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Thread: Raft Decision

  1. #1
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    Default Raft Decision

    Looking to purchase a raft that will accomodate 2 people on 7-10 trips in western and Brooks Range rivers. It would be used mostly for fishing, with an occasional hunting trip. Non- commercial. It must roll up easily for fly-in trips. Budget not a problem, but weight is. Here is my theory, please weigh in.

    NRS Otter 140 - lightweight, rolls up easily, storage no problem, Will it hold up to rocky, shallow rivers?


    Aire 143D - great 10 yr warranty, too heavy at 143 lbs.


    Sotar ST14 - lightweight, very durable, rolls up poorly, inflated storage a problem. Just how difficult is it to roll these up for fly-in trips?
    Can it be stored, rolled up, in a garage?

  2. #2

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    NRS Otters are in many raft rental fleets and have proven over the years that they can stand up to lots of abuse. I own an otter myself. I have no experience with your other two options, but the otter raft is up to the task.

  3. #3
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default

    Could you list the specific features you are looking for? All three boats listed are self bailers, so that's a start. But what kind of loads do you plan to carry? I would not generally recommend these boats for two hunters, two moose and a caribou tossed in, for example.

    Have you considered the NRS standard-floor boats? How about their 142 bailer? A little wider and less than ten pounds heavier. More lift.

    Sounds like you have ruled out the plastic boats because of the stiffness of the material (harder to roll than rubber). But you can certainly get them into an airplane. And SOTAR will build you anything you want. Most other companies can't / won't do that. Their urethane material is the toughest on the market.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
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  4. #4
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    Default

    Loads will be light, mostly for fishing, floating. Hunting trips will be 2 guys, one moose or 2 caribou.

  5. #5

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    Some one has given you some bad information on storage of SOTAR rafts. Their good to -60f rolled up. that is one of the reasons the military uses them for boats and mid-east fuel bladders. I have a personal NAVY SEAL raft that has been stored rolled up outside in a unheated shed for over 20 years and is like new., and have had 100's over the years stored rolled up outside during Alaska winters.
    Be careful where you get your information. They are lighter because they are urethane not rubber.
    In the cold they are harder to roll up than in the summer due to the thickness of the coating and base cloth, but have put many 14 and 15' rafts in super cubs.
    Just for your information I personally know of no one that leaves them inflated to store.
    Goo Vogt
    sotaralaska@yahoo.com

  6. #6

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    When you start talking lighteweight and hunting....

    I don't think you can beat this.

    http://www.pristineventures.com/prod...-x-stream.html

    Definitely the best weight to load cap ratio on the market.

  7. #7
    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with an Otter. It's a Ford Taurus compared to a Mercedes (SOTAR) but will still do the job.

    The most I've had in my 15' Otter on Arctic rivers is 2 adults, 2 kids, and 1 caribou plus gear for a week. One of the most helpful things you can do on those rivers, besides reading the water, is avoid loading the floor and having it sag a bit. 1" less draft makes the difference between floating and dragging on some rivers.




  8. #8
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    Thanks so much. I appreciate all the helpful information.

  9. #9
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Default Thank you Mike and other data

    For Cleaning up the thread it was getting a little heated :-)

    That being said I wanted to respond earlier just made the choice to sit back and watch a bit.

    For what it is worth SOTAR is an outstanding manufacture of Inflatable Boats. I think in the past Geaux was working with them for a possible 32 oz fabric versus a 40oz fabric and some day I hope they decide to move forward and try a proto type 32oz boat would be an outstanding contribution to the industry IMO.

    From my point of view and many of us have them and it is not to say one is better or worse or more correct or wrong than anyone others it is just my opinion.

    IMO the NRS Otter folds better and is lighter again IMO if you compair apples to apples. It is not to say it is a better boat just folds easier and is lighter if you were to take two 14ft Self Bailing boats and compair them together. The SOTAR tends to have sharp edges if you don't take great care to ensure everything is in its place and again IMO if you were to be in lets say 33-45 degree weather the NRS is easier to manage in the field concerning folding for transport.


    I have severl manufacture of inflatables in my rental fleet to include, SOTAR, AIRE, Tributary, NRS, MAXXON, STAR and Achilles. If I need a bullett proof boat I take the SOTAR or AIRE and maybe depending on the conditions the Trib. If I want ease of use and a very realiable boat I take one of the Otters. Mind you this is for what I do and what I like and has nothing to do with SOTAR, AIRE, NRS etc....... I just happen to like my Otters.

    Both are outstanding inflatables and both have pluses and minus.

    Regards

    RMM

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