SOTAR fabric questions. - Mountain Buzz

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Old 08-03-2009   #1
Albany, New York
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 8
SOTAR fabric questions.

Hi all,
I'm considering a small Sotar raft and am curious as to how they handle folding (or rolling). I plan to keep it semi-inflated on a trailer during the season, but I need to fold and store in a closet for the winter time. Does their Lexatron (Polyurethane) fabric hold up to repeated rolling? I'm worried about cracking or weakening over time.

Also, how easy is this material to work with as far as gluing? I'd like to add some footcups and be able to repair it myself.

Thanks for any advice.

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Old 08-03-2009   #2
Cisco, Utah
Paddling Since: Dawn
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 351
Been a while since I used Sotars, but I remember armorall'ing them for winter storage, which is good for the matereial, but it makes them really slippery to sit on. They dont fold as nice as hypolon but dont remember this being an issue for them. You can certainly glue foot cups (MEK I think) One company I worked for welded foot cups, D Rings, etc. on with a heat gun, which was really solid. Be aware you can heat it too much, but it wasn't to difficult. Call Sotar for their best recommendation.
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Old 08-03-2009   #3
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Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 188
I don't own a Sotar, but they have a really good reputation here in Oregon.

As far as I can tell they shouldn't be a lot different to add accessories to than any other PVC boat (Aire, etc.)
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Old 08-03-2009   #4
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1901
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 141
I've had a 13 foot Sotar for the last 3 years. It doesn't see a ton of use -- probably about a half dozen trips a year. I always keep it rolled, as I'm in the city and don't have much room. I have noticed on the last couple trips that there are some creases in the fabric, but nothing too bad. If I could, I'd keep it semi-inflated, but if you can't, a loose role would be ok, I think. Sotars are repairable, but make sure you get a repair kit with Sotar fabric, and check your glue once a year to make sure it hasn't hardened in the tube.
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Old 08-03-2009   #5
Albany, New York
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 8
Thanks for the info guys.
I did call Sotar today and they said that rolling would be fine for winter storage since their material does not "cold crack". Since I'm only looking for a 10' boat, it shouldn't take up space even when rolled loose.

Still trying to reason out if it's worth spending a grand over a Rio Bravo in a similar size. This is a "toy" after all.

Cuzin, how does the Sotar handle compared to other boats you've paddled?
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Old 08-03-2009   #6
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1901
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 141
Sotars handle well. I like a firm raft, and you can get a Sotar real tight. Other than Sotars, I've mainly paddled Aires, and the biggest difference is the weight factor. I generally R2 or R3, and having a little bit lighter boat makes it feel much more responsive and agile. The one downside is that on flat water, it doesn't seem to move as well without paddling (ie - doesn't catch the current as well as the Aire with the foam floor) but otherwise it tracks well for such a short boat and is pretty fast.
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Old 08-03-2009   #7
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Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 48
Love em

I also have a 13ft SOTAR and I LOVE IT!!!
I've had it now for 4 years and couldn't be happier.

When I used to guide, I rowed Aires, Avons, Marivas, NRS, & Hysides.
But to me, none of them compared to the responsiveness of a Sotar.

With regard to storage, I personally don't roll my raft.
In the off season I store it in my garage semi-inflated.
While I don't think it's going to damage your raft to roll it in the short term,
I also don't think it's the best thing for the boat either.

Go for it Yakbob... you won't be disappointed.
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Old 08-03-2009   #8
Albany, New York
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 8
THanks for the detail. I'm coming out of an Aire143D so I hear where you're coming from. The Aire was great at grabbing onto a line with laser like abiltiy, but it's not the most agile boat for technical lines. I really felt the weight when trying to crank a hard turn with a full crew of 6 or 7.

Thanks for the info on the Sotar's responsiveness. This is really what I want to hear. I took a friend's Mini-me out last week for some R3 action and we were laughing so hard my gut hurt. I really like the concept of the mini-me, but it's maxed out with 3, and I think the slightly longer waterline and higher ride of the 10' Sotar might make for an even better ride (with slightly more stability). If Hyside made a mini-max in the Outfitter line it'd be a harder call. I'm becoming skeptical of the Rio Bravo line however.

I do like a stiff boat (another good thing about the Aire I'd miss), so I'm really leaning towards the Sotar. In a perfect world, I wouldn't have to roll it at all. Technically, it will only get rolled once a year. The rest of the year, it'll be on the trailer, covered from the elements...or on the water!

Thanks again to all!
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Old 08-05-2009   #9
Albany, New York
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 8
So after all the research on Sotars...from out of left field comes just what I was looking for...a JPW Fat Boy. 10' x 5'-2" , 19.5 tubes, and small, 9" foot thwarts in place of foot pockets. Not much info out there on JPW rafts, but they seem to know their stuff and the 10-year warranty makes me feel better about taking the chance.

Reviews to come once we get it out there!

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