SOTAR Liquid SL
L: 10’6″; W: 37"; 44 lbs. ($2,110, sotar.com)
SOTAR's new Liquid SL line is so popular that it comes in 10′, 10’6″, 11′ and 12′ sizes as a single and as a 14-foot tandem. We got our hands on the 10'6", which proved perfect for Colorado's winding waterways. Made of hefty, 40-ounce urethane with a 3,000-denier base fabric, the four-chamber, U.S.-built boat comes with all-welded seams, a whopping 18 cargo tie-down D-rings, and tough Leafield valves. Handling-wise, its increased rocker looks pronounced in the driveway but does the job perfectly raising the bow up and over waves when driving downriver. At first we thought the adjustable webbing loop handles on bow and stern were there to customize the rocker even more, and maybe they do, but inquiries revealed they're just for carrying. On the comfort front, adjustable foot braces, thigh straps and backrest hold you in place, with the backrest harboring the nice touch of a zippered pouch pocket for accessories (why don't other companies do that?). Typical of SOTARs is a slightly larger tube diameter, whose 11'5" girth keeps you high, dry and comfortable in whitewater. Its self-bailing floor did the job well, getting whatever came in back where it belonged as fast as it needed to, and the craft is so nimble you can dodge nearly everything that comes your way. Bonus: Don't like their sizing? SOTAR also offers custom sizing for length, width and tube diameter, as well as color combos.
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