You would have seen over the last few years that there has been a surge in whitewater rafting enthusiasts and why not the sport provides a thrilling and exciting experience.
The whitewater rafts although not necessarily pretty are better than boats as they provide a lot more stability and a lot more room for your fishing and camping gears. They carry a lot of weight and are difficult to topple as opposed to a kayak.
In today’s market, there are a lot of different rafts available. Some of them provide great durability while others are big enough to hold more than 10-12 persons in them. So, whether you are a whitewater rafting guide or looking to own your raft it becomes a daunting task to choose the one which caters to all of your needs.
It is extremely important to know all the ins and outs of a raft and what thought has been behind a specific model. After all, they have expensive and you don’t want to put your hard-earned money on the one which isn’t made for your needs.
I had to really look a lot when going for my first raft as it is really hard to find all the information and unbiased reviews you need to know in one place. We have tried to put some of the best whitewater rafts the market has to offer. We had the first-hand experience of a few and for others, we asked owners for their review. We have tried to include a variety of rafts in terms of size and their capability for you to make a better choice.
A Comparison of Best Whitewater Rafts 2021
|Saturn 13' Raft||1100 Dtex PVC||8|
|AIRE tributry 12 Raft||Urethane & 2000 PVC||4-5|
|BRIS 13 Ft Raft||2000 denier PVC||5-6|
|NRS Otter 140 Raft||1100d Pennel||8-9|
|Hydroforce Voyager 1000||3-Ply Vinyl||3|
|Intex Mariner 4||Polyester with PVC||4|
|BRIS 15 Ft Raft||2000 denier PVC||12|
|Saturn 9.6′ Raft||1100 Dtex PVC||3|
|Super Duper Puma Raft||Urethane &1670 PVC||8-9|
|Sea Eagle SE 9||38 mm PolyKrylar||3|
See our updated list of Best Rafts For River
1. 13′ Saturn Raft – A Comfortable Whitewater Raft
Saturn has been in business for more than fifteen years now. They are producing some of the class-leading whitewater rafts available in the market. They also produce inflatable boats, kayaks, and Kaboats. The 13′ raft is one of their best-selling whitewater rafts. It is their second-smallest whitewater raft after the 9’6″ mini raft.
At 13′ in length and 6’5″ width, it provides a great ability to battle those toughest waters and at the same time can reach those tight constraints. Basically, it is rated for class V rapids. I have often used it in class IV rapids and occasionally in class V rapids and it is as good as any big raft.
Additionally, at a capacity of 1500 pounds, you can have 5-6 of your family and friends on board and still have room for your fishing and camping gear. Moreover, it comes with two inflatable thwarts. These snuggly fit into the raft, however, you can remove them if you want extra space.
In terms of construction, it is made up of 1100 Dtex high-strength PVC fabric. This gives it durability and makes it tear and puncture-resistant. Additionally, Saturn uses cold welding in addition to chemical glue for the seam making the seam very strong.
Saturn revised its floor design in 2017 and they claim the revised floor design provides 70% more protection. The five-layer drop-stitch floor provides a stable and rigid surface when slamming rocks in low water conditions.
What I really like about Saturn is that they provide a lot of color options. For 13′ Saturn, you can go with green, blue, red, or dark grey color. Moreover, it comes with rubberized handles which help in transport. It uses Leafield C7 valves which have a smooth and inner profile and help with quick inflation of the raft.
If you are wondering about accessories, you are going to get two removable thwarts, a carrying bag, and a repair kit. So, no oars and no air pump, which is a real disappointment. However, you can use an air mattress pump.
Talking about other aspects of safety and convenience, it comes with 16 exterior D-rings, four of which are angled for better frame strapping. The overall tube diameter is 17.6″. The pressure for the floor is 6 PSI which really makes it rigid and stable. It also has 12 mm self-bailing holes. This 13-inch raft has seven air chambers and additionally has a chaffing protection layer on the top side of the exterior tube.
In terms of price, considering its feature and the general price range for quality rafts, Saturn could have easily put a price tag of around $3000, but this amazing raft comes at a mouth-watering price of around $1500 at the time of this review.
Overall, there are a lot of great things to write about this beast of a whitewater raft as we are only picking up the best. However, I would like to end this review by saying if you are looking for an extremely affordable durable raft this is one of the best choices available. After all, it does not always have to be expensive to be good.
2. AIRE Tributary 12 Raft – A Compact Self-Bailing Raft
AIRE Tributary makes on our list for best whitewater rafts as AIRE or Argonaut Inflatable Research & Engineering is one of the key players of the rapidly growing raft industry. Since starting in 1989, they introduced a lot of innovation into inflatables. For example, to get rid of glued seams, they introduced the AIREcell system which uses thermal welding. Tributary is one of their raft series and includes rafts of 9.5′, 12′, 13′, 14, and 16′ rafts. 12′ Tributary is a small-sized whitewater raft.
At 12′ in length and 6.1′ in width, it provides great maneuverability and paddling. It can handle up to class V rapids, however, if you are new to whitewater rafting we would recommend getting your skills honed before rafting on class IV or above rapids.
First of all, it has a capacity of 1200 pounds. This means that you can have 4-5 persons on board and still have a lot of weight capacity for your fishing and camping gear.
In terms of construction, it is made up of 2000 denier PVC and it has a real compact and sporty look. Additionally, it has air bladders which are made up of urethane and an outer PVC shell covers them. This two-layer system provides great air retention, tear-resistance, and rigidity.
In addition to this, they use thermal welding for seams. All of these factors make Tributary extremely durable and self-bailing. Moreover, the air bladders are zipped inside the PVC shell, which provides easy access to air bladders in case repairs are needed.
The exterior has ten D-rings for optional attachments. It also four handles for easy transport. As an inflatable, it has Leafield B7 valves which ensure easy and fast inflation and deflation. Moreover, it has an 18″ tube diameter and has six air chambers.
Personally, I like its piano-hinged pre-lacing floor system, this bails water quickly. Additionally, it comes with a couple of removable thwarts that come with straps. So, you can either have them or remove them for additional space or you can even install a rowing motor.
AIRE Twelve HD comes at a price that can be termed as a bit expensive for the size. I personally think the price is justifiable considering the quality and durability AIRE brings into rafts.
Just like Saturn 13′, it does not come with an air pump, so you will have to buy a new one or use any air mattress you have at home. However, it comes with a repair kit.
Overall, this is a nice company sporty-looking raft, which is stable enough for family trips on calm waters and agile enough for whitewater fun. It is much easier to handle than larger rafts and has been a great hit amongst river guides. In addition to that AIRE has extremely efficient customer service. They provide a 10-year no-fault warranty and will repair or replace any faults with a smile.
3. BRIS 13 Ft Whitewater Raft – A User-Friendly Safe Raft
BRIS produces a variety of inflatable products and has been in business for decades. The noteworthy thing about their product is the price. They produce high-quality products at a very competitive price. I am quite often asked how they can be so reasonably priced and the answer to that is they are sold directly and there are no dealers involved.
They produce whitewater rafts in 5-6 sizes and they range from 8.2 ft to 15 ft, so they provide quite a wide variety in terms of size. All of them have some basic characteristics which are similar and some features which are specific to a certain size. We will be talking about their 13 ft whitewater raft. This will give you an idea about the basic technique behind BRIS rafts and how they compete with other different rafts.
In terms of whitewater class, the 13 ft BRIS is suitable for up to class V rapids. We used it in North Highlands Dam in Columbus and it has got some class IV and V rapids and it handled them pretty well.
Talking about capacity, it states to have a capacity of 8 individuals and it has foot straps, four on each side which is a really great feature and adds to comfort and safety. It is 13′ long and 6.2 ft wide.
When it comes to construction, the material is 2000 denier 1.2 mm PVC and makes the main tube and bottom floor fabric. Additionally, the floor is self-bailing, which means you don’t have to worry about the accumulation of water in the raft.
One of the admirable features of this raft is the 140 mm thick drop-stitch floor. This technology was first introduced into stand-up paddleboats and ever since then, it has been used in other inflatable products. It adds stiffness to the floor which makes it easier to stand on. Additionally, it adds great rigidity and it allows to push through the waves better which also helps with the speed of the raft.
Externally, it has 10 D-rings which allow for option fishing frame attachment. Just like any good raft, it has an all-around extra protective layer on the top exterior part of the raft which makes it withstand rocks and other objects.
Coming back to construction, the tube diameter is 18″ and the raft has 7 air chambers. Another feature worth mentioning is a 29-inch bow/stern rise or rocker which really adds to its ability to handle class IV-V rapids easily. Moreover, it has six soft handles which help in taking it to and from the water. The boat itself weighs 128 pounds.
In terms of accessories, this raft comes with a couple of thwarts that are removable and fit snuggly into the raft. It also comes with a set of oars, a foot pump, a nice carry bag, and a repair kit. So, basically, you are all covered and you don’t anything extra to put your raft into the water.
I have this raft for six months now and a concern I have about this boat is that it has glued seams rather than a welded seam. However, my friend has it for two years now and he is very satisfied with the overall quality so far. Another problem I had was that I received the wrong owner’s manual which was for another boat.
In terms of price, I believe it is extremely reasonable for such a feature-rich raft. Additionally, it comes with all the necessary accessories, so you do not have to put extra bucks for an air pump or a set of paddles.
Overall, I believe BRIS has put a lot of thought into building up an affordable and competitive whitewater raft series. This raft is user-friendly, compact, and really over-delivers in terms of performance and durability. I would say if you are looking for an affordable compact raft, give BRIS a try, they are as good as any expensive raft.
4. NRS Otter 140 – A 14-Feet Masterpiece
NRS Northwest River Supplies has a fascinating story. Bill Parks started this company with $2000 in personal savings in 1972 and 42 years sold this company to its employees. So, on this day, NRS is a 100% employee-owned company. It produces a whole variety of watersport products and other inflatables. In addition to that, it also serves as a supplier for other companies.
NRS’ Otter is one of the best whitewater raft series and consists of outfitter-grade whitewater rafts and has five models in it. They range from 12-feet to 15-feet variants. The series has Pennel Orca 1100d Hypalon as the basic material of construction which is easy to roll and has a long life and is more abrasion and puncture-resistant than polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
NRS does not put a weight capacity on their rafts and they explain it quite rationally. Otter 140 is suitable for up to class V rapids. NRS calls as “little big man”. This essentially means that size is such that it can navigate tight rivers, however, it is big enough to carry heavy loads.
At 14′ length and 7′ width, it provides great control and maneuverability. The tube diameter is 20″. Otter 140 has a weight of 126 pounds and has six air chambers. It comes with four carrying handles which help in carrying a raft.
Additionally, it has 12 stainless steel D-rings which gives you the ability to attach a fishing frame or other gear. It is compatible with any 66″ wide and 82″ long frames such as NRS Bighorn II Raft Frame. Both sides have patches of Pennel Orca which guards against any damage from the frame.
In terms of floor, it is built with the same material of 1100-denier /41 oz Pennel Orca. Moreover, it has HD-40 floor armor which protects it from rocks. In addition to this, the floor is self-bailing and the quick-draining holes don’t allow water accumulation.
The Otter has Leafield C7 valves which ensure easy inflation and deflation of the floor, thwarts, and tube. What I really love about Leafield valves is that they have a very smooth outer profile which prevents any snagging with other materials.
One of the cool features of NRS raft is the Leafield A6 Pressure Relief Valve which is on the floor. This pressure-relieving valve is a one-way valve and it releases pressure when it reaches a 2.5 PSI. Over-pressure can damage the raft floor and mostly occurs when the raft has been pinned down in sun for too long.
In terms of accessories, it comes with two removable thwarts. However, you can add a third optional thwart by attaching to the attachment point mid-way between the two thwarts. It additionally comes with a repair kit. However, it does not come with an air pump or a set of oars.
In terms of price, NRS produces high-quality products and this quality comes at a price. At the time of this review, Otter 140 comes at a price of around $4000. However, if you are looking for a quality feature-rich raft, it is hard to ignore NRS rafts.
5. Bestway HydroForce Voyager 1000 – Great for Fishing and Camping Trips
Bestway Inflatables & Material Crop has been in business since 1994 and produces a wide variety of sporting products. In Europe, it captures around 34% share of the whole inflatable market which is a good measure of its quality.
HydroForce Voyager 1000 is part of a three-boat series that includes Voyager 300 and Voyager 500. Voyager 1000 is the biggest in the series.
First of all, Voyager 1000 is great for exploring lakes. It also has two built-in fishing rod holders which make it also good for fishing. Additionally, it is suitable for up to class 3 whitewater bodies.
The package comes with two 60″ aluminum oars which can be taken apart. This makes their transport and storage convenient. The package also includes an Air Hammer inflation pump, a repair patch, and one storage bag. Additionally, it comes with a couple of inflatable cushions which really adds to the comfort of this already capacious boat.
The overall dimension of Voyager 1000 is 115 x 50 x 18 inches (W x H x D). It has a dry weight of around 33 pounds which is not much and you can easily transport it to and from the waters.
When it comes to built-in attachment mounts, it has a couple of fishing rod holders, a grommet for a motor mount, and omnidirectional oarlocks. It additionally has a wrap-around safety grab rope which helps in moving.
In terms of construction, it is made up of high-grade 3-ply reinforced vinyl which makes it very sturdy and UV resistant. The basic structure of the boat has two air chambers, one forms the side, and the other forms the floor.
When it comes to capacity, Voyager can hold up to a whopping 594 pounds. So, you can have a couple of persons on board and still add your camping and fishing gear.
Critically speaking, the thing I did not like about this raft is its seam. Overall, this is a very sturdy boat, but the seam might be a problem. However, it comes with a patch. So, if it gives way to you, you can patch it there and then. Additionally, it took me forever to pump it with its pump and I needed an electric pump.
Overall, this is a beast of a raft and great for exploring lakes and going for camping as it provides a lot of space and weight capacity. Additionally, I feel it comes at a great price, it could easily have been $250-300. It might take some time to set up, but once set up it floats great and tracks nicely.
6. Intex Mariner 4 – For Class II-III Rapids
Intex has made a name for themselves over the years with their quality inflatables. Some of their products include airbeds, above ground pools, and boats. Intex Mariner has two models, Mariner 4 and Mariner 3 which are suitable for four and three persons respectively.
Intex Mariner 4 provides a unique set of features which makes it quite versatile. You can use it as a fishing boat, a recreational inflatable boat and it is compact enough to be used as a class II-III whitewater raft. We include it in our list because it provides a stable platform with its hard floor making it suitable for family trips in calm class II-III rivers.
In terms of construction, it is made up just like a whitewater raft, which means it has three layers in it. A polyester layer is sandwiched between two extra-thick PVC layers. It also has a laminated vinyl layer which makes it abrasion and UV resistant. Mariner is the only Intex boat that has a hard floor. This hard floor makes it rigid and stable for stand-up casting.
Mariner 4 comes at a capacity of 800 lbs and it can carry up to four adults. However, we would recommend two adults and two kids as four adults would make the boat a little congested. With two adults and two kids, you would still have a room for your cooler and fishing gear.
On the outside, Mariner 4 has a couple of fishing rod holders and 360-degree oarlocks which not only keep the oars in place but also allow their easy movement. Additionally, you can rotate these oarlocks to 90 degrees which makes them parallel to the boat and you can keep them locked when not using them. It additionally has two grab handles at the bow and stern which makes the carrying and handling easy. Moreover, there is an all-around grab rope which also helps with the handling of the inflated boat.
On the back of this raft, it also has points for putting a motor mount kit which sold separately and you can attach a trolling motor or a 1.5 HP outboard motor. This will allow you to get around faster.
Basically, this boat has five air chambers, four in the main body and one in the keel. This means that if one of the compartments is leaked, you would still have other compartments to reach safety. Because this boat has a combination of an inflatable keel and a hard floor, this allows you to easily stand up without having to worry about tripping over.
One of the reasons for me putting this boat on our whitewater raft is that it comes with an all-around rock guard. In addition to this, the bottom also has a rock guard. This means that if you run into rocks, you don’t have to worry about damaging your boat.
In terms of accessories, Mariner 4 comes with three removable seat cushions which are made up of the same material as the main boat. They snuggly fit into the raft and each of them can be removed if you need extra space. Additionally, it comes with a Double Quick high output air pump. The special thing about this pump is that it puts air when you are pulling in and when you are pulling out.
Mariner 4 comes with quick-fill Boston valves. Double Quick pump in addition to quick-fill Boston valves makes inflate the raft a breeze. You can get the whole raft inflated in around 10 minutes. It also deflates quite quickly.
Above all, Mariner 4 comes with a set of 54-inch deluxe aluminum oars which are not the best ones around, but still not bad either. It additionally comes with a repair kit, an Intex carrying bag, and the owner’s manual and instructions.
Any boat with a hard floor comes at least twice the price as Mariner 4. So, considering its hard floor, inflatable keel, and other features, we feel that the price is highly reasonable.
Overall, we intended to include a whole range of whitewater rafts in our list. Intex Mariner 4 provides a great stable platform and has a solid construction. It has the ability to withstand class II-III rapids and would be perfect for a family day out on a calm river for a fishing trip.
7. BRIS 15 Ft Raft – Perfect Raft for Family Trips
The thing I really like about any BRIS is that they are handcrafted. In addition to that, they produce quality products at a very reasonable price. At a time, when a 15 ft raft can cost you around $3000-$4000, they have one at around $1500. With all the necessary accessories included, I think this is a great buy.
BRIS 15 is the biggest boat in their raft series. However, to start off things, the real disappointment is that it comes in only one color, blue. Other color options would have added another plus to this raft.
Although it does not come with a whitewater rating, I believe it is strongly built to handle up to class V rapids. At 15 ft length and 7 ft width, it provides great space and can hold up to 12 adults. So, if you have a big family and a circle of close friends and want to go on a rafting trip, this raft has you covered. It has also foot straps on board, which really adds to safety and comfort.
In terms of construction, the main tube and bottom floor fabric are made up of 2000 denier 1.2 mm PVC. Anything above 1000 denier is considered strong and heavy-duty.
Like any good raft nowadays, this raft has a 140 mm thick drop-stitch floor. Drop-stitch technology adds stiffness and rigidity to the floor which in turn provides a stable standing platform. In addition to this, the self-bailing system this raft has is very efficient, so you don’t have to worry about your rafting getting flooded in case of water or heavy rapids.
The tube diameter is 20″ and it has eight chambers. Another feature adding to its ability to handle higher-class rapids is its bow/stern or rocker of 30 inches which is above average for rafts. The raft weighs at 158 pounds. In additionally has six soft handles which help in easy handling.
Externally, it has 12 D-rings for an optional fishing frame or other accessory attachment. If you are looking to add a fishing frame to it, we would recommend going for NRS Bighorn II.
This 15-ft raft has Halkey Roberts valves which are used in around 60-70% of inflatable rafts. They are better than any other valve-like Leafield valve in that they have a cap that goes in and does a quarter-turn lock and prevents any air leakage. This helps in the quick inflation of the raft. The pressure required is 3.5 PSI for the tubes and 10 for the floor.
In terms of accessories, this raft comes with three removable thwarts. It additionally comes with a set of oars, a foot pump, a carry bag, and repair kits. So, it comes with all the necessary accessories.
Moreover, it has all-around strake protection which protects the raft from damage when coming into contact with rocks or other pointy objects. It additionally has an all-around lifeline rope which is a real help. The raft is also equipped with pressure relief valves which help in releasing air pressure if it reaches a certain PSI. Air pressure can increase if your raft has been pinned down in sun and this can damage the tubes and the floor.
The one issue I have with BRIS rafts is the glued seams. Although they use quite clever marketing terms to say it is quadruple reinforced, I am still skeptical about the seam in this otherwise very good whitewater raft.
In terms of price, as stated earlier, it comes at a great price. They could have easily sold it at least twice the price given the quality and features this raft has. What really adds value to your money spend is that it comes with all the necessary accessories. So, you don’t have to buy a separate pump or oars.
Overall, if you are looking for an affordable raft for your extended family or friends for long trips, this is an amazing choice. It provides great space and covers all the basics you can expect from a nice whitewater raft.
8. Saturn 9.6′ Raft – A Little Speedster
This 9.6′ mini raft is the newest addition to Saturn rafts. They say the idea behind this raft was to provide an alternative to overpriced min-rafts in the market. So, they have come up with this little beauty which has all the basic features of any big Saturn raft but adds great maneuverability and speed at 9.6 ft.
At 9.6′ in length and 5’3″ width, it is small enough to sneak through the tightest spots and is big enough to handle class III+ whitewater. You can hold it still on a fishing spot or go on whitewater surfing. It has the capacity to hold up to four people and still have room for your cooler.
What I really like about this raft is that it is more portable than any other big raft and you can easily put it into the trunk of a medium-sized car or back of an SUV.
In terms of construction, 1100 Dtex high-strength PVC fabric makes the tube. The tubes are also coated on both sides with 1100 g/m2, 0.9 mm fabric. The revised floor is made from a double-layer of PVC. Additionally, the bottom layer also has an extra thick 1.5 mm material wrapping up the exterior tube. Moreover, the floor is drop-stitch and has 1.2 mm PVC construction.
After the 2017 revision, Saturn says the floor provides 70% more protection and the drop-stitch technique has added 50% more thickness to the floor. So, if you have heard some bashing about Saturn rafts, I would like to say that they have improved a lot and the revised rafts are as good as any on the market today.
Saturn provides color options and this mini raft comes in blue, dark grey, and red colors. Additionally, I have heard that you can call them for a custom-made raft and have the color of your choice, cool, isn’t it!
On the exterior, this raft has 12 D-rings, 10 of which are outside and 2 on the inside. This helps with optional fishing frame or other accessories attachment. It additionally has two soft handles, one each at the front and rear ends. They help in easy transport or handling of the raft.
The floor 5.5″ thick and is rated for up to 10 PSI, which makes it really rigid and stable for a mini raft. Moreover, the self-bailing holes are distributed throughout the length of the bottom which makes the water leave the raft quickly and evenly.
The tube diameter is 17″ and the raft has a total of five air chambers. There is all-around strake protection, however, it does not come with grab rope.
This mini raft uses Leafield C7 valves, which have very smooth internal and external surfaces. What I really like about these valves is that because of their smooth external surface they do not snag with any ropes or other equipment and in rough waters, they don’t cause any injury. The smooth inner surface means that they don’t cause any damage to the internal structure of the raft. In addition, the raft also has a single pressure-release valve inside the raft which helps to release the air pressure if it reaches a certain threshold.
In terms of accessories, it comes with two removable 10″ thwarts, a repair kit, a carrying bag, and a spare kit. In addition, it comes with a generic hand pump. However, it does not come with an oar set, so keep that in mind when you are going for this raft as you will have to buy them separately.
In terms of price, it comes at a mouth-watering price of around $1000 which is excellent if you are starting rafting and are looking for a mini raft at a reasonable price. One of the things about Saturn is that they use cold welding for the seams which really adds to the solidity.
Overall, this is a great affordable mini raft for a small family or a couple of friends for whitewater rafting. It provides great control and maneuverability. Moreover, it comes at a very reasonable price. There are some minor shortcomings, but not major ones. So, overall, this is a great product for people who are looking for a compact mini raft that is solid and not overpriced.
9. AIRE Super Duper Puma – A 14′ Extremely Durable Whitewater Raft
AIRE has been in business since 1989 and produces some of the class-leading whitewater rafts. Puma is one of their oldest raft series. One of my friends has a 1995 Puma and it is still going strong, really a measure of their strength and durability.
The first thing you are going to notice about this Puma is the classic design. It really has a classic look to it. Most of the newer rafts have a modern look, but Puma still has a classic cool look. The design itself really stands out amongst other rafts. Secondly, it comes in a lot of different color options to choose from. It has some of the rare color options such as white, lime, and yellow along with the usual black, red and blue.
In terms of capacity, this 14 ft long raft can handle up to seven people. Super-Duper Puma has construction and design which makes it suitable for class IV or above rapids. It has a narrow width as opposed to a normal 14 ft raft and this fact makes it suitable for narrow and tighter spots.
When it comes to construction, it has bombproof PVC-coated tubes. The basic fabric has a denier count of 1670. Denier is the weight in grams of 9000 meters of thread used. Anything above 1000 denier is considered strong and durable.
Moreover, it has AIREcell System which means that it urethane air bladders, and they are covered by a PVC shell. Urethane is the most durable and lightweight fabric and gives Puma the best puncture and tear resistance.
The thing I really like about AIRE is that they use thermal welding for the seams. So, a combination of urethane air bladders and welded seams makes this raft one of the most durable rafts around. In terms of floor, it has a piano-hinged pre-lacing floor system, which is PVC coated. It additionally has a double lacquer gray PVC on the bottom and this makes the bottom extra resistant to abrasion. Like any other newer rafts, it has a self-bailing floor.
On the external surface, it has 14 D-rings for optional frame attachment. This raft uses a 19.5″ diameter tube which is really good and has four air chambers. Moreover, it has four handles, two on each side. However, it does not have all-around strake protection or a grab line.
In terms of accessories, it comes with two removable thwarts, however, it has attachment points for a third optional thwart. Most AIRE rafts do not come with air pump or oars, so you need to buy them separately. It uses Leafield C7 valves which help in quick inflation and pressure retention.
The price of AIRE Super Duper Puma can be termed as a high range. This is because it uses urethane has base material which is the most durable and expensive material used in raft manufacturing.
Overall, this is an extremely durable raft. It has a narrow width which leaves little room for your camping or fishing gear. However, the narrow width provides speed and control. The price is a bit on the higher end, but it is an extremely durable raft and can last you a while.
10. Sea Eagle SE9 – A Recreational Family Raft
Sea Eagle is one of the top manufacturers of inflatables in the US and they have been around since the 1960s. SE9 is one of their finest products. It is quite a versatile boat and can be used for a number of activities including fishing, rowing, and mild whitewater rafting.
One of the things I love about Sea Eagles inflatables is their color scheme. They come in eye-catching and eye-soothing white and blue colors and so is SE9.
There is so much to talk about this great inflatable that I don’t know where to start from. To start with, it comes at a gigantic weight capacity of 1200 pounds, which means that you can have 4-5 adults on board and still could add your cooler and fishing gear.
This reasonably priced raft comes with Sea Eagle’s MM9 Motormount, so it can have a motor mounted on it. We would recommend using a capacity of 3 hp for a gas motor with a 20-inch minimum shaft and 45 lbs and up to 74 lbs for an electric motor with a 30-inch shaft.
It has a construction of 38 mm PolyKrylar, this is K80 PVC and has a uniformity throughout. Additionally, this material is highly tear-resistant. It won’t get punctured with your fishing hooks. It obviously can be punctured with knives or other pointed objects, but you would need to apply a lot of force to it and do it purposefully. Moreover, it is UV and saltwater resistant making it extremely durable.
It has an interior dimension of 7’6″ x 2’4″ and an exterior dimension of 11′ x 4’8″. The tube diameter is 15″. However, the floor has a double-layered 4″ I-beam construction. The I-beam structure gives rigidity and stability.
Sea Eagle SE9 comes with all the accessories needed to put your raft onto the water. The AB254 paddles have an aluminum shaft and plastic blades. The Fisherman’s Dream configuration includes a couple of inflatable seats, a 13″ fishing seat, and a 4″ rowing seat. It additionally has a foot pump, a carry bag, and a small repair kit.
The bow has a handle and it also has a wrap-around grab rope. These help with the transport of the boat. Another worth mentioning fact here is that it has 4 deluxe air valves which are one way, so while you pump the air it does not come out and this helps in quick inflation. The overall inflation time is around 15-20 minutes.
One thing I would definitely ask you to keep in mind is that it comes at a weight of around 50 pounds and if you include the paddle and foot pump into the carry bag, it can increase up to 70 pounds which can be heavy to carry for one man.
Overall, there are a lot of good things about this feature-rich fishing raft. It comes with all the necessary accessories and is very well built. In addition, this raft is really versatile and can be used for fishing, rafting, and yachting. However, it is not made for fast-moving rapids and is not fast, but it provides great convenience.
A Buyer’s Guide for Best Whitewater Raft - Which One Would Suit Your Needs
We have listed 10 of the best white rafts in the market and we hope that it has helped you to narrow down your choice. However, if you are still wondering which one to go for, there are a few things you need to consider when going for a whitewater raft.
Like many things in life, we have to compromise one feature for the other and the same is the case for rafts. One specific raft is not going to be perfect for a different kind of use. This is the reason you would see real rafting addicts have a variety of different rafts.
Here are a few things you need to consider when buying a raft. All these specifically relate to your needs and your preference for a certain feature over the other.
The first thing you need to consider when going for anything in general and inflatables in particular what you intend to do with it. Are you going to use it for fishing, or is it for family trips on mild rivers or is it going to be class IV or V rapid rafting?
If you are buying a raft for fishing, if it is going to be in class III or above waters, we would recommend a raft that is heavy-duty to handle such waters. In addition, you need to have a raft that has the ability to attach a fishing frame. Most of the rafts on our list fulfill these criteria.
If you are planning to go on such a fishing trip with a couple of family members we would recommend going for Saturn 9.6′ raft. This is because it is suitable for such waters and gives the ability to attach a fishing frame. Moreover, as it is relatively smaller in size, it gives you the ability to reach those tight fishing points.
However, if you are planning to fish in smaller or calmer water bodies like a class II river, we would recommend going for Sea Eagle SE 9. It can hold up to four people and comes with all the necessary accessories to be a fishing raft. Moreover, it comes at quite a reasonable price.
If you are planning to go on a rafting trip with your family on class II or class III rapids Intex Mariner 4 provides great control and has the construction of any big raft.
If you are a real rafting enthusiast and are willing to go on real rapids, and are looking for a raft that can hold its own in class III or above rapids, we would recommend Saturn 9.6′ Raft.
However, if you are a rafting guide and are looking for something big with extreme stability, we would BRIS 15 Ft Raft which can hold up to 12 persons and is stable and is reasonably priced.
The material used in the construction of a raft is a very important factor to consider. Design and material impart all the different characteristics of any raft. Most of the rafts nowadays use one or a combination of three materials; urethane, Hypalon, and PVC.
The material of construction is a perfect example of compromising one feature for the other. Urethane and Hypalon are durable but are heavier and expensive, whereas PVC is inexpensive and light, however, is not durable. Therefore, different manufacturers are using different countermeasures to balance these factors. We have discussed in detail the construction of each raft in its respective sections.
The design also imparts different qualities to rafts and makes them suitable for different purposes and adds features. For example, a wider design makes a raft more stable and rigid, however, makes it less maneuverable. On the other hand, a nimble or narrow design makes the raft easy to control, however, makes it less stable.
These are little compromises you have to make when going for your perfect raft. Basically, it all comes down to your intended use and your personal preference, and whether you are looking for more space, stability, or more control or speed.
There are some other factors you need to consider when it comes to design. These include the self-bailing bottom, number of D-rings for fishing frame attachment, pressure-relieve valve, pressure rating, etc. For additional convenience and safety, most of the rafts have an all-around grab line, strake protection on the side and on the bottom, and handles for easy handling and transport.
All of these affect the overall performance and convenience of the raft. We have discussed in detail all these factors for different rafts in their respective sections.
Different rafts come with different accessories. Some come with all the necessary accessories to put your raft on the water while others come with a few or basically no accessories. Some of the basic accessories include thwarts, an air pump, a set of oars, a carrying bag, and a repair kit.
On our list, Saturn and AIRE don't come with an air pump, so you have to buy one separately. However, most of the rafts use air valves which are compatible with a variety of pumps and you can use any mattress air pump to inflate them.
However, some rafts like Sea Eagle SE9 and BRIS rafts come with all the necessary accessories and you don't have to buy them separately. So, keep this factor also in mind when you going for a raft as it can add to the overall cost.
Last, but not least, you do need to consider the price of the raft. We have included a variety of rafts ranging from a couple of hundred bucks like Intex Mariner 4 to all the way up to $4000-5000 like AIRE Super Duper Puma.
As discussed, the material of construction is the major factor in determining the price of the raft. The higher the price the more durable and corrosion-resistant the raft is going to be.
However, if you are looking for a nice combination of durability and affordability, we would recommend going for any for the Saturn Rafts. They are durable and come at a reasonable price.
Hopefully, we have been of help to you in deciding which raft you need to go with. We have included all the different factors you need to consider when going about purchasing a raft.
They come in different shapes and sizes and come with different features and capabilities. Basically, it all comes down to your intended use and the amount of money you are willing to put in.
Otter and AIRE series promise durability and longevity, however, they are expensive. So, if you are willing to make a one-time investment go with them. However, if you are looking for a compromise between price and durability, go with any of the Saturn rafts, they are affordable and provide good durability.