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Blaze (S12)

by SOAR Inflatables

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.

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Reviews

The SOAR 12 is a great river boat for a single user…

Submitted by: on

The SOAR 12 is a great river boat for a single user plus LOTS of gear. I have owned it for a couple of years & just recently used the boat on a 4 day float trip down the Rio Grande River. It would handle two or more people just fine, but you would sacrifice room needed for camping gear.

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.....

Clearly, this is a specialty boat. It is a highly buoyant…

Submitted by: on

Clearly, this is a specialty boat. It is a highly buoyant, highly stable platform that allows one or two paddlers and their gear to run big water. It is maneuverable, portable, easy to store, well constructed, and with some practice is easy to set up. The ideal use for the SOAR 12 is a self-supported class II-IV solo river expedition where portability is needed. I have used the SOAR 12 (both with and without gear) on class II-IV rivers like the New, San Juan and Arkansas. Since I usually paddle solo (with a canoe paddle), the SOAR 12 is a good fit; with two people and gear, the SOAR 14 or SOAR 16 would be a better choice. The down side: Heavy, slow on flat water; the average Joe will probably be fortunate to ever need the extensive capabilities of this unique boat.

I've had a Soar12 for about 3 years, and I've used it…

Submitted by: on

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.