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Thread: Soar Pro Pioneer Magnum

  1. #1

    Default Soar Pro Pioneer Magnum

    Saw the Magnum at the sports show and was wondering if anyone has experience with it yet. It looks big, but for the family I was thinking it might be a workable idea for floating. Also a good moose rig for off season. Anyone with words?

  2. #2
    Member PatrickH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Eagle River, AK

    Default 2nd Hand

    Last year I was on a float trip with Larry Bartlett (Pro Pioneer designer). My partner and I were in a regular Pro Pioneer with camp gear and two caribou. We probably could have stuffed another caribou or two in if we had really wanted. I have nothing bad to say about them. We all did a lot of dragging for the first few days. Those boats are tough. Larry was in a prototype of the Magnum, so I think he is the only one to have used one on a float. The Magnum will haul a lot more. If you see them side by side, there is a big difference in tube diameter and interior space. On the down side the Magnum sits higher, so it catches the wind more. That was a big factor on one of the rivers we were on. It is also heavier to carry or fly in. If you need haul a couple of moose and a couple of hunters and camp in a small river, the Magnum would be a good choice. A lot of people will be better off with the regular Pro Pioneer because they do not need to haul that much. If you are interested, you should check with Larry at Pristine Ventures.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006


    Talking with Larry at the Sportsman show, he seems to prefer the Pro Pioneer. But he describes himself to be more of a boater than a hunter, so I'm sure that colors his preference.

    You wouldn't see it from the specs, but standing there looking at them, it is clear that these are two *very* different boats. Lots more capacity for weight and space in the Magnum, but you wouldn't want to paddle one very far. It's not that it couldn't be done, they paddle 16 foot round rafts too, but for a practical standpoint this is almost exclusively an oar boat.

    The Pro Pioneer's biggest advantage over a round raft is the narrow profile that allows it to get through tighter places. The Magnum looses some of that, and competes more directly with the round boats. I'm not so sure this is a good thing.

    BTW, the new replacement for the Oar Saddle looks to be quite the device. It's made with a combination of aluminum and plastic (or composite) material. It doesn't look to be as durable for extreme use, but is far lighter and packs tighter. It's also $100 cheaper.

  4. #4
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Anchorage, Alaska

    Default SOAR Magnum

    I have some questions out to Larry Laba, the owner of the company that manufactures this boat (and all of the other SOAR boats, for that matter). I, too, got the drift that he doesn't really like the boat. It seems like too much of a good thing. The whole point of a narrow boat for float hunting is to use it on small streams, right? Well, the "magnum" is 18' long. On many of our narrow, winding rivers, you're gonna pin the bow or stern on the opposite bank and stand a chance of flipping over. At some point you reach the law of diminishing returns, and you just have to settle for what works and what doesn't. I am sure there are some rivers where this might work, but there are others where it is going to be a problem.

    As to the stated load capacity of 2100 lbs, I can tell you that there are no universally-accepted objective testing processes for load capacity within the rafting industry. This means that the manufacturers themselves, or perhaps in this case, the distributor, comes up with numbers based on their own standards (whatever those might be). These standards may or may not fit your situation. In most cases it comes down to practical things like maneuverability. I don't know about you, but if I'm on fast moving water in a little stream, or dealing with shallow water, I want a boat that floats high and is nimble and responsive to the oars. It's hard to get that in any boat with 2000# of meat and gear aboard.

    The Holy Grail many floaters are looking for is a boat that will hold two guys and two moose, plus all the gear. Time will tell whether this boat will accomplish that or not. It might surprise us all, or it might be a pig on the water. It hasn't been fully tested yet.

    Currently the only boat in production that I would recommend for my hunters trying to do that is the new AIRE Cougar cataraft. The Cata-Canoe will also do the same thing, if you use two AIRE Traveller canoes. The advantages of both of these boats is that they sit low to the water (offering excellent protection from upstream headwinds), have a good bow rise, which offers great performance on rough water and superior performance with an outboard), and versatility. This is particularly true with the cata-canoe, which offers the use of two canoes that are assembled into a cataraft, as the situation dictates. Either of these boats will haul two hunters, two moose, and all the gear.

    Hope it helps!

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006


    A Ton. Wow! I didn't notice that spec.

    Aside from determining max capacity based on a personal choice in criteria, the Soar canoe/boats can arguably carry more due to not having self bailing holes with an inflatable floor, so the whole boat can act like a single displacement hull. Personally, I don't see that as an advantage. I'd rather have it be self bailing. The Magnum has a 6" think floor, so self bailing could certainly be done, but that would lower it's max capacity to more reasonable level.

    I probably loaded my Aire Cougar close to 2000 lbs once for a trip down the Big Su. It didn't sink, but it handled like a pig. The 30hp outboard wasn't enough to push it upstream, so we floated out the end and rode the tide back to Ship Creek.

    I've also drove an 18' Aire self bailer down the Colorado with over 2000 lbs in it. It was far from being overloaded, but still handled like a pig. There was no maneuvering once in a rapid. You just took the time to line up, and then tried to keep the bow pointed down stream. It was fun, but not what you want for most AK river trips.

    My brother in law has a 21' self bailer (don't ask) and we put 10 people in it once for a Kenai Canyon run. You could just barely move it with 12' oars, so everyone grabbed a paddle to assist.

    Too much is too much, no matter what the boat. Sure they can carry it, but where you gonna put it, and who wants to row it?

  6. #6
    New member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Decide What Want It For

    It mostly boils down to what you're going to do most with the raft. If your primary goal is float hunting, then the Pro Pioneer is great. That's exactly what it's designed for.
    I had one, but I found myself using it more for the family and fishing than anything else. With only two kids, the wife and myself, there was technically plenty of room for us. But the boat, being so narrow, really didn't give anybody any "room" to move. Now, with a total of four kids and the wife (and I did put all six of us into the Pro Pioneer once, ugh), I have an 18' Aire Lion. Plenty of room for everyone to breath. The Lion is a great hunting platform too, but it's size limits the waterways you can use it on.
    If you're a diehard hunter on your own or with a buddy most of the time, go with the Pro. But if the family is spending any appreciable time on it, remember the old saying- "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy".


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