Sotar Rafts Review | What You Should Know [2020]

Surviving 40 years in the inflatable rafts industry tells you that Sator is a brand worthy of an investment. Their dedication to continuously innovate and improve on their products effortlessly put them among the brands you can rely on for any water adventure.

Their rafts are separated into series that lets you have a general idea of where they will be most suitable. Sotar offers extensive sizing options on their simplistic frames to let you fully control what goes in the raft before they start production. This option makes all Sotar rafts highly customizable, assuring that they are created to cater to your needs.

Sotar Rafts Reviewed

We review below every series Sotar has ever released to give you a glimpse of the craftsmanship put into every raft.

#1. Classic Series

sotar classic series

Sotar’s Classic series’ timeless design gives them a sleek finish that anyone can appreciate. Its simplistic frame gives you the freedom to add the essentials for your rafting trip. Sotar offers this series in numerous sizing options letting you choose accordingly.

Its smallest inflated 10 feet variant fits easily at the back of your pick-up truck, letting you leave the pump at home. Keeping it extremely lightweight allows you and your partner to carry the raft effortlessly on shallow waters, and maximizes buoyancy. Installing the extra thwart fits five people comfortably, making it perfect for your rafting trips with family and friends.

The largest variant standing at 18 feet, has massive tubes that efficiently support its enormous carrying capacity. A ten-man team can paddle comfortably and chop through the wildest whitewater of the Grand Canyon with its rigid construction.

Having seven air chambers on all rafts in this series ensures your safety if one area gets punctured. Equalizing the bow and stern’s rise improves their ability to resurface immediately after a steep dive and allows for better tracking. The inflatable floor keeps the frame rigid, ensuring your stability.

This series’ hand-welded Urethane material promises durability that outlasts PVC and Hypalon rafts, assuring you of getting your money’s worth. Multiple D-rings help secure all your gear and keep additional attachments in place as you paddle.


#2. Micro Strike

sotar micro series

Despite the small size, we cannot underestimate Micro Strike’s ability to perform excellently. Its rigid construction works perfectly as a fishing boat, promising excellent tracking and maneuverability to let you have the best catch with significantly less effort.

Adding an angler to the modular frame will give you ample space for your fishing gear on the deck itself, letting you be ready for anything. The frame promises to be lightweight, improving on buoyancy and letting you have maximum maneuverability.

Two air chambers ensure your safety, and a patch kit included with every purchase lets you repair the raft to safely get back to shore. Ten D-rings on the raft exterior enables you to secure your chosen frame and other necessary attachments to improve the overall experience.

The inflatable floor welded on to the raft assures the raft’s rigidity, keeping your balance as you paddle. Its compact frame easily fits on top of a sedan when inflated, letting you keep the pump at home.


#3. Blackfoot Strike Series

sotar blackfoot strike

The number of years it took to perfect the raft paid off as the series is considered the brand’s ultimate fishing boat. Sotar’s Blackfoot Strike Series design caters to everything a fisherman needs to ensure the best experience.

Anglers would have ample space from the oars person, allowing for better maneuverability. The maximum tube diameter of 19 inches allows superior stability and optimal buoyancy to let you tread water lightly. Diminishing the tubes enables you to maximize deck space, letting you bring all the necessary fishing gear without the risk of capsizing.

It’s almost flat, and asymmetrical construction maximizes the raft’s contact with the water without increasing drag. This feature also lets you have an unobstructed view of the environment, letting you set up your casts better. The slightly elevated bow and stern allow smoother spins, which, combined with the buoyancy, improve maneuverability.

Having multiple air chambers on each tube ensures your safety if one gets punctured. The I beam floor helps keep the raft’s rigidity, with its welded construction assuring you of excellent durability that can take the constant beating. Sotar lets you customize your raft by adding the necessary accessories before delivering it to you.


#4. Liquid Series

sotar liquid series

Extending the waterline of all Sotar Liquid series rafts allows for the smoothest turns and maximum maneuverability. This feature makes these raft highly agile, allowing for optimal speed on whitewater.

The diminished tubes improve your clearance of the water ahead, allowing you to better set up your moves. The same feature improves their buoyancy, letting you focus on paddling than worrying about capsizing. Having ample deck space because of these tubes will also allow you to bring all your camping gear for multi-day trips.

Welding the seams on its 3000 denier Urethane construction assures you of excellent durability that can withstand the constant beating. The Urethane coating on the fabric also ensures these rafts highly weatherproof, ensuring that they are a worthy investment. Leafield D7 valves let you spend more time in the water with its fast inflation, and ensures your safety by keeping these rafts airtight.

Having a rockered bow and stern allows these rafts to glide smoothly on water, using every paddle to provide maximum speed as you traverse the rapids. The elevated form will let you resurface quickly after a steep dive, while the rear allows for better guidance in direction. You need not worry about capsizing as the self-bailing I beam floor will keep you afloat as you paddle.


#5. Catarafts

sotar classic cataraft

While Sotar gives you four series to choose from their cataraft offerings, all equally promise an excellent performance that will let you glide through the most challenging whitewater.

Sotar Legends Cataraft tubes’ reduced size does not fall short on its ability to keep up with the intensity of battling rapids. Being comparative smaller than the rest of Sotar’s offerings lets improves on this variant’s agility on water, letting you glide through narrower streams effortlessly.

The Classic Cats give you a timeless and trusted design, which makes this cataraft a crowd favorite. Removing the unnecessary seams on the tubes reduced its drag, allowing for a significantly smoother water glide. Its gradual curve allows for better weight distribution, letting pack all your essentials without the risk of tipping over.

Coho Cat’s massive construction allows you to creep on water, creating less distraction to the fishes and increasing your chances of getting the best catch. This cataraft’s frame suitable for your solo paddling fishing trips but leaves ample room for all your gear.

While all catarafts are flexible by nature, the SL series goes the extra mile by promising to adapt to changing water conditions. Its unique design improves your balance as you punch holes, reducing the risk of your tumbling as you resurface. Increasing each tubes’ main pivot point’s diameter improves their buoyancy, allowing for swifter turns and better maneuverability.


#6. Kayaks

sotar kayaks

Sotar’s Inflatable Kayaks promise excellent durability that does not compromise on overall performance. The brand makes sure that you get to traverse the narrowest and wildest whitewater effortlessly, letting you look no further for the perfect adventure buddy.

The brand’s Liquid technology comprises all four kayaks, ensuring optimal response rate towards every paddle. This feature promises maximum speed with less effort, letting you have enough energy to finish each trail. It also allows for smoother tracking on the water with its sleek finish, improving on maneuverability.

Having Lexatron fixed floors on all kayaks creates zero to no drag as you paddle, and will remain airtight despite the constant impact, ensuring your stability and safety. You can entirely focus on paddling than staying in the kayak with the pre-installed aluminum foot braces and thigh straps that promise superior comfort. An inflatable seat will provide you with ample back support letting you exert full force onto every paddle.


Sotar Raft Construction

While most inflatable raft manufacturers relied on Polyvinyl Chloride coating to keep their costs low and their rafts sufficiently durable, the material does not remain airtight for long. This issue makes traversing through rapids challenging over time, affecting your overall performance.

What sets this brand apart is its use of a unique fabric that promises a more excellent performance that does not compromise durability. We break down what the material is below.

Erez-Thermoplastic Urethane

Thermoplastic Urethane-Coated Polyester

Sotar resolves the PVC problem by finding a fabric that will let you get the best of both worlds. Most inflatable raft manufacturers use Nylon as their base fabric, which unfortunately absorbs water as soon as its coating gets scratched. The Polyester fabric with the Thermoplastic Urethane coating ensures that the raft remains waterproof and highly abrasion-resistant, significantly improving its durability. Combining the two materials also creates a unique mold that is highly resistant to tearing and cracking, reducing air leaks’ risk.

Erez Aliphatic Coating

This excellently weatherproof top-coat of all Sotar rafts assures you that the outer shell will remain in excellent condition despite constant usage. Adding the Erez Aliphatic coating on top of the TPU makes these rafts more resistant to the damages caused by Ultraviolet rays. This feature lets Sotar rafts keep their original color for longer, hence the brand’s wide selection of color options for better customization.

The same coating makes all Sotar rafts have an excellent compromise between flexibility and durability. This feature allows for smoother movement, letting you maximize each paddle’s energy into speed and do swifter turns.


About Sotar Rafts

For the past 40 years, this family-run business has consistently provided us with products that could withstand wear and tear, assuring their excellent quality. Their journey from creating rafts in the garage of their home in Oregon, United States, has grown into one of the most trusted inflatable rafts brands. Sotar’s manufacturing process being on a made-to-order basis lets you have full control of what goes into your raft, ensuring that you get all you need as soon as possible. 

After finishing Polymer Science, Jeremiah Lewman stepped in to help run his father’s business. He used his industry experience to innovate and introduce technology that enabled the company to set itself apart.

Technologies like the Erez-TPU and the Lexatron floor can only be found in every Sotar raft’s frame’s stellar material. Purchasing one will assure you of having a raft specifically made for you and will also be the last one you will ever buy.


Conclusion

Sotar’s production process might not be as fast as its competitors, but its excellent quality makes it worth the wait. Manufacturing their fabric for the tubes and floors to improve on the raft’s durability assures you that it will keep up with the sport’s pressure.

While these rafts are already categorized according to their purpose, it is best to know how each factor affects a raft’s performance. This knowledge will let you have a checklist of features to watch out for, allowing for smarter decision-making.

We hope this review of their products lets you have a better idea of Sotar offers for your whitewater escapades. Check out the articles below for our take on its competitors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do you inflate a Sotar Raft?

A: Sotar uses a baffle system the reduces the risk of blowing out an air chamber during inflation. You start by making sure that the area where you the raft is free of any sharp debris that might puncture it in the process. Correctly attaching the pump on the Leafield valves will ensure faster inflation, so it is best to keep an eye when each chamber is fully inflated. A baffle system makes you grow on a clockwise motion boosting one end first and then the sections on a side before moving to the opposite and increasing the other end last.

Q: How do I store a Sotar Raft?

A: It is best to clean your raft with gentle dish soap and water after every use to remove dirt and salt, causing damage during storage. Sotar recommends using an Inflatable Raft Cleaner to reduce the risk of incurring rub marks in the process. After you have cleaned and made sure that the raft is fully deflated, fold it in thirds, causing the panels to meet in the middle. Slowly roll up the raft, making sure that you do so towards the floor valve. Secure the rolled up raft with a boat strap before storing it in the bag.

Q: Can I repair a Sotar raft myself?

A: Each raft comes with a patch kit that contains everything you need to do a temporary repair, allowing you to finish the course. Place the patch on top of the hole, making sure you’ve covered its entirety. It would be best to rid it of any debris with Methyl Ethyl Ketone before you start sealing with an adhesive coat. Let it settle for around 20 minutes before applying a second coat, then clean once more with the MEK solution. It is best to remember that if the tear exceeds five inches, you need to put patches on both sides to keep it airtight.

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