Raft material & storage. - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 07-28-2015   #1
 
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Raft material & storage.

I know it's been discussed heavily on here. For a long time I've been set on buying an AIRE raft. But after thinking about it for quite a while. I dont want to deal with the upkeep needed for AIRE's compared to "simpler rafts". Sure they might have the best warranty in the business but... Blown out zippers, cleaning out bladder pockets and drying them out after each trip to keep mold and mildew away... Don't get me wrong, I know people that have them love them for a reason. I recently started thinking about a custom SOTAR. The only concern I have is the storage part. I will have to roll the boat to store it after every trip, at least for the next 3 years. Which leads me to consider a rubber (hypolon) hyside or nrs. So my brain tells me nrs or hyside is the way to go but my heart wants a sotar so damn bad! The question I have specifically to sotar owners is how how well does the material hold up over time being stored rolled up, loosely of course?? I plan on keeping this boat for 20+ years. I'm not as concerned with how hard/big it rolls up, just how it holds up over time.

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Old 07-28-2015   #2
 
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Arvada, Colorado
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Check out this article about raft material:
http://www.theboatpeople.com/rubber-vs.-pvc-the-raft-kayak-great-debate/


I also was leaning toward an AIRE boat, but after doing some research and talking to a lot of boat repair people in the business, PVC does not hold up as well and is not as flexible as Hypalon. Some PVC manufactures are better than others, but Hypalon is proven. I also have a raft buddy who has a 1995 Achilles boat that you would think was only a couple of years old. He 303's it every year and keeps it rolled when not in use and is looks as good as the day he bought it.


As far as Hypalon goes, Hyside has had some quality issues in the recent past, but they have a long standing and proven name. I am hearing that NRS makes the best Hypalon boats on the market now. The Expedition boats come with the same warranty as AIRE (10 yrs). Personally I will be buying a new NRS Otter in the off season simply because is it cheaper than the E-Series.


That is my opinion and experience.
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Old 07-28-2015   #3
 
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Belgrade, Montana
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I've only tried to roll (read fold) my sotar once, it was cold and I literally could only fold it in half lengthwise, then in half crosswise once. I couldn't get another fold in it by myself. I only tried because the frame was off and I wanted space while I worked on my trailer so it's not a problem for me but if I were going to be rolling the boat for storage I would be prepared for a royal PIA on roll up day.


My old hyside was rolled up, road side several times with air temps very near zero! It wasn't tight but it was done. When warm I could roll the hyside very small. I did like that.
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Old 07-28-2015   #4
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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?
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Old 07-28-2015   #5
 
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
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I was under the impression that aire's need an annual cleaning inside the bladder pockets along with letting them dry standing up on the side before storage to prevent mold, mildew and a nasty smell?
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Old 07-28-2015   #6
 
Salida, Colorado
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Blown zipper problem seems overstated in recent threads. None of my friends with Aire boats have ever complained about them.

I had a SOTAR for 26 years before finally selling it. Yes you fold it as much as you roll it, but I didn't have any problems getting a nice tight roll by my self, but I'm 6' 5" and that is an advantage in this case. It rolls easier without the thwarts, which were pretty convenient to remove/replace. I never had one issue resulting from rolling or storage, their fabric is very tough.

That SOTAR performed like a champ from Class IV paddle boating, 70K in Cataract, several 3 week GC trips, and absolutely everything in between. I put 7-8K miles on it and would recommend it wholeheartedly. Disclosure: My current boat is hypalon, but for budget and opportunity reasons only. I'd seriously consider a new SOTAR if my budget allowed.

Get your boat for how it performs on the water, not for how it rolls.
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Old 07-28-2015   #7
 
Great Falls, Montana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoStep View Post
Blown zipper problem seems overstated in recent threads. None of my friends with Aire boats have ever complained about them.

I had a SOTAR for 26 years before finally selling it. Yes you fold it as much as you roll it, but I didn't have any problems getting a nice tight roll by my self, but I'm 6' 5" and that is an advantage in this case. It rolls easier without the thwarts, which were pretty convenient to remove/replace. I never had one issue resulting from rolling or storage, their fabric is very tough.

That SOTAR performed like a champ from Class IV paddle boating, 70K in Cataract, several 3 week GC trips, and absolutely everything in between. I put 7-8K miles on it and would recommend it wholeheartedly. Disclosure: My current boat is hypalon, but for budget and opportunity reasons only. I'd seriously consider a new SOTAR if my budget allowed.

Get your boat for how it performs on the water, not for how it rolls.

+1. Especially on the zipper part and the "buying a boat for its performance".

That said, Hypalon rolls the easiest. HANDS DOWN
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Old 07-28-2015   #8
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Quote:
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 agree with this, my '94 16' ocelot has only been unzipped once. (to find a piece of a valve that had broke off and fell in the bladder. ) I've never had any zipper problems. the tubes roll up no problem. though the last 5 years or so I've kept them inflated hanging from my garage ceiling in the off season. They do roll up really easy though. and for a boat that's been around since '94 it is in excellent shape. no cracking, no patches. no problems whatsoever. (all nice new valves in it too)
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Old 07-28-2015   #9
 
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Maybe get a used hypalon boat and sell it when you have room to store your Sotar inflated.
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Old 07-28-2015   #10
 
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Not trying to change your mind, but having an Aire isn't really that much up keep. I don't open the zippers on my 94 Lynx (not sure if the owner before me did or not). Aire boats are also easier to repair (no glue, and you can send them in for re-welding if you want to). We also have a 2012 NRS Otter that already has multiple rub spots down to bare fabric and a couple places where the floor seam is coming unglued.

I think no matter what boat you get, you should be prepared to take care of it.
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