AIRE has been making boats for over 20 years with a PVC shell and the Urethane AIREcell (bladder) system. Last year AIRE introduce a new fabric option and built a few boats with a Urethane shell. Since that time we have been getting a few questions about our Urethane boats.
At this particular point in time, we have no intension of going completely away from PVC. We have been using PVC for over 20 years for good reasons. PVC it is tough, resilient to river abuse, and relatively inexpensive which is a savings we can pass onto the users. It is also easy to work with in the manufacturing process and makes a strong weld. We trust our PVC with the urethane bladder combination to give you top performance and durability and we back it up with a 10 year no fault warranty.
The urethane fabric we are offering is not PVC material coated in spay on urethane, the fabric is Urethane. Both fabrics have a 1670 base denier polyester weave but instead of Polyvinyl Chloride being layered onto the bass fabric, it is Polyurethane.
The Urethane fabric is about 10 times more abrasion resistant then PVC, which is a big part of why we decided to offer it as a custom, top of the line option. For example, with a PVC fabric, it took a little over 1200 cycles using the TABER H-22 wheel test to expose the base fabric. The Urethane fabric took over 12,000 cycles before the base fabric was exposed. (This test compared Erez PVC to Erez PU)
All our rafts and catarafts can be built with urethane in the colors yellow, blue and orange and they still have urethane bladders. These boats will be a few pounds heavier then their PVC counterparts and they will look more shinny. When we tested the above urethane boat on the Lochsa, I think it felt a little stiffer and it still looked brand new when we took it off the water. The urethane material is much more expensive then the PVC and will increase the price of the raft or cataraft by about $1100.00. At this point, we do not stock Urethane boats here at the factory. If you would like one of these boats call your local dealer to place an order, it usually takes us about 4 weeks to get urethane boats through production. Boats built with Urethane still get the 10 year no fault warranty.
If you have any addition questions give us a call at 1-800-247-3432 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.