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Old 10-26-2014   #1
Coos Bay, 97420
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 21
Which 14 do you recommend (RMR,Sotar,Maravia)?

I have just gotten into the rafting side of this sport. I bought an old (1985) Hyside this year. I knew the boat had no value but it had a custom frame with boxes and was ready to hit the river. After a couple trips down the Rogue (3 day trips), I love this side of the sport. The rafts are an amazing pack horse. I obviously found out quickly why NO body wants the old non-bailers anymore.
To get to the point, Iím upgrading the boat. My options that I am looking at (all 14 ers around the same $$$):
-Brand new 2014 RMR are around $2,500 or Demo ones at around $2,000 (both with warranty).
-Older Sotar Elite $2,500 (2001, that also has some average oars but are still a upgrade from my wooden oars, donít laugh, just getting into this sport remember).
-10 year old Maravia Williwaw from a rafting company for about $2,200 (looks to be in good shape but obviously well used).
I will mostly be using it with a frame loaded down with a couple kids riding along but would like to also be able to take 4-6 buddies, no frame and paddle some fun rapids. It will be stored on a trailer outside but under one of those pop-up carport things and will through another tarp over it as well. I live on the Coast so there will be no extreme heat or cold.
Whatís your recommendation?

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Old 10-26-2014   #2
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 135
Sotar elite if it is in good shape. Sotar's are great rafts in my opinion. Maravia is a great raft as well but that one sounds pretty old.

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Old 10-26-2014   #3
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,121
First off....which boat will work best with your custom frame and boxes? Make sure that the boat you decide on has dimensions that fit the frame you already have.

After that .....Maravia & Sotar are top quality boats. I have owned Maravia cats, and I raft with a friend who owns an entire Maravia fleet ( Williwaw 2, Williwaw 1.5, 16 ft. & 14 ft. cats) and he loves them. His Williwaw 2 is about 12-13 years old and going strong. I currently own a Sotar and I'm very happy with it, but I've only had it one season and can't speak to it's longevity yet. I chose it over the Williwaw 1 because it had the dimensions, weight, and design I wanted. People have posted good things about the RMR rafts here on MB. Seems like a nice mid-range boat. Having a brand new boat it nice. You start with a clean slate and don't have to guess at how it's been cared for.

I all comes down to condition on the 13 year old Sotar and the 10 year old Maravia. Look closely at valves, seams, patches, wear from frames on the tops and rocks/trailering on the bottoms. Will you get any bonus gear with the older boats to sweeten the deal? Assuming the older boats are in good shape, I'd say you can't make a bad choice with any of the 3 boats you've listed.
"We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love....and then we return home."
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Old 10-26-2014   #4
jimr's Avatar
Donkey Town, Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 145

14' Tributary with 5yr warranty on sale might be worth checking into,not sure if the 2500 includes thwarts or not, there is a 13 and 15' too.

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Old 10-26-2014   #5
Wavester's Avatar
NorCal, California
Paddling Since: 91
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 330
That's a tough one. The RMR I have seen I have been impressed with, solid deal and they seem durable. Time will tell for sure. I would stay away from the Maravia just because it was commercially used. That leaves the Sotar. If it's in great shape I would lean towards that one. Seems reasonably priced. I would inspect it very carefully, pump it up check for leaks etc.
I currently own 4 Sotar boats and I haven't had a problem, they are quality boats and you live near the factory.
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Old 10-26-2014   #6
south lake tahoe, California
Paddling Since: 1974
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 95
Brand new RMR with a warranty.

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Old 10-26-2014   #7
Taos, New Mexico
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 15
Nothing wrong with wooden oars either, if they are quality and still in good shape.
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Old 10-26-2014   #8
Learch's Avatar
Dundee, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 655
RMR in Albany

There is an RMR on Portland CL from the place in Albany (I think) it is for 2100 dollars, a virtually new demo model. I'd make the drive, if those were my choices. They have a removable floor, tubes are wrapped on the underside, they come with frame chafes, and have heat welded seams.
I have friends with a 13 and 14 foot RMR, and I think they look great, and work great. They are not the lightest, not the best, but it is a brand new boat with useable features for 2100 bucks. If I were in your shoes, I'd go after that RMR.

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Old 10-27-2014   #9
Rockgizmo's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 77
I bought a 2011 RMR 14' few years ago. I only had cataraft's up til then. It's been down the Ark, Green, W.W. & the Grand. The boat has served me well. It track well and is nice and stable. The boat is made beefy. I got it for the price which was great. It also got me into a new boat with a warranty.

The first few models have welded seams and glued on D-rings. I picked it up because the seams were welded. I maybe incorrect but another comparable boat for more money are vanguard boats but are all glued PVC.

Early models have had issues with d-rings peeling. I know a buddy got his repair for free, Since a d-ring started to peel. This is one thing I wish RMR was more proactive in having fixed. And will continue to have fixed past the warranty. I believe this is a manufacturing defect/problem that stems from using a single part adhesive rather than a two part that can take heat better. This issue could be the Achilles heel of this growing company. Time will tell how they handle this issue through their customer service department.

Newer models are all welded. And for the price I don't think you can go wrong. I like the raft and it's design. Even with the gluing issues that I know of RMR has continued to address the problem. When it comes time for a new boat I will definitely consider getting another RMR.

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Old 10-27-2014   #10
Sembob's Avatar
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 485
I think with an RMR you better have that "warranty". They are probably good boats but..... The others in question, Sotar and Maravia are very tried and true and are better boats. I would rather have either of the latter given they are in good condition. It's not really a Ford v Chevy thing more like Ford/Chevy v Hyundai. I bet in 5 years when the warranty is gone on the RMR it will be worth less than the other two. Sorry to bash it's just that a lot of us are talking about warranty like it is paramount to performance and it isn't. You hope for it to be a non factor.


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