I have been pondering how to write this blog without sounding like I’m dogging on our Tributary brand, but it is true, Tributary and AIRE are not the same. We created Tributary as a cheaper division of AIRE, and by cheaper I do mean lower in price, warranty and quality. We’ve had Tributary boats for 6 years and it has been a great addition to our selection. With Tributary we try to compete with the price of glued PVC boats and still give you a well constructed boat with good components.
We try really hard to have a good reputation of customer service and satisfaction and do our best to go above and beyond expectations, so it bums me out whenever I talk to a Tributary customer who thinks they have an AIRE warranty. I end up feeling like the bad guy and they end up feeling mislead. Here is my attempt to explain and clear up any misunderstanding between AIRE and Tributary and be as entertaining as possible.
Materials – All AIRE boats use Ferrari brand PreContraint PVC. If you have ever been to the Denver Airport, you have seen Ferrari PVC. It is high quality material, it has to be, it is associated with the word “Ferrari”. We use Ferrari PVC on the callers and floor bottoms of Tributary Rafts as well as the tubes of Tributary Catarafts. We didn’t want to skimp on the PreContraint technology on the bigger boats, however; it is lighter PVC (31oz per square yard) then the AIRE PVC (35/43 oz. per square yard). We also cut a little corner on cost and quality by using Chinese PVC on the raft floor tops, thwarts and all the Tributary kayaks.
All the Tributary Rafts and Catarafts and Strike series kayaks have urethane AIREcells (clever name for bladders) just like the AIRE boats. The Tributary Tomcats and the Sawtooths have Vinyl AIREcells. Vinyl is not as good as Urethane, but it is not as expensive either and we pass that cost saving onto the consumer.
Construction and Design – For the most part, Tributary boats are constructed and assembled the same way as AIRE boats, basically, a PVC shell with an air holding bladder layer. We don’t glue seams; this is true for AIRE and Tributary. Tomcat and Sawtooths have polyester stitched seams all the other Tributary boats have welded seams. Most of the Tributary boats have designs based on old AIRE designed. The Catarafts are old Jaguarondi and Ocelots, the Strike is an old Force Expedition and the Tomcat is based off the Caracals.
Labor – All AIRE boats are made in the heart of Idaho. All Tributary Boats are made in China. Need I say more?
Warranty – NONE of the Tributary boats have a no fault warranty. All of the AIRE boats have a no fault warrant. Tributary has 1 and 5 year limited warranties which are not the same as the AIRE no fault warranty. This piece of information is getting lost somewhere between shopping, buying and realizing the Tributary boat has flown off the trailer onto the highway and completed a few back flips on the pavement. I beg you, please read the warranties, they are right here, they are short, you will see that the no fault warranty protects against user damage and the limited warranties do not.
So, now that we have established that Tributary is a completely different product line then AIRE, here is some Tributary boats doing some Awesome whitewater, enjoy!