW.alaskaseries.com
    (907) 248-2900

  9. #9

    Default correct information from the source part 2

    Continued

    AVABILITY
    When I first started developing the Alaska Series Inflatable boats back in 1996, Almost the entire shipment of boats were bought on speculation of what could be sold during the year. Thatís kind of how we did things at the old Gary King Sporting Goods Store. Back then I was importing 1 shipment of inflatable boats a year.
    Now I import 4 shipments of boats a year. With boats being built in November, February, April and June. The majority of the boats in each shipment are pre-sold and custom built to order for each customer. I find this way of doing business much better then speculating on what might sell then being left with the wrong inventory at the end of the season. With todayís technology of the Internet, auto-cad drawings and Emails itís pretty easy to do special things for my customers to fit their specific inflatable boat needs. To my knowledge Iím the only inflatable boat company that offer this customer service. I also have some specific boats on hand that I display at trade shows. I do sell these boats as well. Then I just replace them on the next incoming shipment. On my website I also list the next order dead line and the expected delivery date for that shipment.. Just click the hot link ďWhatís on SaleĒ. http://www.alaskaseries.com/Boat%20S...ale%202004.htm

    Mike you have a good suggestion to add a column listing the full name of the boats. That would a nice improvement on my ďWhatís in stockĒ web page http://www.alaskaseries.com/boats_in_stock_now.htm
    Among my many hats, Iím also the company web master and Iíll make that change the next time I update my website.


    KENAI DRIFTER PROFORMANCE
    Iím glad youíve heard so many good things about the Alaska Series Kenai Drifter Self-bailing River Rafts
    The Kenai Drifter series rafts are not modeled after the Pumas any more then they are modeled after any other tapered tube raft. The wide footprint on the water makes the Kenai Drifter rafts extremely stable. The big 26Ē tubes float the Kenai Drifter so buoyant it glides over water that could flip other rafts. With the slightly raised floor, (3-5 inches depending on the model), the river slips under the self-bailing floor making the Kenai Drifter very fast and easy to control. This makes itís easy to ferry, catch eddies, hold in the current or bust through an eddy fence. Itís a very responsive river raft. The KD14X26 is always my first choice for extended river trips.




    WARRANTY ISSUES
    I always have a good laugh when I hear terms like ďselling out of his garageĒ and ďsmall shopĒ from what I have heard, thatís how Microsoft and Apple started.
    In actuality my shop is in a 9000 square foot warehouse that I own.. I occupy about 6000 square feet and lease out the rest of the building. I do all repairs and boat services in-house. When it comes right down to it. Inflatable boat repair is not rocket science. Especially when you only have to worry about one brand of boat and have a factory that is capable of backing you up. In 35 years of fixing inflatable boats I havenít seen anything I canít fix.
    The catch is that I only work on my Alaska Series Boats. This keeps my repair shop pretty uncluttered from other brands of boats needing repair. So far itís seldom that I have more then one or two boats in my shop at any given time so the turn around time is generally a couple days which is about the time it takes a few coats of the factory glue to cure.

    I have a pretty simple warranty. And I list it on my website. http://www.alaskaseries.com/Warrantee.htm
    ďAll Alaska Series Inflatable Boats have a 5-year Warrantee that covers the boat from bow to stern. Simply stated with in 5 years from date of purchase, what ever happens to your boat we'll fix it! There will be no charge for parts or labor for 5 years. Just return your damaged Alaska Series boat to us and we'll repair it. Please contact us before you return your boat so we will be expecting it's arrive.
    If the reason for the repair was something that was a defect in material or workmanship we'll pay the return shipping back to you. If the reason for the repair was due to wear and tear you pay the return shipping.
    Return your boat to us after you've washed all major dirt off your boat. There is a $50 charge for cleaning extremely dirty boats. I'm sure you too would rather work on a boat that is reasonably clean opposed to one caked with mud
    We have repair centers in Anchorage, Alaska and Seattle, Washington. Please contact us before sending any boats. ď

    With most of the Alaska Series boats sold in trade shows around Anchorage and Seattle the shipping of boats being serviced hasnít become a problem.

    Iíve repaired several bear bites, a gun shot and road rash all with out charge. My customers tend to be my best supporters feel free to ask any of them how they like their Alaska Series Boat.


    All of this seems like Dajavoo all over again. I can remember explaining many of these same issues back in 2004 on this very forum. Iím so glad for the support from great customers like FBKSHUNTER, Max and the others


    When Mike published his edited version of the inflatable canoe test. Back in April 7th 2006. He did correctly state the warrantee of my Alaska Series boats as

    ďFive Years no-fault Warranty, Boats will be repaired free regardless of cause of damage, for the first five years. Serviced locally in Anchorage and Seattle.Ē

    I believe Mike must have forgotten the correct warrantee information he wrote in April 2006 then he stated the incorrect information in his response to William on July 14th 2006. At least Iíd like to think he had laps in memory. Because misinformation like that would really hurt his credibility in this form if readers were to think he would spread such miss-information with purpose and malice intent.

    Also knowing ďThe devil is always in the detailĒ. I thought I would take another look at Aireís website and see if they have changed their written warrantee to reflect the Liberal interpretation that is so often reflected in this forum. This is where the actual warrantee as written in their on-line owners manual. http://www.aire.com/AIRE/manual.shtml


    Good Boating

    Jim King
    Alaska Series Inflatable Boats,
    Commercial quality at Wholesale prices
    River Rafts, Catarafts, Inflatable Kayaks, Inflatable Canoes, Inflatable
    Sport Boats, Inflatable Jet Boats, Tenders and Dinghies.
    WWW.alaskaseries.com
    (907) 248-2900

  10. #10
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Thanks, Jim!

    Jim,

    Thanks for the informative reply on this!

    For clarification to those who don't know me, I have no dog in this fight at all; I'm just a user like some of you. And, as with all things, I have certain brand preferences, based upon my experience with this as a recreational user and a hunting guide. I receive nothing from anyone in exchange for brand name recognition, though I have been offered fairly substantial compensation in the past. Though such offers were made as a gesture of gratitude, I have always turned such offers down in the interest of maintaining objectivity.

    My sincerest apologies for any errors in information I have posted here or in the past (or in the future); you're correct in saying that I may have forgotten some of the details concerning your products. I've been really swamped of late (though that's no excuse), but when I get some breathing room I'll take a second look at this.

    All else considered, I still remain unconvinced that AIRE is not offering the best warranty in the business. But I didn't always have this view; I was persuaded by the support they have from Alaska Raft and Kayak and with other experiences with that company. I could be convinced with similar information from other manufacturers as well, especially if they offered a ten-year, no-fault warranty as AIRE does.

    I think we are all biased in one way or another, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. I think it's fair to say that when one has something to gain by promoting one product over another, their objectivity might be compromised, though this is not always the case. In your case, it's entirely possible that you entered the business determined to make up for some of the deficiencies present in other products and have truly put something together that beats the competition. I know you started all of this as a very experienced user, therefore you would know as well as most what changes needed to be made.

    As always, I appreciate your participation in this forum; you bring some unique things to the table and I hope you will have time to post more in the future.

    Best 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

  11. #11
    FBKShunter
    Guest

    Default Aires warranty

    Mike,

    After reading this I decided to read Aire's warranty. How do you get a no fault out of this. This actually sounds very limited. This is copied directly from their website.


    All boats manufactured by AIRE are warranted to the boat’s original owner for a period of
    ten years from the date of purchase, against workmanship in the tubes, D-ring patches,
    AIRECELLs, valves and zippers, and ten years against defects in the material with the
    following stipulations:
    1. Factory attached accessories will be repaired or replaced at AIRE’s option.
    The customer is responsible for shipping and handling to and from AIRE’s
    plant or an authorized repair station.
    2. This warranty is void if the boat is structurally altered, used commercially, or
    subjected to stress beyond the physical limits of the fabric and accessories.
    3. This warranty does not cover abrasion and abnormal abuse.
    AIRE, Inc. is not liable for any injury or mishap sustained by the use of this product. The
    user of this product acknowledges risks and waives any and all claims against AIRE, Inc.
    and any of its agents.
    Please sign the included release and warranty card. Return it to AIRE, Inc. P.O. Box 3412,
    Boise, ID 83703.the

  12. #12
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Thumbs up AIRE's Warranty

    Quote Originally Posted by FBKShunter
    Mike,

    After reading this I decided to read Aire's warranty. How do you get a no fault out of this. This actually sounds very limited. This is copied directly from their website.


    All boats manufactured by AIRE are warranted to the boat’s original owner for a period of
    ten years from the date of purchase, against workmanship in the tubes, D-ring patches,
    AIRECELLs, valves and zippers, and ten years against defects in the material with the
    following stipulations:
    1. Factory attached accessories will be repaired or replaced at AIRE’s option.
    The customer is responsible for shipping and handling to and from AIRE’s
    plant or an authorized repair station.
    2. This warranty is void if the boat is structurally altered, used commercially, or
    subjected to stress beyond the physical limits of the fabric and accessories.
    3. This warranty does not cover abrasion and abnormal abuse.
    AIRE, Inc. is not liable for any injury or mishap sustained by the use of this product. The
    user of this product acknowledges risks and waives any and all claims against AIRE, Inc.
    and any of its agents.
    Please sign the included release and warranty card. Return it to AIRE, Inc. P.O. Box 3412,
    Boise, ID 83703.the
    FBKS (sorry, I don't know your name),

    Here's another quote from AIRE's website, if this helps:

    "BEST WARRANTY IN THE BUSINESS

    10-year Warranty
    We are so confident in our products that we back them up with the best inflatable warranty in the world. The 10-year warranty covers all the costs of fixing your boat, including labor and materials. If you have a problem, send your boat to AIRE, and we’ll fix it for free. If it’s our fault, we pay return shipping; if it’s pilot error, you pay return shipping."


    In addition to that, the support folks are getting at Alaska Raft and Kayak, as the largest raft company in the state of Alaska, is certainly superior to what I'm seeing elsewhere. They'll even give you a loaner while yours is being repaired.

    I have personally spoken to the owner of AIRE on numerous occasions concerning the quality of their warranty, what was covered, etc. and have spoken, over the years, to many owners of AIRE products, along with dealers of their stuff, and have found tremendous support and endorsement of their warranty program. I'm not aware of a single incident of a repair being denied coverage under their warranty. That includes at least two boats that flipped off trailers on the highway and had serious road rash (I was a passenger in the vehicle with one of those, and assisted in dragging it off the highway in high-speed traffic), and more than one that was partially eaten by bears. It would be pure speculation on my part to try to untangle the boilerplate language in their warranty; I suspect that some of the language you're objecting to is there to prevent major abuse by commercial operators. But that's just speculation on my part. If you are really serious about these questions, I would recommend calling Alan Hamilton (the owner of the company) toll-free at 1 (800) 247-3432 and go over the specifics with him. He's very approachable and would be happy to clear up any misconceptions or confusion on this.

    I have also spoken personally to the owners of several other inflatable boat companies, and am very comfortable endorsing AIRE's warranty as the best in the business. It is interesting to note that when they first began offering that warranty many years ago, it created quite a buzz in the industry, with many companies saying that they would go broke honoring it. Time has proven them incorrect, and AIRE has become, the last time I checked, the largest inflatable manufacturer in the United States. That last statement is a qualified yes though; some of the foreign boat companies may be bigger, if you count their commercial market.

    Are you aware of any other companies offering a ten-year warranty of this kind? It's been a while since I've researched this, but when I did, they were the only team on that particular ball field.

    Hope this helps!

    -Mike
    Last edited by Michael Strahan; 07-26-2006 at 17:24.
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  13. #13
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    Default Ask the expert.

    To answer your question of how good Alaska series inflatable boats are.
    Three of the four experts who did the testing for M. S. bought Alaska series boats. These experts were picked because of there knowledge and thousands of miles floating Alaska rivers and no BIAS.

    These guys are interested in only one thing preformance.

    After the testing ( I was there) I looked into inflatable boats. I never bought one and decided to get a used one, I'm still looking. I never realized some used boats do not have a warranty. Until now.

    I don't know their names I'm sure M.S. or Jim King can give you their names and phone# if you need more information.

  14. #14
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default The Canoe Test Info, redux

    Quote Originally Posted by Rutting Moose
    To answer your question of how good Alaska series inflatable boats are.
    Three of the four experts who did the testing for M. S. bought Alaska series boats. These experts were picked because of there knowledge and thousands of miles floating Alaska rivers and no BIAS.

    These guys are interested in only one thing preformance.

    After the testing ( I was there) I looked into inflatable boats. I never bought one and decided to get a used one, I'm still looking. I never realized some used boats do not have a warranty. Until now.

    I don't know their names I'm sure M.S. or Jim King can give you their names and phone# if you need more information.
    Tom,

    Thanks for the reminder on the inflatable canoe test.

    Jackson's orignal question had nothing whatsoever to do with inflatable canoes though (he was asking about the Kenai Drifter series), so I'm not sure how relevant the article would be. Perhaps the customer service and warranty issues I wrote about there would be of some use, but I've covered those same issues in this thread already. Regardless, the canoe test results can be found by clicking on the "Products" link on my website.

    CANOE TESTER QUALIFICATIONS

    You are correct that the folks I selected for the testing process were primarily interested in performance. That's because I structured the tests specifically to assess the performance characteristics of inflatable canoes. I selected Jack Mosby, Pat and Heather Fleming, and Rich Crain specifically because of their whitewater canoe experience, and I think we ended up with some pretty solid data about the performance of the boats tested. If anyone wants to know the credentials of the folks doing the testing, please read the full report; their resumes are listed at the end of it. I'm not going to give out their personal contact information, because I don't have their permission to do so. I will say this regarding their credentials though. Shortly after the canoe test results were released, Jack Mosby's credibility was called into question on another forum, and to some extent on this forum. I responded by indicating that Jack canoes over 1,000 river miles in an average year here in Alaska and has been canoing for over forty years. The critics responded by reversing their position and saying that they thought he was over-qualified and therefore not objective. What are we supposed to do with input like that? Nothing. Just let the facts speak for themselves. The fact is that Jack has forgotten more about canoing than most of us will ever know. Pat Fleming can actually roll a hard-shell canoe in whitewater and right it again as he floats along; a feat I didn't realize was even possible. Rich Crain is a whitewater canoe instructor.

    MY ROLE IN THE CANOE TEST

    My role in this was to set the test criteria, select the boats to be tested, select the best testers I could find, administer the tests, track and collate the data, and write an objective report on the results. Though it was a herculean task, I think we did a pretty good job on all counts, though there were some gaps in the testing that we simply didn't have time to complete. It was a cold October day on Eagle River, you will remember; we just flat ran out of daylight.

    BOAT PURCHASES

    I heard the same rumor as you, that three of the paddlers bought boats from Jim King after the testing was completed. I don't know if this is true or not, but I'm not seeing how this is relevant to a discussion about the Kenai Drifter, which is a self-bailing round boat. I remember all of the testers being impressed by the performance of some of the boats though. Jack is something of a collector of canoes, and it wouldn't surprise me if he bought something different from what he already has, just to play around with it. Pat and Heather were our tandem canoeists, and one of the Jim King boats was a large boat suitable for tandem work. Perhaps they bought one too. I don't know what they did. Another thing to consider is that all of them are members of Knik Canoers and Kayakers, as is Jim King, the owner of the Alaska Series boat company. They all know each other well, and I know this wasn't the first time they saw Jim's boats. But it was the first time they paddled them, I believe, and there was some open curiosity about the two canoes Jim graciously offered for testing. Simply put, everyone wanted to paddle them.

    TESTING THE KENAI DRIFTER AND OTHERS

    In the future, if I were to test boats such as the Kenai Drifter and other similar round boats, I would certainly select a different group of folks to run the boats through their paces. Inflatable canoes are completely different from whitewater rafts. I would be looking at some of the really good whitewater rafters out there. This isn't meant to impugn the reputation of the canoe testers at all, but their specialty lies in a different field, I believe.

    At any rate, it would be relevant to hear the performance characteristics of the Kenai Drifter, a boat I have not yet rowed, though I would like to some time in the future. My input on this at this point is of necessity limited to warranty and customer service, and is based purely on research and discussions with the owner of the company, together with input from folks who own the boats.

    -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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  15. #15
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    Default There's a Difference???

    I remember you mentioning the " inflatable canoe test" and didn't realize there was a difference.
    __________________________________________________ ______________
    WIlliam,

    You might have a look at our inflatable boats poll before you lay out your cash; there's some good info there. Also, I put together an inflatable canoe test a while back, in which Jim King's boats were discussed. This might be helpful.
    __________________________________________________ ______________

    Does it really matter?

    These people know their boats and they bought Jim King,s boats. I have no doubt workmanship, material, and performance all were a factor.
    Workmanship,and material would be the same throughout the whole line not just one or two boats.

    Mr. W jackson was asking for information on Alaska series inflatable boats.
    I feel this is very relevant to a discussion and it's not off topic.

    You question if it's true, because you have only heard rumors. You have their phone #. Give them a call and let us all know the truth.

  16. #16
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default The difference

    Quote Originally Posted by Rutting Moose
    I remember you mentioning the " inflatable canoe test" and didn't realize there was a difference.
    __________________________________________________ ______________
    WIlliam,

    You might have a look at our inflatable boats poll before you lay out your cash; there's some good info there. Also, I put together an inflatable canoe test a while back, in which Jim King's boats were discussed. This might be helpful.
    __________________________________________________ ______________

    Does it really matter?

    These people know their boats and they bought Jim King,s boats. I have no doubt workmanship, material, and performance all were a factor.
    Workmanship,and material would be the same throughout the whole line not just one or two boats.

    Mr. W jackson was asking for information on Alaska series inflatable boats.
    I feel this is very relevant to a discussion and it's not off topic.

    You question if it's true, because you have only heard rumors. You have their phone #. Give them a call and let us all know the truth.
    Tom,

    Actually, Jackson was referring specifically to the 16-foot Kenai Drifter and the 450 special self-bailer, which is a 14 1/2-foot self-bailing round raft. Not a canoe.

    Hopefully I'm not confusing this too much. My point is that while workmanship, materials, customer service, warranty and product availability are all germane to the discussion, the actual canoe test itself; particularly the likes and dislikes of the testers of those canoes, which I understood to be your point, are not. The reason I don't see the relevance of canoes to this question is because we're talking about the Kenai Drifter, which is a completely different type of boat.

    There are two reasons why I'm not going to spend a lot of time figuring out what boats the canoe testers may or may not have purchased. Number one, I don't have time to fool with it, but, more importantly, it doesn't relate to the discussion. Moreover, the testers were not asked to rate workmanship or materials, and ventured no opinions in that area. I, on the other hand, did, when I wrote the report. That's the only reason I sometimes refer inquiries about Jim's boats to the canoe test, on the grounds that it "might be helpful". In retrospect, perhaps I should have clarified that in my 7/14 post that you quoted.

    Hopefully I haven't muddied the waters any. I just can't see how canoe performance compares to the performance of a 16-foot raft. Probably my fault in communication; I'm tired right now and may not be thinking too clearly.

    Regards,

    -Mike
    Last edited by Michael Strahan; 07-27-2006 at 23:18.
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  17. #17
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    Default It took a little time to verify.

    It took a little time to verify.

    Yes, it is true 3 of the 4 people who did the inflatable Canoe test,
    bought 17 Ft. Tripper inflatable boats made by Alaska series inflatable boats.

  18. #18
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default This is getting silly...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rutting Moose
    It took a little time to verify.

    Yes, it is true 3 of the 4 people who did the inflatable Canoe test,
    bought 17 Ft. Tripper inflatable boats made by Alaska series inflatable boats.
    Tom,

    Since Tom and Heather are a couple and they apparently purchased a boat, that leaves one each for both Jack and Rich. So in one sense, they all purchased a canoe from Jim. Nothing new here, and I'm still trying to see how that has anything to do with the Kenai Drifter, other than the issues I already discussed.

    I'll check in later in case anything new is posted. Hopefully we have helped Jackson make a decision on something that works for him?

    If there was another point you were trying to make, I'd be happy to discuss it in a private message or phone call, rather than boring the good folks here with our banter.

    -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

  19. #19
    Member jeff p's Avatar
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    Default silly yes

    I think the point is that the people that where qualified for the testing also bought jim kings boats & that sounds like a vote for the quality of his product why cant we just say JIM MAKES GOOD BOATS instead of complicating things with our own bias. Mike I have no dog in this either but the way you come across on some posts kinda seems slanted I read this forum alot & have learned to respect you knowledge & experiance Just go easy sometimes as it reads a little overbearing at times.
    Good day all jeff p

  20. #20
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    Default jim's boats

    I have one of Jim's boats and I LOVE IT. To quote the way Fbkshunter describes it "it is bombproof".

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