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Thread: Kenai Drifter Raft

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    Default Kenai Drifter Raft

    I'm looking for info on the 14' Kenai Drifter Raft by the Alaska Series (Gary King). Is this a reliable raft and will it haul a substantial load of hunters and game without sitting too low in the water, thus potentially dragging the bottom more.

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    Member Casper50's Avatar
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    http://www.alaskaseries.com/boat%20s...20winter02.htm The website says crew is 3. Doesn't say how much weight.

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    The thing has huge tubes on the sides, so packing a load should be easy enough if needed. Those large sides do encroach into the available load space though. Jim King seems to armor plate them with his Grizzly Hide, or whatever he calls it, so dragging through shallow water and across rocks shouldn't be an issue. It's floor is raised a few inches above the bottom of the tubes, and when heavily loaded will cause the tubes to draft a bit more water then a conventional raft. There are trade offs to all boat designs, and this one seems to be a favorite of a lot of people.

    And those "lot of people" that own them seem for the most part quite satisfied with the quality & durability. I know that there were some quality control issues with early versions. Some had seams that leaked, and some had seams that delaminated when left in the heat. All newer boats use an improved adhesive, so this shouldn't be an issue.

    What I wonder about this design is, how easy is it to get in & out of with those really high sides? Seems to me (an old semi-decrepit duffer) that a conventional boat design would be easier work with. Besides drawing less water. Anyone out there that has used both care to comment?

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    Lightbulb Star Inflatables - Bug Series - Same Thing

    http://www.starinflatables.com/mods/...?idCategory=90

    I product tested this stuff for the local Anchorage rep some 10+ years ago. "Alaskan Outfitters dot com" was the local Anchorage, Alaska website. Eventually at the tail end of Alaskan Outfitters business --- he saw the light by trying my AIRE boats and bought an AIRE LEOPARD - now much happier.

    A local storefront downtown scarfed up that guys dot com namesake for lack of their own creativity... funny thing is - same boats w/ a different sticker pasted on the side.

    Is the Kenai Drifter any different than a STAR Bug. Not really... except that you would be paying near double for "kenai drifter" name!

    Is the design a good one? Not really... while outwardly exhibiting some virtues of both Cats and Self-bailers it maintains each and every one of the shortcomings an individual may see to both in one package.

    Am I saying it's a bad boat (whomever may be peddling it under a variety of brand names for whatever time-frame)... Not really... nevertheless, why would you invest in these boats when AIRE & Alaska Raft & Kayak pretty much make it a NO-BRAINER in producing/selling better product, utilizing up-to date tried & true concepts/materials, a boating company having some actual original thinking, a real storefront here in Alaska dedicated to sales rentals and service, Boats Made in USA!!!, plus investment protection with a 10 year bona-fide NO-FAULT warranty.

    One may argue PRICING!!!!
    --- on the other hand, don't ya just hate getting nickel & dimed in the long run?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian

    Is the Kenai Drifter any different than a STAR Bug. Not really... except that you would be paying near double for "kenai drifter" name!

    Alaska Series has an inflated floor...which is not as high as the non-inflated floor in the original bug...

    6th ave has both types... Inflated floor versions floor is raised, but not as high as non-inflated floor versions.

    Star used to have both types, but their new website only has the non-inflated floor versions.

    I've rowed the kenai drifter and the true "Bug" with the non-inflated floor down lions head... They do not handle the same.

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    A friend of mine bought the 16' and put the fishing frame on it, he loves it. I have rowed it a couple of times myself and it rows like a 14-16' cataraft, very nimble. As for weight I have never seen him realy weigh it down but I have seen him throw in several houndred pounds of gear in it +3 adults for a multiday trip and there was not a lot of diference in its performance over when he is just out for the day fishing out of it. I like the design, I would think because of the size of its tubes it might be a little harder to get in and out of than smaler tubed boats, but no more dificult than a cataraft. He has had it for 4 years or so. It sits pretty high in the water, I would hesitate to think he would have any issues with it dragging any more than any other raft. Espicialy since more water is displaced with the larger diameter tubes. I would think it would be somewhat of a wash in a side by side comparison.

    I run an Alaska Series 18' Cataraft and love it, and I based my purchase on the quality of his boat, I enjoy having the extra abrasion resistence that is put on the botom, I have only had mine since 06. I will ask my friend to post here as well.

    I hope that helps

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    I could swear the floor is raised quite a bit more in the 6th Ave boats and Bugs than the Gary King Kenai Drifter, I could be wrong though.

    I also think that 6th Ave and Jim King are offering a much more affordable boat for the average guy wanting to take the family out with a good warranty.

    Alaska Raft is no question a great store with great products from all the research I have been doing and you cannot argue the product and service.

    I do think Alaska Raft is a little steep on the pricing. Compared to the NRS site or other places you can order from they are a lot more expensive even with shipping.

    Especially when you start talking frames and accesories. Just what I have found from my research. To me that is nickel and diming.

    I would hope in time these other guys will bring the market more competitive. As much as I support Alaskan business there is a fine line to what is fair and un fair,

    With all the boats on Craigslist and ebay now like Star, Vanguard, 6th Ave and Gary King series etc I think you will start seeing the usage of rafts being higher and the word on how tough they are will spread as well.

    There is a lot of people out there floating these so called off brands and loving their boats.

    Just my opinion as the prices are dropping every year.

    I know someone that just sold a 12ft Gary King boat to get a bigger one and he lost a grand on it as the prices have dropped that much in the last 2 years.

    Start doing some Craigslist shopping and you will see a framed out Otter for 2500 to 3500 bucks. Much cheaper than a brand new one and with all the stuff on it.

    That to me shows the so called "Top End" rafts like Aire and NRS losing their market share rapidly.

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    375, I wouldn't include Aire and NRS in the "top of the line" category. Not saying they aren't very nice boats, but I think that there are better available if money isn't a constraint. I find it interesting that Aire and NRS both made a niche for themselves as low priced boats, but as their reputation increased, so did their prices. Still, you can spend a lot more money on a higher quality boat if you want.

    But you're certainly right about the floor height of the newer Alaska Series Kenai Drifter compared to the 6th Ave boats, and Star's Bug series. I think the 6th Ave version has a floor that's raised about 6 inches, and the newer KD is more like 3. The old version KD was higher up though.

    There are gains and losses in either choice. If you raise the floor out of the water, you loose the floatation the floor provides unless loaded very heavy. The high floor causes it to act more like a cataraft, but also causes it to draft more water. But as was pointed out earlier, the tubes are huge, so it doesn't draft as much as you would think. If you lower the floor, the floor will add more to the floatation, and it will draft less. But then you loose a bit of that nimble cataraft feel.

    Another problem with a high floor is the loss of space in the boat. That coupled with the large tubes reduces your capacity for gear volume.

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    So if money wasn't an object (it is for me) what would be the best 14' self-bailer available and why? What would make it better than a NRS or one of the locally produced boats taking into account possible warranty issues.

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    Default Self-Bailer Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Birdstrike View Post
    So if money wasn't an object (it is for me) what would be the best 14' self-bailer available and why? What would make it better than a NRS or one of the locally produced boats taking into account possible warranty issues.
    The short answer- AIRE is the hands-down ruler in the warranty department. Ten years, no-fault (it means that no matter what happens to it they fix it for free and split the shipping with you).

    SOTAR is, in my opinion, one of the most rugged boats out there. Expensive, but tough as nails and very nimble on the water. Get one of their Lexatron boats.

    That's it.

    -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
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    Yeah, I think I would go with Sotar as well. Their urethane coating is an amazingly durable material. It's wear characteristics are phenomenal. But Mike's right, the Aire warranty is top notch. Alaska Series and 6th Avenue Outfitters have pretty good local warranties as well though.

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    Default What was the Question?

    Oh ... it was..
    Kenai Drifter Raft

    I'm looking for info on the 14' Kenai Drifter Raft by the Alaska Series (Gary King). Is this a reliable raft and will it haul a substantial load of hunters and game without sitting too low in the water, thus potentially dragging the bottom more.
    Yes it is a reliable Raft. Jim King will repair the boat no matter what for 5 years, for free. If you live in the road system near Anchorage, you can just drop it off at his facility for any warranty issue.
    Will it haul a substantial load of hunters and Game?
    Sure it will. It was designed to keep the floor off the water most of the time. But, as you load the raft up with heavy gear and game, the floor will become part of the load carry equation and you will benifit from that.
    It you want a boat that resists sitting low in the water, you can get the bucket style boat that has a ton of displacement and sits higher than self bailers or Kenai Drifters. Everything has a trade off, and when I go out on remote hunting trips, I take a boat that has the floor on the water all the time. this way I can glide over shallows where the catarafts and Raised bottom boats are stuck.
    Armor bottom? I think it is worth the extra few pounds. The rivers that don't or won't support motor boats are my choice. shallows and gravel bars are hazzards that keep the motor boats out, and sometimes that means really shallow ,, so I sometimes have to get out and tug. I like to know that the bottom of the raft can handle it for years and years....

    My daughter showed up the other day wearing a t-shirt that said,
    " Ford Tough " printed on the front of it.
    I asked her if she liked Ford Trucks, or was the shirt given to her?
    She said she loves FORD trucks.....
    I told her that I saw a guy that had a real tatoo of FORD put on his bicep.
    Brand loyalty is an amazing thing. Folks would actually mutilate their own bodies with a brand name tatoo....
    I wonder if anyone out there has a "Montgomery Wards" tatoo on their arm?
    Things change over the years. Quality of materials, Manufacture, Warranty, etc.
    I have seen amazing Change in inflatables over the past 40 years.
    We used Avon redlines in our family run outfit on the Green River back in 1967 thru the mid 70's with little boat design change.
    Apparrantly I somehow survived those hundreds of trips in those antique boats. lol
    Inflatables are very good today because of healthy competition.
    Some folks really tout that made in USA stuff, and for me, I like that Idea, but at what price?
    A friend of ours stopped into an American Inflatable companies factory 4 years ago when they were driving up from the lower 48, it was not far out of their way to drop in. I myself had bought boats from these folks before, and know they have a quality product.
    The factory as expected smelled of new age material and high powered adhesives. It was just before lunch when they began the tour.
    What kinda amazed my friends was the type of people working in this factory.
    many were young people that looked like the drifter types that you run into around Durango and Moab etc.. Dreadlock hair and unkept.
    After the tour they left to get into their car..., They walked past the employee parking outside and no longer smelled the Ahesives and new age materials. ( It was Enployee lunch time )
    His wife said " is that Weed I smell?"
    " Nah he said, A place of this integrety would have mandatory drug testing."
    Although they had ordered a boat from these folks, his wife canceled the order over the phone. She said that she was not going to support a company that knowingly lets its employees smoke weed in the parking lot.
    " The Office windows are looking directly into that parking lot, they gotta know" she said.
    What is the point?
    ...No point, just a stupid story....

    My friend really liked this brand, but his wife was so against the type of employee's hired, she would not support the brand any longer.
    My buddy had to pay big bucks to have that Raft Brand tatoo removed from his ?
    ..
    lol
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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