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Old 04-16-2013   #1
RockyMountainMan's Avatar
Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 44
SOAR Canoe, Inflatable Kayak Questions..

I plan to get into an IK, such as the NRS Outlaw II, the SOAR 12' Inflatable Canoe, or similar. I want something very portable that I can float solo or with one other person, mostly for day trips down the Roaring Fork - up to class III, possibly a small amount of IV, but mostly pretty tame rapids. And hopefully a few multi-day trips, with and without raft support.

I have a question on IK's: Does one's ass necessarily sit in the water the whole time if one weighs, say, 200 lbs? Or is it more of an intermittent soak? Will 2 people in the boat affect this? (It's been a while since I floated in an IK...)

Which leads me to the SOAR canoes, where one's ass sits up off the floor. Being able to stay dry is appealing to me. (Or at least to not sit in water..) There is surprisingly little info on this site and out on the www about SOAR boats as far as testimonials and reviews, but what I do read is all good. They seem perfect for what I want - a bit expensive compared to the NRS Bandit II - but wtf you only live once so I won't let that get too much in my way.

So, does anyone have any input on this decision, and specifically on SOAR Canoes?

Here are the boats I'm looking at thus far:

NRS Outlaw II: NRS Outlaw II Inflatable Kayak at

SOAR 12: SOAR - 12 foot Inflatable Canoes and Kayaks - Somewhere On A River
(FYI the SOAR's are on sale with free shipping through April 27)

Thanks very much for any input you can give...

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Old 04-16-2013   #2
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,408
Take this for what it is worth as I do not own a SOAR and have not paddled one.

I have two good boater buds who do and have.

They paddled the GC tandem in the 16 SOAR one owns.

The other paddler did Yampa down in a 16 paddling with his wife when Yampa was running 12 grand and they did just fine ran em all and no spills.

On another Deso Gray that 16 was paddled solo by a relatively new boater at really high flows and he had zero problems.

The owner of the 16 soar also has a smaller SOAR, 12 foot I think and he paddles it all over with multiple trips down the Ocoee.

Bottom Line, the couple in the 16 SOAR ran every thing on the Yampa I did in my 18 ft Aire Cat Boat. They did not look as big eyed as I did on the big water drops like Warm Springs or the big stuff in Split Mt down to the take out.

I don't have a SOAR, but would like to have one of the smaller ones for low water self support runs like the Salt in Arizona.

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Old 04-16-2013   #3
Chief Niwot's Avatar
West of Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 643
I have a buddy who has four of them. He is a canoeist and loves them because you paddle them like a canoe. He is friends with the owner, Larry Laba. They do serious expeditions with SOARS.
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Old 04-16-2013   #4
laterwagged's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 247
Well for what its worth, I am a 200+ paddler and have paddled quite a few duckies.

I currently have an older NRS bandit, a brand new NRS bandit, and a Tomcat, I recently Sold an Aire outfitter and Lynx.

Only the Aire boats seem to keep my butt out of the water in non-whitewater situations. In whitewater even class II, your butt is going to get wet anyway. The new Bandit is the worst offender - in a recent run on a brisk day (40 F) my ass was numb from cold and I was sweating in the rest of my drysuit.

The Outfitter that I had was a foam floor, and that really helped (until you have to pack it up and move it). It also helped that the outfitter has slightly larger tubes than a Lynx.

The shape of the tube in the tomcat boats gives you a little bit more rise than the more flat-bottomed NRS. This was also true of the Lynx, though the floor is different.

But I hear that the new NRS are using a drop stitched floor that can inflate to ~9 PSI so until I paddle one, I have no idea how that will change things.
but can you see its opposition | comes a-rising up sometimes | that it's dreadful and position | comes blacking in my mind | ....and then I see a darkness
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Old 04-16-2013   #5
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 168

I have been looking at SOARS as well and found a Buzz member in Fort Collins who has a 16' SOAR and said he'd let me test it when it isn't snowing.

Something to keep in mind is that paddling a Canoe is much, much more difficult than paddling a kayak. Unless you are an experienced open boater you may want to be sure to try a SOAR with a double balded paddle.

I would think that the Glenwood/Avon/Eagle area has a few outfitters who would rent yoou a Duckie to test out. You can certainly rent a ducky down the road in Moab and test it out on the Daily.

If you are looking for a double, be sure that the seats can be moved around like the NRS Outlaw so that it can paddle single or double easily.

With a SOAR I have always been leery of the enormous beam (outside of tube to outside of tube) which will make single blade forward strokes challenging and the completely flat bottom. I am worried that this combination will make tracking very challenging.

I have also been informed by a repair expert that the SOAR Pressure Relief Valve in the floor has such a high pressure release that blown baffles in the floor are very common. You may want to switch out the PRV for a lower pressure PRV to safeguard against a baffle problem.

I would love to have a SOAR but never buy a boat without test paddling and nobody in Colorado has SOARS for demo. If you get a 14 foot SOAR I'll show up with a case of craft brew for the chance to test it out.

Good luck,

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Old 04-17-2013   #6
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,406
Look at the Aire Traveler canoe. It looks like a nicer boat than the Soar, probably tracks better and has seats way off the floor.

Since you do only live once, have them throw in the inflatable couch and their new SUP!
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Old 04-17-2013   #7
The Russian
kazak4x4's Avatar
SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,380
I have a SOAR 14' with oar setup. It's a fun play boat and I have taken it down Westwater, Virgin River, Deso and Murtaugh (snake river). It's a reliable load carrier and can easily carry your overnight gear and be stable enough to run class 3-4 stuff. It's not the lightest IK however. In SOAR you do not sit on the bottom, but on the little shelf, so you are staying dry most of the time. I've packed my backpacks and gear under the seat without an issue.

Here are some of my old videos:

Virgin River at 850 cfs

Westwater at around 5,000 cfs

-ALEX [ youtube ][ my boat ][ ]
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Old 04-17-2013   #8
RockyMountainMan's Avatar
Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 44
Very, very helpful responses folks - thanks very much to all of you.

I'd really like to test drive the SOAR 12 or 14 first - going to be difficult to do so though as nobody seems to have one around me. Buying one without doing so is a bit frightening but I'm still considering it...

That AIRE canoe looks sweet too..

Thanks again everyone.
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Old 04-17-2013   #9
theBoatPeople's Avatar
Danville, California
Paddling Since: 1970
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 190
I would be careful about the new tandem NRS Outlaw, as it's drop-stitch floor - stiff or not - is only 4" thick. For a solo expedition craft it may be great, but if you have a second full size adult with you, I am almost certain you will have water around your butt. Every tandem Riken, Maravia, Sotar, Sea Eagle 340, Momentum, or any other i.k. with a floor less than 5" thick, that we ever had in the rental fleet, had water above the floor with two bigger people on board. I weigh less than you by a few pounds and I've experienced that quite a bit, even when the second person in front was under 140.
Also, pay very close attention to what TWMartin above said about the SOAR floors. Proper performance with a SOAR is dependent on having the floor chamber pretty firm, but there is a very fine line with them between "a bit too much" and too little for gear support. A lot of repair shops will tell you about repairing SOAR I-Beams, and it's not a cheap repair either. If Zack's reading this I am sure he will agree.
The intro to our Tandem Whitewater I.K. section talks about displacement and the difference between a properly designed tandem and one that is more limited weight-wise. AIRE's Strike II is a bit lower in capacity than their other models, but in general they make their tandems to hold big people and/or a lot of camp gear without swamping. This is definitely not true of the brands I mentioned above, though many of those are no longer made.
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Old 04-17-2013   #10
RockyMountainMan's Avatar
Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 44
Thank you TB People..

I've been chatting with Larry at SOAR a bit and gave him the link to this forum - he says he'll post something soon so hopefully he'll address some of these comments / issues from you guys.

Thanks again everyone - this is very helpful..

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