The NRS Freestone Drifter
The NRS Freestone Drifter/ inflatable drift boat is here. Inflatable drift boat technology is not new. NRS came out with the Clearwater Drifter a few years back. It was very awesome out of the box thinking, and while a great boat for certain applications, it was a little to big for rivers such as the Truckee and could not replace the raft for guides like me. Thankfully, NRS came out with a smaller version, a 14 foot skiff. Pretty much, it’s like I’ve died and gone to heaven. Drop stitch technology allows the boat to be rigid when fully inflated like in their stand up paddle boards. Rigid like a drift boat, bouncy like a raft. Here’s the take. Like a raft this thing can bounce off rocks, you can portage it, you can draft in very shallow water, you can put in cowboy style anywhere you want (don’t need a boat ramp,) it’s also self bailing like a raft, but you can close the valves and make it non bailing. Unlike a raft, it tracks like a drift boat, and maneuvers around the river with very little effort. It will hold weight (anglers) and anchors like a hard boat. The cool thing is this boat is quiet, no hull slap like a drift boat, fish have no idea you’re there. It does have a raft frame inside. There are line catchers, but there’s a lot of room, way more than a raft. Your dog will be stoked with the room, and with the self bailing valves closed, they won’t get their but and tails wet, very important for a dog. From a guide that used to row a raft, this thing rows like a dream, in fact it’s nicer than a lot of hard boats I’ve rowed. If you’re looking for a drift boat, but really need a raft, this is the boat for you. Thank you NRS for doing something different, this boat is a game changer for sure.