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Old 08-16-2010   #11
prescott, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 276
the 5 hp honda 4 stroke seems to be the motor of choice for many. good gas mileage and fairly quiet although not the cheapest. others may have different opinions and favorites.


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Old 08-16-2010   #12
Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1965
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 175
We use a motor on our big Cat. They don't plane out like a speed boat so speed is limited. 5 Hp is plenty and don't expect more than 10mph. 4 strokes are quieter but heavier and lots more expensive, but more and more rivers are requiring them so if you can find one you can afford it's the way to go. Motors also come in different shaft lengths. make sure you get ther correct shaft lenght for your mount set up

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Old 08-16-2010   #13
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 36
Cat's do great with motor. I would get a retractable motor mount for the raft. The thing that I would look at is Hp vs weight. You will find that the manufacturers frequently use the same block for their 15hp and 20hp models, so I would go with the 20hp. I would look for something in the 80-100lbs range so that you can handle the motor easily solo. I understand that Honda makes a good reliable motor.
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Old 08-17-2010   #14
mustloverafting's Avatar
Aspen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 65
You may want to do some investigation on the HP that is being allowed on the rivers or will be allowed on the rivers. I was told by a ranger about a year ago that they may begin to regulate the HP that a boat can have on a river. I think anything under 10 hp should be okay but I am not sure and I haven't looked into yet. Maybe others on this site know what might be happening.
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Old 08-18-2010   #15
penguin's Avatar
Tahoe City, California
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 53
Nobody mentioned the appropriateness of a 17-18 foot cat. I'm currently funning a family of four on rivers with a 15 SB NRS raft but I want to get a cat as well. From the looks of it, it seems like a 16 foot cat could even be a bit tight for us.

What are the opinions on these 18 footers? Crazy big? Dangerous to navigate? Difficult to oar? I can see some serious performance drop in this size as you try to turn.
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Old 08-18-2010   #16
Columbia Falls, Montana
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 27
I have a 14'x25" cat that has been suficiently big for multiday big water trips with gear and one passenger and small enough for day trips one small rivers and creeks. For me, the 14' is the perfect size.
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Old 08-18-2010   #17
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,408
penguin posted on 18 foot cat boats

I had an Aire 18 ft Leopard for some 5 years. It was a very good cataraft for me on rivers from Middle Fork, Deso Gray, San Juan, Yampa, West Water and the Grand Canyon - all of which I took the Leopard down and it did just fine from narrow rocky runs to the big water runs.

Un loaded it seemed to me to be about as nimble as the 16 footers just bigger tubes.

If you are looking at the Aire series of cat boats, I recommend a good test drive on the 18 ft Leopard before you make up your mind to go with the 16 ft Aire Jag for instance.
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Old 08-18-2010   #18
Parachute, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 34

If you are looking for all the benefits of a longer and greater capacity cataraft without the drawbacks of a huge boat, you should check out JPW.

They make some "blunt" type tubes that have a shorter taper section which increases the water line. It has been a while since I checked but I think they are 1' shorter at each end, so a JPW 16' Blunt has the same water line as other 18' tubes but is only 16' long. This is also the case with their 14' Blunt being comparable to others 16'.

I know it is hard to compare apples to apples with cat tubes since rocker, diameter, length and taper all come in to play. Comparing tubes based on displacement helps level the playing field a little bit. When you are talking about these bigger cats they are going to be more gear hauler than playboat so they should be constant diameter tubes with just the ends having taper. This "flat" distance of the tube should be your rough maximum frame length and will also be close to your "water line" length. A small increase in tube diameter really helps increase the gear you can haul too.

I went back in forth on this very tube topic for my first cat which I just built up. 16' vs 18'. Tube diameter and mfg. Mine came down to the JPW Blunt or NRS 16' Kodiak (27"). I have been very happy with the NRS tubes so far, only one 3 day trip but the Grand is in 10 days.

Good luck, Chris
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Old 08-19-2010   #19
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Tahoe City, California
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 53
Chris, what is the total load you will carry with the kodiak?

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