Want whitewater-worthy beefiness with your fishing craft package? Look no further than AIRE’s sister company, Outcast, designed to offer just that, bringing the company’s tried-and-true, bombproof AIRECell technology to the fishing market.
In 1989, ardent whitewater paddlers Alan Hamilton, Greg Ramp, Kris Walker and Dennis Hill founded Argonaut Inflatables Research and Engineering (AIRE) with a series of catarafts and IKs. In 1995, they broke into the fishing scene with three boats; the Fat Cat, the PAC 650 and the PAC 800 — offering an unprecedented 10-year unconditional warranty on the two pontoon boats against damage to the seams and construction. As for Outcast, it was a match made in heaven.
How Outcast Was Born
“Because AIRE was born and raised in Idaho, whitewater and fishing go hand in hand,” says sales manager Chris Callanan. “Due to AIRE’s great reputation in the whitewater industry, the original Outcast owner came to AIRE to make the tubes for single-person pontoon boats with aluminum frames. As the Outcast brand grew it made sense to merge the two.”
Both brands use same technology, he adds, with a PVC outer shell, heat-welded seams (no glue) and internal bladders. This beefiness has led to the brand now bringing in about 30% of the company’s total business
“AIRE and Outcast boats are welded and sewn instead of being glued together,” says Callanan. “We’ve found that it’s not if glue will fail, but when. So we keep it out of our process.”
The pairing of brands helped broaden seasonal sales as well. “Adding Outcast also gave us the stability of a new market so all the eggs were not in a whitewater bucket,” Callanan says. “It allowed us to grow with similar product but a new customer base. While some dealers carry both brands, most do not. Outcast has products like float tubes which are for stillwater fishing, which is typically earlier in the year. Then you have highwater runoff, which is where AIRE boats come into play, and then fishing season after runoff through fall.”
The Outcast brand, he adds, is found in specialty retailers but also big box stores like Bass Pro, Cabela’s, and Sportsman’s Warehouse. “It gives us great coverage in the Midwest and East Coast, which aren’t exactly whitewater hot spots,” he says, adding that both Outcast and the company’s AIRE Environmental division give it “a three-legged stool” as far as a customer base. “It’s a great balance because if we have low water, fires, or even too much water and sales slip due to conditions beyond our control for whitewater and fishing, our Environmental branch props us up.”
As the most durable inflatable fishing boats and float tubes in the market, Outcast’s line of float tubes, frameless, pontoons and rafts come with a 5- to 10-year warranty (the best in the business), as well as the puncture-resistant AIREcell System and Integrated Gear System (IGS), a moveable base that accepts pockets, rod holders and anchors. All of its pontoons feature improved “continuous curve” rocker, meaning more performance on rivers in a design that allows the boat to crawl over waves and rapids. The design also eliminates all the seams on the bottom where the boat takes the most abuse.
The OSG Striker is designed to facilitate easy, quick water access for two anglers. It’s small and compact and eliminates the need for a trailer since it can fit in the back of a pickup truck.The OSG Ambush is a frameless, two-person pontoon boat that can tackle big rivers. The OSG Drifter 13.0 is a fishing raft package that won’t break the bank. The raft is constructed with a heavy-duty PVC shell, filled with airtight urethane AIREcells.The PAC 1300 offers whitewater performance in a compact package. It has plenty of room for a rower, two anglers, plus some gear. Its short narrow footprint is great for navigating technical rivers.