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October 15, 2013 at 6:06 pm #939Lee Arbach TBPKeymaster
AIRE Tributary Tomcat LV Inflatable Kayak
One of the target audiences for this AIRE Tributary Tomcat LV Inflatable Kayak is obviously kids, but before you get tempted by the dimensions, cute graphics, or price point to buy the Tomcat LV for your own children to use in whitewater above class II, there are some things to consider. A 28″ beam inflatable with 9″ tubes and a fairly high center of gravity (the floor is almost 5″ thick, meaing the boat is only 4″ deep) is going to be much more tippy than the “adult” inflatables that have larger side tubes and widths generally upwards of three feet. If your young paddler is comfortable swimming rapids and athletic – and willing to take a few knocks during the LV’s learning curve, then it may be fine. But in the wrong hands, it could spend a lot of time upside down. For experienced hardshell kayakers of moderate size, the Tomcat LV can be a lot of fun, so kids are not the only intended pilot of this model. AIRE calls it a “play boat for smaller paddlers”. It seems like a very good use for this model might be on steep low volume creeks, rather than hydraulic-laden high flow rivers.
AIRE Tributary Tomcat LV Inflatable Kayak – The ONLY Choice for Kids
Until recently, the slightly wider & more stable NRS Rascal had been a good option for kids or less experienced petite paddlers, but the material the Rascal was built from became too pricey so NRS discontinued that model. For now, the LV is really the only readily available production model in the “mini i.k.” range. If we thought there was enough of an audience for inflatables this size, we would do up a separate kid’s model of our own. But experience shows this is a rather limited market.
Like the standard Tomcats, the LV has a one-year warranty, and it uses vinyl tube bladders rather than the more expensive and more stretchable urethane ones found on other AIRE & Tributary models. The Cheetah Chair is the same style found in all other AIRE – Trib kayaks. The weight capacity is around 250 pounds, but it is hard to imagine anyone this hefty will be pioting the LV.
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