Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Aire Puma vs. SOTAR strike

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    37

    Default Aire Puma vs. SOTAR strike

    Looking for suggestions / recommendations.

    I'm a competent rower that is looking to purchase a small raft that
    * I can drag, roll up, and load into truck bed by myself,
    * fish 1 or 2 people in addition to the rower on day trips,
    * fit down skinny water,
    * handle Class 3-4 water, and
    * fit 2 people (i.e. rower plus one passenger) and gear for extended (say, up to 10-14 days) float / flyfishing trips, packing light if necessary.

    From my research on this site and elsewhere it sounds like the Aire Puma (i.e. the 11'6" foot model) checks all these boxes (assuming I use different frame configurations for different types of trips). Is that true? I've rowed larger models in the Puma line and have really enjoyed them, though the larger models are a lot for me to handle when solo.

    I'm also intrigued by the SOTAR strike line. Without getting into a PVC vs. urethane debate, it seems like the 11'6" Strike would check off just about all the above boxes will providing a little more space and better / more stable fishing platform. I'm a bit concerned about performance in Class 3-4, though. Are these concerns valid, or would the Strike do just fine in big water (as long as I don't mind getting splashed a bit)?

    Are there any other rafts I should be considering? Thanks in advance for any advice / expertise.

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Gakona Ak
    Posts
    1,729

    Default

    Ok:

    Please this is just one Outfitters opinion so take it for that.

    It looks like your expecting a 12 foot raft to do a lot and its important that we all understand that a smaller raft is just that, a smaller raft! I own 24 rafts and while we have a few 12 and 13 foot rafts I would not consider any of them able to handle class 4 rapids, the foot print is just too small to be safe and when you consider 2 weeks worth of gear on top of that .....Well this is just a bad idea. Most of my 14 foot rafts are rated at 2,400 pounds and the 12 footers that I consider day boats only handle 1500-1600 pounds maybe..

    Based upon on what you are asking I would suggest not considering anything under a 14 foot raft. There are lots of good options on the market so I would consider material first and foremost. If your considering PVC the best product on the market are made by AIRE hands down. If your considering SOTAR well Urethane is very durable but VERY heavy and based upon what you have laid out, one man and fly out the SOTAR is not a good option.

    Take a look at the Hypalon options on the market. Plenty to choose from but always understand you get what you pay for. There are LOTS of low cost PVC rafts on the market and most are not worth wasting money or time on.

    Good luck on choosing the perfect raft. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

    Walt
    Gulkana Raft Rentals
    907-259-4290
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,238

    Default

    12’ rafts float class III/IV/V water everyday of the year around the planet when lightly loaded. However, if you are talking about 2 people plus gear for extended overnights in class IV up you are pushing the limits. Check out mountainbuzz.com for additional insight. There is a much wider audience there with tons of experience on western, multi-day trips. The physics of raft performance are the same whether it’s on the MF Salmon or a remote AK river. These pics were of a “heavily loaded” 8’ raft in class IV. You can see the results. I didn’t enjoy that swim very much. Lol
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4
    New member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    wasilla
    Posts
    716

    Default

    For hauling gear and taking on class IV I would at least go 14 foot. If you are just wanting to hit up some whitewater, and want options to do some creek boating too, that Super Puma, one size bigger than the boat you listed, is hard to beat. I have been in them going off 12 foot waterfalls, as well as serious boulder strewn streams where a missed line is bad trouble. They are sleek and very fast on the water, excellent for the steep and gnarly.

  5. #5
    Member DannerAK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Whiskey River
    Posts
    1,246

    Default

    I'd buy a Sotar over an AIRE any day without hesitation. Sotar boats are light and very durable but above all they perform like no other. Just look at the outfitters that run the Nenana River Canyon (big water class IV). You won't see a single AIRE but you will see outfitters using nothing but Sotar. I'm not bashing AIRE, just saying Sotar are superior, imho.
    "The North wind is cold no matter what direction it's blowing"

  6. #6

    Default

    I had a Aire Super Puma for 10 plus years mostly used for fishing on the Kenai and Kasilof with the rocker it was a great boat for fishing, back trolling
    easily held as well as most drift boats. Did not take it in big waters , did the canyon on the Kenai a few times it was so maneuverable could avoid the bad waters. Had a frame and counter balanced oars. Big water needs a different boat and no nothing about the Sotar.

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    AK
    Posts
    37

    Default



    A little late to comment but the Sotar Strike is an amazing boat. I have the 13’6 and wouldn’t go any smaller. I wish I bought the bigger one. I think it is around 90lbs and I can manage it by myself. I can place that boat anywhere I want and can get into spots the wider boats can’t. Great fishing platform! I have been very comfortable on the gulkana with 3 guys and gear. The falls section being mostly empty was fun and playful. I took a line that I couldn’t do with a regular 14’ sotar 20 minutes later. That said, I’m keeping to max class three for my own comfort. Short sections of III+ or IV are ok but not my area of comfort. You do get pushed around a bit compared to the bigger boats.

  8. #8

    Default

    I'm gonna say that the Aire Super Puma 13' model is perfect for what you want. I'll go out on a limb and say the Sotar strike and Maravia Elan and New Wave 1 would be suitable options as well. These all can handle big whitewater (with the proper setup), but I get the impression day in/day out big whitewater performance is low on your priority list. Much like shot placement is more important than caliber, if you don't hit your line any raft can flip. I have been really impressed with any Sotar's and Maravia's I've paddled, as well as Aires. I think the lightest, narrowest raft in the 12-13' range would be a touch more versatile for longer trips, float hunts, and the occasional big water encounter. I really like and prefer a drop stitch floor for fishing, thus my Maravia recommendation. I think you can get a drop stitch for Sotar as well. Good luck.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •