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Thread: Moose hunting raft

  1. #1

    Default Moose hunting raft

    I've done some searching on this site relating to this topic. From what I have found, I've realized there is no raft that will do it all. One needs to determine what he/she is going to do primarily and then go from there.

    So...

    If I wanted to carry two hunters, one moose, and 250 pounds of gear for a ten day hunt. Which boat will do this on class I-II rivers?

    I want to be able to pack the raft on my back if I had to (not too far).

    SOAR Pro Pioneer

    NRS 14' River Cat

    AIRE 16' Lion

    I neglected to put a 14' Otter on here, even though I have used them before. I can't afford one right now, and they are heavier than the boats listed (if you break them down). If I go with either of the cats, I'd buy the pontoons now, and my brother will fab the frame for us this winter.

    Thanks for the help

  2. #2
    Member jeff p's Avatar
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    Default

    This question should provide lots of opinions. I can only comment on the PP as I have used this boat with a moose in it on a few hunts. If 2 hunters & 1 moose are in order I think I would look to SOARS next larger boat the Magnum. The PP gets pretty ful with a moose & 2 hunters while the MAGNUM handles that load extremly well & after putting a moose in one this past fall we where fully prepared to add another if the chance provided itself. On class I II it would be very doable.

    Here is a pic of the MAGNUM loaded with moose.

    This boat is able to be moved by one person but to say they are packable depends on who's packing them I have packed it solo but I wouldnt want to do very far or often.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Thumbs up Sounds Like....

    You should come on by for a visit!

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    I have a SOAR 16, I can't remember if that weighs in at 70 or 90 pounds boat not including seats, row saddle, oars, et. I've carried it to and from the car, just a few hundred meters...I'd not want to carry all that much further....

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bobblehead View Post
    I've done some searching on this site relating to this topic. From what I have found, I've realized there is no raft that will do it all. One needs to determine what he/she is going to do primarily and then go from there.

    So...

    If I wanted to carry two hunters, one moose, and 250 pounds of gear for a ten day hunt. Which boat will do this on class I-II rivers?

    I want to be able to pack the raft on my back if I had to (not too far).

    SOAR Pro Pioneer

    NRS 14' River Cat

    AIRE 16' Lion

    I neglected to put a 14' Otter on here, even though I have used them before. I can't afford one right now, and they are heavier than the boats listed (if you break them down). If I go with either of the cats, I'd buy the pontoons now, and my brother will fab the frame for us this winter.

    Thanks for the help
    well i got the Pro Pioneer this year and if i get my way with the wife... soon we will have one of each
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

  6. #6
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Okay I'll bite-

    Okay here's my take on the AIRE Lion and the NRS River Cat. The reason the NRS River Cat did as well as it has done in Alaska is because Jeff Varvil is a good salesman. Jeff is the former manager of Alaska Raft and Kayak, and was a big fan of the River Cat / Kodiak design. He used it a lot on Willow Creek for fishing kings during the summer, and became convinced of its worth as a float hunting rig. As a result, he persuaded many folks to buy this boat. That about killed the sales of the AIRE Leopard out of their shop for a year or two, and so AIRE jumped into the fray with the Lion. The Lion and the River Cat / Kodiak have the same blunt bow transition, and similar load capacities. Yes, they both haul big loads, but they also both plow like barges. That's fine on a drift-only trip where the water is deep and the current relatively manageable. But if you have to do much maneuvering (because of whitewater, sweepers, jams, strainers, etc), and you're heavy, a blunt-ended barge is the last thing you want. And forget running it with an outboard of any size.

    BTW, the short answer to your question, without further clarification or qualifiers, is that any of the boats you listed will do the job. But I encourage you to think beyond the hunt in front of you to other trips, other rivers, other parts of the state. We have over 365,000 miles of rivers here and you would be well advised to consider a boat that gives you room to grow. Each of these boats has their own "sweet spot"; the ideal kind of river that works for them. But if you're like most of us, a boat purchase is a compromise of sorts; you're choosing something that gives you the most flexibility.

    If I were to choose only one boat for fly-out river trips in Alaska, I would look at the AIRE Super Leopard, the AIRE Cougar, or the cata-canoe made with twin AIRE Travelers. As to the cata-canoe though, you could use any two inflatable canoes of the same size and configuration. The cata-canoe gives you the ultimate in flexibility.

    Hope it 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
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  7. #7
    Member jeff p's Avatar
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    Mike, lets see if I get this right, my feeling is from your post that you are a AIRE fan .

    I think Mikes answer is valid the only thing I would add is to look at cost & the simplicity factor. Its hard to beat the SOAR canoes for simplicity with a set of the new oar saddles. I can fit it all in them small planes & move it once I get there.

    Sure it fun to go shopping huh.

  8. #8
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default AIRE, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeff p View Post
    Mike, lets see if I get this right, my feeling is from your post that you are a AIRE fan .

    I think Mikes answer is valid the only thing I would add is to look at cost & the simplicity factor. Its hard to beat the SOAR canoes for simplicity with a set of the new oar saddles. I can fit it all in them small planes & move it once I get there.

    Sure it fun to go shopping huh.
    Jeff,

    Yeah, I suppose you're right. My preference for AIRE stems from the quality of the product, the warranty, and the diversity of their designs. It's hard to find a situation in Alaska that cannot be addressed with an AIRE boat. In this case, there is really no other company making double-tube cats like the Super Leopard or the Cougar, so there are no other options that I'm aware of. Sure, there are some huge tubes out there (which generate a lot of lift), but I prefer a lower profile in case I run into heavy upstream headwinds. In that case I prefer the Cougar overall.

    Having said all that, the SOAR canoes would work well as a cata-canoe, and it would be interesting to see some photos of someone on the river with such a rig. I'm sure people are doing it, but the only pics I've seen involve Travelers. But as I said earlier, any pair of canoes would work, as long as they're similar in tube diameter and overall dimensions...

    -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

  9. #9

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    Mike,

    What, if any, is the difference and durability between the two boats (Traveler, Pro Pioneer)? I know AIRE has a very good warranty, but I've read good reports on the SOAR boats and used NRS boats and they seem pretty tough as well.

    Could you fit 1 moose, 2 people, and gear in two AIRE Travelers without setting it up as a cata-canoe? Can you carry 3 hunters, one moose, and gear in an AIRE Traveler Cata-canoe setup?

    Thanks,
    Justin

  10. #10
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default inflatable canoe capacities

    Quote Originally Posted by bobblehead View Post
    Mike,

    What, if any, is the difference and durability between the two boats (Traveler, Pro Pioneer)? I know AIRE has a very good warranty, but I've read good reports on the SOAR boats and used NRS boats and they seem pretty tough as well.

    Could you fit 1 moose, 2 people, and gear in two AIRE Travelers without setting it up as a cata-canoe? Can you carry 3 hunters, one moose, and gear in an AIRE Traveler Cata-canoe setup?

    Thanks,
    Justin
    For a comparison between these boats and a few others, check out the Inflatable Canoe Test. The Traveler and the PP are two completely different boats in many respects. To save me tons of time typing the same info out again, you might read through the archives on both boats; a lot has been written on them already.

    The short answer to your cata-canoe question is YES.

    -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

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bobblehead View Post
    Mike,

    What, if any, is the difference and durability between the two boats (Traveler, Pro Pioneer)? I know AIRE has a very good warranty, but I've read good reports on the SOAR boats and used NRS boats and they seem pretty tough as well.

    Could you fit 1 moose, 2 people, and gear in two AIRE Travelers without setting it up as a cata-canoe? Can you carry 3 hunters, one moose, and gear in an AIRE Traveler Cata-canoe setup?

    Thanks,
    Justin
    2 people 1 moose in 2 travelers= easy
    3 people 1 moose in cata canoe = ok

    I enjoy reading the debates that happen on this web sight. Here is my take. The Aire Traveler cata canoe set up that I own CAN haul alot of weight but.....if you are on a river that requires any manuvering I would limit my weight. I know that at 1201 lbs (this includes boats) my raft can float in 8" of water and not touch at all (actuall measured 8"). I also know that manuvering around boulders in swift water with 1201 lbs is a real work out. Conversly a single travler used with oars can be manuvered much easier even with 800 lbs (including boat). I would NOT recomend a cata canoe to anyone unless they wanted the versatility of having a canoe. For hunting with three guys I would much rather have two seperate round rafts with much less weight in each. I think you could buy two round rafts for about the same price as the cata canoe set up.

  12. #12
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Default Option 10

    For what it is worth IMO the classification of the water you intend to hunt would have a weighted factor in making your final choice of boat selection again IMO.

    Mike makes a very valid point that there is a large difference in the application of the P.P. and Traveler. AND YES the Lions plow the water at best when loaded. We ran the 16ft and 18ft commercially for 5 years with loads and the performance when maxed out during low water situations leaves you "well" somewhat exhausted.

    Being that you stated that you need the ability to pack the boat on your back and still wish to carry large amounts of gear, meat and hunters IMO you will not find a single best solution and have to look towards a multiple solution.

    I like round boats a little better but I also like Class III pushing IV water keeps to none-players out of my hunting area. 14ft non-bailing Otter no thwarts with frame or 15ft Bailer without thwarts with frame and a Traveler tucked under my seat. Works well for my intended application. Pushes some of the limits of being sane but works well.

    The 14ft None-bailing Otter is priced reasonable and adds the ability to carry weight with out the issues of the oar saddles / non bailing P.P. Not trying to dig on Oar Saddles just not my cup of tea. As always when you toss three people into the mix you’re looking at a room / weight problem.

    http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product.a...57&deptid=1380

    If I hunted more subtle areas that would allow the use of a Cataraft I would lean in that direction however most everything I float in the fall starts small and round boats seam to do better up high in skinny water.

    Bottom Line again IMO Application will be your first indicator to what your options will be when purchasing your inflatable.

    Process: Intended use 80-90% of the time, Warranty and Cost write them down and you should find your answer.

    Best Wishes

    Blue Moose

  13. #13

    Default

    How much should a buyer worry about warranty? I know that sounds like a weird question, but even though AIRE has an incredible warranty, there is no service center on the (insert favorite river name here) river.

    What is a tougher material? The rubber/hypalon covered with neoprene like the SOAR Pro Pioneer, or the PVC coated material with an inner bladder, like the Traveler?

    Blue Moose, using your formula, 80-90% of my raft use will be for large game float hunting; moose, caribou, bears with one to two people, taking advantage of my youthful vigor and small side streams.

    Add in the cost factor, and it sort of rules out a 14' self bailer and points me toward an inflatable canoe.

    If my math is correct, here are the two scenarios that my brother and I have come to:

    Pro Pioneer and Alpacka Explorer
    -or-
    Two AIRE Travelers

    For the price of the two options above, my brother and I could probably get a 14' self bailer right? I just think that two canoes would be more versatile than one 14' Otter, am I right? Plus, it would give the other guy something to do to keep warm on a cold September river if he had his own set of oars to worry about

    Thanks for the discussion folks, I am learning a lot here and I appreciate it.

  14. #14
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default warranty issues

    [QUOTE=bobblehead;598911]How much should a buyer worry about warranty? I know that sounds like a weird question, but even though AIRE has an incredible warranty, there is no service center on the (insert favorite river name here) river. .../QUOTE]

    A good warranty speaks to the manufacturer's confidence in their materials and workmanship. So theoretically a good warranty is one you never have to use, because the boat is just that good. Conversely, a poor warranty MAY be an indicator of poor workmanship or materials (though not necessarily so).

    Naturally a warranty issue is not resolved on the riverbank; it's when you get home that you discover that either 1) the manufacturer is going to take care of it, or 2) the "warranty" has tons of discretionary loopholes designed to benefit the manufacturer (not you). In AIRE's case, I have only had one warranty claim ever, and it concerned a severely weathered set of Super Leopard tubes I bought off Craig's List. There was one year left on warranty and I sent them in on a claim. AIRE built me two brand-new tubes, including new inner bladders, valves, D-rings, hardware, the works- at no cost whatsoever. Those tubes should retail for around $4500 new. I bought the whole boat, including a brand-new frame, for $2000. I figure the frame alone was worth $1500, so that means I paid $500 for the tubes, which are now brand-new. Needless to say, I'm pretty happy about AIRE's warranty...

    I know of no other manufacturer with a warranty like that. That's not to say that some of them might step outside their written warranty to help, it just means that AIRE kept their word, and took care of the issue. It appears that it was a bad batch of fabric, by the way. I have never seen PVC do that before... or since.

    -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

  15. #15
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Default Warranty / Cost

    Not trying to sound like like Mike although concerning prodcuts, float hunting and general information that is not a bad thing.

    We repair boats in our shop and Mike's statement concerning AIRE is 100 percent accurate.
    Last year I had an 18ft Leopard come in with holes in each of the inner-side tubes from Frame rub. The guy was running a 40 horse Jet unit on the thing. The boat was 9 years 3 months old. AIRE covered the warranty no quesitons asked and the boat was repaired at no cost to the client. They backed their prodcuts!!!!!!

    Concerning Application - If you going to stay on skinny water inflatable canoe might be your best application to meet your intent in my opinion.

    Concerning cost - by the time you rig out two of anything verses one round boat your cost will be similar however when you add it up again applicaiton, warranty, cost again IMO you will lean towards an inflatable canoe rather than a single craft that is used for multiple purpose i.e. best of both worlds.

    Just food for thought.

    Best wishes in your final choice.

    Blue Moose.

  16. #16

    Default truth on weight

    I've seen weights ranging from 54 to 70 pounds on the AIRE Traveler, which is it?

    I'm talking just the canoe, as in I am carrying the canoe, and my brother is carrying some spike camp gear and the paddles for out float back down to the main river in a day or two.

  17. #17
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default AIRE Traveler weights and measures-

    Quote Originally Posted by bobblehead View Post
    I've seen weights ranging from 54 to 70 pounds on the AIRE Traveler, which is it?

    I'm talking just the canoe, as in I am carrying the canoe, and my brother is carrying some spike camp gear and the paddles for out float back down to the main river in a day or two.
    AIRE currently lists the Traveler at 70#, which seems a tad heavy to me, for a boat that size. I believe it used to be closer to 50#; perhaps there was a fabric change (heavier bottom?). Anyway you can find all the stats on the boat HERE.

    -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

  18. #18

    Default thanks

    Thanks Mike,

    The only thing I've heard negative about the Traveler is that it is tippy when loaded near capacity because of how the floor is situated between the tubes? Is that true? I mean obviously if you overload a canoe and and you keep game meat out of the wet floor of a raft, your CG will be high and therefore=tippy.

    So what is a realistic/safe load for the Traveler? Half a moose, 185 pound hunter, and 175 lbs of gear? Less than this, more than this?

    Thanks
    Justin

  19. #19
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Traveller details

    Quote Originally Posted by bobblehead View Post
    Thanks Mike,

    The only thing I've heard negative about the Traveler is that it is tippy when loaded near capacity because of how the floor is situated between the tubes? Is that true? I mean obviously if you overload a canoe and and you keep game meat out of the wet floor of a raft, your CG will be high and therefore=tippy.

    So what is a realistic/safe load for the Traveler? Half a moose, 185 pound hunter, and 175 lbs of gear? Less than this, more than this?

    Thanks
    Justin
    Hi Justin,

    All of the inflatable canoes we tested were surprisingly stable; much more stable than regular canoes. I think this surprised me more than anything else I learned about them. Yes, you do have to keep a low CG, but they are not tippy like you might think.

    As to capacities, it's a judgement call. Tracey Harmon has had a whole moose in his and reports no technical difficulties other than the boat being somewhat sluggish. But that was on slow, relatively deep Class I. Personally I'd be more comfortable with about half that load. But then I'd also toss in a light gear load and still would feel somewhat overloaded. The two best enhancements I'd like to see on the Traveller are elimination of the bailer holes (or put one up high on each end so we can dump out rainwater), and a stacked tube sidewall so we can pick up some interior room. Of all the canoes we tested, the Incept and the Traveller sat the lowest in the water. I'd like the sides a bit higher without compromising interior space. Typically sides get higher as the tubes get larger, which cramps your space inside the boat. There are other ways to do this, but AIRE has not yet gotten on board. Time will tell...

    -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

  20. #20

    Default

    Good to know Mike thanks.

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