Sotar, Maravia or Outcast (Aire) for Drift Raft - Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Riedy09, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. Guys, I need your help. I will be buying a raft for fly fishing in the Ozarks and the occasion trip out west. My issue is that I am in St. Louis, MO and do not have the ability to see the rafts and frames and will make my decision sight unseen. I have scoured the internet and found many helpful threads and thoughts, but ask that you guys provide additional insight before I make my decision. The set-up will be primarily used to float some of Missouri's larger trout waters with 3-guys. I would also like to use the raft for some 2-3 day floats when out west.

    Thus far, I have it narrowed down to the following:

    Streamtech - Proprietary 13' Maravia + Proprietary Frame
    Pros: Maravia, 10-Year Warranty, Centered Anchor, Breakdown Aluminum Frame, PVC Urethane Fabric, Drop Stitch Floor, 20" Tubes
    Cons: No Casting Platforms, Expensive, Narrow Footprint (6'3")
    http://www.streamtechboats.com/

    Outcast PAC 1400 - Aire Super Duper Puma + Proprietary Frame
    Pros: 10-Year Warranty, Less Expensive
    Cons: EMT Conduit Frame, No Breakdown Frame, Narrow Footprint (5'11"), Heavy Frame
    http://www.outcastboats.com/outcast/products/?id=19

    SOTAR - 13' SP Elite + NRS Frame + All Accessories
    Pros: PVC Urethane Fabric, Breakdown Breakdown NRS Frame, Lots of Frame Accessories, Wide Footprint (6'6"), Drop Stitch Floor
    Cons: 6-Year Warranty, Off-Center Anchor
    http://www.sotar.com/index2.htmL

    Any and all help is appreciated. If there is additional information I need to provide please let me know. Thanks in advance.

    Kris
     
  2. Have you considered the NRS. I'm in the same situation. Hoping to get a boat for spring. A good friend of mine is a canyon guide in B.C and he recommended the NRS.

    Jay
     
  3. From what I hear, SOTAR is The best you can buy for an inflatable. I would like the SOTAR with the Streamtech frame. Im jealous of your chioces, good luck!
    jed
     
  4. I don't know if you realize but EMT weights almost exactly what the typical aluminum does per ft. (roughly 1/2 lb/ft). Would make irrelevant, as a con against an EMT frame.
     
  5. The Maravia is 70 lbs lighter than the Outcast. I couldn't find the weight specs on the Sotar, but when manhandling boats down to the river and through shallow spots, a lighter boat makes a HUGE difference. All three have great products. I've been guiding whitewater trips for 11 years now, and the skinny little Maravias are still my favorite. Light weight and bombproof.
     
  6. Have not considered the NRS. Is it made in the USA? Some of the information I came across mentioned it was a boat made in Korea? If it is a product of the USA then I will have to look at it a little deeper.

    I keep hearing the best boats are Maravia and SOTAR. From what I can gather, the tan SOTAR is a little cheaper than the Maravia. This is due to SOTAR having a surplus of the tan material. Such is the reason I am leaning a little toward the SOTAR. But, I agree with that the Streamtech frame is kick ass.

    Thanks for the info. Are there any negatives with EMT? Does the thin wall thickness allow it to flex if I were to step on it?

    I agree whole heatedly. I really like the Streamtech (Maravia) except for the additional 1K and not having casting platforms. I spoke with Maravia and Streamtech and they believe the floor is so rigid that platforms are not warranted. Is there any concern with fishing directly from the raft floor? Is it that rigid? Will it hold up to the abrasiveness associated with silts, rocks and sands being trampled on?

    Thanks for the help gentlemen. Keep it coming.
     
  7. The floor is quite rigid when fully inflated and can take a ton of abuse. The only problem we've had is with little pinholes forming from at the front and rear thwart in the crease formed from storing the boats rolled. Recently, Maravia has fixed that by reinforcing that area and we've had no problem with their new boats. As an example of how good they make boats, we just retired a Williwa 1 after16 years of class IV service, and it's still in great shape. I bought it from the outfitter I work for and expect to get many more years of service.
     
  8. IMO, a casting platform is a definate. I had a Maravia, and even though the floors are rigid, they are sloped at the bow and stern and slick to stand on. Also, even a rigid floor gives with a persons weight, which makes balancing more difficult. If you get a frame without one, you should be able to build one in the future, or have someone build it for you. This will give you a chance to see how you like it without.
     
  9. All of these are really great white water rafts. Capable of class iv water. Something I would never do wearing waders. Have a look at Dave Scadden's stuff. http://www.northforkoutdoors.com/
     
  10. I owned a 14" Sotar for three years and fished and whitewater rafted in it. I don't think that the 13" boat in any brand is big enough to fish three people and their gear.
    Remember if the boat is 84" wide and 14' long you have to deduct 40" both ways for the tubes. Space inside is now less than 4' by under 11' and that is for a 14' boat. Think about it that extra foot longer and the width that comes with it are really nice. I had a NRS fishing frame and liked it alot.
    Blessings
    jesse clark
     
  11. Hey man I'm from St. Louis too but live here in Seattle now...Go Cards!

    Nutsack Angler has the 13' Maravia Streamtech boat that you're thinking about...and it's awesome!!! If he doesn't pipe up here in a day or two just PM him...he's a very cool dude and would be able to answer all of your questions about that set up. I haven't rowed it YET but guys that that have said it was great to row. Besides raft construction...I would say that the frame set up seems like the most important part to me...You want to make sure the rowers seat, foot brace, and oar towers are all adjustable because it sucks to row something all day that you can't get comfortable in or aren't completely confident rowing...especially in crazy water. And you want to have enough dry storage because everything gets wet if its not in a dry box, dry bag, or cooler in an SB raft no matter how calm the river is. As for the 13' vs 14' debate, figuring out which one is better for you all depends on what you're using the boat for, the size of the rivers you're primarily floating, and the load you're mostly be carrying. From what I remember those are some fairly small rivers down there in south/central Missouri...

    Maybe go into Feather Craft and ask them if they know any guides that use rafts. Try calling those guides or go with them to test drive/ride their boats/frames...They might not have the same brands you're looking at but at least it might help with your decision making. These raft set ups aren't cheap so you want to take your time and get what you want...especially in St. Louis where the white water raft market isn't very good so it would be very hard to unload one if you're not happy with it.

    Christian
     
  12. Thanks for the feedback. I went with the 13' SOTAR and NRS frame. I added a top and bottom chafe for additional protection. SOTAR is running a 15% off special until the end of the year, but more of a savings can be had if you go through their dealers. PM me if you want the details.

    Once I get a few trips under my belt I will write an update with the likes and dislikes associated with the raft and frame. Now I have to find a cheap trailer to accommodate the raft.
     
  13. I have a sotar with a nice homemade frame and I love it... BUT.. If I had to do it over again I wouldn't think twice about going with a Maravia.
     
  14. I own the Maravia Spider, which looks remarkably like the Maravia being used by Streamtech. I did the research extensively, and the Maravia came out on top. I looked at NRS, SOTAR, HYSIDE and MARAVIA. I liked that all of the Maravia boats were made in Idaho. I paired it with a DRE frame and have logged hundreds of trips on it. Nothing but positive things to say.

    If you go with another, you will want to have a solid floor. Standing on baffled floor isn't much fun. The Drop Stitch Maravia is pretty solid if you inflate it all the way, but it's still like standing on an old fiberglass boat where the floor flexes and moves.

    Jon
     
  15. Short boats are a recipe for fish hook in the eye. 3 person > 16 ft minimum
     
  16. Have you checked out Achilles rafts? I guide friend of mine has a number of them and is very impressed with their durability and maneuverability.
     

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