The Outfitter II Inflatable Kayak is one of five AIRE whitewater tandems. Other models are the Lynx II, Super Lynx, Tomcat 2, and Strike II.AIRE Outfitter II Inflatable Kayak Design Changes (from 2014)
Any accessories purchased with your boat are 10% off, but please 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 some of the measurements you see here vary (see bottom) from what AIRE's website or catalog lists for the two person Outfitter, it's because we are going by the ones we've measured here.
This model looks far more burly than you can tell from AIRE's photos. As the name implies, it was geared toward the commercial outfitters who provide "duckies" for their clients to use on the rivers they operate from. As a general rule, those clients will be happiest if they do not take unintended swims in the big rapids. The simplest way to prevent this on tag-along trips is to make sure the inflatable kayak they are paddling is as stable as possible. The way to make a boat stable is with a wide hull and a deep seating position. All of AIRE's other models are either very shallow (the Lynx's, the Force series, the Super Lynx) or somewhat shallow (like the Strikes and Tomcat II).
The preceding may make the tandem Outfitter sound like something a private boater wouldn't want to buy, and we do not mean to give that impression. Of the four true AIRE & Tributary tandem whitewater models, the Super Lynx withstanding since it is more a hybrid than solely a river boat), the Outfitter II has emerged firmly as our best selling model, and every buyer we've talked with after the sale has been delighted with this boat. All deep inflatable kayaks like this one do require you to raise your elbows a bit higher when paddling, but other than that minor comment the feedback for this boat has so far been 100% positive - something we cannot say about the Lynx tandem or any other boat in this section of our site.
The Outfitter tandem and solo's are geared toward the Hyside Padillac market, perhaps a bit shamelessly, but one thing AIRE really improved over the Hyside is the profile of the Outfitter's underside. Unlike the Padillac, it is nearly pancake-flat. This makes the boat float higher, increases payload, and makes it far less prone to hanging up on rocks or getting messed with by eddy currents. The Outfitter II is also faster than the Padillac, about the same as a Lynx II, and just a tad slower than the Strike II. If you compared it to a Strike II with 450 pounds on board though, the Outfitter tandem would definitely be quicker.
The tandem Outfitters we have measured are 40" wide (an inch less than AIRE shows), 12'4" long, 46 pounds, with 12-1/2" tubes, and they hold about 525 pounds This is the highest payload of any tandem whitewater IK under 13'. We know that Sea Eagle shows some very high figures for their 380 and 420 models, but they only hold these weights if the bail plugs are closed. In self-bailing mode they have fairly low capacities.
The Outfitter II price includes UPS to any lower 48 State destination. This kayak is available in the same colors as all the other U.S. made AIRE models- red, dark green, orange, lime, yellow, medium blue, and if you can wait a while, possibly dark purple. Check to be sure.
The Bravo 9 ($50) has a six liter main chamber and a 1.5 liter top off chamber. You pull the black plug out of the yellow port and it bypasses the main chamber, pumping air only out of the smaller top-off chamber. This is similar to the Bravo 5 that we also carry. The location of the valve ports on the Bravo 9 are in the way of your foot, so you have to pump with the unit flipped around and your foot on the front edge of the top bellows plate. If you try to pump it with the hinge edge toward your heel, you will very quickly tear off the plastic plug's tether with your foot.
The top-off chamber on the B-9 goes to about nine or maybe ten p.s.i. though the manufacturer claims slightly higher. The Bravo 9 weighs about 3-1/2 pounds, a tad less than the Bravo 5.
The plastic clips that hold Bravo foot pumps shut tend to break easily. We do have replacements for $3 but we also have a $25 minimum order, so your best bet when the clip breaks is to use a loop of rope or a 2' camlock strap to hold the pump shut.
A great take-apart whitewater paddle at an affordable price!
Our U.S. made Curved Padded Thighstraps ($47/pair) are generally sold to inflatable kayakers, but can also be used with sit-on-top plastic kayaks if yours has metal attachment anchors. These straps are wide at the ends and narrow in the middle. When installed properly, the Boat People logos will be upside down. Go figure. You would think we had these made in China, but not so - they are sewn in South Carolina!
Thighstraps allow you to be more effective with brace strokes in whitewater and are definitely the simplest & cheapest way to improve your paddling. They work the easiest with AIRE i.k's, but they can also clip or loop into into other boats with bail holes running full length (take a small piece of rope out thru one bail hole and back up thru the next hole, and tie a knot to form a loop, then repeat this for the other three attachment points), such as Incepts and Hysides, and older air-floor Maravias. In some boats four D-rings may need to be installed (small D-rings run $5 to $7 each depending on what your kayak is made of) to connect the thighstraps to.
Thighstraps are removable, and only take a couple minutes to install. If you leave them in your boat, expect to have thighstrap-shaped mildew stains in short order. These have a quick release ladder lock at one end in case you become entangled. If you are not clear on how to use thighstraps, please don't think for a minute that asking will make you look dumb. We will be happy to go over their installation and usage with you on the phone, but please understand this is tough to do via email.
By the way, in case any of you are looking for AIRE's kayak thighstraps, we are no longer stocking them but they can be ordered easily enough (they run three extra days for delivery); just give us a call. They and the NRS straps are both made in China, both cost the same as our U.S.-made Boat People straps, and both are more complicated to attach/detach, so we don't feel either of them are the best value anymore compared to ours.
The Headwater life jacket is a newer vest from MTI with the same 26+ pound buoyancy as the long running MTI Big Buoy, but incorporating a couple of differences. The most important one is that the interior is made of a highly contoured gauzy fabric, with high strength but also excellent air movement properties. This jacket breathes better and feels cooler than most other high floatation models. It also conforms to your chest better than the Big Buoy, and the net result is dramatically improved comfort despite the 2-1/4" foam thickness on the front panels.
Another difference between this one and the Big Buoy, beyond the color, is the pockets. Two narrow ones have been added mid-chest, and there are a pair of hidden lined hand warmer pockets behind the two big side pockets. A nice little feature on cooler days if you happen to forego neoprene gloves. So you could say there are a total of six pockets. The Headwater also has a set of (four) one inch loops to attach crotch straps to. Like the Patriot and Big Buoy models, it is rated as a type III, but other than the lack of a rear collar it should really be viewed as a type V vest. The Medium/Large size has 26.3 pounds of floatation, the Small/Xsmall about 26 even, and the XL/XXL 27 pounds. Although the stamps on the Headwater give something slightly different, our measurements indicate the SM/XS fits people with chest measurements of 30" to 37" (including whatever you wear on top), the Med/Large goes from about 35" to 45", and the big size fits anywhere from 43" to 53". 54" is pushing it.
Please indicate the size you want in the order notes, and as always, call with any questions.
AIRE's 12" diameter Kayak Thwart Backrest ($89) can be used in any AIRE or Tributary kayak, but you can also install it in kayaks from Hyside, NRS, Maxxon, and other makes with bail holes that run along the floor edges. Of course the Hyside Padillac and NRS MaverIK already come with this type of backrest, but in case you lose one or own an NRS Bandit this is an option. The price hardly makes it a bargain, but it does have a Leafield valve, which will match any American made AIRE model, and a urethane bladder, not vinyl. There are dual straps on each side so you can secure it from two directions just like the standard AIRE Cheetah Chair. It also has the same flip strap as the Cheetah Chair (see the text in the Cheetah Chair description).
The main reason paddlers buy the AIRE Thwart for their kayak is to achieve more rigid back support in heavy whitewater, and some feel it interferes less with their elbows. We don't push them one way or the other, but the demand seems to be increasing each year.
What about using these for self supported multi-day trips? Personally, we think a large, well stuffed drybag is a better bet. For one thing, laid down, a drybag makes a softer backrest. For another, the 12" thwart of course takes up a foot of available space for camp gear. Third, you have two choices with a thwart backrest: blow it up firm to get the very back support you're trying to achieve, or leave it soft. If it's blown up hard, unless the back side of your lifevest is really long, you may find yourself with a knot on your spine by the second day of paddling. And of course if if is soft, you may as well stick with whatever your i.k. came with in the first place. The best use for the inflatable thwarts is for day trips where you will encounter stronger hydraulics. These have a ten year warranty.
Please note that AIRE also makes a 7" diameter Thwart for kayaks that runs the same price as this one. As a backrest the 7" size is not very comfortable, so please be aware of this.
Dirty Devil produces heavy duty Kayaker's and Rafter's throwbags with the bottom halves built from 1000 denier cordura. The Kayaker's Throwbag, made for swiftwater rescue, has 50 feet of 5/16" yellow braided polypro floatline and runs $38. It's hard to see in our photo, but a snap-buckle equipped strap runs around the perimeter of this bag, so you do not have to waste a carabiner attaching it to your boat. It's also small enough to clip to your lifevest should you wish to do so.