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Old 07-28-2015   #11
BlueTurf's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 105
I've had an Aire 143R for a couple years now. I keep it rolled in the garage most of the time. I roll it by myself all the time and it fits in an NRS boat bag easy. It's not hard to roll at all.

I unrolled the boat on the Salmon River (Carey to Spring Bar) this March. It got below freezing that night (we camped at Carey) and was in the 40's when I unrolled it. It was stiffer than usual but was fine once I put air into it. I've never tried rolling it in cold temps.

Almost everyone I know runs an Aire of some sort and no one unzips and cleans out everything even once a year let alone after every trip. I did watch a video from Aire the other day where they recommended opening the floor at the end of the season and cleaning out any grit that may be in there from the water ballast. No one I know does that. I did have my floor open (first time in 2 years) on the MFS and there was a little sand in there but certainly no mold or mildew. I'll post why I had it open in another thread.

That's my $.02.

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Old 07-28-2015   #12
Fort Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 49
There's also this...

If you buy a SOTAR or Jack's Plastic Welding, you'll probably never buy another boat. Just sayin. Both of mine have had the best customer service imaginable (questions only, i've never had to send back a boat)

Yes, they don't roll easy but I have the luxury of keeping them partially inflated when not in use. The durability, performance, customer service, and low maintenance, are what have sold me.

Just give Jack's or SOTAR a call with any questions, they've hung out on the phone with me answering stupid questions for 30 minutes plus.

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Old 07-28-2015   #13
montrose, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 326
I roll my 18' sotar for the off season. It is a bit harder to roll than a hypalon boat, but it works fine.

I also own an old aire puma. It is a fun boat, but I much prefer the standard bladderless, zipperless design.
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Old 07-28-2015   #14
Northern California, California
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 16
My Sotar is not the easiest to roll, but as has been mentioned, buy a boat for how it drives, not how it rolls. Sotar stores their boats rolled, at the factory. And I've never noticed a problem with 20 year old Sotars and Wings that are stored rolled for the off season. Aire also makes great boats, but they're heavy, and I'm not a fan of having to wait to piss the floor at take out or for portages. Just my two cents.
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Old 07-29-2015   #15
OregonPaddler's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 23
Well it sounds like there's alot less upkeep on an aire than i previously thought & storing them rolled isn't really an issue. Definitely puts them back in the running. Has anyone that owns an aire sprung for the urethane fabric instead of the pvc? Im sure it'd last longer but for another grand! ooooph thats a big upgrade!
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Old 07-29-2015   #16
I'm right 50% of the time
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Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 857
I have used and abused my 2000 Argonaut Inflatable Research and Engineering inc Super Puma. In 12 plus years that I have owned it, I have opened zippers for repairs once and unzipped the floor pocket to clean the PRV and check for misc junk once. I just relaced the floor. Summer storage in in the drive, covered with a tarp and wall-mart car cover. In the fall, I let it dry on the trailer, Magic Eraser off some of the marks, give it a wash, rub some 303 all over it, vacuum out the tubes, roll it tight as a drum and wrap in a tarp. In the spring, I try to wash off some of the 303 slipperiness in the paddle boat seating areas with some Simple Green, followed by a light coat of surf wax just before the first run of the season. Zippers can be a pain if you don't treat them before opening. To treat, spray zippers with a hose and then use a nylon brush with a mix of dish soap and water. Repeat with hose. I try not to use the zipper pulls and usually attach a split ring (key ring) to the car. To close, apply dish soap and pull closed.

I'm currently looking for a good / used condition 156e.
Claimer: Someone that makes a claim that they have been there and done that, can do anything you can do better than you. I hate "claimers"
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Old 07-29-2015   #17
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 728
Originally Posted by mervo View Post
There's also this...

If you buy a SOTAR or Jack's Plastic Welding, you'll probably never buy another boat.
Never is a long time. I bought the SOTAR new in my mid 20's, and sold it when I was 50. The buyer is still getting good miles. I had to buy a new boat, but the good news is it was because I outlived it!

And I believe Aire offers an option for a sealed floor you don't have to "piss out". I do hear comments that colorado plateau silt gets in those 'vents' and can tend to add some weight. But that concept of letting the floor fill with water has merit, and it would work well on clear running water. Just another consideration in your choice...
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Old 07-29-2015   #18
slamkal's Avatar
vancouver, Washington
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,146
Originally Posted by dfresh View Post
Cleaning out the bladder pockets after each use? Do you know someone who actually does this? That is the most ridiculous things I have ever heard.
And blown zippers, yeah, any zipper gets blown if you zip and unzip it enough, that's why you don't do it!?!?!
My Aire is a '99 and I have only unzipped them once. I use mine at least once a week and up to 4 times a week, and go on over half a dozen trips a year.
I roll my 16' cat tubes up at the end of the season and they roll up with little effort and slide them under my bed for safe keeping. They remain fairly soft with no sign of cracking or aging.
Have you looked into paddle boarding, or getting a ducky?
I do. I used to own a used one and it was gross and mildewy inside, and stunk. Youd be amazed how much moisture accumulates between bladder and pvc. After every float I open the zipper and use a hose to force fresh water inside the tubes, pump up bladders hard to force the water out, then hang to let drip, then open the zipper, towel out the inside, and then use my shop vac/blower to dry out the section where the bladders meet. Stoopid aire puts a fabric in here for some dumb reason. Funk collector. If I wait more than a week after the trip its already funky.

Id buy sotar but everyone I know has patches on theirs, mostly from frame or gear rubbing. That and they are too pricey. Havent had to patch mine yet but the concept of doing it from the inside (or sending to aire for a weld) has merit.
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Old 07-29-2015   #19
Roguelawyer's Avatar
Grants Pass, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 99
In my experience, the only thing that really kills a Sotar is the sun. . .
. . . and rodents

Currently I am in a 13 1/2' SL that was manufactured in 1984 I believe. It is my brother's raft. In the last ten years he has used it about 4 times. Otherwise it sat rolled up in a bag. It had some rodent damage. Luckily we live about ten miles from their shop and had it fixed real cheap. It is in great shape.

My 14' Sotar was a late 80's boat I bought off a friend. It had some real sun exposure over the years and had a serious delamination problem. That was an issue with the late 80's/early 90's Sotar boats. It died this March as seams began to blow out and the topside delaminated to the point of the crew at Sotar saying "It's time for a new boat".

I wouldn't worry about rolling a clean boat.
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Old 07-29-2015   #20
elkhaven's Avatar
Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 1,660
Originally Posted by OregonPaddler View Post
Well it sounds like there's alot less upkeep on an aire than i previously thought & storing them rolled isn't really an issue. Definitely puts them back in the running. Has anyone that owns an aire sprung for the urethane fabric instead of the pvc? Im sure it'd last longer but for another grand! ooooph thats a big upgrade!
My buddy just bought a 143 R urethane - he likes it but has no idea what the urethane is about, he was just told it would hold up better and since his 1996 143 D fell to pieces he went that route.

I have no problems with Aire - I just don't like the non-sealed floors and I think the idea of going to the effort to seal the floor is an additional waste - why not simply make the floor bladderless for those folks that don't want to row extra water around? The floors are what steered me away from Aire - I just don't like the idea.

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