Tributary Strike 2 Inflatable Kayak review by TBP

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    Lee Arbach TBP

    AIRE Tributary Strike 2 Inflatable Kayak Current Version

    The current version of the Strike 2 no longer has the bra at the bow like it used to. The diameter near the bow & stern has also increased slightly. The minor difference would be hard for most of us to notice, but a likely effect is that the bow may dive into the foam below big drops a bit less deeply than before. The Tributary Strike 2 is intended more as a multi-use kayak compared to Tomcat II, Lynx or Outfitter tandems, falling in between them and the Super Lynx. Even so a number of our customers have been using Strike tandems in some high flow desert rivers with good results. Some of AIRE’s employees we’ve talked to have also said they liked paddling it at least as much as the Lynx II, and the consensus is that it’s a bit faster too, if a bit wetter. As long as your whitewater does not include large diagonal waves that tend to push & turn the bow, the Strikes will do well up to moderate, lower-flow class IV, and they work well in almost all class III situations.

    Even though the AIRE Tributary Strike 2 Inflatable Kayak was designed as a multiple purpose craft, it is not intended to track too well. If it did, the Strike would have problems in rapids. This is a flat bottomed boat, and reasonably fast. The faster an inflatable kayak paddles, the more abruptly it will make unpredictable moves. We have paddled many Lynx II’s on long flat sections between rapids and never had a problem, but if you intend to use a Strike, Tomcat, Super Lynx, or Lynx tandem mainly on flat water you should probably fork over a little money for one of our AIRE skeg kits. This can be found under the IK Accessories. All of the models on this page tend to do a U-turn if one or both occupants suddenly stop paddling, and almost any whitewater raft, kayak, or inflatable kayak takes considerable practice to move in a straight line. The skeg kit will help, but you should not use it in rapids because the fin will break.

    AIRE Tributary Strike 2 Inflatable Kayak are 12’6″ long, so unlike with the Super Lynx, 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 were supposed to be narrowed to 36.5″ last year, but even now they still measure a full 37″ wide. AIRE lists the 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 be a tiny bit of water around your butts. 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 370 pounds with neither paddler over 200 pounds. 450 pounds is not realistic with this model.
    AIRE Tributary Strike 2 Inflatable Kayak Differences to Tomcat II

    Both the Strikes and the Tomcats are made in AIRE’s mainland China factory, but the details that differentiate the Strike 2 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.

    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 Super Lynx 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 10.5″ 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. Please note that sky blue is the only color available.

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