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Thread: AIRE Puma

  1. #1

    Default AIRE Puma

    Any thoughts on AIRE's rafts? I am looking at the Puma, Super Puma, and Super Duper Pumas.

    I see alot of followers on the NRS rafts but I haven't seen anything on the AIRE rafts.

    Would the SUper Puma or Super Duper Puma be good enough for float hunts?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default AIRE Products

    Rafter,

    You might look through the archives; I've written quite a bit about AIRE here over the years, and have been recommending their stuff for about the last 15 years or so. Here's a brief recap.

    1. AIRE has the best warranty I know of in the inflatable boat business. 10-year, no fault. If a bear eats three feet of the end of your boat, AIRE will replace it for free, for the first ten years of the life of the boat, regardless of how many times the boat has changed hands. The best the others can come up with is five years, and the degree of coverage and fault varies from there.

    2. AIRE's inner bladder system adds weight to their boats, but the system is still the easiest to repair in most field conditions. Just use urethane tape. You can glue a patch later, when you have better control of the humidity and temperature (the two biggest factors in failed patch jobs).

    3. AIRE boats come in a variety of colors, unlike most other companies.

    4. AIRE is built in the United States; for some folks that's a plus.

    All things considered, I think AIRE makes the best plastic boat for Alaska float hunting.

    As to whether any of the three boats in the Puma series are best for your float hunt, that's impossible to say without more details. Here are some questions back at you, to refine this a little better.

    1. How large is your group?

    2. What species are you planning to hunt?

    3. What is your experience level?

    4. What sort of water will you run (whitewater classification)?

    5. Is this a one-shot deal or are you planning a variety of hunts under different circumstances?

    These questions and more will help us come up with some input that will get you started. I should also say that there is no such thing as an "everything" boat for Alaska. Simply put, one size will not fit all groups, circumstances, etc. So whatever you get will be a compromise.

    So let's refine this a bit more and see where it takes us.

    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

  3. #3

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    if you ever need to repair an inflateable, you will wish it was an AIRE. as mike said the warranty sells the boat. their produsts are top shelf, typically a bit heavier and bulkier, but so easy to repair it is silly. they also glide over rocks being pvc, I think the only bad thing about them is when you are in a hurry to get out of the water and into the plane the zippers can let a little water into the tube and makes for extra weight......pretty minor, and if you know about it you can aviod it. NRS sells AIRE products I notice they don't carry the lion series......I think they are scared of what it will do to their cat sales.

  4. #4
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default AIRE Lion

    Quote Originally Posted by highcountry View Post
    ...NRS sells AIRE products I notice they don't carry the lion series......I think they are scared of what it will do to their cat sales.
    Highcountry,

    Not to hijack this thread, but nice catch on the Lion. The real deal is though that NRS first came up with the idea of a blunt-tubed cat and then AIRE came up with theirs. My take, for what it's worth, is that Alaska Raft and Kayak really pushed the NRS Grizzly Cat (the blunt tubed one you're talking about) and AIRE responded by coming out with a similar boat. I believe most of the sales of thost boats (both the NRS version and the AIRE version) are generated right here in Alaska. The whitewater guys really don't like them but some float hunters do because they carry bigger loads than other configurations. But the truth is that they're a pig when they're loaded heavy adn really plow if you try to run them with an outboard. I'd really be surprised if the design stays with us very long, especially with AIRE.

    -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

  5. #5

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    Mike,

    we see lots of em' on big water and long trips. I rather like the big tubes on a river that is big and powerful, the flat design holds a ferry angle and tracks like a dream, they are not as nimble as my jag was, but you don't have to be 100% perfect on your balance or be out of control. I think you might be a little hard on them......try it you migh like it.

  6. #6
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    Over the last 13 years my experience is in 11-14 foot Aire rafts and toons in SW Alaska, Yukon tributaries and remote north slope windy tundra rivers. Been using a Puma for the last six years. Can see no downside for my temperment of just one other heart beat on board, true wilderness landscapes, and intimate rivers with no motorboat traffic. 10 day fly-in/fly-out trips all across Alaska 3-5 times a season. If we get headcore lite we can actually fit it all in a Cessna 185 ( ... read that much cheaper than a Beaver).

    Friend and i are leave-no-trace, obsessive flyfishers with too many rods. I find the Puma the closest feel to fishing in a drift boat while fly-in-able and riding on air instead of in cold water. I have fishing frame setup including anchor rig that's interchangable with a third seat. Lotsa rigging options depending on why, where, how many, and so what. It is just right for 2 people on a 2-3 day fish with all the toys and decadent comfort gear. You'll appreciate it on small sweeper waters. Puma has added bonus of being an outstanding white water paddle raft. It is the penulitimate 2 person go lite 7 day tripper for small/medium rivers in AK. It's fine for a three person day/overnite trip.

    If you are going to overload ... don't. Or use super puma, or super duper puma ... but they are NOT near as quick and nimble. I fish out of S Puma and SD Puma out of Dillingham every year with friends. 2 people and 10 day gear works fine with S Puma. SD Puma floats 2+ inches higher (read that less dragging). 3 people and 10 day gear works fine with SD Puma but drag more and NOT nimble. If 2 people, gear AND a trophy moose was the prime purpose i'd start considering a different model/line. I've had only good experiences with Aire rafts ... "almost" bullet proof AND easily field repairable.

  7. #7
    Member Ripface's Avatar
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    Default

    Would some of you mind comparing and contrasting the Puma series to the NRS Otter series? I'm rather split in my decision between the two. I've read the specs on the websites, but I'd like a few comments from you guys.
    "Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile." - Homer, Odyssey

  8. #8

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    I too would like to know how these compare to NRS. I have been very happy with my AIRE boat. I have also had good experience with NRS and have gotten alot of help from their Moscow, ID store.

    Anyway here are the responses.

    1. How large is your group?
    2 people for float hunting. I have a 16' Jag too. I want a smaller boat (width wise). If more people are coming, I'd bring the Cataraft. For fishing / family excursions up to 5 people + dog for the day. It would also serve as a second boat for long trips.

    2. What species are you planning to hunt?
    Caribou / Moose

    3. What is your experience level?
    I've run Class I and II rivers. I have had the Cat for 2 years now.

    4. What sort of water will you run (whitewater classification)?
    I'd like to stay around Class I and II for hunting. In the coming years but up that with more experience.

    5. Is this a one-shot deal or are you planning a variety of hunts under different circumstances?
    Variety of hunts.



    My only concern with the AIRE Puma (and the other PUMA boats) is that it isn't enough boat to handle Moose loads. I know the SOAR levitator has been debated to death and not particularly liked by some, but the capacity seems pretty big. I know that some of that is because it is being pushed, but what would be the push limit on on AIRE Puma/Super Duper Puma?

  9. #9
    Member nibenza's Avatar
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    Default Outcast

    Excuse me for butting in guys. Any body run the PAC 1400, SD Puma's brother. I am a novice but am looking at it for float fishing for me and my net tender. Ouch, that pillow hurt. I would actually like to hear from anyone familiar with Outcast's set up. All comments welcome.

  10. #10
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default AIRE-NRS Comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by Ripface View Post
    Would some of you mind comparing and contrasting the Puma series to the NRS Otter series? I'm rather split in my decision between the two. I've read the specs on the websites, but I'd like a few comments from you guys.
    RF,

    I think we're sorta getting off track on this thread, but here goes. I'll make it quick!

    This is an apples and oranges comparison. The NRS boats are full-width round boats and the AIRE Puma is a narrow boat. A better comparison would be between the Otter and the AIRE R-Series boats, which are available in all the same sizes as the NRS Otters. What you end up with is a discussion of the performance differences between a rubber boat (NRS Otter) and a plastic boat (AIRE). These differences are significant, but may or may not make a difference, depending on your budget and what you're doing. Here's a general overview of the pros and cons:

    RUBBER

    1. Stretchy-bouncy material
    2. Wears well
    3. Generally cheaper

    PLASTIC

    1. AIRE is heavier (because of inner bladder)
    2. Very stiff (better performance because it doesn't flex)
    3. Rolls up larger because of stiffer material
    4. Field repair is easier (my subjective opinion based on urethane tape repairs)

    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
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  11. #11
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by grayling View Post
    Over the last 13 years my experience is in 11-14 foot Aire rafts and toons in SW Alaska, Yukon tributaries and remote north slope windy tundra rivers. Been using a Puma for the last six years. Can see no downside for my temperment of just one other heart beat on board, true wilderness landscapes, and intimate rivers with no motorboat traffic. 10 day fly-in/fly-out trips all across Alaska 3-5 times a season. If we get headcore lite we can actually fit it all in a Cessna 185 ( ... read that much cheaper than a Beaver).

    Friend and i are leave-no-trace, obsessive flyfishers with too many rods. I find the Puma the closest feel to fishing in a drift boat while fly-in-able and riding on air instead of in cold water. I have fishing frame setup including anchor rig that's interchangable with a third seat. Lotsa rigging options depending on why, where, how many, and so what. It is just right for 2 people on a 2-3 day fish with all the toys and decadent comfort gear. You'll appreciate it on small sweeper waters. Puma has added bonus of being an outstanding white water paddle raft. It is the penulitimate 2 person go lite 7 day tripper for small/medium rivers in AK. It's fine for a three person day/overnite trip.

    If you are going to overload ... don't. Or use super puma, or super duper puma ... but they are NOT near as quick and nimble. I fish out of S Puma and SD Puma out of Dillingham every year with friends. 2 people and 10 day gear works fine with S Puma. SD Puma floats 2+ inches higher (read that less dragging). 3 people and 10 day gear works fine with SD Puma but drag more and NOT nimble. If 2 people, gear AND a trophy moose was the prime purpose i'd start considering a different model/line. I've had only good experiences with Aire rafts ... "almost" bullet proof AND easily field repairable.
    Grayling,
    Thx for the post sharing your experiences/input re the 3 Pumas. I am interested in more input about these three rafts if others have comments.
    PS - those sound like great trips too.

    6X

  12. #12
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    Somebody emailed me about my Puma frame set up. . . but i lost the email address in google land. I use the factory Aire raft fishing frame setup including the aft anchor/pully/bars, front hard floor and knee brace . . . works fine . . . but too heavy for fly-in trips . . . i'd rather bring more fly rods . . . or food. For fly-in trips i use the two metal frame/two hardwood plank Aire set up ( i don't know the correct terminology . . i just use it.) I have not heard of or figured out a lighter but still white water capable set up. I don't plan class 3/4 float fishing trips but nature doesn't always cooperate. Hope that helps . . . whoever you are. (8->)

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    It was me.

    Thanks for reply

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    Also mike the pvc boats are welded not glued. The difference is after about 20-25 years the glues start to break down and let go. when his happens seems usually start to leak and we are nearing the end of this boats life. 20-25 years seems like a long time.... and it is .....but I see boatsof this age every week that have these issues. should be a testiment of the product to still be on the rivers after all those years. As a raft repair guy...living in alaska... Aire pvc boats have a ten year no fualt warranty that covers bear damage, river damage, miss use, everything for those ten years and the warranty stays with the boat. At the shop I have been trained by Aire to weld the pvc shells and the urathane bladders to make a more permanant repair. Hope it helps
    Greg
    Last edited by mrgsholly; 01-26-2013 at 10:57. Reason: typo

  15. #15

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    Greg-- be sure to wear a mask and have GOOD VENTING if welding PVC-- One of the reason we went to all urethane!! Just the truth--
    Goo

  16. #16
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    Most definatly I wear only the best equipment......to ensure longevity in a repair shop you have to...also note that urathane can be welded too.
    Greg

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