Tributary Sawtooth Tandem Inflatable Kayak

This Tributary Sawtooth Tandem Inflatable Kayak comes standard with two backrests. Simply remove one and reposition it to become a Sawtooth Solo Touring Kayak (two kayaks for the price of one!)

The Tributary Sawtooth series has gone from a single 13’3” model with one seat (in 2009), to two separate models (one longer at 15’1”) the next year, and now back to just one 13’3” version again – but this time with two backrests. AIRE no longer uses the Roman numeral “I” and “II” designations, simply calling the current boat a plain old Sawtooth.

Tributary Sawtooth Kayak rear
Tributary Sawtooth Kayak rear

The Sawtooth always was a tandem size kayak, but AIRE initially marketed it with just one seat because they were trying to hit a price point they could not quite achieve by including two seats. As it is, the Sawtooth is the same, or several inches longer than, all of the Innova brand tandem touring inflatables. Even a fairly tall couple will have no issues arranging the blow-up backrests to provide adequate legroom.

Prototyping the AIRE Tributary Sawtooth Tandem Inflatable Kayak

We had worked with AIRE on the early Sawtooth prototypes (at first it was just called the “Rec kayak”), playing with several of them here at our shop and local waterways. The length, width, and tube size was precisely what we had asked for, though the unique protruding floor design was something AIRE came up with on their own. This floor, which pokes down below the tubes close to four inches, seemed bizarre at first. We quickly came to realize though that it gave lift to the side tubes in such a way that they drafted very little water compared to kayaks with more level bottoms. And this in turn made the final prototype design far faster than the more conventional earlier proto’s had been. It also helps with tracking if you happen to leave the removable fin at home, or want to paddle down a shallow stream where the fin might hit bottom.

In their spec’s reprinted below, AIRE gives the weight capacity at 400 pounds, but realistically this has to be widely spread around. We usually recommend about 370 maximum, and anyone over about 210 pounds may find a little water puddling around their tushy. This can be resolved easily though by utilizing a closed cell foam cushion to sit on & raise yourself slightly off the top of the floor.

Specifications – AIRE Tributary Sawtooth Tandem Inflatable Kayak

  • Length x Width x Height: 13’3″ x 32″
  • Tube Diameter: 9″
  • Bow Rise x Stern Rise: 9″
  • Weight: 42 lbs (our scale says about 43.5)
  • Load Capacity: 400 lbs
  • 2″ Waterline: 110.5
  • Aire Chambers: 5
  • AIREcell Material: Vinyl
  • Fabric Denier x Material Weight: 500/1000 x 30/32oz
  • Seam Construction: Sewn
  • Valve: Summit II
  • Warranty: 1 Year Limited

AIRE Tributary Sawtooth Tandem Inflatable Kayak – High Performance

As mentioned above the Sawtooth has a removable aluminum fin, and if your paddling skill is fairly high you may be able to leave it off if you wish. In shallow water less than 12″ you have to leave it off. To this day, we really haven’t used the fins on this model or our American made Trinity II-USA (also an AIRE product) at all, but some paddlers may experience “arcing” without it.

A unique aspect of this model compared to most inflatable touring kayaks is that it has a protruding keel shaped floor. This odd floor provides very high hull speed from a relatively short boat. The Sawtooth slices through the water like no inflatable before it. We really never thought anything under 14′ or 15′ would go faster than the Innova Sunny, which has an excellent hull design, but the Sawtooth is faster by at least half a knot in solo mode, and glides quite a bit further after you stop paddling. In tandem mode with two competent 170 pound paddlers, it will make about 4.3 m.p.h. You cannot buy a faster boat under $1500 or under 15′. Until our Trinity came out the only other kayaks with protruding floors from AIRE were the older SuperLynx models from the 1990’s, and all versions of the Sea Tiger, which are keeled but still a bit doggy compared to the Sawtooth. Floors on these two were/are bulgy at the front and back, not tapered to lifted points like the Sawtooth, and on the Sea Tiger and the old Superlynxs the floor designs seem to add little or nothing to the performance. Many people think with the Sea Tiger being fully triple the Sawtooth price that it must be faster, but it’s not.

There are 32 cargo/seat loops for tying in gear and the seat(s). The bow and stern have comfortable lift handles, and the Sawtooth comes with a basic patch kit & valve wrench. We also offer this model as a package with paddles and pumps, and that package is listed in this Tandem Touring IK section as well.

AIRE Tributary Sawtooth Tandem Inflatable Kayak – No Need to Look Further

With the Sawtooth priced so low there is little reason to look at the under-$1,000 competition, unless you feel you just have to have a covered deck model – but many paddlers buy decked boats for the wrong reasons altogether. None of them will paddle as fast or with as little effort as the Sawtooth, even if they may look more “sleek” in the advertisements.

With regard to pumps for the Sawtooth, we should note one detail: The small valves on the backrests require a normal round pump hose tip to be slipped over the valve tube for inflation, whereas the three main chambers require a completely different twist-in adapter for any foot or mass-produced hand pump. So in other words, you need to pull your twisty-adapter off the end of the pump hose to inflate the backrest pillows.

AIRE Tributary Rafts Specialists