Rigid hull vs rubber bottom rafts
Need help deciding which inflatable would work best for 2 adults and child. What are the advantages and disadvantages of both the rigid hulls and rubber bottom inflatables. Where would be best place to pick up either?
The main advantage of the rubber bottom is that it could be rolled up (but mostly people trailer them inflated anyway) for transportation and storage.
Rubber bottom inflatables are lighter (could be easily beach-launched) and cheaper.
Also it is easier to take a rubber bottom inflatable into a shallow river.
The disadvantage is that mostly these boats are pretty much flat bottom and the ride is bad and wet.
On the other hand RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boat) or RHIBs (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat) have a rigid hull which will prevent you from rolling them up (the only thing you can do is to deflate the tubes or remove them on some models).
New RIBs are way too expensive (you can get a bigger normal boat for the same money). But they do provide you with a safe ride in almost any conditions (depends on a model), and usually you'll get wet and cold fast as in any other open boat.
Unless it's a small RIB you will not be able to beach launch it without a trailer.
Space is very limited in these boat compared to similar sized normal boats.
I have a 14 foot RIB with a 40 Yamaha and it is a very fast and safe boat with a deep V, that allows me to get to a fishing spot quick.
But it is only comfortable for 2 people and when you load all the gas/gear it is definately low on space to even stretch your legs. Mine has a unique double hull that floods when standing still which provides for a very stable fishing platform.
In my opinion best RIB for Alaska is an aluminum hulled one (NAIAD for example) so you don't have to worry about beaching it and taking it into rivers.
Bottom line is I guess it all depends on what you plan on doing... If it's mostly ocean fishing you're looking for I would definitely consider a RIB. If you plan on going into rivers and just some good weather fishing close to shore in the ocean and rubber bottom raft would do it.
Good advice from russiarulz....
and you might check out alaskaseries.com for inflatibles, and they also have some that are designed to plane without the rigid hull, so they are kind of in-between. Their inflatibles come with a "grizzly claw" thick rubber bottom on the tubes so they can be beached or hit rocks without abraiding the tubes. I just use one of their tenders, so can't say anything about their bigger boats, but I decided to buy from them after reading a bunch on the forum last fall. Search for inflatible boat and you should come up with some threads.
Man i would love to have a big aluminum hulled over motored RIB! It would be my ultimate black bear boat! I don't know why but I would love to rip around PWS in one! The logical side of me though says I would get much more use out of a Jet Ranger inflatable floor setup.
thanks for the helpfull information. I was thinking more on the lines of a dinghy type to get to the beach and maybe use it for other activities.
Will it ever ride on top of a larger boat? I went with one of the air floor dinghies last season as I wanted the lightest possible inflatable to get on the roof of my pilot house. I was very pleased with how well it worked, not too hard to launch and retrieve, and it rowed well.