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Old 02-18-2016   #41
curtis catman's Avatar
Rivertown, West Virginia
Paddling Since: 9:45
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 416
I own an Aire and a Sotar. They are both great boats. They were bought about that same time and used about the same amount. You will be happy with either. The length is what will make you mad. Go big or go home as the saying goes.

As for top chafe The Sotar has it the Aire, not so much. What do I do? Put pipe insulation on the frame. I do it to both frames if going on multi day. I have seen rafters put different material on their boats; carpet, carpet backing, canvas, and others I can not think of now.

Any ways just do what everyone else does. Pick one then swear it is the best and the other brands suck!

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I am an American Whitewater member. One of 6300. There are an estimated 100000 paddlers in the U S. If you are not a member you should join. AW is fighting for our rivers everyday and could use some help.
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Old 02-18-2016   #42
Great Falls, Montana
Paddling Since: .3
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 845
Originally Posted by shappattack View Post
I call this a troll.

Both brands are great. You will be happy with either.
Shapp, why are you calling me a troll? I'm not just trying to stir poo here, I'm honestly interested in finding tangible proof. Everyone says this material is better or that material, but all I've ever seen is word of mouth and some of those people are very knowledgeable so I don't want to demean their knowledge, but from what I've seen I'm not convinced. An honest lab proven test of materials would not be hard to conduct this day in age and I'm wondering if it already exists.

And I agree that both boats are great as well in fact I argued that there are 6 manufacturers that are great.

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Old 02-18-2016   #43
jakebrown98's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 165
Yeah... I meant 20% off at the SOTAR fall sale. Sorry for the typo and now the extra message....
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Old 02-18-2016   #44
Hood River, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 60
I don't have any lab proof but am absolutely convinced that urethane is best material for both puncture and abrasion resistance.

My outfitter friends who use the urethane versions of the AIRE boats say it's worth the extra money.

Here's an article I wrote a couple years ago that discusses the pros and cons of each material and raft manufacturer:

Raft Materials and Manufacturers | Northwest Rafting Co.

I really appreciate this discussion and am learning a lot from each post. Thank you everyone.
Zachary Collier
Northwest Rafting Company
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Old 02-18-2016   #45
Coastal, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 258
I am not sure if there is any new info going on here this debate on the same fabrics has been going on for years. You guys are all behind the curve , I am over here BBQing Elvaloy! The base scrim and weave has a lot to do with puncture resistance. Thats on pressure test at 7lbs
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Old 02-19-2016   #46
Learch's Avatar
Dundee, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 655
I've had 2 Aire kayaks, one Sotar kayak, and one Sotar raft. I've had really good luck with the Kayaks from both brands. The Raft is a 2007 model with around 1000 river miles on it by now. It doesn't have frame wear protection. I bought it used from a friend 4 years ago now. I had to put one patch on it right after I got it on the tube in the stern on the inside of the hull. I found 3 other rub marks on the outer shell of the hull that looked like minor surface abrasions but leaked with soapy water applied. I used some glue to seal them. I am pretty sure the bow chamber leaks somewhere, I leave it inflated on the trailer in my garage and its the first to go soft when it sits. (like over the course of a month)
It is really light, mine is a 14' ST. Bare and inflated I can shoulder it on its side and walk with it a distance. I balanced it on my head once. I'd get the chafes if you get a Sotar. My tubes have bite marks from people pulling straps out from under the frame. I can R2 it pretty easy for such a big boat. I have a 5 and 7 year old and we did a 3 day overnight trip last summer, it worked because someone else carried the majority of the kitchen. I can fit all of the kitchen stuff on it, but it will be pretty packed by then.
Aires are great boats, I don't think you'd be unhappy with them at all. My impression is that the Aires are easier to repair, and a lot of the issues I've seen with my Sotar would be impossible on a bladder boat. I think for overall boating performance it will be hard to beat the Sotar. The other nice thing about Sotar is you can customize your boat, add and delete what you want. The other thing I'd want is a center mount D ring on the side, but a 15 might already have one, the 14's do not. You can go custom color, add an inch to your tube diameter, shorten or lengthen by 6 inches, etc.
If you are going to store the boat inflated, that makes life easy. If you are going to roll it up, I think the Aire would have the advantage there. I rolled mine up once, NOTHING like rolling a Hypalon boat. In fact, if you are rolling it up, I'd be looking at a Hyside or NRS boat instead.
Wishing I was on the river instead of surfing the web...
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Old 02-19-2016   #47
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,362
Are there any reputable manufacturers using Elvaloy?

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Old 02-19-2016   #48
Paul7's Avatar
Post Falls, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 781
Found this on Jack's Plastic Welding site.

Elvaloy is the trade name of a fabric that was once used by Achilles. It had great welding properties, but it was hard to glue to. Even when it is in a 10% Elvaloy to 90 % PVC base we had trouble with some of the glued parts. They needed extra care in the preparation process. Elvaloy is not widely used as of the year 2001. The Seamens corporation contiues to sell a product called XR7 fabric that is 10% elvaloy, and we understand that the chemical elvaloy is the stuff that makes the PVC soft. The Seamens company claims that unlike other pvc fabrics the Elvaloy does not migrate to the glue and weaken it. So when it is glued properly, I stays glued longer. I would like to say that this marerial welds extreemly nicely, and all air holding parts should be welded.

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Old 02-19-2016   #49
shappattack's Avatar
Up North, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,147
Originally Posted by ob1coby View Post
Shapp, why are you calling me a troll?.
Not you, jeebus, I call the original OPs post a troll cause there has been so much aire vs sotar argumentation here prior, bringing up another aire vs sotar thread is only sure to pinch panties and result in many pages of already discussed facts, opinions, speculation, and salesmen pitches.
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Old 02-19-2016   #50
Coastal, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 258
Originally Posted by Osseous View Post
Are there any reputable manufacturers using Elvaloy?

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Maybe you missed my post
It has its place, If you are a manufacturer of only urethane boats probably not much of a reason to use it. I use urethane and PVC to provide different cost points, hence the Elvaloy. Osseous feel free to air test and inspect my welding on my cat tubes over others who have been doing it for 20 years.Here is a photo of a brand new tube that was built by a "reputable manufacturer" who is a pioneer in welding PVC. If you want you can wander around with blinders on and swallow up internet BS, my advice would be to actually look at products up close and see whats going on new in the undustry instead of going off what has been done the same for years with no additional innovation. One thing I can tell you with 100 percent certainty when we build something it is built 100 percent quality. Just think you never even heard of Elvaloy until I told you, and that is just about old news. Think of me like a government project, you see something I make, I am already 5 years ahead in technology of what you are seeing today it just isn't public info yet. Make it a great day!
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