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Discussion Starter #1
My wife and I are looking at purchasing some sort of watercraft for evening floats on the Poudre, after work. Neither of us has whitewater experience. Over time, I see us maybe doing class II or III rapids, but nothing more serious than that. We're not after the really aggressive stuff.

It'd be nice if the boat could handle a 2-3 day float on a river as well, but again, serious whitewater will be avoided. One other stipulation, we'd like to bring the dog.

We've been looking at all sorts of boats and pretty much have it narrowed down to a 12 foot raft (either a new pvc like a Saturn or a Rocky Mountain, or a used hypalon), or a tandem inflatable kayak. A buddy from Alaska told me to look at a Soar canoe. They look pretty awesome, but I've never actually seen one in person. They're expensive as well. If we go the SOAR route, we won't be floating this year due to cost.

Does anyone have experience with a SOAR as well as rafting experience? Basically, I'm looking for advice as to the strengths/weaknesses of each.
Thanks for any thoughts.
 

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I do not own a SOAR. I have been on several river trips with folks that have the SOAR water craft. They all handled anything the river threw at them. Including some serious rapids. One of the guys I know paddled a SOAR 16 down the Grand Canyon. None of the owners I know have anything bad to say about SOAR. My take is they are serious river craft. I suggest you Google SOAR and take a look at their web site.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info. I've spent a good chunk of time reading up on and looking at the SOAR website. They look like good boats. Now I'm mostly looking for folks like you who've experienced them first hand.
My Alaska buddy can't say enough good things about his. But the guys I work and play with down here keep pointing me towards rafts (but they all have fishing on their minds, which ranks pretty low on my list of priorities).
Thanks again.
 

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The Russian
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Get the boat for the right activity. SOAR is a great boat for Class 2-3 rapids. Easy to pack, easy to store and can get cool accessories. Also you can haul more gear than a regular ducky. A lot of hunters in Alaska use SOARs to get moose out of the forests.

You can see from my videos, the boat penetrates the wave straight on and rises to the top. Most of the flips I've done in SOAR is my own mistake and not the boat, it kept us up right many many times.

I have 3 boats now, though I do love my 16' Maravia for long trips, I still like to take my SOAR out to play in a lake, run smaller rivers or let my son to mess with it. It also makes a great water slide for little kidos when you turn it over.

Alex
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Those videos are awesome. It looks like you handled the boat pretty well after the oar broke. That water is much bigger than anything we'll tackle.

With your 16 foot boat, do you think you'd have enough space to pack gear, plus a dog, for a couple of nights?
Also, are the bottoms of the SOAR canoes fairly robust? I imagine pulling off the river on to rocks fairly frequently, to throw the ball for the dog and just goof around. The local guys tell me the Poudre is hard on boats and it may be especially hard on a pvc raft.

I need to find a local SOAR to hithc a ride in.
Thanks for the post.
 

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make sure you get something that can handle all of your wants not just some of them.... two people+dog on a multi-day seems abit much for a soar. a 13fter raft will do it all in style. and yup i've never owned a soar but have owned various tandem/solo IK's and 7 rafts from 11ft-16ft. bottom line...if you want only one then get something that can do it all without issue.

and you'll probably get a taste for bigger whitewater after you get your skills/confidence up. it's a progressive addiction. good luck fighting it.

just my .02
 

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With your 16 foot boat, do you think you'd have enough space to pack gear, plus a dog, for a couple of nights?
.
he's talking about a 16ft maravia raft not the soar 16. you don't want a 16ft raft for evening strolls down the 'puder. big water,multi-days though...hell yeah baby
 

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The Russian
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Ya the 16 footer I meant as a full raft. 2 people and a dog would fit in a 14 footer, but not much gear. I've taken my wife, me and my kid quite comfy.

If you want to bring gear probably two people could fit, not the dog
 

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I have two SOARs, a 12 foot and a 16 footer. They are great boats. Very bomber construction, you won't have a problem with gravel wearing out the bottom. I've seen SOARs go down the Escalante River in southern Utah, dealing with rocks and Russian Olive thorns, and never a problem.
If you are "backpack-style" camping on the river, two of you will have no problem fitting your stuff for several nights. You will never overload it weight-wise, its only a matter of physical space. There is much more room in a SOAR than in a tandem ducky because you sit in it canoe-style and your legs don't take up so much space like in an inflatable kayak.
They are definitely built to last and take abuse and are extremely stable, it takes some serious doing to flip them.
Check 'em out, you won't be disappointed.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all of the input. It's exactly what I need to be reading.
In terms of gear, we travel light. We've done extended canoe trips in the boundary waters, but my 17 ft. aluminum grumman canoe seems like a bad idea on the local rivers!

I don't think there's a perfect boat for my situation. But I'm leaning towards a SOAR, or something similar. I'll weasle my way into a couple of floats this spring when the water comes up and people are headed out, that should help me figure it out.

Thanks again for all the advice/comments.
 

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The Russian
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I did manage to puncture the bottom on mine while I was on murtaugh. But it was a very rocky and pushy river. But I was surprised the boat lasted as long as it did that day, I totally abused it to its maximum.
 

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Funny you should mention....
I just paddled my SOAR 12 yesterday on its first trip for 17 miles on the Gunnison River from Almont to the white water park (2250 CFS). This a fine, fine craft. I have a 13 ft Hyside raft, but I think this SOAR just became my favorite, especially since I can easily paddle it solo. I got the boat because I am headed to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in July to spend 5 weeks paddling the Marsh Fork and Canning Rivers. The 12 ft SOAR has a payload of 750 lbs. The person I am traveling with has a 16 ft SOAR (1000 lb payload). He spent a month there a few years back using the SOAR. He particular likes these boats because of their bomber stability. We are headed to a remote area and have to take all 5 weeks of our supplies with us from the start. The SOAR is the boat to take on that weight and still remain maneuverable.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Have any of you seen or paddled the SOAR Pro Pioneer? I'm mostly wondering if this is too much boat. It's a price jump from the 14 or 16, but it hauls 1500 pounds. I'm trying to figure out how much nimbleness I'd lose for the 2-3 hour floats.
 

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This link should take you to the "SOAR talk" site: SOAR Talk
You can post questions in the SOAR chatter sections. Larry Laba (riverattler), the owner of SOAR, moniters the site and answers questions like yours. He is super helpful. And other SOAR owners there are willing to respond as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
SOAR canoe vs. Raft

A quick update on my earlier post...
I ended up picking up a used SOAR Pro Pioneer (16 ft. boat).
Made the maiden voyage today with oar setup. Very low key water (fairly rocky in places), but it was awesome. The boat fits our needs perfectly. We'll have no trouble doing 2-4 day trips with the dog.
Thanks for the earlier feedback.
 

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For the beginner Poudre family with the dog a 11-12 foot self bailing raft might be a better choice. That said, I've been wanting to try an IC for some time now. If you buy one, PM me and I'll show you around the Poudre.
 
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