AIRE Inflatable Rafts and Kayaks – Get the Most out of Your Whitewater Trip
Reviews of Aire Inflatable Kayaks, Rafts and Catarafts
What you’ll find inside the hulls of AIRE inflatable kayaks, rafts, and catarafts are internal AIREcell bladders, which are surrounded by a PVC-coated material that’s thicker than other brands. That means a sharp rock has to cut through two layers of fabric instead of one to puncture the air chamber. The chances of that happening are pretty rare.
Meet the Company
For 20 years, AIREcraft of Meridian, Idaho, has been the leading provider of inflatables to rental boat companies as well as the U.S. Coast Guard and Department of Defense. AIRE inflatable kayaks and boats are also popular with the public as happy owners return to buy second, third, and fourth boats. They won’t buy anything else because of the quality construction, great customer service, and a ten-year no-fault warranty.
About That Warranty
You read that right: ten years! Aire covers all the labor and material costs of fixing your boat or kayak if it fails due to faulty construction. They even pay for return shipping costs. It’s the best warranty of any inflatable boat manufacturer in the business.
Man the Boats!
River rafts and catarafts are great for paddling, fishing, and backcountry expeditions.
AIRE makes a fleet of rafts including the Puma Series, D-Series, E-Series, and R-Series. These premium U.S.-made rafts are constructed of Ferrari’s patented Precontraint PVC fabric and urethane AIREcells.
The Puma play boats in the fleet of AIRE inflatable rafts are the 11'6" Puma, the 13' Super Puma, and the 14' Super Duper Puma. The most affordable of the fleet, these raft designs come with large load capacities, smooth bottoms, and high rocker angles on the bow and stern.
AIRE Inflatable Catarafts
Popular with outfitters and backcountry explorers, the D and E Series rafts feature smaller tube diameters, slightly narrow beam, and enough rise in the bow to punch through waves.
The stable R series have a rounder design and broad beams, large tubes and long waterlines – perfect for families and ready-for-any-kind-of-adventure fun.
The Big Cats
The AIRE cat families include the Performance Series, hefty Expedition Series, and the Wave Destroyer Series. They come in a number of cool colors including blue, purple, red, green, orange, and yellow. All of them feature great tracking and the same superior AIREcell technology and Precontraint-coated PVC fabric used on the rafts. Sold without the frame, you can choose the best size of pontoons for your needs, and add the right frame for your style of fishing or backcountry trekking.
The no-fear Wavers come in 13', 14' and 16' lengths for daredevils to tackle Class V rivers. They go where no other cats dare to go.
The big payload workhorses are the Expedition 14' Lion and the 16' Lion. Designed to carry loads of gear and paddlers on a variety of low, slow, or fast rivers, they have larger tube diameters and shorter waterlines for low flow passages and smaller tighter rivers where a long boat would get hung up.
The play boats, AIRE’s most popular and best-selling catarafts, include the 13' Wildcat, the 14' Ocelot, the 16' Jaguarundi, and the 18' Leopard. They were improved a few years ago with the addition of a higher bow and stern rise for more maneuverability, new rubberized carry handles, and frame chafe strips on top of the tubes for increased durability. They are adaptable to a number of standard and custom rowing frames.
Tributary: the Economy Line
Tributary is AIRE’s import line of rafts. They are made in China while the other AIREs are built in Idaho. The inner bladders are the same as is the 1670-denier base, but the Tributary boats have a little less (31 oz.) PVC-coating on the outer hull, and a 5-year warranty. Still, these boats will last for years and are an affordable alternative to the higher-end AIRE rafts.
AIRE Tributary Rafts
The fleet of AIRE Tributary inflatable rafts includes:
- The 9.5' standard floor raft ($1,500) and the 12' standard floor ($1,999) - traditional non-bailing models for gentle water.
- Two self-bailing rafts, the 9.5' ($1,999) and the 12' raft ($2,750) are great for floating downstream in anything up to Class III whitewater.
- The larger self-bailing rafts, the 13.0 SB ($2,950) and the 14.0 SB ($3,150), will seat up to 8 people. Anglers will like the 13' Tributary especially as it transforms nicely into a complete fishing package with the addition of the NRS Raft Fishing Frame (total: $4,600).
To the Kayaks!
The fleet of AIRE inflatable kayaks includes the Force, Lynx, Outfitter, and Specialty Series, as well as the Tributary budget line which includes the Aire Tributary Tomcat, Sawtooth, and Strike series.
AIRE Inflatable Kayaks
AIRE makes it fun to shop for an inflatable kayak: just choose your perfect model, then pick your favorite color! Forget other boring white or grey colors — AIRE and Tributary kayaks come in bright blue, dark purple, green, red, or yellow.
Take a closer look:
The Force is AIRE’s smallest kayak at 9'8". This is a nimble and quick play boat, albeit a bit tippy and feels narrow in the hips. A good inflatable for beginners (under 185 lbs) to learn turns and spins, surfing, rolling, and other tricks.
The Lynx I and II are comfortable recreational inflatable kayaks that feature wide, stable construction. For whitewater that’s a bit more wicked, a Lynx will handle holes and drops better than the AIRE Force will. This kayak also features a fast-draining self-bailing floor to keep the river out, a 15" bow rise, and extra cargo space. The Lynx II is Aire’s best selling yak.
Compare AIRE Inflatables at Amazon
The Outfitter I and II offer larger tubes and low seating positions for greater stability in whitewater. Weighing just 36 pounds, it’s an agile kayak for novices or advanced paddlers.
AIRE’s Specialty Series is currently comprised of the Super Lynx, the Sea Tiger, and the Traveler Canoe. The 14' Super Lynx is a hybrid inflatable kayak that features a shallow V-shaped hull and a narrow width for good performance in flat water or rapids. The 18' AIRE Sea Tiger is a sea-worthy touring kayak that handles icy water, featuring rustproof zippers, hardware, and a rudder.
Tough Kayaks Earn Praise
Give it to kayakers to give the most discerning inflatable kayak reviews. Performance and safety are top priorities of whitewater kayaking, but comfort and gear hauling ability are important too. AIRE and Tributary get high scores in all categories. Reviewers compliment AIRE boats for worry-free use, great construction, and extreme stability. From slow sightseeing adventures to white-knuckle thrills, AIRE inflatable kayaks and rafts fulfill any wish on your weekend getaway to-do list.
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AIRE Force Inflatable Kayaks - Self-bailing whitewater kayaks for intermediate to expert kayakers.
AIRE Lynx Inflatable Kayaks - Top marks in reviews for stability, reliability, comfort, easy entry, speed, control, great cargo capacity, and that remarkable 10-year warranty.
AIRE Outfitter Inflatable Kayaks - Designed for stability and comfort; primarily marketed to commercial river adventure companies as an entry-level kayak for their novice customers.
AIRE Sawtooth Solo & Tandem - The solo touring model from Tributary, the budget line of AIRE products. The Sawtooth 2 is ideal for two paddlers to explore flat water lakes and calm rivers.
AIRE Tributary Strike Inflatable Kayaks - Two all-around recreational kayaks good for whitewater and flatwater, economical, rugged, easy to inflate, nearly impossible to tip over, great for novices.
AIRE Tributary Tomcat Solo & Tandem - roomy, stable, and compact, easy to inflate, lift, and transport. Tracks well on flatwater, a blast in whitewater.
AIRE Sea Tiger - The Sea Tiger gets an A+ in most reviews and is universally praised for its great quality and workmanship; a complete sea touring craft to take all over the world or just down to the lake.
AIRE Super Lynx - a good choice for traveling, camping, and day excursions on moderate whitewater.
AIRE Traveler Canoe - easy to inflate and deflate, stores well in an RV or in the trunk of a car. Great for two paddlers; going solo is not recommended.
AIRE Power Traveler - Rated for day trips, touring, and expeditions; handles whitewater, wide-beam motor-mount canoe design provides a heavy load capacity.
AIRE Jaguarundi Cataraft - A great choice for a long river trip, the 16' Jaguarundi cataraft has a large load capacity even with a shallow draft, and is adaptable to several different frame types.
AIRE Lion Catarafts - These catarafts are workhorses that help eliminate the toe-curling apprehension of running un-scouted rapids. Better than a raft plus you’ll sit high to see whatever is coming up downstream.
AIRE Ocelot Cataraft - The best-selling design from the premier U.S. manufacturer of inflatable boats and kayaks. Pro retailer and customer reviews reflect the popularity of this model.
AIRE Wildcat Cataraft - This 13' cataraft is a high quality solo cat for fun on the river that lets you plow through the waves with great agility and buoyancy.
AIRE Leopard Cataraft - The 18' AIRE Leopard is redesigned with more bow and stern rise for better maneuverability on the water; a full-size cat for long trips when you need to pack a lot of gear.
AIRE Puma Rafts - AIRE inflatable rafts feature bombproof PVC-coated material that’s thicker than the hide on other raft brands plus tough urethane AIREcells for added safety and strength.
AIRE Tributary Rafts - An affordable alternative to the higher priced line of AIRE inflatables.
AIRE 13.0 Tributary Fishing Package - A beautiful matching of the NRS fisherman’s frame with a 13 foot self-bailing raft; used by many commercial outfitters.
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