For 2019, lime green will replace orange as the hull color on both the tandem and solo Strikes.
Although the AIRE Tributary Strike 2 Inflatable Kayak comes from the same factory that makes the AIRE's Tomcat kayaks, there are several differences between the Tomcats and Strikes. These are detailed down below.
This year there have been three improvements for the Strike series kayaks, two minor, and one that is pretty major. First, the bail areas are now covered with mesh on the bottom to help prevent the influx of large sand particles and twigs. Second, there are flip handles on the bottom like the Lynx and Outfitters have. The third and most important upgrade will be in the hull material. AIRE has been using a 500 denier base pvc for a few years, but the 2016 fabric is now a much stiffer 1,000 denier, with higher tear strength. Additionally, the thickness of the coating decreased, and this has dropped both the solo and tandem Strike's weight enormously. The Strike II used to be 47 pounds, or 40 without seats. It is now a feathery 36.5 pounds, or under 30 with the seats out.
Strike II’s are a bit more versatile than their Lynx, Outfitter, or Tomcat equivalents in that Strikes track bit better and go a tiny bit faster than the others. Being flatter at the bow than a Lynx II or Tomcat, it is slightly less suited for class four water – especially high flow class IV with big crashing waves – but is fine for class II, III, and okay for low flow class IV. A number of our customers have used both the tandem and solo Strikes for some fairly difficult runs with good success. We haven’t used these ourselves on much beyond class III but they are still one of our favorites among AIRE’s two person craft. We have more experience with the solo Strike than with this tandem model.
If you intend to use a Strike, Tomcat, or Lynx tandem mostly on flat water you should probably look at our AIRE skeg kit. This can be found under the IK Accessories. The fin patch isn't always easy to glue on to the kayak, but some of the models in this section of our site tend to spin out if one or both occupants suddenly stop paddling. Almost any whitewater raft, kayak, or inflatable kayak takes considerable practice to move in a straight line. The skeg kit is helpful, but the fin must be removed for whitewater use.
Strike II's are 12'6" long, so unlike with the SuperLynx, there is not enough space to run overnighters (or to take a child or large dog along for the ride) out of this model with two adult paddlers on board. These measure 37" wide, a bit more than the SuperLynx. AIRE lists the Strike II weight capacity at 450 pounds in their brochures, but the Strike inflatable floors are not as thick as they are on a Lynx or Tomcat and the side tubes are smaller. With two paddlers weighing around 200 pounds, there may not be water around your butts. However, with one paddler weighing 150, and the other 250, the bigger person will have about half an inch of water near their posterior. We would suggest keeping the payload to 390 pounds with neither paddler over 200 pounds. AIRE's 450 pound figure is a bit optimistic with this model.
Both the Strikes and the Tomcats are made in AIRE's mainland China factory, but the details that differentiate the Strike II from the Tomcat II are as follows:
1) The warranty is 5 years on the Strike instead of one year.
2) It uses urethane side tube bladders like a Lynx instead of the cheaper, less stretchable vinyl bladders found in the Tomcats.
3) It has welded seams on the underside instead of the stitched seams found on Tomcats. )There is some conflicting information at this point as to whether AIRE will make the outer seam welded on the 2016 Tomcats, or whether it will still be stitched. We haven't had a chance to inspect a new Tomcat yet, so we will update this detail when we know for sure.)
4) The tube bladders aren't left side-right side. Instead, they pass through the front & back ends of the boat, like they do on the SuperLynx and Force series. This makes for a very rigid bow and stern with great wave-punching ability.
5) The floor bladder is 5" thick instead of 6", and the tubes are 11" on the Strike II instead of 12". This drops the payload capacity as discussed above, but also lowers your center of gravity, keeping the Strike II very stable in big rapids.
As with all AIRE kayaks, the seats are infinitely adjustable and/or removable, but the Strikes come with the Cheetah chairs shown, whereas the Tomcat has inflatable "pillow" style backrests. Please note that the orange - gray two tone is the only color available.
Free shipping to any lower-48 address. You can save 5% by paying with cashier's checks, so if you wish to go that way send us your goodies list and your zip code and we will get you a total. All shipping on kayaks is UPS ground unless you tell us otherwise, or unless you live in Alaska or Hawaii. For those two states, or Canada, you may wish to have your boat sent via postal service, and if so we offer a small allowance toward the fees.
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. Our cart will also try to charge you the UPS< but that will also be removed from the total.
Small/XS and XL/XXL sizes only - see text
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!
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.
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.