Lee Arbach

Waterkeeper

AIRE Force Inflatable Kayak

AIRE Force Inflatable Kayak
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Price: $1,799.00
Manufacturer: AIRE
Shipping Weight: 43.00 lbs

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Description

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About seven years back the AIRE Force inflatable kayak was completely revamped from the two separate models made in prior years, into a single wider and more user friendly version. Translation: a more stable boat with a deeper seating position more akin to AIRE's Tributary Strike model, with hull speed that is still good but not as zippy as the originals. None of the Forces, old or new, have great back support and some of us find it helps to add a Cheetah Chair (the one used in all other AIRE kayaks) or Backsaver. Other big differences between the current model and the older Force series include more rocker, easily removable float bags, no floor zipper, a single large pair of mesh bail vents at the front only, and a more flattened floor bladder looking from top or bottom.

The older Force and Force XL tended to get knocked around by diagonal waves quite a lot, and if the flows are higher, even flipped. This occurred because the older ones were dead flat with no real rocker. The bow battering doesn't happen with the current model, which is plenty class V worthy. Bailing speed is very good, though some water can still puddle around your butt if you weigh over 185 unless you keep the floor rock hard.

AIRE Force Inflatable Kayak Performance

In terms of performance and play, the hull speed of this new Force is similar to the Strike I, in other words a tad faster than the Lynx I for small to mid size paddlers, and roughly the same as a Lynx for heavier pilots over 200 pounds. It is definitely slower than the older Force's, especially the XL, due to the shorter and wider waterline/footprint. This new one will stay in holes better if you want to surf, and also pivots easier. In short, it is probably a safer and more friendly option for paddlers who do steep class IV and V water. The older models always had trouble turning on a dime in steep ramps, though once you got them pointed the right way they could get out of trouble quickly. In short the audience for the new Force includes almost anybody, even rank beginners, and it is debatable whether that was true on the older versions.

Compare New AIRE Force Inflatable Kayak

Comparing the new Force to the imported AIRE Tributary Strike, other than a lack of float bags on the Strike, the other three differences are in width, length, and taper. The Strike interior is a bit too wide for many of us, so the slightly narrower interior of the Force helps lock you in better assuming your hips are not too big, Although the Force comes standard with thighstraps and the Strike does not, if anything, it should be the other way around..

The tubes taper pretty radically on the Strike (and they did on the older Force's too) in a similar fashion to boats like Custom Inflatable's Thrillseeker. The tubes on the current Force stay fatter for more of it's 9'6" length. This prevents it from sinking deep into foam on big drops, though it may not quite have the wave-slicing ability of the narrow bowed models. It's hard to do a good A-B test on every detail, and we haven't been able to try the new Force in high flow conditions or any huge drops. Your comments and opinions are always welcome. If you paddled one let us know what you think too.

AIRE Force Inflatable Kayak - One Main Chamber

The Force is exactly three feet wide, with only one main air chamber for the entire tube like all prior Forces, plus the floor and two float bags. Sometimes, if the single main tube bladder is not pulled through the bow or stern just right, you may see a bend at either end on the last few inches of the tip. A bit disconcerting, but it has no effect on the boat's handling. Our scale says it's a bit over 33 pounds. We measured the tubes at a full 11"; AIRE's site says 10.5". AIRE recommends paddlers of no more than 275 pounds, and this seems to be a good maximum by our test. Maybe a smidge less. The floor pocket design on this one does pee some water for a while from the very back or front when you drag it up on shore on a slope.

Please note that any accessories purchased with your boat are 10% off, and also note that our shopping cart as yet does NOT reflect these discounts - it will show a higher total so we will adjust the bottom line before ringing the transaction through. If for any reason we manage to forget, we will enclose a refund check for the difference inside the box with your receipt.

Colors include red, orange, green, yellow, lime, and blue. Please have a first and second color choice. Purple is generally special order, with a delay of up to six weeks.

*The price on the AIRE Force kayak includes free UPS ground shipping to the lower 48 states. Pay with a cashier's check and save 5%. Please note that our shopping cart will still try to charge for UPS, but we will deduct it before capturing your credit card funds.

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Product Reviews

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Reviewed by randaddy
05/09/2014 - 07:16:30 AM
Love the new Force!
I special ordered mine in purple and it's amazing. I had a 2008 Force and had fun with it, but was hesitant to paddle big water because of the small tubes - it just felt too tippy, probably in Aire's attempts to make it a rollable duckie.

The new model has beefier tubes and grab loops on the bottom to help right the boat before you climb back in - a more realistic recovery in whitewater than rolling this boat, IMO.

The boat handles beautifully, especially when pumped really tight. It barely takes on any water because of the float bags so it floats nice and high through whitewater. It tracks well and is FAST for a duckie. Definitely a great boat for paddling Class III and above - if you know what you're doing! Not the "mini raft" feel duckies are known for!

The only reason I deducted a star from an otherwise perfect score is the air bladder zipperless design. The boat would be better off with Aire's sealed floor pocket. You have to drain the floor after a trip, and it stays moist in the area between the floor and bladder and the area between the float bags and their protective PVC covers. It's a chore to remove the bags and really clean the boat well after a trip down a silty river. Not the best boat for the desert or rivers with a lot of sediment, but for mountain rivers it's the best day trip duckie there is!