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New Product Profile: NRS Clearwater Drifter

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August 20, 2012

New Product Profile: NRS Clearwater Drifter

by Kirk Deeter

            
We saw a number of interesting new products for the fly fishing market at the International Fly Tackle Dealer trade expo in Reno last week.  On a 1-10 “innovation” scale, given the fact that this was a smaller show compared to years past, I’m going to rate the new collective product offering a 7.  We’ll get into a number of specific product reviews in the coming days and weeks, but I wanted to kick things off with the NRS Clearwater Drifter.

It’s a drift boat.  No, it’s an inflatable raft.  Actually, it’s both—an inflatable watercraft that has a frame and is shaped like a dory.  This boat generated a lot of buzz at IFTD, and actually won a “Best of Show” award in the watercraft category.

The boat is made of drop stitch PVC.  The cool part is that it can be shipped via UPS in a surprisingly small box, frame and all. What that really means is that it can be broken down and stored in the corner of a garage, or transported to the river in the back of an SUV or station wagon.  You don’t need to trailer it, but you could. If you’re someone like me who has always wanted a drift boat, but has never been able to convince the Mrs. to let me take up garage space or store a dory by the house, this might just be your ticket.  If you're stuck between choosing a raft or a drift boat, this might be a happy compromise.

Because the Clearwater Drifter purportedly offers some of the advantages of both worlds—namely the ability to bounce off rocks like a raft, and the maneuverability, fish-ability, and open space of a dory.  (It’s 18-feet long and 82-inches wide when inflated to around 9 psi.) It’s definitely priced more than the average raft at just under $6,000 retail.  And I’m not entirely sure how a light (300 pounds) higher-profile boat like this would handle on windy days.

But I’m definitely looking forward to rowing one (and fishing from one) to check it out.  I give NRS props for ingenuity.

Comments (2)

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Huge questions on that one. Fold up and store, and then the next season you find some little rodent chewed through your inflatable.
And a biggie is the boats rocker on the bottom, "row-ability". Put an angler front and back, and have most of the boat's bottom in the water, and the rower had better have gorilla arms. Next I see no dry storage. Another problem can be "how high is that front point? And if it doesn't sit quite as low in the water as a hard boat, will the wind blow the boat around a lot.

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from kent_klewein wrote 1 year 29 weeks ago

Sayfu,

No raft style drift boats have dry storage man. We generally use waterproof bags to store the gear that needs to stay out of the elements and to keep weight down we make sure we don't bring anything we don't need.

As far as the "row ability" It's supposed to be more responsive that traditional style rafts and catarafts. I like that it's got a large foot print because that means it will draft less and work perfect for my home waters where we lack decent cfs.

No boat design, fiberglass, wood or pvc is perfect for all situations and locations. You have to figure out where you're going to be fishing the most and then buy the proper drift boat that's right for you.

I think it's a really cool idea and design and has new features we've never seen before. For that I give NRS props for the innovation and thinking outside the box.

Kent

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Huge questions on that one. Fold up and store, and then the next season you find some little rodent chewed through your inflatable.
And a biggie is the boats rocker on the bottom, "row-ability". Put an angler front and back, and have most of the boat's bottom in the water, and the rower had better have gorilla arms. Next I see no dry storage. Another problem can be "how high is that front point? And if it doesn't sit quite as low in the water as a hard boat, will the wind blow the boat around a lot.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kent_klewein wrote 1 year 29 weeks ago

Sayfu,

No raft style drift boats have dry storage man. We generally use waterproof bags to store the gear that needs to stay out of the elements and to keep weight down we make sure we don't bring anything we don't need.

As far as the "row ability" It's supposed to be more responsive that traditional style rafts and catarafts. I like that it's got a large foot print because that means it will draft less and work perfect for my home waters where we lack decent cfs.

No boat design, fiberglass, wood or pvc is perfect for all situations and locations. You have to figure out where you're going to be fishing the most and then buy the proper drift boat that's right for you.

I think it's a really cool idea and design and has new features we've never seen before. For that I give NRS props for the innovation and thinking outside the box.

Kent

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