Tips & Care

Transportation, Storage, Product Care and General Use

Transporting Your Boat

The safest way to transport your boat (assuming it is not inflated on a flatbed trailer) is to put it in a boat bag. Make sure it is not resting on anything that could potentially wear a hole through the bag and into the boat material. Car rides are bumpy, so it is best to securely tie it down.

Storing Your Boat

It is recommended that you keep your boat partially inflated in a clean, dry place. If it is stored outside, be sure to keep a tarp or some sort of protection over it to help keep it clean and out of the sun. You may also store your boat fully deflated and rolled (as we do here at SOTAR). It is important, however that your boat is clean and dry before you roll it for storage. You should also wrap it in a boat bag or tarp to help protect it. Keep in mind that the edges on a rolled boat are more susceptible to abrasion so extra caution should be used in moving the boat around.

Cleaning Your Boat

Use a mild dish soap and water to clean off any dirt or sand on your boat. If you get rub marks or frame marks on your tubes, we recommend Inflatable Boat Cleaner or RAM cleaner which does not contain oils like 303 Protectant. Although oils give your boat a shiny appearance, the oils soak into the material and will make it difficult to add any accessories such as chafe, wrap, d-rings or foot cups or do any repairs later on. If you want to use 303 Protectant on your boat we recommend you only use it once a year.  Inflatable boat cleaning products can be purchased from SOTAR or Northwest River Supply.

Inflation / Deflation

To get the best performance and life out of your boat you need to properly inflate and maintain the correct pressure. Select an area free of sharp objects such as rocks, sticks or debris. Unroll the boat and lay it out flat. Avoid standing on the boat before and during inflation to prevent scratching and possible pinhole leaks. We use C7 Leefield boat valves; to open the valves unscrew the cap, which covers the entire exposed valve, by turning counterclockwise. The stem will stick up in the middle of the valve, to deflate the tube you need to push the stem in and turn it counterclockwise to lock it in the open position. You do not need to open the valve in order to inflate your tubes. The air pressure from the pump will push the stem/plunger in and allow the air to go into the tubes. You can use a foot pump, barrel pump, electric pump or other low-pressure device to inflate your tubes. However, you should not use high-pressure devices such as air compressors to inflate your boat.

The boat is divided into separate air chambers using a baffle system. Start by inflating one end of the boat, then a side section, then the other side section, the other end, floor and then the thwarts. It is important not to over-inflate an air chamber as you can blow out the baffle. We recommend that you put about 2 lbs. of pressure in each chamber and then go around the boat again and top it off. You want between 2.5 to 3 lbs of pressure in the boat when topped off. We currently provide a pressure gauge in every patch kit.

All of our 3-Piece, 2-chamber Cats have an internal lengthwise baffle (a cat tube inside the cat tube). You must inflate the inner baffle first and then the outer baffle. The inner baffle valve is always on the inside of the boat. Locate the serial number patch on the inside of the tubes and the correct valve should be the closest one to the patch.  Inflate just until it takes shape, and then fully inflate the outside chamber to 2-3.5 lbs.

To deflate your boat, remove the cap, push the stem down and twist it to the left. This will lock the valve open. Try to do all of the valves at the same time (this will require two people), or push on each of the stems to release a little pressure, and then open them all as quickly as possible to avoid putting pressure on the inner baffles. It is important to close the valves by turning the valve stem to the right until it pops up and closes the valve, and replace the cap when the boat is not in use and prior to rolling. This will protect the stem of your valve and also prevent water and dirt from getting inside your boat. Dirt or debris can keep the plunger inside from sealing and cause a slow continuous leak. We also recommend the valves be checked every 6 months or so to see if they need to be tightened, cleaned or changed.  This is your responsibility.

Kayaks should be inflated as follows: right tube, left tube, floor, then backrest.

Care and Folding

Proper care and folding are important in extending your boats life. Your boat comes with a boat bag and we recommend that if it is rolled up, you keep it in the bag or another wrap such as canvas, heavy duty plastic or other protective material. This will not only help keep it clean, but will protect it from accidental minor damage. Even when the boat is wrapped, we cannot stress enough the importance of not dragging your boat while it is deflated. Our boats are the toughest around when inflated, but the folded corners are very susceptible to abrasion when the boat is rolled and dragged on surfaces such as cement and gravel.
After deflating all chambers of your boat, you will need to take one side of the raft and fold it over to where the floor meets the tubes on the opposite side (Diagram 1).
Then take the other side and fold it over the top so that it is in thirds (Diagram 2).
Then you want to roll it up like a cinnamon roll starting at the valve end of the raft (Diagram 3). Use your boat strap to secure it and then wrap it in the boat bag. *Roll kayaks flat starting with the foot peg end of IK.  Roll cat tubes with one tube lined up on top of the other.