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Submitted: 05-14-2001 by CCR
I've had a Soar12 for about 3 years, and I've used it on several lakes and various rivers here in the midwest.
It's strengths: Huge cargo capacity. I've had 3 large adults in the boat with at least 5" of freeboard left. Lots of room, with plenty of big brass grommets for tie-down points. Very stable - in fact I've never had a situation where there was a chance it would roll over - I think you'd have to hit something broadside in a strong current. Sets up very quickly...with a high-volume electric pump it takes about 6-10 minutes (with practice); the included manual pump takes 15-20 minutes. VERY shallow draft...350+ pounds of people & gear was able to float in about 2.5" of water. Tough...the Hypalon material it's made of is very resistant to punctures - I've never scuttled it (but then I'm careful).
Weaknesses: A little too much boat for one paddler on moving water, even using a kayak paddle. I note here that in "GroverT"'s review of a Soar16 he states that it's not affected by wind as much as in a canoe - I don't know about the 16, but wind CAN be a problem for the 12 on la! kes when there's only one passenger/paddler. Tracking isn't great compared to most canoes I've used. The manufacturer says the boat weighs 52 pounds, but I'd swear it feels more like 60-65. It's a bit hard for one person to remove it from or return it to it's storage bag, and the handles on the bag are not too helpful when being lugged around by 1 person. A note here about caring for the boat - when you get it home you should have a large floor area to lay it out to completely dry it before long-term storage - if you use the garage floor don't sit it on a spot of motor oil because I've heard it will weaken the hypalon. I also like to vacuum the sand and gravel out of the space between the side tubes and floor to avoid a possible puncture due to it's full (folded) weight resting on a stone's hard edge. All in all, I'd give it a 7 out of 10.
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