AIRE Rafts Review | What You Should Know [2020] + Guide

Inflatable rafts have become one of the outdoor activity essentials for it lets you go from hiking to rafting in minutes. Their portability lets you have a boat sturdy enough to keep up with intense whitewater rapids that fit your car’s back when the day ends.

For over three decades, AIRE has been consistently making high-quality inflatable rafts, effortlessly making them one of the most trusted brands in the industry. Their rigorous quality testing combined with the consistent and intricate construction process assures you of getting nothing short of excellent.

AIRE Rafts Review

AIRE offers quite an extensive list of inflatable rafts to choose from, but we have narrowed down some of their bestsellers. We review each one to let you have a better idea of the more suitable raft for your next adventure.

  1. Puma Series
  2. Sabertooth Cataraft
  3. BAKraft Hybrid
  4. R Series
  5. E Series
  6. D Series
  7. Mammoth Cataraft
  8. Force Whitewater Raft
  9. Super Lynx

#1. Puma Series

puma series

Aire’s Puma series is the perfect companion for your weekend leisure cruises. Its simplistic design caters to your basic needs, allowing you to get up go immediately. The highly adjustable frame leaves ample room for upgrading, allowing for better customization.

The Polyvinyl Chloride coating in this raft’s frame promises to be bombproof, ensuring its durability. A second layer of the same material on the bottom of the raft makes it highly resistant to abrasions.

This raft’s tubes remain airtight with the AIREcell technology. A urethane film made out oversized cells comprises the tube’s interior walls, making it highly durable with thermal-welding. The same material keeps the raft airtight, with an excellent balance of thickness and flexibility to be resistant to punctures.

A smooth bottom deck allows this raft to glide smoothly on water, improving on your maneuverability. It’s comparatively narrower built lets you traverse smaller rivers, making this raft more usable in more water bodies.

The elevated rocker and rear let you slice through small waves without the risk of capsizing, improving on your stability. Its self-bailing floor keeps all Puma rafts optimally buoyant, allowing you to stay afloat despite maximizing its carrying capacity.


#2. Sabertooth Cataraft

sabertooth

Its compact frame makes the Sabertooth Cataraft highly maneuverable for two riders. Its elevated construction allows you to glide through waves and holes to maximize every paddle smoothly, and plan your next moves accordingly. Carrying handles installed on both ends of the raft allows for more convenient transfers.

A Leafield C7 valve, which promises excellent durability, ensures that its tubes will remain airtight despite battling rapids’ constant beating. The same valve allows for fast and convenient inflation and deflation, letting you get to rafting immediately. Foot cups strategically placed on the raft will lock you in place as you paddle, assuring your safety.

The rockered shape of its tubes lets you glide through waves, punch holes and handle tricky landings, making the Sabertooth Cataraft highly maneuverable. Superman mesh improves on the self-bailing capacity of this raft’s floor. This material does not hold water, immediately draining any that comes in, ensuring the raft’s buoyancy.

Despite its relatively open construction, this cataraft stays rigid with the AIREcell system on the tubes. This technology keeps them airtight but agile enough to withstand getting punctured by boulders. It’s Polyvinyl Chloride coating makes the Sabertooth Cataraft weatherproof and highly durable, letting you get your money’s worth.


#3. BAKraft Hybrid

aire bakraft hybrid

The BAKraft series is the latest release of the brand that lets you go from hiking to rafting effortlessly with its compact storage size. This feature makes these series a perfect companion for any outdoor activity, for, despite the lightweight, they deliver an excellent overall performance.

You need not worry about the raft’s durability with the use of Vectran 400 as its outer layer, letting you go from calm lakes to whitewater rafting. A dual-membrane combination of Dyneema and AIREcell technology makes this hybrid raft highly abrasion-resistant and airtight.

This raft’s banana-shaped hull makes it thickset enough to lock you in place as you paddle. The unique shape lets you move through narrow rivers and glide smoothly through stronger whitewater.

The inflatable floor keeps this raft’s frame fully erect, assuring your stability. Drain holes help the self-bailing floor immediately expel excess water to optimize buoyancy and reduce capsizing risk.

Your gear will stay dry with the inflation bag included, which also a dry bag, doubles as your backrest, letting you stay comfortable as you paddle. This feature also lessens the unnecessary gear on the raft, allowing you to maximize the deck space for essentials only. Thigh straps will keep you in place as you face challenging whitewater to ensure your safety.


#4. R Series

r series

“R” stands for Round, which shapes the five variants in this raft series. Having a pointless tip makes this raft excellently stable, letting you move better on big rivers.

Wider beams maximize the raft’s interaction towards the floor, assuring your stability in the most challenging rivers. The relatively more massive tube diameters assure excellent buoyancy and widen the gap between you and boulders on impact. Combined with the widened beams, these tubes make this raft stiff, ensuring you its integrity through the most challenging rapids.

Chafe strips make the temperate areas of these rafts abrasion resistant, which improves on its durability. The Polyvinyl Chloride material makes the tubes of the R Series rafts weatherproof and abrasion-resistant, strengthening their frame. AIREcell urethane films in the tubes’ interior assure you that it will remain airtight and agile enough to resist punctures.

The raft’s inflation valve makes inflation and deflation convenient and helps the AIREcell layer keep the frame airtight. Its air pressure remains optimized by a pressure relief valve that expels the excess to keep the raft from exploding.


#5. E Series

e series

The elliptical shape in all AIRE E Series rafts makes it highly maneuverable in the choppiest waters. Their comparatively narrower width makes cruising through smaller rives possible and convenient. Its design lets you glide smoothly and allows for sharp slices through waves.

Having an elevated and slightly pointed tip with a relatively minimized bow accounts for its improved maneuverability. The flatness of the bow creates a concrete platform that assures you of superior stability as you paddle.

Inflation and deflation will be a breeze with the Leafield C7 valve. The same feature enhances the airtight quality of the tubes, assuring the raft’s buoyancy. A Urethane AIREcell film on the tube’s interior walls ensures excellent durability that excellently resists immediate damage. The air pressure remains stable enough to keep rigidity by the pressure relief valve in these rafts.

The tubes stay in excellent condition with the Polyvinyl Chloride coating, assuring that these rafts can take a beating. Its bottom has additional layers of the same material to keep it resistant against immediate damage.


#6. D and DD Series

d series

The diminished front and rear of the rafts in this series allow for improved treading on water. This feature lets you have a better feel of the tides, allowing for smarter maneuvers.

AIRE’s decision to make the raft’s deck broader balances out the minimized tube to help with your stability. This feature also lets the raft have more deck space, allowing you to pack more gear for multi-day trips.

It’s Polyvinyl Chloride coating promises that this raft can take the constant beating. The tubes’ interior comprises of AIREcell Urethane film that helps keep them airtight and allows for better resistance to punctures. Added layers of the PVC material protect the raft’s bottom from getting torn by rocks, improving its durability.

This raft’s self-bailing floor ensures that you will stay afloat, improve your buoyancy, and assure safety. The piano floor lacing improves the raft’s self-bailing capabilities and makes the positioning of thwarts highly customizable.

Having multiple air chambers in the raft assures that you will get to safety if one section gets punctured. Repair kits are included to allow you to make a temporary fix, letting you immediately get back in the water. A Leafield C7 valve helps keep the integrity of the raft’s frame and allows for fast and convenient inflation and deflation. The Pressure Relief Valve expels excess air on the raft, reducing the risk explosion.


#7. Mammoth Cataraft

mammoth

Mammoth Cataraft’s unique shape and massive size make it possible for more prominent groups to experience whitewater rafting intensity. The rockered bow allows you to resurface immediately after punching a hole, ensuring that you will finish the trail regardless of the tides.

Its closed-off rear allows for better control of the raft and lets you be a paddle guide for better maneuverability. The mesh floor immediately expels any water getting in the raft, improving its buoyancy and ensuring that you will not tip over. It also has foot cups strategically placed in front of the thwarts to secure you in place as you paddle.

A multi-layer Polyvinyl Chloride coating makes this raft excellently weatherproof and rigid, improving its durability and stability. The entire raft has a chafe protection coating, making it highly resistant to abrasions, with additional layers of PVC protect the bottom from getting punctured easily.

AIREcell technology on the multiple air chambers makes it airtight and flexible enough to resist getting torn easily. Having numerous air chambers also ensures that you will get back to shore safely if one area gets a hole. Inflation and deflation are relatively easy and quick with its Leafield C7 valve, which, when appropriately closed, helps keeps the raft fully inflated. 


#8. Force Whitewater Raft

force

The Force Whitewater Raft lets you have the solo adventure you have been looking for with its compact yet rugged construction. Paddlers of all levels will appreciate the ample stability this raft offers, allowing you to work on your footing before setting out in the waves.

Multiple attachment points for the thigh straps included in this raft allow for better customization. Its adjustable cockpit makes the raft usable for a broad range of users without risking your safety.

Two mesh drain holes ensure that the raft stays buoyant by immediately expelling excess water. This feature ensures your safety, reducing the risk of capsizing as you traverse rivers. An additional layer of PVC on this raft’s bottom assures you that of its stellar rigidity and resistance to abrasion. The repair kits included in the raft will allow you to put a temporary fix to get back paddling. 

The Force’s narrow frame allows for smoother glides on the water, maximizing maneuverability and every paddle’s effect. Having an almost flat bow lets you be closer to the water to better view the clearance ahead. Float bags found in the front and rear will help resurface and get back to paddling immediately.


#9. Super Lynx

super lynx

Super Lynx’s low profile makes it suitable for calm and flat waters. The minimal rise on the bow and stern lets you have more contact with the water, maximizing every paddle and improving your maneuverability. The raft comes with a removable aluminum fin to allow for smoother glides on flat water.

This inflatable kayak’s smaller tubes allows for better tracking as it comes in with more contact towards the water. Nevertheless, your stability remains intact with the AIREcell technology on the tubes’ interior, making it rigid and airtight. A PVC coating on the 1100 denier material makes the raft weatherproof and thick enough to withstand wear and tear.

A Leafield B7 valve allows for easier inflation and deflation and helps the AIREcell technology keep the raft fully inflated. Three air chambers assure that you can safely paddle back to shore if one part gets punctured.

Double mesh drain holes on the self-bailing floor ensure your safety by immediately draining excess water to maintain buoyancy. If the raft capsizes, strategically placed handles on the bottom will allow you to turn the kayak effortlessly.

The removable Cheetah Chair seats offer ample back support and you to sit comfortably, perfect for your leisure cruises. Storage pockets on their backs allow you to store personal items or snacks within reach.


AIRE Raft Construction

The excellent quality of AIRE rafts comes from the consistent baseline construction that assures you of getting the best materials. Shapes, sizes, and adaptability may vary, but the standard construction process ensures you of quality that does settle for less.

AIREcell Technology

The interior walls of every AIRE raft’s frame comprise a layer of Urethane with AIREcell technology that keeps it airtight. These oversized cells are thermal-welded and promise to be tough enough to withstand any pressure assuring you of having a durable raft. Lycra connects this layer to the outer shell of the boat and improves the entire frame’s flexibility. Raft floors with this technology have a mix of Urethane and Nylon, with excellent rigidity to keep your balance.

Ferrari Polyvinyl Chloride

AIRE boasts of its PVC coating’s capability to be bombproof, which ultimately makes you believe it will be the last you will ever buy. Combining this material with the high-quality polyester outer shell of the raft makes it highly resistant to immediate damage, assuring its durability. The same combination of materials makes the raft rigid, improving on your stability. The acrylic finishing layer makes this entire raft resistant to the damages caused by Ultraviolet rays, lengthening the raft’s lifespan.

Lace-In Floors

While all the rafts in their lineup are self-bailing, AIRE lets you pick between a regular or sealed floor pocket to find better customization. Regular floors take in a bit of water between the floor and PVC lining to add more weight that makes more massive contact with the water. This type of floor allows for better tracking and improves your stability. An improved balanced will lowers your center of gravity and will help you upright as you traverse the rapids.

As the name suggests, sealed floor pockets do not let any water come in between the floor and bottom lining. Drain valves and waterproof zippers help expel excess water, letting you keep the raft lightweight. This type of floor configuration works perfectly in traversing waterfalls, letting you move faster and maximizing each paddle’s effects.


About Aire Rafts

Since 1989, Argonaut Inflatable Research and Engineering or AIRE has consistently provided its consumer with the best river rafts, making them one of the industry’s most trusted brands. The idea of creating the AIREcell system was from their desire to have a raft that was eco and employee-friendly, highly durable, but was still repairable. 

They made a name for themselves towards the late 1990s when the rafting community saw the benefits of having two bottom layers on inflatable rafts—becoming a pioneer for manufacturing inflatable catarafts and kayaks made them one of the most innovative producers in the game. 

Their determination to continuously find ways to keep up with the market’s ever-changing needs confirms their dedication to providing excellent customer service. This trait manifests with their aftersales services, for every AIRE raft comes with a whopping 10-year warranty to make sure that you get your money’s worth.


Conclusion

AIRE provides us with a vast array of inflatable rafts that lets us go from the backyard to the outdoors in a snap. Their highly versatile rafts lets use them for any occasion, while their specialty lines allow us to tailor-fit according to our desired adventure.

The consistency in every AIRE raft construction assures you of getting an excellent-performing device, letting you have an excellent experience for more extended periods. Their aftersales service goes above and beyond what any other competitor offers, assuring you of getting your money’s worth.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I install a lace-in floor?

A: Basically, you need to inflate the raft and floor with enough pressure to hold their shapes. It would be best if you made sure that the drain holes are upwards and facing the raft’s rear before you start “sewing” the floor. A lacing notch will help you determine if you have correctly aligned the floor. AIRE’s website provides a manual with a more extensive guide of the process. It is best to have a full understanding of what to do to avoid damaging the raft.

Q: How do I inflate the raft?

A: Turning the inflation valve will make it go up and down, indicating when it’s open or sealed. You need to follow the raft’s cross pattern as you inflate each chamber to maximize the AIREcell technology’s efficiency. The cell pushing back will be your signal that the section is fully grown. Hearing humming sounds are expected as this indicates that the pressure relief valve is already expelling excess air, suggesting that it is time to stop. Turn the inflation valve as tight as possible to keep the chambers airtight.

Q: Do I need special equipment to maintain my raft?

A: Rafts are made highly durable, which makes them relatively low-maintenance. To keep them in good shape, though, it is best to rinse them with fresh water after every beach trip. Fully deflating each chamber and following the right procedures for folding and storage will help lengthen its lifespan. It would be best if you made sure that nothing heavy stays on top of the folded raft, as too much weight might make some of its accessories puncture the raft.

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