There is a tough gap between cheap little rafts and hardcore whitewater river rafts and seaworthy Zodiak-style boats. Where is the middle ground? The affordable, solid quality raft that doesn’t cost a fortune but will hold up to at least some light abuse?
That raft is the Intex Mariner 4 — it’s a four-person raft with an innovative roll-up hard floor. The floor system gives you superior stability on the water. Pair this boat with a motor mount and an electric trolling motor, and suddenly you’ve got a handy and portable fishing boat that can rival a more expensive and cumbersome rowboat.
So how durable and solid is this raft? It has been certified by the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association (NMMA) and is a U.S. Coast Guard approved vessel.
Not bad for a boat you can pack around in a duffel bag and find for less than $300.
The oars are stouter than what comes with your average low-end raft, but as long as you’re not trying to fight whitewater or do anything stupid, they work pretty well on flat or gentle rivers.
The Mariner was one of my smartest buys when it comes to outdoor gear. Supremely useful with a fantastic price-to-value ratio.
Check out the full Intex Mariner 4 review at Man Makes Fire.