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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have just gotten into the rafting side of this sport. I bought an old (1985) Hyside this year. I knew the boat had no value but it had a custom frame with boxes and was ready to hit the river. After a couple trips down the Rogue (3 day trips), I love this side of the sport. The rafts are an amazing pack horse. I obviously found out quickly why NO body wants the old non-bailers anymore.
To get to the point, I’m upgrading the boat. My options that I am looking at (all 14 ers around the same $$$):
-Brand new 2014 RMR are around $2,500 or Demo ones at around $2,000 (both with warranty).
-Older Sotar Elite $2,500 (2001, that also has some average oars but are still a upgrade from my wooden oars, don’t laugh, just getting into this sport remember).
-10 year old Maravia Williwaw from a rafting company for about $2,200 (looks to be in good shape but obviously well used).
I will mostly be using it with a frame loaded down with a couple kids riding along but would like to also be able to take 4-6 buddies, no frame and paddle some fun rapids. It will be stored on a trailer outside but under one of those pop-up carport things and will through another tarp over it as well. I live on the Coast so there will be no extreme heat or cold.
What’s your recommendation?
 

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Sotar elite if it is in good shape. Sotar's are great rafts in my opinion. Maravia is a great raft as well but that one sounds pretty old.
 

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First off....which boat will work best with your custom frame and boxes? Make sure that the boat you decide on has dimensions that fit the frame you already have.

After that .....Maravia & Sotar are top quality boats. I have owned Maravia cats, and I raft with a friend who owns an entire Maravia fleet ( Williwaw 2, Williwaw 1.5, 16 ft. & 14 ft. cats) and he loves them. His Williwaw 2 is about 12-13 years old and going strong. I currently own a Sotar and I'm very happy with it, but I've only had it one season and can't speak to it's longevity yet. I chose it over the Williwaw 1 because it had the dimensions, weight, and design I wanted. People have posted good things about the RMR rafts here on MB. Seems like a nice mid-range boat. Having a brand new boat it nice. You start with a clean slate and don't have to guess at how it's been cared for.

I all comes down to condition on the 13 year old Sotar and the 10 year old Maravia. Look closely at valves, seams, patches, wear from frames on the tops and rocks/trailering on the bottoms. Will you get any bonus gear with the older boats to sweeten the deal? Assuming the older boats are in good shape, I'd say you can't make a bad choice with any of the 3 boats you've listed.
 

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That's a tough one. The RMR I have seen I have been impressed with, solid deal and they seem durable. Time will tell for sure. I would stay away from the Maravia just because it was commercially used. That leaves the Sotar. If it's in great shape I would lean towards that one. Seems reasonably priced. I would inspect it very carefully, pump it up check for leaks etc.
I currently own 4 Sotar boats and I haven't had a problem, they are quality boats and you live near the factory.
 

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Jared
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RMR in Albany

There is an RMR on Portland CL from the place in Albany (I think) it is for 2100 dollars, a virtually new demo model. I'd make the drive, if those were my choices. They have a removable floor, tubes are wrapped on the underside, they come with frame chafes, and have heat welded seams.
I have friends with a 13 and 14 foot RMR, and I think they look great, and work great. They are not the lightest, not the best, but it is a brand new boat with useable features for 2100 bucks. If I were in your shoes, I'd go after that RMR.

14' Rocky Mountain Raft
 

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I bought a 2011 RMR 14' few years ago. I only had cataraft's up til then. It's been down the Ark, Green, W.W. & the Grand. The boat has served me well. It track well and is nice and stable. The boat is made beefy. I got it for the price which was great. It also got me into a new boat with a warranty.

The first few models have welded seams and glued on D-rings. I picked it up because the seams were welded. I maybe incorrect but another comparable boat for more money are vanguard boats but are all glued PVC.

Early models have had issues with d-rings peeling. I know a buddy got his repair for free, Since a d-ring started to peel. This is one thing I wish RMR was more proactive in having fixed. And will continue to have fixed past the warranty. I believe this is a manufacturing defect/problem that stems from using a single part adhesive rather than a two part that can take heat better. This issue could be the Achilles heel of this growing company. Time will tell how they handle this issue through their customer service department.

Newer models are all welded. And for the price I don't think you can go wrong. I like the raft and it's design. Even with the gluing issues that I know of RMR has continued to address the problem. When it comes time for a new boat I will definitely consider getting another RMR.


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I think with an RMR you better have that "warranty". They are probably good boats but..... The others in question, Sotar and Maravia are very tried and true and are better boats. I would rather have either of the latter given they are in good condition. It's not really a Ford v Chevy thing more like Ford/Chevy v Hyundai. I bet in 5 years when the warranty is gone on the RMR it will be worth less than the other two. Sorry to bash it's just that a lot of us are talking about warranty like it is paramount to performance and it isn't. You hope for it to be a non factor.


Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This is all great insight and thank you for the responses. The RMR in Albany is the RMR I'm looking at. I really like the looks of the other two. They just have a better appeal to them. I am leaning towards the RMR though. Something about having a new boat is out weighing the rest. I need a deciding factor to really push me over the edge.

As far as storing outside under double cover, does one have a advantage over the other???
 

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Probably not a big deal to store any of them outside. If you don't get the one you are leaning towards you will probably be doing a lot second guessing.


Jim
 

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I'd go with a used Avon, Sotar, Hyside, NRS, take care of it, then sell it for what you paid for it 5-8 years later, someone compared ford/chevy/Hyundai, like a Chevy truck aforementioned boats hold their value. If you're going to roll it after each trip go with Hypalon for sure. Seems to me PVC and cold air don't go well together, here in the mountains Dec,Jan,Feb,March are cold on brittle material outside in deep freeze.
 

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I don't think you can go wrong with any of your choices. I've been please with my how my RMR handles on the water. Both Sotar and Maravia are great boats as well. Just haven't owned one yet. I have rowed a Sotar and they are real nice boats. If I hadn't bought the RMR. I would have bought my buddies Sotar the following spring when he sold it to get buy an Avon.
 
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