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  • Star Super Bug

    Does anyone have any experience with the Star Super Bug or Star inflatables in general? Does Star make a quality boat? I would appreciate any feedback you can give me on how the super bug does for multi-day trips? How many people and gear can they handle without becoming overloaded? Do they handle well in fast water, etc.... I have talked to a sales person and got some good information but was hoping for some other opinions. Thank you for looking

  • #2
    Star rafts

    Your best bet would be to talk with Moose up in Fbks / North Pole. He has a few is his fleet. http://www.bluemooserafting.com/
    I had a 14ft Star Hurricane for 5 yrs or so & had no problems with it. Just a bit heavy & slow but it held a lot of weight.
    I still have a motor mount / frame attachment if you decide to get one & want to add a kicker to it.

    Comment


    • #3
      Super Bug

      Originally posted by scothill
      Does anyone have any experience with the Star Super Bug or Star inflatables in general? Does Star make a quality boat? I would appreciate any feedback you can give me on how the super bug does for multi-day trips? How many people and gear can they handle without becoming overloaded? Do they handle well in fast water, etc.... I have talked to a sales person and got some good information but was hoping for some other opinions. Thank you for looking
      They are a decent boat Key Word Decent. Back in the day when they were inexpensive dollar for dollar I would say decent buy. Now that the price is comparable to the more traditional inflatable market I do not feel the value is there. Performance wise a 15ft Super Bug can be a hoot 2 people and an extended trip for 4-7 days up to Class IV water. They have a seam problem and the material is not close to be the quality of an AIRE or NRS. They are fast if not over-weighted, but once you have a load and if the floor touches the water you will have some flexing problems in Class III or higher water. They also tend to be able to over-inflate bursting seams. :-(

      In my opinion you would be better off getting an NRS Otter for a couple of bucks more and a warranty with it.

      Hope this helps.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks

        Moose,
        That was exactally the feedback I was looking for. Otter it is.

        Comment


        • #5
          Rafts

          Hi I own a backcountry equipment rental business here in Kotzebue Alaska. I know some guys who have Star rafts and the opinion I get is Star is “B” level equipment 2 when you compare to Avon, NRS and Sotar equipment.

          I only rent bomb proof equipment because I don’t want my clients to have any surprises when they are in the middle of the Brooks Range. For the money I would go with a better established brand that has been around along time. There is nothing worse than a poorly constructed raft giving you trouble day 2 of a 10 day trip and your miles from anywhere!

          Walt
          www.northwestalaska.

          Comment


          • #6
            Broken Back Boat

            $$$ much better spent on AIRE, NRS w/ better design, fabrics, craftsmanship, warranty, and local friendly "servicing" by AK Raft and Kayak. hmmm? do those guys really go out on float trips fishing? Maybe they'll make a movie about those guys some day???

            With regards to the STAR Boats inquiry... stands for Short Term Alaska Raft!

            Likely took the "O" from SOTAR (standing for State of the Art Raft - a very good & expensive boat) in a market "strategy"

            While the STAR is not top drawer it is kinda affordable particularly demos or on close-out specials and would likely be just fine for the majority of usual users, floats, & to some degree of occasions/timeline/exposure to Alaska.

            I will tell you flat out --- the Bug series design is the worst way to go!!!

            It is as a rule not as forgiving on handling or safety as a cat --- lacks real continuous curvature and geometry --- and can’t be divided into parts for packing.

            They are slow!!!!

            Under truly heavy loads they will draft (lacking footprint) more than a standard self bailer of equivalent size.

            It is promoted otherwise, yet conceptually plus in reality… what you are in receipt of is the worst traits of cats and self bailers rolled into one. Par none of the best!

            It is worth adding that I tested Star boats several years ago on the LionsHead over a few weeks for a local rep. Tho' they had poor overall geomenty... they did hold up w/ no problems, and I purposely took the cats through big surf holes (that eat many day-trip floaters). The cats would make better power cats than river cats!

            Another thing - The guy you likely spoke with back East is not a sales guy - he's the owner of STAR! nice guy... been around awhile... product is not US made!!!

            Brian Richardson
            http://www.northernrim.com
            Last edited by Brian Richardson; 05-08-2006, 22:23.

            Comment


            • #7
              That is exactally the kind of information that I was looking for. I was looking at three different boats/designs at the beginning of the week and now only one boat/design. Now I just have to decide on a rowing frame. Do you guys recommend going as minimal as possible or plush. Flying my boat around in small planes is not a factor. I will be primarily using the boat in oregon were everything is road accessible. Although, I am planning a trip in sept on the birch.

              What are your feelings on dry boxes and coolers? My background is a mix of backpacking and horsepacking so I do have some experience with plusher living but even then we kept it to a minimum. I have just about decided on a NRS bighorn I with a dry box and to use a small soft side cooler if I even use a cooler.

              Again feedback is appreciated. Anything else you want to chime in about outfitting a raft would be appreciated.

              Comment


              • #8
                Check out the Oar Saddle, its getting rave reviews up here and weighs next to nothing when compared to a standard rowing frame.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Oar Saddle

                  I actually looked at them on Saturday at Test the Waters. They seemed pretty cool and lightweight, but are they really preferebale to a traditional rowing frame? If so why? I understand if you are wanting to keep weight and size down but if that is not an issue are they still better?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Oar Saddles

                    Originally posted by AkHunter45
                    Check out the Oar Saddle, its getting rave reviews up here and weighs next to nothing when compared to a standard rowing frame.
                    I met Kent Rotchy the inventor of the Oar Saddles in January at SCI / Reno. We spent some time together working on some presentations, and I found that he's a thoughtful fellow who has put a lot of energy into making a well-designed device.

                    Kent showed me some pictures of their use of the oar saddles on a small unnamed stream in Eastern Alaska; they were perfect, he said. Kent is quick to point out, however, that they are not perfect for every application. And I'll be quick to point out that I have not used them, and I am far from an expert on these things. But...they look right on target for some applications.


                    I interviewed Kent at the Great Alaska Sportsman's Show back in April, and you can listen to that intervew on line. Kent also has a website where you can read more about the product.

                    David

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Great Input!

                      Originally posted by scothill
                      Moose,
                      That was exactally the feedback I was looking for. Otter it is.
                      When this thread first started, you were asking about STAR. Lately I've been pretty negative about a few things and didn't want to jump on this one too. I'm glad you've gotten some really good advice here though. The Otter is an excellent boat for your situation and I think you'll be very happy with it. I own one and have no complaints at all.

                      This is how it's supposed to work! There are lots of folks here who really know their stuff. Nice job, everyone!

                      -Mike
                      Michael Strahan
                      Site Owner
                      Alaska Hunt Consultant
                      1 (907) 229-4501

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Frame

                        Originally posted by scothill
                        I actually looked at them on Saturday at Test the Waters. They seemed cool and lightweight, but are they really preferebale to a traditional rowing frame? If so why? I understand if you are wanting to keep weight and size down but if that is not an issue are they still better?
                        I am sure the Oar Saddle has its application. I have never utilized one on a larger boat so will refrain from commenting however I just can not see the use in it for hauling cargo. The main point in my opinion why you should use a frame although it is more cost it provides you with more options.

                        I just can't see you being able to spread your load out on a raft with an Oar Saddle. Mind you I am talking every day use verses your one or two times a year trip. I believe you will have more stability with a traditional frame and many more options to meet your changing needs be it float fishing or float hunting.

                        Best of Luck in your purchase. Shoot Jeff and or Tracy a note or call Alaska Raft and Kayak for more on the subject. If you are having the Otter Shipped to Fairbanks give me a note and I will help with your set up.

                        Tight Lines and Best Wishes

                        Richard Mousseau
                        www.bluemooserafting.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          thanks for all the feedback

                          I am loving all the information. I appreciate it. It is alot easier to make decisions with good advice. I hope/plan to use the boat more then twice a year.

                          Moose,
                          I was in Fairbanks visiting my Dad and doing some scouting of the birch area. I am back in Oregon now, but I really appreciate the offer.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            ...answering ensuing query

                            Been following this thread knowing by and large you have received sensible feedback.

                            Here are a few things that may answer ensuing query:

                            The oar saddle is not a new conception by any stretch with the exception of materials, latest promotion, and compatibility with other mainstream boating garnishes. However they are not to be mystified as a bona-fide frame replacement. They are more a “stand-in” (pardon the quip) accessory. They have certain rationale, but in no scheme of approach match up to to a well-built frame that maintains a supportive rowing station… and like another poster related – superior cargo carrying preferences.

                            So when getting your frame --- Go production leader and now industry standard NRS blueprint or a custom based on same materials and fittings like Alaska Raft & Kayaks. I’d shun superfluities and out of the ordinary designs… in other words – no sense in struggling w/ the stuff that is not compatible with other well established river equipment. Modifications will thin the pocketbook and few will measure up as valid return

                            On frames --- the one to go with is the NRS “Compact Outfitter” (sit on one box or cooler as the row station, have the foot bracing, & include another box/cooler, drop soft side, or run a board, tramp fabric, diamond-plate etc. on the forward section).

                            Boat --- I know some on here held… go NRS Otter! I “utter” Nope! Then shout out NO way!!! This is not even first-rate NRS!!! I’d go right on up to the E-140 if you go the NRS line-up. In my opinion the AIRE Super-Duper-Puma will be a better boat, better quality, nicer looking, and you’ll benefit from refinement w/ much sportier handling.

                            - That’s staying to more day trippers or not extended overload bearing outings -

                            Of course moving on up in size will get pricier… so if 15’ fits your needs this is where the Otter 15 justly is competitive – some $1000 or more bucks cheaper. Nevertheless, if you go this route get a new 2006 boat! - There are some improvements. Also remember tho’ the Otter has just a 5 year warranty… unlike the 10 on NRS Expedition models and AIRE boats!!!!!

                            Brian Richardson
                            http://www.northernrim.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Comments on Oar Saddles and Otters

                              Originally posted by Brian Richardson
                              ...The oar saddle ...have certain rationale, but ...no ...match up to to a well-built frame...

                              Boat --- I know some on here held… go NRS Otter! I “utter” Nope! Then shout out NO way!!! This is not even first-rate NRS!!! I’d go right on up to the E-140 if you go the NRS line-up. In my opinion the AIRE Super-Duper-Puma will be a better boat, better quality, nicer looking, and you’ll benefit from refinement w/ much sportier handling.
                              Brian,

                              I agree on the boats, but somewhat disagree on the Oar Saddles. Here's my thinking on both.

                              OAR SADDLES

                              The Oar Saddle will never replace a full-blown (or even half-blown) raft frame. It's not supposed to. It's just intended as an add-on, primarily for inflatable canoes where space is at a premium, but you need the control offered by a rowing setup. I know there are potential issues with the rest of the rowing station (seat and foot braces), but this can work in some situations, and indeed in some cases I would recommend nothing else. For example, I would strongly suggest an AIRE Traveler with Oar Saddles for pack-in, float-out trips. Very light and perfect for the situation. You don't want a rowing frame in that case (my opinion and mostly applies to float hunting on Class I-II). Anyway, I'm attaching a photo of Kent Rotchy running an Oar-Saddle equipped boat through some pretty heavy water, to sort of put some perspective on this. This isn't the ONLY way to go, it is just ONE way. I still haven't made my mind up about Oar Saddles on full-sized round boats; there are certainly situations where they will get the job done, but I have some concerns. I would run them on a plastic boat before going with a rubber boat though, because of the performance superiority of plastic. Still, with a bigger boat like a full-sized round boat you really need the rest of the rowing station (seat and footbrace) integrated with this I think.

                              NRS OTTER

                              The Otter is an entry-level boat. Any time someone begins a discussion about cheaper boats (like STAR), I'm assuming they're on a pretty tight budget. The Otter is certainly a cut above the STAR product. You know me well enough to know that I usually recommend top-notch gear. If the guy was asking for recommendations on the best 14-foot round boat out there, my list would have been different. He would have been hearing about some of the top-end rubber boats, and a lot more about the plastics like AIRE and SOTAR. Anyway, I wanted to clear that up. Plainly, the E-series are better (but heavier) boats than the Otter livery series. But they ARE a really good entry-level boat for someone on a budget.

                              Hope that makes sense?

                              -Mike

                              Now, here's that Oar Saddle pic- (thanks Kent!)
                              Last edited by Michael Strahan; 05-10-2006, 20:33.
                              Michael Strahan
                              Site Owner
                              Alaska Hunt Consultant
                              1 (907) 229-4501

                              Comment

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