Raft Review: SOTAR Rogue Argo

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A raft that paddles like a paddle cat? A 12′ raft that weighs only 60 pounds? Diminishing tubes in front but not the rear?  The new Rogue Argo raft from SOTAR is a unique design that has all that and more.

What is the SOTAR Rogue raft series design all about?

SOTAR set out to make the ultimate R2/R3 raft. Something that can be small and nimble enough to charge creeks, handle drops and pour-overs, yet still run meaty Class V sections like the upper Gauley. With the growing popularity of smaller inflatables like the AIRE Cub or Sabertooth, SOTAR did something a little different with the Rogue. The Rogue series is not just a shrunken down version of the standard expedition raft or paddle cat that we’re used to seeing. The Rogue Series Raft is purpose built with an innovative design.

Lightweight

At just 60 lbs. the 12′ Argo is lighter then some of the 10′ competition even with its standard two thwarts. This lighter weight is immediately apparent on the water. Paddle strokes propel the raft like a race car off the line.

Being able to load the raft atop a van single-handedly is also a nice benefit of the lack of weight. It can literally be carried on your shoulder similar to a kayak.

SOTAR Rogue Argo 12' raft transport on van
SOTAR Rogue Argo 12′ raft easily transports on van.

Mesh Floor

SOTAR Rogue Argo 12' raft mesh floor bottom view
SOTAR Rogue Argo 12′ raft mesh floor bottom view

The mesh floor helps to keep the overall raft weight down. It also drains water immediately, keeping the raft buoyant and on top of the water, where you want it. Our testers on the Animas River in Colorado found that the floor was dryer then expected. Yes it’s mesh, similar to a garden shade fabric, and water can push through it when hitting waves or holes but it rapidly drains out. The floor also sits up high and out of the water most of the time.

SOTAR Rogue Argo 12' raft mesh floor height off the water
SOTAR Rogue Argo 12′ raft mesh floor height off the water

Thwarts and Grab Handles.

It’s nice that two thwarts are included. The grab handles remind you that this Rogue Argo raft was made to run the gnar. But these amenities are also critical to the design. The cam straps for the grab handles secure the mesh flooring to the thwarts helping to keep the floor elevated and out of the water.

The spacing on the thwarts is also configurable. Making it easier to get that locked in feeling with your feet spacing.

SOTAR Rogue Argo 12' raft thwart and foot placement
SOTAR Rogue Argo 12′ raft thwart and foot placement

Tube Design

Diminishing tubes up front with symmetrical 21″ tubes around the sides and back make this baby sing. In fact, the Reverse Mullet might have been a better name for the Rogue Argo.

The Reverse Mullet might have been a better name for the Rogue Argo.

Again, SOTAR is doing something different and innovative. The diminishing tube design up front (21″ > 17″) creates additional rocker and the ability to go up and over oncoming features, all while keeping the back extra buoyant with the full 21″ of flotation.

Our Paddling Life testers found that from the R2 positions this tube configuration along with the adjustable thwarts was very stable and made the raft easy to maneuver. Paddling as an R3, the guide position takes a little getting used to. Sitting on top of the 21″ definitely feels a bit different then say the standard 19″ of a classic raft. Different isn’t necessarily bad, but it might take a while to figure out what position in the rear feels most comfortable to guide from.

SOTAR Rogue Argo 12' raft on the Animas river
SOTAR Rogue Argo 12′ raft on the Animas river

“The Rogue Argo was a super responsive boat for two people. It tracked well and took any hit with ease. The innovative mesh floor was a great feature that surprisingly let almost no water through in the waves and made the boat even lighter for an already small craft. My one concern would be if the water temps were pretty cold, the mesh could lead in some cold feet. Overall, a great boat!” – Aaron Ball Swiftwater Rescue Instructor for Southwest Rescue

SOTAR Rogue Argo Raft Specifications:

SOTAR Rogue Argo 12' raft design specs
SOTAR Rogue Argo 12′ raft design specs
  • Raft Material: Urethane
  • Seam Type: RF Welded
  • Floor Type: Mesh (Closed Cell Foam Impact Pad), Integrated grab handles.
  • Raft Length: 12’
  • Raft Exterior Width: 68″
  • Tube Diameter: 21″
  • Straight Section: 73″
  • Interior Width: 26″
  • Floor Drop: 11″
  • Handles: 2
  • D-Rings: 12
  • Air Chambers: 4 (including thwarts)
  • Load Capacity: 675 lbs
  • Raft Weight: 60 lbs

SOTAR Rogue Argo Raft Unpacking Video

Watch the video to get a better view of the mesh floor and overall construction.

Paddling Life’s Take on the SOTAR Rogue Argo Raft

The 12′ Rogue Argo Raft from SOTAR is beautiful to look at and, more importantly, paddle. Its unique design features and high quality RF welded urethane construction immediately catch your attention. The tube design, grab handles, and mesh floor inspire R2 adventures. Is that Gore Canyon calling? We found it to be a highly capable rafting machine, bringing the fun of a paddle cat while adding more room and buoyancy of a raft.

SOTAR Rogue Argo whitewater raft in the gnar
Learn more about the SOTAR Rogue Argo series rafts at https://sotar.com/collections/the-rogue-series

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