AIRE 156 D Raft review by TBP

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    Lee Arbach TBP

    The AIRE 156R & 156D inflatable rafts hold a total of nine without a problem. These big beasts actually handle very well for their length. Some of our ancient rental 156R’s saw some of the most serious big water class IV and V of any of our livery boats, including our local Tuolumne at blood curdling flows. More importantly, the 156’s saw these rivers right side up! The 156 series are highly stable if you are looking for a support raft for large groups, or something to do the above mentioned scary high flows regularly on your local rivers. The 156D used to have smaller tubes than the 156R, but this is no longer the case. Both models have 22″ main tubes, a foot of rocker (9″ at the back of the 156R), and both come with frame chafers. The R is 2″ longer and wider than the D so it will hold a smidge more weight, but the D model has more room for gear at the bow & stern interior since the tube diameter decreases there. We have found that most people already know what they want when they call us about the 156’s, but if you have questions by all means contact us. For now the “R” series, which is what is shown in our photo above, remains the most popular in the 15’6″ size. Note that as an alternative to the 156D, there is also a new 160DD model with very similar specs & price.

    The AIRE 156D river raft is 15’7″ by 7′ wide and weighs 165 pounds. The 156R self bailer is 2″ longer & wider and weighs 169 pounds. The 156E whitewater raft is 15’10” long and 7′ wide, and weighs 159 pounds. They have 22″ tube and the D and R models feature gray frame chafer areas to minimize marks from the steel or aluminum.
    AIRE Rafts 156D, 156E, 156R 5% Freight Allowance

    The $4,949 price for any two-thwart 156 model includes a 5% ($248) allowance toward motor freight, and/or any accessories you may need with your boat. If your shipping is less than $248 – in many cases it will be – and you need nothing else with the boat, we’ll work it out with you on the price. Our shopping cart does not deduct the $248 but we will do that before finalizing your total. And remember that an additional $247 price break is available for payments made via cashier’s check.

    All AIRE’s come with a very complete patch kit, repair video, lots of D- rings, lift handles, and two thwarts. Extra thwarts may be handy if you are going to run one of these as a paddle boat and are listed separately. Matching footcups are available for all AIRE boats (see Raft Accessories section).
    Sealed Floor Option for AIRE Rafts 156D, 156E, 156R

    Some boaters, most often those who don’t actually own any AIRE rafts, worry over water that is retained on the river between an AIRE’s floor bladder and the interior of the pvc floor pocket. They assume it will adversely effect the performance of an AIRE, especially a larger model like the 156 series. In truth, you are definitely carrying some H2O all the while you’re on the river, maybe eight to ten gallons on a 156. However, in our considerable experience most boaters won’t even notice it. But if you really want the top performance from your AIRE or are concerned about silt and fine grit entering through the floor pocket’s zipper, then perhaps it is worth looking into the Sealed Floor Pocket (“SFP”) option. This item is shown on a separate page as an add-on, and runs $447. Unless you actually do spend a lot of time on class V rivers, we don’t think it’s a good investment, but that’s your call.

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