The SOAR 12 is a perfect solo inflatable for day-long paddles or extended trips. It can be paddled with a canoe or kayak paddle. Two people can comfortably paddle a SOAR 12 with lightweight overnight gear.
It's also ideal for the fly-fisherman who wants to access low water areas.
Submitted by: Anonymous on 9/15/2010
As stated by other reviewers, this boat is really perfect for rivers with moving water. Straight tracking in a current is a challenge (using a kayak paddle), and if there was a stiff wind, it was really difficult. At one point in the trip, the wind blowing down the river was over 20 MPH & I could not paddle downstream against the headwind in the SOAR - while my friends in regular canoes & kayaks did just fine.
Also - in open water it is very difficult for one person to paddle in a straight direction in moderate to high winds.
Paddling single, the boat does feel heavy & is slow on flat water. Two paddlers in the boat might make a difference though....
Boat is VERY stable & made me feel bomb-proof going down rapids.
The boat packs well & is easily set up by one person. Definitely lay the boat out to completely dry & clean it before long-term storage. I will upgrade to a 14 or 16 SOAR in the future so that I can have two people in the boat WITH LOTS OF GEAR.....
Submitted by: Anonymous on 1/12/2006
Submitted by: Anonymous on 5/14/2001
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.