The most compact options
New member and first time poster here. Great forum! I have a question for you gurus. I am in the market for a new IK (replacing a Sevylor Tahiti). I am looking for something more durable, but also with the smallest rolled up size as I will be carrying it on my motorcycle to excursions. I like what I have read about the Aires Lynx II, but have also read that they are fairly large when deflated because of the bladders. Any suggestions? I do realize there are compromises, but would ultimately like something more durable than the Tahiti that is light and packable...an I being hopeful but unrealistic?
I had a Tahiti 25 years ago. It's amazing that thing is still being sold with no substantial changes to it's design. It's biggest downfall is being made from non-reinforced plastic fabric. It flexes too much and it's pretty easy to pop one. Also the welded seams can be blown out without much pressure. They seat two (small) people, but being only 10' long they don't track worth beans.
One option for a replacement is an Alpacka packraft: https://www.alpackaraft.com/ It's even shorter, tracks even worse, but weighs as little as 3.3 lbs, and is amazingly durable. Their 2 seater, Double Duck, weighs less than 6 lbs and packs very small. I think NRS makes a lightweight packraft as well, but from what I've heard they don't don't compete well with the Alpackas.
Other than that, a good durable two place IK is going to weigh 25 to 50 lbs, and be a lot larger bundle when stowed.
PVC, the stuff Aire uses, or urethane does not pack as tight as boats made from Hypalon or Neoprene. Here's a chart from NRS that shows the material types used by different manufacturers. http://www.nrsweb.com/repair/boat_reference_chart.asp. It looks like the NRS Bandit IKs use urethane, but their Mavrick IKs use Hypalon. All things being equal the Mavricks would pack tighter, but they also use a thicker, heavier material, so I doubt that would be true, and they weigh nearly twice as much as the Bandit.
I have heard that the NRS Bandit II at 26 lbs is the lightest two seat IK made today that uses good reinforced material, so if size and weight were strong considerations, and a packraft would not satisfy, I think I would go with that.
Coleman and others sell a boat made of un-reinforced PVC like the Tahiti, but then add a fabric outer cover for puncture and abrasion resistance. They look pretty lame to me, but some users like them. I believe they are lighter and pack smaller than most other IKs.
I own the nrs bandit II, it is a very durable boat that will haul a weeks worth of gear and one person, or two people an very little gear on day trips only. The first bandit II's weigh 24 lbs, the newer ones weigh in around 30 lbs, and the bandit I are now in the 22 lbs. NRS started using a heavier urethane material. The boat is still lite enough to roll up and carry it 10 miles then float back out to the road.
Hope this helps