Hi guys, Just had my new H3 out today for the first time.It went really well until I returned to shore and noticed that the fabric covering by one of the valves was starting to pull away from the valve. Is this the start of some real problems? Any other owners have this happen. Please let me know what's up with this. Thanks.
I wonder if part of Cabela's issue for selling them is the H3's are around the corner form all the other tubes at the Lehi store. I do not know how BP does it but I do like how Sportsman's puts all the tubes together. My biggest complaint with the H3 is it did not come with a apron for the 4 bills. I enjoy mine and do like it a bit better than the ODC420 I had previous to it. If in several years when it is time to get a new one if NFO does not make them I am sure I will be in a SFC, but who the hell knows in 10 years we may be floating around on hover tubes .. hehe
I decided to call Scadden yesterday to see how he was doing. He was off camping somewhere, but I talked to Ryan. The H3 is still in production. The reason CABELA'S pulled it is NATION WIDE they sold about 40. People want the overseas, save a $ models. That is also why you don't see Trinity and Prowler. Heck you can buy a Pontoon with a wheel at Costco for less. As far as the vlve separating issue, things do happen. The valve didn't get tightened down all the way. The amount of returns on any NFO are VERY, VERY low and minor problems at that. I agree LIP, I see more ODC, FISH CATs and some Fat Cats and even a few Super Fat Cats. All in what you can afford or how far you wanna go. I know with ANY NFO boat I would feel it can handle ANY kind of water with no worries. Now what I can handle is another story. Like I said, I DRAG my Pontoon and my Navi quite a ways on gravel, dirt, grass, with battery and motor on it and they still look great!
So what is your point. The SFC has been around for 10 years or better, the H3 going on 3. There is also the chance that NFO is going to quit making them and concentrate more on the Outlaw. Plus with all the knock offs like the ODC and such, can you be sure that the 100's you are seeing are in fact the $389. SFC?
FG Cabela's has a bargain cave sale going on right now on the H3's. They are dumping them for $349. NFO has them on their website at $325. To me both of those prices are less than a Super Fat Cat. A Super Fat Cat will cost you $369.
Well, you gotta know I am going to reply to this one. First off, Liprippa, quote: live in Utah, home of Scadden and I can honestly say I have seen probably 100 Super Fat Cats or Fat Cats for every H3 on the water. Enough said. Could be the fact SFC and FC have been around allot longer. And it could be that most of the people are FAMILY oriented and money is an issue. Enough said. I started off with a SFC (which I am sure is still out there) but UP GRADED. I am not in the 200 lb range, I don't have the slide out of seat issue, plus my H3 is the cloth, not familiar with the new outer cover, other than I am sure it is the same as my Navigator II and the only material problem I have had with it is the "D" ring at the point started to rip out. Probably from me pulling it to the water with a BATTERY AND A MOTOR on it so I don't think that is a manufacturer defect, but more a DUH. I agree however, if you are not comfortable, then why keep it. I also REALLY have a problem sending all my money to CHINA, so they build their economy and take all the OIL products. Everyone has got to be feeling this more and more. But again, do what feels right. But, I think you can always find fault in anything...if you look long enough.
Thanks guys for your input. I have emailed NFO several times in the last couple of days and the only reply I received dealt with proper inflation. They didn't address my main concerns. So I'm not sure what's up with that. Anyway, Cabelas was extremely helpful with my concerns and I decided to exchange my current h3 with another one. They are covering everything including the return shipping to make this thing right. Trust me that Cabelas probably did more to save this sale than NFO is doing, and NFO should know that. I will give another one, one more try and Cabelas told me that if I'm still not satisfied we will work something else out. I think that's fair and I think that in short order I will know whether the h3 is good or not. I'm hopefull. The thing with NFO is not impressing me at all. I understand that this is their busy season but come on I have some easy questions and concerns. Shoudn't take more than a few minutes to get it cleared up. I'm essentialy giving them and their product another chance, but that's it. If the new one is like the old one, and NFO doesn't care to contact me, their done. And when the topic of tubes comes up between me and my freinds, NFO won't exactly get good reviews. And I have alot of friends.
No reason to keep it if you are uncomfy. I did notice the forward slope but it has never really bothered me. I do agree that is could be improved a bit as with everything. I would be concerned with the material pullling away form the valves. I would call NF directly as well. But by no means keep it cause I say it is the best thing since sliced bread, cause tubes are just like, everyone has a style they like. And at 400.00 dont be afraid to say I don't like it. Majja
After I had made my post last night, about not knowing of other "quality control" problems, I remembered that I had one right after getting my H3. The seat was REALLY atrocious and uncomfortable...and REALLY dumped me forward if I released a bit of air to soften the ride. When I removed the air bladder on the bottom seat, I found that the ridges were nonexistent. The one I got just turned into a big balloon, with no rigid support. (see attached pic). The construction of that air chamber is not good...and they are actually too big for the space alloted in the seats. They can never fully expand, which means a loss of form and function. I also did not like the valves. They are the twist to open and close kind...unlike the pressure operated kind for Outcast inflatable seats. You have to be fast to twist the top closed after reaching ideal inflation, and they are prone to loosening and losing air while you are on the water. I had those same valves on a Kennebec float tube and the valves loosened and became "problematic" after less than a year of use.
I live in Utah, home of Scadden and I can honestly say I have seen probably 100 Super Fat Cats or Fat Cats for every H3 on the water. Enough said.
Thanks guys for your input. Sabferfish I did originally think about a pontoon, but the areas I fish are somewhat remote even for Illinois and I need a lightweight craft for easier transport. Many of the ponds I fish are small 10-15 acres or less and a float tube was just the ticket. I am disappointed that the h3 has some flaws but their are good alternatives and Cabelas will work with me. As TubeDude has experienced the seat on the h3, at least for me, is uncomfortable as well. Not a quality problem just a personal thing I suppose. I will let you all know how this thing works out.
Sorry to hear about your H3 problems. Yours is the first quality problem on a North Fork craft that I have heard of. If you're going back to square one, and starting over, you might consider a pontoon boat. They do offer several options to increase comfort. After a 2 day drive into Canada, and a couple more long days sitting in my toon, my back was bothering me. I moved the frame back to the rear of the pontoons, and it was like moving from a hard kitchen chair to a lazy boy recliner. Pics attached. 1st one shows the very little difference moving the seat and frame back made, and the 2nd pic is a side view after the movement.
First of all, the 500 pound rating for the H3 is BS. They do not float any more than a SFC. I am over 250 and I have fished from both. The SFC floats me just as well, only more comfortably. The size of the air chambers is essentially the same...only elongated in the H3. No more water displacement (floatation). If you look on eBay, there are occasionally some 2007 closeout models of the SFC available for good prices. But, even if you have to get a 2008, with the PVC bladder, that is not the end of the world. Thousands of tubers fish safely and successfully from tubes with vinyl air chambers. I do not know of anybody...over many years of tubing and keeping track of tubing...who has gone to the bottom just because they had a PVC bladder. If a hook, knife or fish fin will poke a hole in a vinyl bladder, it will also poke a hole in urethane. They are not bulletproof. And, no matter what kind of bladder you have, you should exercise proper inflation and deflation techniques. You still need to use caution and common sense. I did some checking at the Cabelas Store here in Utah. They have had a lot of H3s come back...due to customer dissatisfaction...as well as some "flaws". When people can't get comfortable, or if they find something else wrong, they have a tough time rationalizing keeping something that cost so much. Cabelas has not had proportionately that many returns of the better tubes with vinyl bladders and none because of bladder failure. Most folks who get the SFC or plain Fat Cat love them and fish them for years. I bought my H3 because of all the hoopla about "USA made, urethane bladder, quality materials" etc. In my opinion, none of that makes any difference if you can't be comfortable and if the craft does not hold up. USA factories make some shoddy merchandise too. And over the life of the tube, the difference in performance between the urethane and vinyl will not be noticeable, if you take good care of your craft. Sure, there are some POTENTIAL differences and problems. But, as I learned a long time ago in business..."IF YOU WAIT 'TIL ALL THE LIGHTS ARE ON GREEN, YOU AIN'T NEVER GONNA LEAVE THE HOUSE." If you have the chance to read back through the archives on reviews of new SFCs by BFT members, you will find only glowing reports. And most of those buyers from years ago still have and enjoy their tubes. I got my first one in 2002...I think...and I still have it. It still works. I keep it for family or friends who want to join me on the water. We got new ones this year mostly to replace the two H3's that we sold off...at a substantial loss against what we paid less than 6 months before. Good luck. Let us know what you decide.
TubeDude, thanks for your reply. I am faced with the situation of a full refund from Cabelas or a trade up to another tube. I liked the h3 because of the weight cap. I am 230# and the the other tubes out there do not come close to nfo's 500# cap. Also, the urethane pvc comparison has me concerned with the sfc or prowler. In addition, Cabelas told me that they are discontinuing the h3 from their catalog for some reason. So I have a dilemma that I am not sure how to proceed with. Also, I did find on another web site that another owner of an h3 had the same problem with the fabric as I have, seperation by one of the valves. I didn't save the site and now I can't find it, don't remember how he resolved it. Do you think over inflation could cause this? I inflated the tube until the tips felt solid not rock hard, The rest of the tubes were also firm but not rock hard. I am really disappointed and am having a tough time deciding what to do. I have emailed NFO, but they haven't replied which makes me want to dump the thing entirely.
If it is any consolation, I have never heard of anybody else having that problem. But, anything manufactured can develop "situations". About the other problem...slipping forward in the seat. That is something I and my wife (TubeBabe) also experienced...but everybody else said we were just imagining it. Nope. It is real. In my opinion there is a basic design flaw in the seat. It is made to float either level or slightly forward. WRONG. Both for comfort and for safety it should incline just slightly backward. Makes it a lot easier on the back and arms...from having to scoot yourself back a hundred times a day. That problem is even worse if you leave the bottom seat slightly soft, for comfort. You have to air it up firm (uncomfortable) to reduce the slipping forward thing. I had mine for six months and then gave up on it. I tried putting a strip of hard foam in the front, on top of the air chamber, but even that did not help. My opinion...if you buy a "Cadillac" it should ride like a Cadillac...without modifications. Sorry for your disillusionment. Hope you can get a replacement or a refund from Cabelas. They are usually pretty good about Customer Service.
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