Which IK, Aire or Sea Eagle?

I have been invited to go on an 8 day San Juan River Utah float trip and need to come up with an IK. The majority of the guys use AIRE Lynx Tandems, but those are kind of out of my price range($1500). A couple of the fellows use the Sea Eagle Tandems that run around $850. AIRE has a budget tandem, the Tributary which is in the $800 price range. One feature of the Sea Eagle that seems appealing is that the drain holes can be plugged. It also has a 3 year warranty. The AIRE brand seems to be very well respected. That particular boat only has a 1 year warranty, however. Anyone have any opinions on which way to go?

can you rent?
Can you rent? Might be a good way to get a better product without the cash lay out.

Renting is expensive
I can rent, but the going rate for tandem inflatables(the AIRE Tributary) here in Arizona seems to be about $40 per day. I would have $400 invested in the rental for just this trip alone. If it costs that much to rent, I think that I would be better off to go ahead and purchase. I also would like to have the boat on hand soon, so that I can learn to pack it, etc…

Aire Tributary Tomcat Tandem

– Last Updated: Aug-21-12 4:50 PM EST –

should work for that trip. I don't know anything about Sea Eagles; I don't see them around here. I have a single Lynx and love it, but I know folks take the Tribs on multi-day river trips like the San Juan. Fun!

Edited to add: You will probably be fine, but because you will be out for days, be sure to bring a repair kit and know how to make repairs; my Lynx came with a kit and a DVD showing (among other things)how to do field repairs. Also, don't over inflate -- don't inflate it hard and leave it in the sun out of the water.


– Last Updated: Aug-22-12 11:25 AM EST –

is a site with a lot of info on IKs, not just cut and paste from manufacturers' marketing language.
They do discuss the Lynx and the Tributary, so that might help you a bit -- but not Sea Eagle (though they mention Sea Eagle in passing in the Tributary Tomcat discussion).

IK world
Inflatable kayak world is a good source of info.


Thanks for the info!
I really appreciate the input and the links. They both were interesting reading. REI has put the Tributary on clearance for $678. With gift cards that I have been saving, I can get into that boat for less than $500, so that is the way that I am going to go. I will use the experience that I get on the upcoming trip to decide whether to stay put or to upgrade for the next adventure.