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Old 04-29-2011   #1
Pendleton, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 18
Drop bag VS. Cargo floor for cat.

Looking to outfit my cat on the cheap. Here's what I have going on:

I have a 13 foot cat on the way with a sport cat frame. So rower seat will be up front, and at the very back will be the cooler supported by 2 lowpro bars and straps. The middle section (Between seat and cooler) is what I am asking about:

2 options...

#1 buy a cargo floor which includes buying 2 cross bars for the lower rails to keep the floor tight and sturdy So cost of floor, and 2 NRS cross bars

#2 buy a drop bag that spans between the tubes and is supported by the cooler bar, upper cat frame rails, and another lowpro bar installed behind the seat. So..purchase drop bag and lowpro bar.
Of course you could almost get away with strapping the drop bag to the seat bar instead of an extra lowpro bar...but I may need to adjust the seat forwad to balance the load, thus throwing the width off for said drop bag.

Is anyone's head spinning yet? Here is a pic of the frame I plan to use:
NRS Sport Cat Frame 66"W X 88"L at

I think option #2 would be cheaper..but would it be wiser??

Thanks for the help folks!! Love this site!!

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Old 04-29-2011   #2
TakemetotheRiver's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 05
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,477
I prefer a cargo floor, but my cat is a 16' big water gear pig.... you have a completely different animal, but here's why:

The cargo floor comes just under the seat, helping me to not lose everything I drop through the floor but leaving most of the space open.

A drop bag would occasionally be the wrong shape or size for a load, so the cargo floor is adaptable to different loads depending on what group gear you've been assigned to carry.

A cargo floor will stay put while a drop bag can bounce around since it is not really attached at the bottom.

My .02- Congrats on your new baby!

"There is NOTHING--absolute nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Look here! If you've really nothing else on hand this morning, supposing we drop down the river together, and have a long day of it?" -Wind in the Willows
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Old 04-29-2011   #3
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 273
Search for Chips posts. I have a small wood floor in the rowing area and the rest is a mesh floor. I have also added cross bars in the bottom of the bays were I have coolers and dry boxes. This eliminates the need for a drop bag or floor.

I have found with a full solid floor the water does not drain as I would like it to...

Chip uses PolyMax Kennel florring which seems to work really well and drains the water.
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Old 04-29-2011   #4
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 427
I would say it depends on what rivers you are running. If you are running class IV and up I would say no floor, or if you must have a floor, try to keep it small with your rowing bay open so you can swim back up into your seat after a flip. If you are trying to go cheap, which is what I always do, I would get a sheet of 3/4'' CDX plywood and a dropbag(I have 2) and you now have both options for around 60 bucks.

Once you decide how wide you want your tubes you could build your own custom floor and cut holes/slots for strapping it between your drop rails, and have wood left over for making a drop bag cover/deck/table. If you do not want to spend the 65 bucks on an extra crossbar you could make your own if you have some skills and time. Get Holleander speedrail fittings(part # 4uj24 from and some galvanized 1 5/8'' line posts from home depot and make as many crossbars as you need for less than half of what NRS charges. All you need is a hacksaw.

I have an Ocelot with an NRS frame and got lots of ideas from people on the buzz on how to build frames. I saved a bunch of money by making a custom foot bar which is also lighter with better clearance. Starting my third frame next week for my gear hauling round boat. It will consist of 2 rails and crossbars made from speedrail fittings and galvanized pipe. Total cost for structure = 150 bucks...and fully customizable!

Let me know if you would like pictures of anything.
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Old 04-29-2011   #5
Helena, Montana
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 488
Something to consider- the drop on those rails is ONLY 6 inches.
My boat has the "standard" nrs drop rails, and they only drop 9 inches. Most drop bags hang well below the floor in my boat.... wrecked one on a fall MFS trip last year dragging across rocks (it was in a bay w/o a floor).

Jan at S&S made me one of these

that only drops 9 inches for $159. Fits perfect, is the same level as everything else. I'm sure she could come up w/something similar for your application, so that you can keep the open floor on that frame.
Never get out of the boat
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Old 04-29-2011   #6
Avatard's Avatar
portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,188
My drop rails are hybrid. About an inch shallower than the STD cat drop rails. I needed this to clear inside dring but could have gone shallower. Wanted the frame as deep as possible. What tubes did you go with? If diameter is big enough 22" + you might be able to do the same and give you a bit more depth to set stuff in.
Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it "guaranteed", I will. I got spare time.
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Old 04-29-2011   #7
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,120
I use a standard NRS frame for my 14 ft. Cat. I row from the center, but the theory is the same as your set-up. I have my cooler and dry box in front of me, and an open drop bag behind me for gear. The bag is suspended between my seat bar and the back yoke. I had the drop bag custom made by Jan at Stitches-N-Stuff to fit the dimensions I wanted. My guess is that you won't be moving your seat bar forward a significant amount, so you could design your drop bag with a little bit of extra size (front to back) to accommodate the difference. Jan can customize the bag to fit the depth of your drop rails. The bag pictured above by MountainMedic looks really cool too.
What kind/how much gear are you looking to put in this cargo area? Multi-day or day trips?
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Old 04-29-2011   #8
Pendleton, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 18
Ok...I'll let the "cat" out of the bag...I pre-ordered a 13' NRS Cool Cat. Tube size on those bad boys is 23 inches!! Due to be in by the end of May. I got the last one in blue too! (There are still 3 left in orange)

Since this is a 13 footer..I really don't plan to bog this boat down with too much weight...light and nimble for the big stuff I plan to run. Say maybe 100 pounds of gear including cooler weight. Most of my runs will have to be over way around that.

Will definitely keep the front rowing area open..but would like the something load stuff on between the cooler and seat

Hey..if anyone has pics..feel free to post
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Old 04-29-2011   #9
Helena, Montana
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 488
Again, I'm willing to bet jan could make something perfect.
Maybe just a shallow drop bag?

Agree that you wont be moving your seat bar much, if at all. My old 1422 tubes had alot of rocker, so weight distribution made a huge difference, I would use 3.5 gal water jugs to move ballist as needed. It was surprising how much of a difference two of them all the way forward would make

That setup sounds FUN! You're definately stoked...

Edit - or just a deck board back there to strap a couple dry bags to?
Never get out of the boat
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Old 04-29-2011   #10
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 427
Good points about the shallow frame depth and custom drop bags. I would reiterate some plywood for frugality's sake. You could go custom fabric floor/bag(s), which are lighter, but will cost 10x more. It also depends what you are going to haul. If only soft goods(bags, pads, etc.) you may not even need a floor setup...and it wouldn't get any cheaper than that. Just strap the soft goods on top of the tubes and move things around for balance.

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