Tributary Sawtooth Touring Inflatable Kayak review by TBP

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    Lee Arbach TBP

    The AIRE Tributary Sawtooth inflatable kayak, or “Sawtooth I” as it’s also known, came out early in 2009. We’re extremely excited about this affordable, high performance touring model and we’re also proud to say that we were one of the main instigators of this kayak. As prices have risen on the European brands, we wanted something that would be more affordable and competitive. It would be a serious understatement to say that the Sawtooth is merely “competitive” with the lower end econo-buy brands though. You also get a $40 toward UPS/gear credit!

    Note that we show this model under both the solo and tandem Touring i.k. sections of our site, since people often buy this boat for solo use. AIRE has managed to confuse potential buyers by bringing out a second, longer model this year with a “II” (2) suffix. That does not mean that this model, sometimes referred to as the “Sawtooth I”, is a one person craft. It is in fact longer than many of the other tandems found in this section or in our whitewater tandem area, and easily holds two adults. However, many photos of this model show it with just one seat. More details follow.

    Also, if you are looking for a Sawtooth package with a paddle & pump, we somehow misappropriated that under the Tandem Touring Inflatable Kayak page instead of in this section like it should be. We’ll correct it soon!
    Inflatable Kayak Tributary Sawtooth Creation

    The genesis of the Sawtooth involved five prototypes and a final factory sample that were sized closely to the Gumotex (Innova) Solar tandems we used to import a few years back, the Solar tandem being a bit longer than the Innova Sunny. We wanted something a bit over 13 feet in length, and between 31″ and 32″ wide, with smaller tubes than existing AIRE models to keep freeboard minimal. Apparently the two or three other dealers that had a strong interest in a touring model from AIRE agreed with these specs.

    The size of the final prototype, which the production boats were patterned from, was 31.5″ wide with 9″ tubes, by 13’3″ long. The weight is 42.5 pounds, about eight more than the Innova Sunny EX but still quite reasonable. With two seats it’s 46 pounds. We say that the weight capacity of 400 pounds shown on AIRE’s site might be a bit optimistic; 370 to 380 will work better. And on the subject of seats, almost every photo on the web shows the Sawtooth with a single seat, giving the false impression that this is only a one-person kayak. For reasons having to do with both dealer and end user feedback, AIRE felt that they really wanted to bring their first recreational kayak in under $800, and with a second seat it was deemed impossible. That said, as with any AIRE or Tributary kayak, you can add, take away, or reposition seats any way you want. So adding a second seat is no problem, it’s just that the shopping cart price is with one seat. Extra seats are available. The price shown is $55 for the AIRE seats, but you get 10% off accessories so it will only add $49 to the tab. The Sawtooth, with it’s 13’3″ length, is definitely a tandem sized boat, but of course it works great solo as well.

    The Sawtooth has a removable fin, and if your paddling skill is fairly high you may be able to leave it off if you wish. We have been able to keep this boat tracking fine without the fin, though some may experience “arcing” without it.

    The unique aspect of this model compared to most any other inflatable kayak, including the other AIRE & Tributary kayaks, is that it has a keel shaped floor that protrudes about 3″ below the main tubes. This is what helps the tracking, but it has a more important purpose in that it floats the boat in a way that keeps the draft of the main tubes shallow – especially with only one paddler on board. The net result of this odd floor is very high hull speed from a relatively short boat. Early prototypes with flatter bottoms were definitely slower, but the Sawtooth as we know it now slices through the water like no inflatable before it. We really never thought anything under 14′ or 15′ would go faster than the Innova Sunny, which has an excellent hull design, but the Sawtooth is faster by at least half a knot in solo mode, and glides quite a bit further after you stop paddling. In tandem mode with two average 170 pounders in the boat, it’s about the same as the Sunny yet it still seems to glide better. You cannot buy a faster boat under $1800 or under 15′. The only other kayaks with protruding floors from AIRE were the older Super Lynx models from the 1990’s, and all versions of the Sea Tiger, which are keeled but still pretty doggy compared to the Sawtooth. Floors on these two were/are bulgy at the front and back, not tapered to lifted points like the Sawtooth, and on the Sea Tiger and the old Super Lynxs the floor designs seem to add little or nothing to the performance. Many people think with the Sea Tiger being fully triple the Sawtooth price that it must be faster, but it’s not even close.

    There are 32 cargo/seat loops for tying in gear and the seat(s). The bow and stern have comfortable lift handles, and the Sawtooth comes with a basic patch kit & valve wrench.
    Tributary Sawtooth Value!

    With the Sawtooth now available there is really no reason to look at the other brands in the lower end of the price range, unless you feel you just have to have a covered deck model – and many paddlers buy this type of boat for the wrong reasons altogether. None of them will paddle as fast or with as little effort as the Sawtooth, even if they may look more “sleek” in the advertisements.

    The price includes the one seat, valve wrench & adapter, and basic patch kit, and a $40 UPS / accessory allowance. This allowance does not show up on our shopping cart when UPS is calculated. We will subtract it before funds for your final total are captured. Please note that any additional 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.

    Price: $849.00
    Color: Yellow only
    Boat weight: 42lbs.
    Load capacity: 380lbs.
    Length: 13 feet 3 inches
    Width: 32 inches
    Bow-Stern rise: 9 inches
    Waterline: 110.5 inches
    Tube diameter: 9 inches
    Air chambers: 3
    Rolled up dimensions: 12 X 18 X 25″
    PSI inflatation: Floor = 2 psi ; Tubes= 2.5 to 3 psi
    Tube shell material: PVC 900 denier
    Tube bladder material: Vinyl unreinforced
    Floor shell material: Bottom = 900 denier : Top = 600 denier
    Floor bladder material: 400 denier urethane coated nylon
    Sawtooth warranty: 1 Year
    Shipping info: Box 1 = 48 lbs, 12 X 21 X 25″

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