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Old 03-07-2010   #1
Bozeman, MT
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 106

Thinking about getting a Cat for a do-everything boat, any advise would be helpful. I've guided and rowed 14' rafts for a long time, but Cat's seem more versitile/playful, I've never actually rowed one though.

I know that in the world of boating a Do-everything boat doesn't really exist, and there are pluses and minuses to every thing. A Cat that can run the North Fork, and pack gear for multi-days, does it exist? It sounds like a lot of people rock two different boats, small and big, but I'm a broke kayak bum.

I'm looking for a boat to do multi-day trips like Cataract, Lodore, Middle Salmon, and maybe a Grand trip. Most likely trips with 10-25 people and a few other boats. Probably 2 people and a share of the group gear for most trips. Other multi-day situations would be using it as a solo support boat for 5 or so kayakers.

I also want to use it on day trips just to switch up class IV runs and make them more entertaining such as the Lochsa, Gallatin, Beartrap, etc. Maybe even try the Lower 5 on the North Fork Payette, kayaked it a bunch, but Catting it looks a whole hell of a lot more exciting!

Thinking about the 16' Aire Jag w/ a medium sized frame?

I'd love to hear advice of any kind.

Thanks, Pat

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Old 03-07-2010   #2
Crested Butte, Colorado
Paddling Since: 82
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 205
I've had a Jag since 95 and I love it. The only thing it came up short on was hauling all the gear a family of 3 brings along, so I bought some 18 tubes as well. My Jag was great for me and the wife on a grand trip, and still sporty enough to row the Taylor, and the Lake Fork. For really tight stuff I ditch the oars and R-2 or R-4 the cat using NRS yokes and bottom rails with a mesh floor sporting foot cups. I've R-2 pine creek and numbers, and back in 95 we had the 2nd fastest raft time at the gore race as an R-4. They are
versatile craft for sure. But it takes longer to rig, way more straps, wetter ride, and you can lose stuff when it drops on the floor.

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Old 03-07-2010   #3
pocatello, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 471
I went with the 14' ocelot as my do-all boat. Partly because I tend to pack really light it works for me for everything. picking up a used set of 16' tubes would be on my list of things to do when I hit the lotto though.

a 14' with 2 passengers is about max for me. or 1 passenger and gear.

It is fun to row alone on harder stuff! it can easily run everything you talked about.
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Old 03-07-2010   #4
Rainy Northwest, Washington
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 460
Aire Lion. The big tubes float high when things are bony, and carry a ton for longer trips, more people etc.
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Old 03-07-2010   #5
Wirednoodle's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 114
I wanted the same type of thing and went with a 14x24 sotar legend. Really nimble for day trips and hauls a LOT of gear and is still able to move around really well.
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Old 03-07-2010   #6
Rainy Northwest, Washington
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 460
A overloaded cat is a pig. They are much more load-sensitive than rafts. I have an Ocelot that I use for a play boat, and a Jag that I use for extended group trips. I'd get an Aire Lion next time, or maybe a Sotar with big tubes.
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Old 03-10-2010   #7
Chip's Avatar
SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,098
Originally Posted by swiftwater15 View Post
A overloaded cat is a pig. They are much more load-sensitive than rafts.
Right-o! more than 1/3 of the tube in the water, and you'll be fighting it. Long trips with major loads, like the Grand, require a much bigger boat. Best bet is to figure out what sort of trip you do most often, and size the boat accordingly.
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Old 03-10-2010   #8
D'ango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 75
After seeing all my roomate's research, trusting his no nonsense approach to things, I'd have to say Sotar tubes, somewhere in between 14' -16'. Tough as nails # 1 feature. Otherwise, I can tell ya a 16' (25" diameter) set of NRS tubes does do it all, depending on your frame. Can go one rowbay or three sectionals. Day run it with an empty rowbay & surf, make moves on a dime, or load it down w/ 156 inches of frame, poo, beer, ice, and propane for the Grand. 3 chambers in case of terribleness, the ripped side could actually still float, pliable and light material, easy to mend. Excellent customer support if you gotta ?. There ya go, yer 2 cents.
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Old 03-11-2010   #9
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 27
I took my 16' NRS River Cat on the Grand and had it a bit overloaded. My fault due to too much beer and other crap. The boat was a bit doggy but went through all the big stuff just fine. I have also owned a Jag and it was an awesome boat. Wish I still had it.
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Old 03-11-2010   #10
mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: '92
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 418
It doesn't matter what type of boat it is, if it is overloaded, it is a pig! I would assume that the reason it stands out more on a cat is that fact that their performance is dramatically superior when running light, so when you load them down, it feels like you are running a raft again.

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