What is the best whitewater raft?

That question is like asking if you prefer a Ford or Chevy truck. Rafts come in all shapes sizes colors and textures; however the composition of their materials is a hotly debated topic in the river community. There are two basic compositions for whitewater rafts rubber or plastic. These categories are not hard and fast rules but general guidelines and many raft manufactures are beginning to move to divergent fusions to try to mitigate the weaknesses and maximize the advantages of different materials. Whichever boat that you choose to purchase or use make sure you know the advantages and disadvantages of each craft before you buy.

Rubber Boats

These boats are the classic whitewater raft with origins dating back before World War II. In fact many early commercial rafts were military surplus rafts picked up by outfitters. Today modern designs and new materials have created plenty of great boats that last for decades. If you prefer a raft that feels stable on the water and easy to sit in, rubber rafts will have a special place in your fleet.

Composition

Rubber rafts are typically made from chlorosulfonated polyethylene a synthetic rubber often marketed under the DuPont® trademark Hypalon®. This material is a strong chemical resistant material that makes up the bulk of whitewater raft material. Layers of this are sandwiched around a woven Kevlar mesh to provide an exceptional material for whitewater rafts. In addition, it makes for quick and easy repairs to the vessel when the rubber boat becomes damaged.

Losses rigidity with age

Higher drag coefficent

Seams can delaminate in hot conditions

Less prone to flipping

More grippy seats

Easy to roll/packs down

Feels stable on the water

Storage

Storing rubber boats can be very easy because of the pliable nature of the materials. Rubber boats are easy to roll and transport however, if they are stored for long periods, rolled rubber has the tendency to bond to itself. This creates problems when you remove your raft from long term (2-3 months+) storage especially when rolled. The exterior surface tends to delaminate from the underlying fiber layer. This problem can be mitigated with a generous application of talcum powder before you store it for long periods. Unfortunately you may still find that your boat will bond to itself even when powdered especially in humid conditions. Because of this problem many boaters who use their rubber rafts infrequently often complain of reduced life expectancy and delamination problems.

Barskoon Moraine Gorge.jpg

Recent Trends

Recently we have noticed a new trend emerging from the rubber boat manufacturers of adding urethane chafer strips to the floor and bottoms of the tubes. This will give you some of the advantages of a plastic boat’s ability to slip over rocks and giving the boat a sportier feel. The disadvantage comes from the fact that patching any damage at the seam of the chafer strips an absolute nightmare because of the multiple compositions of the materials.

Plastic Rafts

If you enjoy slipping over rocks and running slides this is the boat for you. Plastic boats tend to lead the industry in terms of sportiness, speed, and sliding over obstacles. Many designs feature diminishing tubes which some boaters prefer and some hate depending upon their boating preferences.

Composition

PVC or Poly Vinyl Chloride is a cheap easily manufactured synthetic plastic polymer used by most of the lower end raft manufacturers. PVC is typically welded together through various methods at the seams in the tubes. PVC’s greatest weakness is the fact that it is brittle at or below room temperature (not a good quality for us boaters).

Urethane

Rafts made from urethane enjoy a number of advantages over their PVC counterparts and the higher end raft manufacturers, like SOTAR, use Urethane as their go to material for building rafts. This material has elastomeric memory properties, meaning it will return to its original form when stretched, as well as being non-brittle resisting cracking under shock loading.

Less prone to wrapping

High rigidity especially when punching waves

More punctures and rip resistance

Slides over rocks obstructions easily

Lower drag coefficient

Sporty feel on the water

Plastic can flake off with age

More prone to flipping

Prone to shattering with impact especially when cold (PVC Boats)

Limited elasticity (PVC Boats)

Can feel unstable

Storage

Storing plastic boats can be a bit trickier in comparison to their rubber counterparts. Plastic boats don’t really like to be rolled and they generally do not pack down well when you try to roll them. The best way to store one of these boats is laid out flat, so if you do purchase one ideally you should have a flat open garage or storage area to lay it out on. Unlike their rubber counterparts you don’t need to worry about delamination from material sticking together when you store them over a winter.

Welded seams are one major improvement that higher end manufacturers like SOTAR have latched onto over their rubber counterparts thereby eliminating delamination that rubber boats often experience in storage.

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Recent Trends

Some of the lower end manufacturers have begun to slap rubber chafer strips to the top of the tubes on the seat area as a stop gap measure for the slipperiness of the seat problem. This is a nice benefit, but if the chafer strip is too large or the boat is a big boat it tends to add a lot of weight to the boat negating the sportiness of a plastic boat. Serious manufacturers like SOTAR, Marvaia, and Aire have an array of options to help reduce weight and add amazing amounts of grip to the seat without sacrificing performance.

So what raft should I buy?

Much like surfers have multiple boards in their quiver to accommodate different conditions, as rafters we will often develop diverse fleets especially if you run many different types of rivers.

Like my ol’ pappy used to say “Boy don’t use a screw driver to pound a nail.”

The best advice if you are looking for a first purchase or to add a new boat to the fleet is to follow the “over 50% rule”. Ask yourself what you are going to be running over 50% of the time with your boat. Then, demo some different rafts to get a feel for what you feel comfortable with. Next, ask people in your area and those who share your boating style and preference what they prefer to boat on. Finally, find a boat with the features that you want for a price that you can afford.

Unfortunately there is not one catch all boat to fit every circumstance. A commercial outfitter has a different preference to a racer or an expedition boater. The local conditions, your boating style and your personal preferences will play a huge factor in what you should use.

If you still have questions feel free to contact us and we can try to point you in the right direction.

We would also like to thank SOTAR for contributing photos and technical advice. Please check out their product on Instagram and give them a follow.

Whitewater Raft Materials and Designs

There are variables to consider when purchasing a whitewater raft: design, size, cost, materials, and type of usage. People tend to focus on the size (particularly length). However, raft performance depends heavily on raft materials (scroll to materials) and design. In this post we are going to break down these variables along with what different manufactures offer to help you figure out the right inflatable raft for you. We also have a post on the different types of whitewater crafts.

Variables of Raft Design

Raft Length

People tend to spend the most time considering length which is a good place to start. The length of a raft dictates its width, weight and capacity.

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18 foot raft on multi-day rafting tripn Idaho

18 foot Gear Raft on Multi-day Trip

18 foot Rafts

The main advantage of 18 foot rafts is their ability to carry tons of gear and their stability in high volume rivers. They also draft less water which helps in broad shallow runs. Disadvantages include being less maneuverable, heavy, take up lots of space in your garage, more expensive, and terrible for paddle boating and R-2ing.

16 foot Rafts

16 footers can still carry a bunch of gear and fit through tight slots better than 18 footers, Still challenging to run as a paddle boat but are great high water oar-paddle combo rafts with up to 6 paddlers. In general they are more useful as a multi-day raft except for those needing to carry (literally) tons of gear and people.

shows what a 14 foot paddle raft looks like

14 foot Paddle Raft (Polyurethane material)

14 Foot Rafts

Fourteen foot rafts are the classic paddle raft for 6 people and a guide. They also can still be run as a gear raft but are easy to overload. These boats are fun to row with just a rowing frame. When run as an oar/paddle they are best with 4 paddlers and do pretty well on high volumne rivers. They can also fun to R-2.

12 Foot Rafts

Twelve foot rafts are best for paddle boats with 4 paddlers, R-2ing or running with a small rowing frame. They can work as a solo gear boat with minimal gear. These also work great as a multi-day R-2 raft with a dry bag in the front and back compartment. Anything smaller than a 12 footer is best for R-2ing or solo rowing.

12 foot raft used as an R-2

12 foot R-2 raft (PVC material)

Inflatable Kayaks and Packrafts

Inflatable Kayaks/Packrafts: these craft are outstanding for one person on low volume rivers. If river runners pack light it is possible to to a week plus self-support trip out of them.

Types of Floors

There are two main variables with floors. Choosing between an I-beam and drop stitch floor and whether the floor is glued or laced to the raft. As we will discuss they each have their places.

I-beam

I-beam floors are much more common these days. Most of the companies (NRS, SOTAR, Hyside, Wing, Avon) use I-beam floors. The floor will have creases about ever 6 inches running the length of the floor. I-beam floors track well, meaning they float in the direction they are pointed.

Drop Stitch

Drop stitch floors are flat. Without the creases they don’t track as well, get surfed off of wave trains more often and are easier to move laterally. The main advantage of a drop stitch floors like in the Maravia is that it does have a pressure relief valve to leak and get full of sand so there is no need to re-inflate your raft every morning.

The drop stitch floors also are dryer for standing in which is nice for multi-day trips when need to get in and out of the rafts at night.

Water Ballast Floors

Aire rafts have a unique system with an inner bladder on their floors. With the two layers of material there is a space that fills with water. They sell it as water ballast. Some people swear by them.

The rafts are more stable this way but they are also more sluggish particularly with their bigger rafts. When pulling the raft out of the water it is best to wait to let the water drain out so the raft is much lighter to carry.

shows laced in I-beam floor

Laced in I-beam floor

Glued versus Laced in Floors

Laced floors have a piece of webbing that laces the floor into the bottom of the raft. These floors are replaced more easily or can be removed to send back to be fixed. They also drain more quickly than glued in floors. Another advantage for traveling is unlacing the floor makes the outer tube much lighter for carrying on a plane or down a trail into a remote canyon.

The disadvantages are the webbing wears out and can break. Relacing a floor is an annoying time consuming process. Laced floors typically move slower than glued in floors in the river due to the two pieces (some times three) of material on the bottom. The protective floor flap catches on rocks when going over drops and gets ripped off over time.

Glued in floors make the raft lower maintenance and cleaner along the bottom. However, if something goes wrong with the floor the whole raft has to be sent in for repair.

Raft Design

The key components of raft design are rocker, tube diameter, and whether to have diminishing tubes. These three variables in combination with the materials, length, width, and floor type have the largest influence on how the inflatable raft performs.

Tube Diameter

For the moment we are talking about tube diameter along the sides of the raft. Diameter in the bow and stern will be broken down when we discuss diminishing tubes.

A larger tube diameter (22 inches) in general makes a raft more stable and comfortable to sit in. However, as the tubes get larger the raft has to either get wider which can cause performance issues and make it challenging to slip between rocks or the raft looses internal space making it more challenging to fit gear and people in the raft.

Smaller tube diameters have some advantages. It is easier to climb back into the raft from the water. It is also easier to get gear in and out of the boats. Finally rafts with smaller tubes are generally more exciting and splashy.

Diminishing tubes

A diminishing tube is where the tube size gets smaller as it gets to the stern and bow of the raft. Some people like this and feel like it makes the raft knife through waves better. This can be true depending upon the rocker of the raft which we will discuss next.

Rafts with minimal rocker and a 22 inch front tubes get stopped easily and turned sideways in large waves. However, big tubes are much more stable going over big drops, particularly at an angle.

raft with large tubes going over a big drop

Sotar Raft Designed to Run Drops

Rocker

Rise in the stern and bow of the raft is called the rocker. There are two components to rocker: the amount of lift in the bow and stern as well as at what point the lift starts.

Boats with more rocker tend to pop over the top of waves. Rafts with less rocker stop and surf more when hitting waves. Rocker helps a raft keep its momentum in the desired direction and minimize the likelihood of a raft being turned sideways in waves. More rocker also means less of the raft is in the water making it easier to turn the raft.

On steep rivers the extra rocker can be a disadvantage as rafts gain more speed quickly giving less time to make moves. They also tend to be a little less stable over drops particularly when combined with diminishing tubes.

Boats with less rocker tend to be faster on flat water. Like longer rafts, they draft less water making them better in shallow rivers. They are much easier to get gear in and out of when going over the nose and stern. Some rocker is nice on most whitewater rafts. On high volume rivers I’m a big fan of major rocker on big rafts.

For example on the Futaleufu River we ran 18 foot rafts. Each generation of raft had more rocker than the previous and the newest ones performed by far the best.

Raft Materials

Three main rafting materials are polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyurethane (also called urethane) and Hypalon. All 3 materials can be used to make are high quality inflatable rafts. The materials start with a fabric base that is covered by a unique synthetic rubber like substance. Sanding the final material will cause the fabric base to start to show.

Polyurethane Material

There is some confusion about polyurethane versus urethane. Sotar and Wing rafts use polyurethane. Polyurethane is made of urethane molecules so when they are called urethane boats it is not incorrect but it isn’t really correct either.

Polyurethane rafts tend to be the most rigid of the three materials. This means rafts are less likely to wrap on a rock but more likely to flip. Polyurethane produces the highest performing rafts for this reason. They also slide over rocks well. Due to these traits urethane rafts are ideal for steep rocky rivers.

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Due to being stiff, urethane rafts are more difficult to roll. They are also more difficult to field repair but warehouse and factory repairs can be done by heat welding making for extremely strong patches. (Tear Aid is an excellent option for field repairs.)

In general polyurethane is more tear and puncture resistant then other raft materials, allowing for lighter rafts that are stronger. However, polyurethane comes in different deniers (think of thicknesses) and if a raft is made with a thin enough denier, Hypalon and PVC could be stronger.

I’ve seen problems with pinhole leaks on floors of polyurethane rafts from wear over time most likely from rocks and dirt on bottom of shoes. This isn’t such a problem with Hypalon rafts.

Hypalon Raft

Hypalon Raft

Hypalon

Most commercial rafting companies use Hypalon rafts. Hyside and NRS are the best two retailers of Hypalon rafts. The material costs less than polyurethane. Rafts made of the material roll easier and get less holes worn in them while being transported rolled up.

Hypalon material is softer which means the rafts aren’t as rigid. They provide a softer ride and are much less likely to flip than urethane rafts but can wrap much worse than urethane boats. They are easier to repair in the field and the material lasts the best over time. There are many 20+ year old Hypalon rafts still in use by commercial outfitters. Urethane and PVC do not last as long.

PVC (polyvinyl chloride)

PVC is less expensive the than other two materials, it doesn’t hold up as well and is typically used with cheaper mass produced rafts. The material is known to be brittle in the cold and wear out quickly when exposed to UV light. Talk to raft repair companies and they are not fans of these boats. The big advantage is that they are cheap!

Raft Material Combinations

A couple of companies combine materials. Maravia makes a raft out of PVC and then covers it in Urethane (actual urethane not polyurethane). The urethane is tough and good in UV. It also slides over rocks well. It can be a little tricky to prep a surface to repair. The other major con is these boats are difficult to roll.

AIRE rafts are the reverse with a urethane coated bladder inside a PVC shell. AIRE boats don’t have to worry about the UV degradation of the PVC outer shell causing the raft to leak because of the inner bladder.

Final Thoughts

We have discussed the major factors to consider when selecting a raft. However there are other variables to consider. If you live close to a manufacturer it is nice to be able to drive your raft to the shop to have it fixed. At some point most rafts need some work done. Shipping a raft can be a pain and having a local shop that is familiar with your raft leads to more consistent outcomes.

In general, it is best to have the smallest raft that will work for you. Smaller boats work better to carry/pack/store, fit through smaller channels, and are more fun paddle rafts. Most of the time, it is easier to take a smaller raft on a big river than a bigger raft on a small river. Learn about different types of rafts.

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Raft Construction

Raft Construction

For me, the type of raft, the make, the size, the tube diameter, and the age of the raft itself, is highly relevant to the trips we run. There have been many discussions through the years about how guests (i.e. clients, i.e. customers) simply do not know enough about whitewater to care about what raft they are in. I disagree. I think that definitely, people don’t have the same sort of scrutinizing eye that guides have, and they don’t spend their evenings kicking around the boatyard like the guides, arguing about whether or not a self bailing raft is a necessity for safety, or if Aire’s ballast floor really prevents “some” flips, or if diminishing tubes offer advantages as far as gear hauling; nonetheless I think it does matter and I think people notice.

There’s a few jokes I like to tell on occasion, and some of the readers have had the misfortune of hearing them (I am not funny)… my favorite joke I like to use when I start the safety talk at rivers edge for the upper Skagit is something like “welcome to the river everybody, we have experienced guides, prepared guests, and top notch life jackets helmets, and equipment, this is a great way to build a safe trip” (I pretty much always say that) “we have only the highest quality rafts for you today, we buy your rafts at K-Mart”… Everyone laughs, and maybe once in a while someone gets worried that we actually use K-Mart rafts, which is probably even more disturbing than me actually running a whitewater river in such a raft. The point is that it does matter where rafts come from. It does matter if they are capable of contributing to a safe trip. It’s my opinion that it matters, and even though I have guides that do not care which raft they run, day in and day out, we all recognize that some rafts have distinct characteristics, which help them excel in certain situations. Let’s talk about those situations.

Self-bailing vs. “bucket” rafts

Triad River Tours uses self-bailing rafts on all of our rivers to ensure a safe and fun trip.

Triad River Tours uses self-bailing rafts on all of our rivers to ensure a safe and fun trip.

Let’s start with the bare basics. All modern day rafts used in commercial applications should be self-bailing. Long gone are the days when we supplied you with a bucket and a ½ gallon minute maid orange juice container, equipped with the side cut out, in order for you to bail all water that entered the side of the raft. Mind you, this is a lot of water if you’re whitewater rafting. I should know, when I started rafting in 1994, I used to bail water. At that time the company I was training with had their older model boats that were bucket boats (non self bailing), and then there was the new fleet, which were self-bailing. Sometimes you’d end up in a new one and sometimes an old one. I remember spending half the day bailing the raft out if it was one of those old bucket boats, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

Along the same lines, we have to realize that the bottom of the raft is going to have a constant stream of water coming in and out because the floor is inflated, and has drain holes or seams on the sides and often times also in the front. Self-bailing boats give you incredible versatility, added safety (floors can be removed in case of a pinned raft) and make the experience more enjoyable because you can focus on scenery instead of looking down all the time and smashing your head into people’s knees. Furthermore bucket boats don’t maneuver well when full of water, it’s like rafting with an anchor tied to the bottom. Well, the long story short here is that modern whitewater rafts are almost exclusively self-bailing for a reason; they perform better. Make sure that your outfitter is equipped with self bailing rafts, and if not, I would love to hear the reasoning (other than simple cost effectiveness of keeping outdated equipment in use) for using such a craft in this advanced stage of watercraft.

Diminishing Tubed Rafts

This debate used to rage on 15-20 years ago, back when Riken was leading the pack and the Nez Perce was the model to have on multi-day rafting expeditions. Those days have long passed and the diminishing tube craze has settle down into more of an aspect of our sport. Diminishing tube boats offer smaller tube diameter in the front and (usually) rear of the raft. This gets the guests wetter, and also increased cargo space in the front and rear sections of the raft. Diminishing tube boats are also naturally better in the wind since they have less surface area going into it. There are multitudes of other arguments for and against which I will not go into because I am not someone that thinks the difference needs to be expressed complicatedly, but suffice to say that there are guides and private whitewater boaters out there who either love or hate diminishing tubes. I am indifferent and will use either, but in specific situations. Here are a few:

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Diminishing tube boats are not our cup of tea on the Sauk River, and here’s why: We tried out several designs before choosing a raft on the Sauk River, a few models would be the Aire Puma, Super Puma, 130D (D stands for diminishing tube), 143D, the Maravia Diablo, and the Maravia Spider. All of these boats did very well, but for us they weren’t ideal particularly because we thought that in the worst-case scenario they kept people colder. Let me explain further; in early season the Sauk water temperature is usually in the high 30s, perfect for hypothermia exposure. The air temperature at this time of year is usually hovering in the 50-70 range, so collectively you have a pretty cold trip. While we think that getting splashed can really add some excitement to the trip, we didn’t think that it was helpful in terms of safety because a cold guest cannot function as well as a warm and comfortable one. Thus, we eventually decided to scrap the idea of running diminishing tube boats earlier in the season. We have had a lot of success in the warmer months with them, however, as the higher temperatures give people more enthusiasm to get a big splash of water to the face.

Raft Materials: Hypalon vs. PVC vs. Urethane

If there was ever an ongoing argument in the industry, it is the opinions about the best raft material and construction. It’s not as simple as saying that you are a fan of one raft material vs. the other, because in actuality each manufacturer cures, builds, or treats the base material differently, so there are fundamental differences in each manufacturer’s boats. But who makes the best boat?

When I was 13 years old I traveled around to trade shows and sold rafting trips with my dad. Every time people would ask us what kind of boats we used we would say, with pride; “Riken”. Well, at that time Riken was a great boat. They’ve since been bought by NRS and as far as I know are no longer in production. Still, Riken boats revolutionized the industry and many commercial rafting outfits still have old Rikens that sit in the corner of the shop rolled up and come out only once or twice per year when 500 sorority sisters or an entire Microsoft employee wing comes on a rafting trip. Point here is that Rikens were good boats, and they were made of Hypalon, which has dominated the industry for some time since. Hypalon, or rubber, is the base material (it’s often called something else, or I suppose Hypalon is a registered trademark, but it has become slang for all boats made of rubber). Rubber rafts like NRS, Hyside, Avon, and many others are fairly inexpensive to build, and are relatively solid in construction and durability. They flex with waves (sometimes desired sometimes not) and they are easily rolled for storage. Rubber boats are also very easy to patch; you just prep, glue, and let cure a patch of rubber onto the raft. Rubber boats are reasonably priced and easy to fix, which makes them ideal for large commercial rafting companies. You’ll see a lot of rubber (i.e. hypalon) rafts out on the river, and if you search craigslist and you see an old raft for sale that looks like it’s seen better days, it’s probably an old hypalon boat (with expected patches on side tubes and floor, par the norm).

Here’s where I have developed an opinion. PVC is a cheap material. You’ve used PVC pipe and you’ve seen it break. PVC is not the toughest stuff out there, but it is often used for rafts. The thing about PVC is that it’s very inexpensive and easy to come by; it’s also very easy to repair. PVC comes in many grades and different chemical makeups, but PVC ultimately must abide by its essential properties.

Commercial rafts are rarely made of PVC for good reason; it’s just not tough enough. One exception to this rule is those boats manufactured by Aire. These boats are a PVC exterior that is zipped over a urethane bladder. In this case the PVC acts as a buffer for the Urethane and thus prevents punctures. They also save costs because the urethane (the expensive part) is relatively thin compared to the beefy layer of PVC, which protects it. Furthermore Aire uses a type of PVC known as Ferrari which is tops in the industry. Aire has made quite a name for itself with its borderline ingenious design, and they deserve a lot of credit. Furthermore, what Aire may lack in material strength they make up for in customer service. They have long been known as the best in customer service in the industry and as a result have eaten up a large part of market share due to their persistence and dedication to their customers. Aire boats have an outstanding warranty and service. If your Aire boat does develop a leak you can be sure that someone at the factory will be helping you deal with it. They are also an incredible value, so it’s worth noting that you certainly get what you pay for. There’s no doubt that if you are going to go with a boat made primarily of PVC, that Aire is the only choice. The boats are also manufactured solely in the USA (Boise, Idaho).

Polyurethane (Urethane)

Sotar, Wing, Maravia, and Aire all manufacture boats made of some kind of what they call polyurethane, and they are all very different. Sotar is an industry leading whitewater raft manufacturer that has built a reputation as being state of the art (hence the name: State Of The Art Rafts is an acronym). Sotar boats are constructed very simply by welding sheets of urethane together in a similar fashion, as are many rubber rafts. The boats come out looking very clean and simple. The advantage to Sotar rafts is that they are incredibly light for their strength. They are among the lightest in the industry, and they also fold and roll well. Sotar boats are expensive but you get what you pay for. The company is incredibly solid also, and because all of their boats are built by hand you can pretty much have anything you want.

We’ve used Sotar boats on both of our rivers and the most outstanding thing about them is the way they slide over rocks. They have a silky finish on them that seems to not stick to things, including your butt… so maybe you can slide a little bit on your Sotar, but you can expect many years of use from a Sotar boat.

Maravia rafts are constructed in Boise, Idaho and are made of a PVC shell, which is then encapsulated in urethane. The result is an incredibly tough exterior. In most cases, in our experience, there is no tougher material made than that, which makes up the tubes on a Maravia. The weak point in these rafts is the floors, which are a high grade PVC. While Maravia isn’t as light as a Sotar they aren’t incredibly heavy, and they have a clean look. Whilst many boats have a smooth texture, Maravia has gone one step further and made a matte type finish on all their rafts, which in some cases can help people stay in the raft and avoid sliding out. Maravia rafts are all constructed by hand here in the USA, and are among our favorites. Maravia is a smaller company and they stand by their products, but this is one raft that may never need warranty repair.

Maravia rafts are durable and expensive, nearly exactly the price of an equivalent Sotar, and they lack the ability to be rolled up easily. Maravia rafts are handy in tough situations because they are so rigid and dependable, they also are stiffer than other rafts and thus they are more active on the water. Some people have called them “fliptavias” because they tend to flip, but this can mostly be explained by the slick bottoms of the rafts which also provide excellent responsiveness. Maravia and Sotar rafts are both “expert” level rafts that have no equal in the industry in my opinion. They are commonly used as commercial whitewater rafts and are revered by private boaters that can afford them.

Source https://www.raftingmag.com/rafting-magazine/rubber-vs-plastic-boats

Source https://www.brexpeditions.com/whitewater-raft-materials-design/

Source https://triadrivertours.com/river-research/2014/12/22/raft-construction

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