AIRE Kayaks Review | Epic Kayaks or Rip Off? [2020]

Kayaks allow for maximum maneuverability on any water form with its narrow construction, optimizing every paddle’s energy allowing more speed. These benefits, along with its excellently lightweight frame and compact storage size, make it the perfect companion for its portability.

Aire offers a vast selection of inflatable kayaks fit for any adventure. Reading through their entire catalog may get overwhelming, so we have reviewed each one to let you know what they offer.

Top 8 Best AIRE Kayaks Reviewed

We review each kayak series Aire offers to help you pick the perfect one for your next face-off with the rapids.

#1. BakRaft: Hybrid and Expedition

BakRaft Hybrid

Aire’s BakRaft series lets you go from backpacking to backcountry riding with their lightweight frame that makes them highly portable. Being a cross ko between a raft and a kayak lets you have the best of both, promising an unbeatable performance.

Both rafts comprise Vectran 400 material that promises excellent durability, ensuring that you will finish every course in one piece. The Urethane AireCell technology on their tubes’ interior guarantees that they will remain airtight, making the frame highly abrasion-resistant. Summit II valves in every air chamber assure the raft’s rigidity and allow you to spend more time in the water.

The BakRaft Hybrid is comparatively more lightweight than the Expedition, letting you carry it around for hours effortlessly. Its rigid construct assures that it can withstand the constant crashing as you traverse whitewater, ensure excellence every time.

BakRaft Expedition lets you bring in more gear, making it suitable for multi-day camping trips. You cannot underestimate its carrying capacity, though, as it remains agile enough to let you maneuver on the most challenging rapids effortlessly.


#2. Force

Force

The name says it all the Aire Force inflatable kayak promises performance similar to a hardshell without the added weight. Its rigid construction, combined with its optimized frame, allows you to glide smoothly on water, maximizing maneuverability with less effort. Having an almost flat structure will enable you to be in closer contact with the water, letting you have a better view ahead.

Its adjustable cockpit gives you full control over maximizing deck space, allowing for better customization and improved comfort. The thigh straps that come with every raft purchase are also adjustable to assure that you are safely locked in as you paddle. Pre-installed float bags let you roll effortlessly, allowing for swifter movements.

Force’s self-bailing floor comprises double mesh holes that immediately drains water to ensure that your stay afloat. Its Polyvinyl Chloride outer shell is strengthened by AireCell technology on the inside that assures maximum durability and rigidity, ensuring your safety.

Multiple air chambers that quickly inflate with the Leafield C7 Valves assure that you will get back to shore regardless and improve stability by remaining airtight. Ten D-rings surrounding the kayak’s frame let you secure your accessories, letting you focus on paddling.


#3. IK Angler 11

IK Angler 11

Aire’s IK Angler 11 lets you make solo fishing trips quickly with its specialized construction. This incredibly lightweight kayak does not compromise stability and maneuverability, ensuring excellent performance, enabling the best catch.

Casting will be a breeze with its elevated seat that lets you sit above the waterline. The ergonomic chair provides ample back support as well, assuring your comfort as you fish.

An Integrated Gear System on the kayak’s base lets you secure attachments like rod holders and anchor mounts, lessening your worries as you wait. Interior Cargo loops let you connect your gear, making you focus on paddling. A removable fin assures excellent tracking, allowing for smoother movement on the water.

High-quality Polyvinyl Chloride on the kayak’s outer shell assures you of its resistance to abrasion and weather damages. AireCell Urethane coating on the tubes’ interior assures you of the raft’s rigidity, ensuring unbeatable stability.

Three Summit II Inflation Valves keep the multiple air chambers airtight, while a Summit Pressure Relief Valve ensures that the kayak’s pressure remains optimal. These valves also provide quick assembly and storage that let you spend more time in the water.


#4. Lynx: I, II, and Super

Lynx I

The Lynx series lets you paddle through any river effortlessly with its sleek finish. Its narrow frame allows for maximum maneuverability, letting you cross the narrowest streams without getting off the kayak. The flat hull enables you to maximize deck space and ensure balance as you paddle.

Lynx I let you enjoy solo kayaking trips, while the Lynx II and Super Lynx let you haul it more gear or bring a buddy for multi-day camping trips. Its highly versatile frame enables you to go from cruising on the gentle river to battling out whitewater, making this series highly adaptable.

A double mesh floor ensures that no water or debris will stay in the raft, assuring your safety. Three air chambers with Leafield valves will keep the kayak fully inflated and let you spend more time paddling than assembling. The Urethane coating technology on the kayak’s interior tubes ensures that they remain airtight, keeping its rigidity to let you finish any whitewater course.

Lynx Series’ inclusion of Cheetah seats assures maximum comfort as you paddle and lets you keep your essentials nearby with the cargo pockets on its back. Two grab handles in the middle of the tube and floor let you flip the raft quickly when it capsizes, allowing for faster re-entry.


#5. Outfitter

Outfitter I

Aire’s Outfitter series is perfect for paddlers beginning to get their footing and improve their skills. Its massive tubes offer ample stability, making it very forgiving as you work on your balance while paddling.

The oversized tubes create a more significant gap between you and boulders, assuring your safety on impact. This feature also makes the raft excellently buoyant, improving on your stability. The combination of Polyvinyl Chloride on the outside and AireCell technology on the inside guarantees excellent durability, ensuring you of a kayak that can take a beating and will remain airtight.

You can spend more time in the water with the Leafield valves allowing rapid inflation for each air chamber. The same valves efficiently seal these chambers, assuring that the raft will not expel throughout constant crashing. If you capsize, reinforced grab handles will let you flip the raft effortlessly to let you get back in immediately.

Both Outfitter I and II have Cheetah chairs with ergonomic capabilities to guarantee ample back support and improved overall comfort as you paddle. These chairs allow for highly convenient removal and re-installation, letting you have control of maximizing deck space. Cargo pockets at their backs let you have your necessities nearby for emergencies.


#6. Sawtooth

Sawtooth

Aire’s Sawtooth Kayak lets you enjoy leisurely cruises on the lake with its highly stable frame. The removable fin enables you to adjust drag for better maneuverability and optimized paddles. Its massive carrying capacity makes it the perfect tandem boat with ample room for gear on multi-day adventures.

Its V-shaped hull allows sufficient tracking letting you glide on water smoothly. The removable fin lets you control drag to help you stay balanced. This kayak comes with two removable and adjustable inflatable seats that ensure your comfort as you paddle. Carrying to and from the water will be easy as the Sawtooth has two carry handles allowing for more convenient transfers.

You can spend more time paddling with the Summit II valves’ fast inflation rate on each air chamber. These valves also keep each section airtight, assuring the kayak’s rigidity and guaranteeing maximum stability. The elevated front and rear sections allow for sufficiently paced turns, letting you glide smoothly.

Vinyl coating on the tubes’ interior walls ensures great agility that reduces the risk of punctures. Its self-bailing floor assures that you will stay afloat by draining water and debris immediately, guaranteeing your safety as you paddle.


#7. Strike

Strike

The Strike Series lets you smoothly transition from gliding on flatwater to slicing through waves and punching holes on whitewater. This highly versatile variant does away with needing multiple rafts for specific water conditions, making it a wise investment.

Its hull’s unique design allows for excellent tracking on calm waters and lets you slice through waves effortlessly on more challenging rapids. The slightly raised bow and stern lets you have sufficient contact with water but still has enough agility for swift maneuvers.

Welding the Polyvinyl Chloride and Nylon construction’s seams ensure excellent durability that can take the constant beating, making this kayak last longer. Urethane AireCell’s coating on the tubes’ interior assures you of the fabric’s resistance to abrasion and the ability to remain airtight. Summit II valves on the multiple air chambers ensure more time paddling with its fast inflation and maintain the kayak’s rigidity.


#8. Traveler Canoe

Traveler Canoe

What sets the Traveler Canoe apart is its capacity to have a motor attachment at its rear for a more comfortable experience. The largest among Aire’s kayak offerings let you haul all the necessary gear to complete your camping or fishing trip.

Its sharp front allows for excellent tracking on any water, improving on its maneuverability. Multiple D-rings let you securely tie your gear, lessening your worries as you traverse rivers. The Polyurethane AireCell on the tube’s interior ensures the kayak’s ability to withstand punctures and carry massive cargo loads without capsizing.

Having two sets of drainage systems in the kayak’s floor ensures its buoyancy and keeps all your things dry by minimizing water build-up. Despite its massive weight, the kayak easily rolls upon deflation allowing for more convenient storage.

Three air chambers ensure that the raft stays rigid, assuring your stability despite supporting heavy loads. Leafield valves help keep each section airtight and at optimal pressure, ensuring that your buoyancy for the entire trip.


AIRE Raft Construction

What makes Aire rafts maintain its superb quality is its standardized construction process that assures you consistently excellent performance. One feature that stands out in all of their kayaks is the AireCell technology, which we discuss below.

AireCell Technology

All Aire rafts comprise AireCell Technology that protects the tubes’ interior from getting punctured easily with Urethane coating. The giant cells become incredibly robust and resistant to any pressure by going through thermal-welding, ensuring you of unbeatable durability. Lycra connects the Polyvinyl Chloride-Nylon exterior to this layer and makes the entire fabric extremely flexible. This process makes Aire inflatable watercraft highly responsive and agile, allowing maximum maneuverability. Aire kayaks with this technology usually have a mix of Urethane and Nylon to maintain its rigidity and keep you stable.


About Aire Rafts

AIRE or Argonaut Research and Engineering have been consistently proving themselves as an excellent provider or river rafts since 1989. Launching the AireCell technology placed them in the map to determine design rafts that were excellently durable yet still repairable, and less harmful to the environment and workers.

Pioneering on the idea of having multiple layers of floors on inflatable rafts helped them establish their brand as one of the most reliable watercraft manufacturers in the late 1990s. The company’s perseverance in keeping up with the constant changes in customer demands shows their dedication to providing the best for their consumers. This focus transcends in their unmatched aftersales customer service, where a 10-year warranty protects every raft, no questions asked to ensure that you look no further.


Conclusion

Aire raft’s extensive selection of kayaks enables the brand to cater to a broader range of paddlers. Their consistently excellent-performing watercraft ensures that wherever you decide to paddle, you will have the best time.

Kayaks allow for better maneuverability on rivers for its comparatively lightweight and narrower frame. Choosing the right one can get overwhelming, but learning how factors affect the raft’s responsiveness enables smarter decision-making. We hope this review of their entire kayak helps you choose the one perfect for your next trip to the backcountry. Check out our articles below for more extensive thoughts on other inflatable kayak brands.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I install a thwart?

A: Aire rafts have D-rings on the raft interior dedicated to thwarts. Removing the cover will enable you to thread the thwart’s strap through the ring; you then insert the belt to the cam buckle to secure it in place. It is best to use tools like needle-nose pliers to make sure that you have tightened the thwart fully. A third loop using the same process is necessary if you choose to install a thwart permanently.

Q: How do I store my raft?

A: It is best to ensure that the raft is completely dry and fully deflated before you begin folding it in thirds, meeting in the middle panel. Rolling it up carefully and securing with a boat strap will ensure that no debris lodges in between the fabric. Keeping the raft away from extreme heat will retain its integrity and extend its lifespan. Ensuring that no heavy equipment is put on top will reduce the raft’s attachments’ risk, puncturing it from unwanted pressure.

Q: Why would I need self-bailing floors?

A: Self-bailing floors ultimately keep you from sinking as you traverse whitewater. This deck type immediately drains water to ensure that the raft stays buoyant, reducing the risk of you tipping over. Depending on where you paddle, self-bailing floors become a necessity to ensure your safety. Aire offers various options of self-bailing decks to let you tailor-fit the raft accordingly.

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