AIRE Tributary Tomcat Tandem Review

The AIRE Tributary Tomcat is an incredibly popular solo inflatable kayak, so AIRE followed it up with this tandem version. 

The Tomcat Tandem has the same updated bow and stern dodgers as the Tomcat Solo, with the improved shape, flip handles, and mesh drain system that made the original Tomcat so popular. The Tomcat Tandem is larger, more robust, and has a high weight capacity suited for two paddlers and all their gear.

The AIRE Tributary Tomcat Tandem is in our top list of inflatable whitewater kayak reviews and for a number of reasons. The durability of its AIREcell construction, a self-bailing mesh drain system, and the near-infinite repairability that AIRE is known for. It’s stable enough for beginners, but with the performance and durability that will satisfy experienced kayakers as well. 

Overview of the AIRE Tomcat Tandem

Specs

  • Type: 2-person inflatable kayak
  • Size: Inflated size: 12’6” x 38.5 inches
  • Weight: 44 pounds
  • Tube diameter: 12 inches
  • Bow rise: 18 inches
  • Stern rise: 18 inches
  • 2” waterline: 104 inches
  • Weight capacity: 450 pounds
  • Materials: 900/1200 denier PVC vinyl
  • Material weight per square yard: 23 ounces
  • AIREcell material: 20 gauge vinyl
  • Air chambers: 3
  • Valves: Summit II
  • Warranty: Tributary 1-year limited
  • Color: Teal and Red

Construction and build

The AIRE Tributary Tomcat Tandem Inflatable Kayak has an abrasion-resistant PVC outer shell with welded seams, surrounding the vinyl AIREcell inner bladder. It has three air chambers for safety, and heavy duty 1200 denier PVC flooring. 

The 15 inch rocker hull and mesh self-bailing system is perfect for white water, but the exceptional stability and ease of handling make it also a great choice for beginners on calm waters as well. Incredibly durable zippers protect the AIREcell system, but also make it accessible for repairs or maintenance over time, in keeping with AIRE’s commitment to repairability.

The AIRE Tributary Tomcat tandem comes with two inflatable thwart-style seats and has two carrying handles and two sturdy D-rings at bow and stern for easy transport. The floor is lined with 18 pairs of cargo loops for easy attachment of seats, cargo, and other accessories. High quality Summit II valves make it fast and easy to inflate and deflate. 

The AIRE Tributary Tomcat tandem is exceptionally durable, but also easy to repair, so you can get years of enjoyment out of it. It’s backed by a 1-year warranty. 

It’s also worth noting that early models of the Tomcat Tandem had glued seams, in keeping with the more affordable Tributary series, which were not as durable and got some negative feedback online. Current models all have welded seams, which have addressed that feedback, but it’s still possible to find older reviews that are critical of the seams.

About the brand

AIRE was founded in Boise, Idaho in 1989, by four friends who wanted a better whitewater boat. They set out to build inflatables that were safer, more durable, and easier to repair. Using only sewing machines, an RF welder, and a rotary welder, they invented the unique AIREcell system, an internal air bladder system with a PVC shell that is incredibly rugged and reliable. 

Today, AIRE boats are still designed and made in Idaho, and are famous for their whitewater-worthy inflatables. Every AIRE boat features the AIREcell system, thermally welded seams, raft lace in floors, and infinite repairability. While most AIRE kayaks are made in the US, the Tribute series are made in China, have a shorter warranty, and are more affordable.  

Pros

  • Three air chambers for safety
  • High 450 pound weight capacity
  • Made of rugged 1200 and 900 denier PVC for abrasion resistance
  • AIREcell construction for great durability
  • Welded seams 
  • Easy to repair, and comes with a repair kit
  • Self-bailing 
  • Very stable and easy to handle
  • Handles and D-rings for easy transport
  • Rugged and durable Summit II valves
  • 18 cargo loops for seat attachment, gear, accessories, and more
  • 1-year warranty

Cons

  • This kayak is a bit on the heavy side for an inflatable

Conclusion

AIRE Tributary Tomcat Tandem Inflatable Kayak-Red
6 Reviews
AIRE Tributary Tomcat Tandem Inflatable Kayak-Red
  • Length: 12'9"
  • Width: 38.5"
  • Weight: 54 lbs.

The AIRE Tributary Tomcat Tandem Inflatable Kayak is affordable, easy, and fun to use. It’s stable and simple enough for beginners but performs well enough for more experienced paddlers to enjoy. It’s roomy, durable, comfortable, and incredibly safe, with the redundancy of multiple air chambers, the protected AIREcell system, the ease of repair, and the included repair kit. 

It’s a high quality kayak that will stand up to Class III and Class IV rapids without a problem, last for years of adventures, and still comes at a reasonable price. 

There’s a reason that AIRE’s Tomcat and Tomcat Tandem remain incredibly popular inflatable kayaks, year after year. Try out this entry-level, crowd-pleasing kayak and find out how much fun it is yourself.