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Old 04-02-2010   #21
Lakewood, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 82
A raft would typically not weigh more than a cat. Using a bucket boat for this application is a great idea, making the boat roll smaller and much lighter. A raft displaces much more water than a cataraft, so it will draft less and you can get by with a much smaller boat. If you have ever rowed a cataraft that has been overloaded (and you guys are thinking about small boats) you will no that it is uncontrollable and you will not be missing the fun lines.
I have never been to Alaska so I may be completely off track. I am thinking that you guys need a small urethane bucket boat, build a wood frame when you get off the plane and then have a bonfire with it on the last day so you don't have to fly it home.
I am not trying to pick any arguments here, just saying that less is better for this application and rafts are more simple.

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Old 04-03-2010   #22
John the welder's Avatar
Delta, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1971
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 161
I like small rivers and so I need small boats. Most of the rivers I've floated In Alaska were very narrow at the begining. 90lbs. of anything is to heavy for me to carry through the tundra. I like paying the airlines as little as possible. You need to decide what you want out of a trip- wilderness? Side hikes? fishing? comfort? whitewater? Decide what you really like and gear up for that.Most people take too much crap with them.Keep it simple and you will enjoy it more.

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Old 04-16-2010   #23
rschultz's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2
Joe, first good luck. Your post has personal interests me.
I have just finished spec'ing out and this last week ordering my cat with very similar requirements in mind.
Traveling to AK from Denver or Seattle with all my gear. Everything I carry matters.

For three trips last year my buddy used his Scadden Avenger XX, it is designed for 2 persons, frame and all fit into a set of airline friendly design bags, each weighing in at a hair under 70lbs each. They fit within the Airline requirements. was light enough to portage over or around fallen trees and floated low (5") water as well as class III water easily.
Very interesting design, and is seemingly holding up well with trips in AK and many trips here in Colorado on it too.
OK, that said, It was the inspiration for my want of an all made in America cat. I decided on a set of Sotar Legend 12.5'x22'5" tubes with a custom cut and breakdown option NRS alley cat frame, Sawyer 8'6" MXS-Fiberglass breakdown oars with Dynolite blades. All to fit the travel to AK -requirements as you describe. (Commercial, Beaver and Cessna) transports.
We fish, so drop offs leave us in very remote, isolated on our own areas, depending on lots of fish for meals, light gear, everything weighed. Quality matters.
I should start seeing parts arrive in late May. I 'll post what the overall weights end up being.
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Old 04-17-2010   #24
rockingham, North Carolina
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 15
Rick, a pleasure to hear from you. Can't wait to hear the details of your cat. Any particular reason you went with the Sotar tubes? Price, durability, weight? How many folks is your cat designed to carry?
My dad is a pipe welder so I have been mulling over a sched. 5 stainless frame with some type of light weight connections. apparently there are tools to make a swage type joint. For now, looking at pinning the joints together. That is until I see something else that makes sense and is lighter. LOL.
Every trip we go on, we always come back with two lists. "Things we should have brought" and "things we should have left at home". The first one gets shorter every time and the latter list gets longer. So, The less crap I take, the more I can exceed the 50 lbs the canoe weighs and still break even. I know I won't get a boat that weighs the same as the canoe but I would like it to weigh as close to 2X as possible.
I have tried to keep this under wraps but here it is........My name is Joe and I have a dutch oven problem. Whew, I finally got that out and it felt good. My 12" aluminum dutch oven is the very last thing I want to part with. Something about eating fresh biscuits and cornbread when I am 150 miles from town, speaks to me in ways that few understand. I won't even get started on the hot breakfast muffins loaded with fresh Tundra Blueberries. Less flies and fly boxes, fewer clothes, only two fly rods, 1" sleeping pads, making the wife give up those heavy spinning outfits and 3 pounds of Pixees and Vibraxes, etc. etc. Whatever it takes! I'm keepin the oven. The frame must get lighter.
Hope to hear from you soon Rick!
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Old 04-18-2010   #25
rschultz's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2
Originally Posted by twoatlow8 View Post
Any particular reason you went with the Sotar tubes? Price, durability, weight? How many folks is your cat designed to carry?
Every trip we go on, we always come back with two lists. "Things we should have brought" and "things we should have left at home". The first one gets shorter every time and the latter list gets longer.
Joe, I initially started out wanting a SteelHeader 10'Guide cat which I really like for a one man setup, So I keep researching (some sort of sickness I think) and decided somewhere along the line that for this project, I wanted everything made in America. I had settled on 11x19' Maravia (seconds) tubes. but they sold the day before I called to buy and then I just couldn't get a good feel for the service from that company. Next, I decided that if I wanted to keep this hobby I better think about being able to carry my better half when she decides it sounds fun, but still be able to handle it when I am solo. All that and keep the requirements you have all ready layed out here. Soo the 12.5'x22.5" fits the bill. The Sotar tubes weigh 50lbs by themselves, have a great rep. in the whitewater rafting community and can handle anything I might find myself in. The total package weight will have to be addressed when it arrives.

Price.. well, I pretty much ended up doubling what I initially intended to spend.. ( a direct result of the research sickness) But, I feel very comfortable in the end decision. It should be able to carry all my gear, another person for rafting, fishing and river camping and.. if I am local.. I may decide to carry and if I am lucky may even be able to learn to cook in one of those Dutch ovens you speak of.

Lastly, I am in total agreement with regard to the 2 lists. We do that same thing and find every time we go out it certain gear performs and others don't... we always have found that quality seriously matters when we are way out there and totally reliant on what we have carried. Failure happens, uselessness happens, Making the list reminds us when we second guess what we want vs need.
If it doesn't hold up in serious weather, or bush whacking for dry fire wood, dry out from something like a flipped raft, or just plainly fails. It needs to be remembered. We have get-together's for mild planning of routes and gear and who will have what. Spread out survival gear to make sure we are all never in trouble if one person gets into to trouble. Lastly.. New fangled technology is great, but as a friend of mine so eloquently said "A hundred lbs of light gear, is still an hundred lbs." So take what you need first... add what you are wanting last.
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Old 04-18-2010   #26
Chip's Avatar
SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,098
Here's a copy of a post in a thread I started. The frame pictured is light, easy to build, can carry a load, and it breaks down to a package that can be flown on a bush plane.

Scroll through the thread for details:
More Games with Frames

- - -

New Light Cat Frame

We finally got enough water to go. Here's the wee cat rigged and ready to launch. Total weight of the frame (with floor, stands, locks, and seat) ended up at 47.5 lb. One of my favorite runs has a steep carry from the takeout, and my old frame kept gaining weight, year by year.

Tubes are Jack's Cutthroat (12.5' x 16") with 4 dees per side. The oars are Gull 7-1/2 footers.

The oarstands are homebuilt (wrote 'em up earlier on this thread). The scouting floor is a half-panel of PolyMax kennel floor (also written up earlier, along with most other details).

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Old 04-18-2010   #27
Lakewood, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 82

Your boat looks awesome. It looks like you used something other than aluminum for the kick bar? also did you drill and pin the corners or are you trusting the set screws to keep it all together?
Nice work!
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Old 04-19-2010   #28
Chip's Avatar
SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,098
If you scroll through that thread, all 15 or so pages, almost every detail of the build is painstakingly/boringly recounted.

Brief rundown: Most of the frame is 1-inch galvanized steel tube, which is cheaper than aluminum and just as light. But the single side rails are schedule 80 aluminum, since the u-bolts on the oarstands deformed the thin-wall steel tubing, and I was worried bout a possible break under severe flexing. You could build the whole thing of aluminum tube, for more $$$, but not save much if any weight.

The footbar is a fiberglass rake handle (salvage) with 1" aluminum insets epoxied at the ends to fit into the joints, covered with skid-stop (peel & stick stuff available at hardware stores). The fittings are nominal 3/4-inch Hollaender SpeedRail aluminum. As the setscrews can crush unsupported steel tubing, all the ends in the joints are plugged with pieces of hardwood dowel. No pins. If you "box" the frame so that you have two or more members in every direction, the fittings seem to be strong enough.

The seat support is pretty cool. I covered that in a different thread. Can't get the link to work, but if you search drop-seat-mount it'll come up.

The idea was to lower the seat and get a better angle on the oars, kneecaps, etc. And to stay light and rigid.
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Old 04-20-2010   #29
Chip's Avatar
SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,098
Copied the post on the seat mount

Drop Seat Mount
There was a thread earlier on ways to mount a seat (over a cooler, etc.) Here are some pics of a flip-up seat mount I just built for one of my homebuilt frames. The previous mount was a 1" board that rested on top of the crossbars, with u-bolts front and a strap on the rear.

The problem was that when I raised the oars out of the water they'd hit my knees. I also wanted to lower my center of gravity a bit. So I wanted to drop the seat as much as possible while still being able to raise the mount to rig gear underneath.

It's thin steel plate, bent in a vise, with aluminum angle (painted) riveted along the back and u-bolts (cut down) front. To stiffen it, I riveted smaller aluminum angle along both sides. The pressboard is both stiffening and a spacer, so the seat clears the crossbars.

This shows it raised.

The seat is a cheap fishing thingie from Cabela's: comfortable, lightweight, and pretty tough (I weigh 225).

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