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Hello all,

I am getting ready to purchase a 16' Sotar Cat. I'm torn on whether or not to have a bottom wrap put on my tubes, and if so, whether or not to go with the Liquid Lex or the Flex Tuff. Does anybody have any experience (good or bad) with this issue????

Thanks!
 

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I was just pondering the fall sale myself last week, I am getting a smaller boat but I do have first hand experience with their bottom protectants. First of all if you are looking to do fishing I think there are better options out there for bottom protection, Maravia, Canyon.

The flextuff or liquid lex Sotar puts on their tubes is put on so thin it basically wears through very quickly and it is expensive. I will give you some back ground.

I just ordered my frame from Canyon Whitewater Inflatables in Oregon and it was my intention to pick up a set of legends on the sale from Sotar in Oregon. One point of interest is Sotar stated to me their fabric is 3000 denier Urethane, this I believe is completely untrue it is 1500 denier so best I can figure is the are misleading people by doubling the fabric weight by counting the seam lap or chafe. We all know these crafts have held up well so why misrepresent this fabric weight to customers :confused:

I asked Sotar if they sold Canyon frames as they carry multiple brands to see if there was a floor model already built because of Canyons wait time, at that point things were not as friendly anymore when I was purchasing my frame somewhere else. This led to freight charges on both pieces as I can't expect the tube manufacturer or the frame builder to go pick the other up and bundle them for shipping.

SO back to your original question. I didn't get the Sotar's because I got a package deal on the other boat and saved shipping, Canyon is spraying urethane on the top chafe and bottom(not rolling it on thin as Sotar), it is probably 4 times as thick as the liquid lex I had on my old Sotar 14 foot cat and they can mix colors,

Here is a photo of the Canyon bottom covering that was emailed to me. I am having Canyon build my tubes in the 40oz urethane and I had all the same color choices I was looking for and seam tape color choices as well but believe I will greatly benefit from the thicker bottom urethane chafer.
urethane-green -.jpg
 

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Yup, I have a 15ft elite sl and the liquid lex is just peeling off. But absolutely love the weird taper design. I think the best option would be to glue a whole 'nother strip on.
 

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Flex Tuff

The Liquid Lex is a light weight addtion for those who want light weight. The Flex tuff is super tuff and easy to roll. If you want the strongest go with the double fabric. It is unfair to compare SOTAR liquid lex to Cascade Flex Tuff. Flex tuff is much thicker. Ask for a sample and see for yourself.
 

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Have had both of these applications over the years.....

If I wanted extra durability- FlexTuff, holds up well,easily accomplished.

Lots of durability,ready for abuse.... Another layer of material.

$.02. Hope that answers your question
 

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Riverbound are you writing an advertisement for Canyon or do you just work for them? After working directly with Sotar to customize my boat I have a real hard time believing they would lie to you about their fabric.

Instkevin I just bought a Sotar and can tell you first hand that the Flex tough is very thick and bomber too. It's pretty grippy so I wouldn't want it on the bottom of my tubes. Go for an additional layer of fabric and have Sotar put the slick side out.
 

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I don't typically recommend bottom wraps to my customers. The material itself is extremely durable without any additional protection. Personally, I'd save the money and see how much wear and tear you have on the bottom after a few years of use. If there's excessive wear, then have the chafe or wrap added at that point. You may realize you don't need it anyway and you can spend that money on other boating items. The only time I recommend it is if you know you'll be doing a ton of low water rivers where you'll be dragging your boat a lot of the time. If you do choose a bottom wrap, I'd recommend the Flex Tuff. The Liquid Lex is a thinner coating while the Liquid Lex is much thicker and tough as nails. It's definitely not fair to compare Liquid Lex to Flex Tuff!
 

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I have scraped, dragged and slid my Sotar all over the place and it looks almost like new on the bottom. Urethane has extremely high wet abrasion characteristics. It is slick when wet and slides right over rocks, I think you would lose that if you put some sort of coating on the bottom. The idea of spraying urethane over PVC is to get the benefits of the material Sotars are made of to start with.

I have no affiliation with Sotar, I just think they are a great company to deal with and produce high-quality MADE IN USA boats.
 

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Riverbound are you writing an advertisement for Canyon or do you just work for them? After working directly with Sotar to customize my boat I have a real hard time believing they would lie to you about their fabric.

Instkevin I just bought a Sotar and can tell you first hand that the Flex tough is very thick and bomber too. It's pretty grippy so I wouldn't want it on the bottom of my tubes. Go for an additional layer of fabric and have Sotar put the slick side out.
While I haven't been registered here that long I have gained information and read through posts for over a year now. I still find it amusing that every time someone buys a Canyon product and mentions it or one of the benefits there is someone that asks if they work for them, it would become quite apparent the volume of product they are putting into the boating industry that people are going to talk about the product, I am waiting 5 months for my boat, 61 boats ahead of me but it is what I want.
We have a Sotar thread pop up every 2 days that gets no gripe and I like reading them. But if we went with your thinking we would still be driving model Ford A's because oh wait
" someone already made a car there will never be a better one now" this gets quite old, I think its time to grow up.

If you missed it I ran a Sotar cat for a long time it was a 14 ST and I had a lot of great trips with that boat with zero problems. I purchased the Canyon frame because no one builds a frame as nice as theirs, I purchased the tubes from them because the logistics were good and they are building with the same fabric as Sotar , the warranty is 10 years with the same heat welded construction. This is an apples to apples thing that made sense to me. I know you are probably the all knowing because you just bought a Sotar but guess what you own 1500 denier fabric. I have the proof as I asked for a spec sheet on the fabric when I ordered mine to make sure the Canyon fabric was up to the Sotar quality- it is the same fabric. If you would like to PM me I would be happy to provide you with the info and then you can be irritated with someone else and not me.

The one thing I have noticed about this forum is DRL jumps right in advertising on every Sotar post, I don't see his name on the buzz supporters list, it must be ok because he is dealing Sotar ?? but wait they aren't supporters either.

I originally came across Canyon products reading through posts on the buzz and look, I bought a boat. I called manufacturers and did my own thinking and homework,is it possible my 10 year warranty might not be good in 10 years, maybe. It also may be possible they may be the top game in town in the next couple years time will tell.


Yes flex tuff is sticky on the rocks, the sprayed urethane is more slick and doesn't look like it will hang near as bad from the sample I got. I have multiple friends with Sotar tubes and they all wish they would have gotten the chafes on the bottom, most have gashes down to the fabric in them, they still hold air,I have never seen one cut open or sliced FYI. One thing you will notice is once you add chafes to the Sotar you are in a whole different price range, that weighed in on my decision also.
 

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the deffinition of "denier"

I just ordered my frame from Canyon Whitewater Inflatables in Oregon and it was my intention to pick up a set of legends on the sale from Sotar in Oregon. One point of interest is Sotar stated to me their fabric is 3000 denier Urethane, this I believe is completely untrue it is 1500 denier so best I can figure is the are misleading people by doubling the fabric weight by counting the seam lap or chafe. We all know these crafts have held up well so why misrepresent this fabric weight to customers :confused:

View attachment 7214
I think it is time to clear up the idea of just what Denier is, and How I think it is used in selling boats. We all bear some responsibility for letting this happen. Here is why I think so. If someone wants to describe strength of the fabric inside a coated fabric they use denier, when in reality this is a misconception. However it is extremely convienient. I think this came down from the back pack industry where a customer can visually look at denier of nylon pack cloths and see that a 70 denier is light and a 1000 denier cordura is heavy. But what a 1 denier is... a thread 9000 meters long that weighs 1 gram. It says nothing about how many threads in a bundle, or how tightly they are packed. The weave also has a lot to do with strength. It is my opinion that a more accurate measure is fabric strength is the amount of fabric weight in the material. Then some coatings are more elastic than others, and some coatings will grip the threads more and actually weeken the fabric strength because of it.

I wrote this web article years ago, I do not know if anyone actually reads this stuff, so I am putting it out there for you to look at if you like.

http://www.jpwinc.com/pages/materials.html

I thank you in advance for reading it. If anyone wants to throw in any information on what I have written here, I welcome the chance to correspond with you.

Jack
 

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Riverbound are you writing an advertisement for Canyon or do you just work for them? After working directly with Sotar to customize my boat I have a real hard time believing they would lie to you about their fabric.

Instkevin I just bought a Sotar and can tell you first hand that the Flex tough is very thick and bomber too. It's pretty grippy so I wouldn't want it on the bottom of my tubes. Go for an additional layer of fabric and have Sotar put the slick side out.
I had this same feeling. Seems like with Canyon there have been a bunch of people who appear from nowhere, join the buzz, and then sing the praises of the Canyon product. One of them who can't stop bashing Sotar is Orto11.

Canyon is introducing a new boat that has similar material to the Sotar, supposedly locally assembled, similar designs, all that stuff. I have not seen or tried it and would expect they will get it on their web site in a few years whenever they "get around to it".

I personally own a few Canyon drybox products but not a frame (yet). I'm happy with the gear, its solid, has a good design, etc. I would consider a frame as they look to be well constructed and are lightweight, etc, but I'm a cheap bastard so I'll stick with the deal I've got ....
 

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That's a good read there Jack, it appears from your info PVC may have better wet abrasion resistance and better UV resistance than Urethane. So PVC might not be the devil as everyone thinks, it was the overseas construction methods and early adhesives causing problems?

Jack have you ever used 3000 denier and what would the workability of that material be?
 

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That's a good read there Jack, it appears from your info PVC may have better wet abrasion resistance and better UV resistance than Urethane. So PVC might not be the devil as everyone thinks, it was the overseas construction methods and early adhesives causing problems?

Jack have you ever used 3000 denier and what would the workability of that material be?
I can not say that pvc has better wet abrasion than urethane. They are both slick in the water over rocks, and I think that urethane is slicker. So I will have to re read this and see if I am misleading anyone. I do think that PVC has better UV resistance. However as formulas change, and we get new suppliers with new products Products improve. Still I was shocked to see a Star inflatable that was severely sun damaged. It was a outfitter boat, out in the sun all summer long. 15 years old. We had some fabric we used for only 1/2 year that was not very good at all, and have had to replace some of those tubes. In general I think quality PVC inflatable fabric has as good of or better UV resistance than any other fabric.

We honestly do have a 2,000 denier fabric that has a 14 oz base cloth that we use on the bottom of our rafts and cats. If you put the 1100 denier base fabric with that it equals 3,000 denier, but what does that mean? A little engineering can go a long way sometimes.

let me give an example: In the early days of catarafting in the four corners, we made cat boats with a 30 inch wide double bottom, for outfitters, that was on a bias compared to the hull material. Bias means the threads were at a 45 degree angle to the main hull material threads. That increased the rip strength by a lot. Other boats getting riped on the upper animas had rips that were clean. The rips in some of our cats were 2 inches then the sharp object would skip out, and then come back in and rip it some more. (rail road Iron was what we thought it was) We decided that putting a double bottom on like this was a good idea when we found a rip that came up to a taped main seam, and was forced to turn and rip in the other direction. This L shape rip is something you see on catastrophic damage. The taped seam was taped with bias cut tape. We still use bias cut tape today to build our products. You have to request a double bottom applied on a bias these days, because the cost does not seem to justify the longevity we get with the standard double bottom. However for the Upper Animas, and 1 particular year after a slide came across the railroad tracks it was worth it for some outfitters up there. Now they run Self Bailers instead of cats to get more people on a raft.

This shows that a little engineering can make a big difference in how something performs.

A 3,000 denier thread? Inside the bundle of threads? You know when I get out in the shop I am going to look at our 1100 denier cloth and the 2000 denier cloth and see if I can tell a difference.
 

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.
We have a Sotar thread pop up every 2 days that gets no gripe and I like reading them. But if we went with your thinking we would still be driving model Ford A's because oh wait
" someone already made a car there will never be a better one now" this gets quite old, I think its time to grow up.

I purchased the tubes from them because the logistics were good and they are building with the same fabric as Sotar , the warranty is 10 years with the same heat welded construction. This is an apples to apples thing that made sense to me. I know you are probably the all knowing because you just bought a Sotar but guess what you own 1500 denier fabric. I have the proof as I asked for a spec sheet on the fabric when I ordered mine to make sure the Canyon fabric was up to the Sotar quality- it is the same fabric. If you would like to PM me I would be happy to provide you with the info and then you can be irritated with someone else and not me.


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Relax Riverbound I'm not irritated with you, your post just seemed similar to others posted about Canyon and I doubt Sotar would lie to customers as you claimed. Also I'm certainly not "all knowing" I basically bought a Sotar first and foremost because it was made in America, liked their 16' SL design, it was customizable and lastly I liked the idea of welded urethane fabric. I actually never even considered the denier weight of any boat manufacturers - just the material type.
I think it's great that there is another quality boat manufacturer on the market. All of the boat bashing that goes back and forth on the buzz is a bit overkill. Lets be realistic all of the top boat manufactures' boats will last for 20+years so let's all quite our bitching (me too) and go boating...
 

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All of the boat bashing that goes back and forth on the buzz is a bit overkill. Lets be realistic all of the top boat manufactures' boats will last for 20+years so let's all quite our bitching (me too) and go boating...[/QUOTE]

I am in agreement with this :cool:
 

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So I am trying to follow this and am confused. I have a 40oz Wing that is 20 years old and the material is smooth on the outside, it is hard to read the threads and feels super thick. I also have a sotar that I believe has the same 40oz call out on there material, it feels alot thinner and you can read the threads on the out side of the boat (Like a pattern), and it does not take the abuse that the Wing had laughted at. I believe both are Urethane but the Wing has been way more durable and feels thicker and slicker. Are they the same thickness and just a diffent thread count or maybe a diffrent lay up? (Both are great boats - Not bashing SOTAR at all - way better to sit on and not slide off)
 

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I was just pondering the fall sale myself last week, I am getting a smaller boat but I do have first hand experience with their bottom protectants. First of all if you are looking to do fishing I think there are better options out there for bottom protection, Maravia, Canyon.

The flextuff or liquid lex Sotar puts on their tubes is put on so thin it basically wears through very quickly and it is expensive. I will give you some back ground.

I just ordered my frame from Canyon Whitewater Inflatables in Oregon and it was my intention to pick up a set of legends on the sale from Sotar in Oregon. One point of interest is Sotar stated to me their fabric is 3000 denier Urethane, this I believe is completely untrue it is 1500 denier so best I can figure is the are misleading people by doubling the fabric weight by counting the seam lap or chafe. We all know these crafts have held up well so why misrepresent this fabric weight to customers :confused:

I asked Sotar if they sold Canyon frames as they carry multiple brands to see if there was a
floor model already built because of Canyons wait time, at that point things were not as
friendly anymore when I was purchasing my frame somewhere else. This led to freight charges on both pieces as I can't expect the tube manufacturer or the frame builder to go pick the other up and bundle them for shipping.

SO back to your original question. I didn't get the Sotar's because I got a package deal on the other boat and saved shipping, Canyon is spraying urethane on the top chafe and bottom(not rolling it on thin as Sotar), it is probably 4 times as thick as the liquid lex I had on my old Sotar 14 foot cat and they can mix colors,

Here is a photo of the Canyon bottom covering that was emailed to me. I am having Canyon build my tubes in the 40oz urethane and I had all the same color choices I was looking for and seam tape color choices as well but believe I will greatly benefit from the thicker bottom urethane chafer.
View attachment 7214
You must look long and hard to find a raft with a rubber bumper, another canyon advantage!
 

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So without getting into a he said she said or an argument I thought I would do this the most scientific way I am able. Now this is only what I see in person, I am not stating one is better than the other but only stating what I find.

I received samples from both manufacturers being skeptical of the Canyon fabric for good reason I haven't seen it in person before. I was plenty aware of the Sotar fabric but got a new sample also to look at.

On the left is the Sotar and on the right is the Canyon fabric I cut them in half to see the weave pattern for pictures.

1.First off I noticed the Canyon fabric being more slippery and like Urethane, The Sotar fabric felt somewhat more plastic like and chalky.

2. I scratched both fabrics with the point of a knife to simulate rocks, the Sotar fabric scratched easier with material being removed , The Canyon was hardly noticeable and the knife slid off and was hard to scratch.

3. The Sotar weave looked heavier but the Canyons tighter, but the Sotar fabric stretched less when pulling it in all directions and has a tougher tensile feel to it.

4. The Sotar fabric appears to be just barely heavier in weight, I have included a picture from the manufacturer of the fabric, it is quite apparent it is a legend in the picture. I have cut out the rest of the info to protect the information of the supplier as this is strictly a hands on test. The extra weight may come into play as there is a PVC/TPU blend that is slightly heavier at 43oz than the normal urethane.

5. This is purely my opinion and I have no factual basis but it is an educated guess, it may be possible that Sotar now and again substitutes the PVC/Urethane blend at possibly a lower cost onto hotsheet boats or sale boats or one the other fabric is not available. I know the fabric in this blend is available in the blue ,red ,tan, purple, yellow etc

6. For info every fabric in this manufacturers line states it is at or near 1500 denier. They do not manufacturer 3000 denier for urethane boat fabric.

Anyone who would like to see these samples in person I would be happy to mail them to you to verify this review.
Here are the test photos
TEST.jpg
test2.jpg
fabric-weight -.jpg
 

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Oh and on Wings site it says they are made with a Cooley USA urethane and the photos look buttery smooth compared to what I have for samples.

Both of the test urethanes above are imported.
 
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