Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-05-2010   #1
CO.rafter's Avatar
up in them thar hills, Colorado
Paddling Since: 07
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 142
To all you cat rafters!!!!!!

So, I been thinking about getting a cat. As far as size goes I hear that a bigger cat kinda handles like a smaller size raft. True? Say 16' cat vs. 14' raft. Could use some info. Thanks!

CO.rafter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2010   #2
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,407
I just recently sold my 18 ft Aire cat, still have my 14 ft Aire self bailer. Had both for about 5 years each.

Loaded properly my Aire Cat was pretty easy to row and a lot of fun. It was easy to overload and overloaded it rowed like xxxx, IE no fun. The 18 Aire was really nice on big water. Very comfy. I had a marine plywood floor in my catboat and this made it very nice to load and enter, exit etc.

The 14 ft self bailer seemed to me to be much more maneuverable and easier to handle on the smaller runs, does ok on the bigger runs but not as much a comfortable feeling in big water as I had in the 18 ft Aire cat.

I think both boats have their pluses and minuses. There is a place for both. I know on my 18 ft cat it was easy to load a bunch of gear on it due to all the space, but performance went down fast. On the 14 self bailer, not that much space but I get the feeling I can carry just as much weight on the 14 self bailer with decent performance as I could on the 18 ft Cat for decent performance.

Check out year of the cat video for some awesome runs in the smaller catarafts. Nothing to do with your question but the fun factor these smaller cats offer is way up there.

okieboater is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2010   #3
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,120
I have rowed Cats exclusively for 13 years. Since I've never rowed a raft, I can't give you an accurate comparison. I can however, tell you my experiences with Cats. I have found Cats to be very nimble & fun to row. They will become very "un-nimble" if you overload them. The frame you choose / set-up is very important as it is more integral to how you carry gear and how the boat works. Gear placement is a bit more tricky than a raft. You don't have a large open bow or stern compartment to throw stuff into. Dry boxes & drop bags are needed to contain things. Also, carrying passengers takes more thought on a Cat.
I have rowed three different 14 ft. Cats over the years. One Jacks Plastic & two Maravias. I now own a 14 x 24 Maravia that I LOVE. I carry my gear, a cooler, and some group gear. I rarely ever carry a passenger. I work very hard not to overload my boat so as to keep it fun & maneuverable. My rafting buddy has a 16 X 24 Maravia which is usually loaded with 2 dry boxes, a cooler, a moderate amount of gear, and two people. With this load it is still very maneuverable.
I know that some folks will argue that a properly loaded 16 ft. Cat won't handle any better that a properly loaded 16 ft. SB raft. I can't speak to that myself. I'll ask my rafting buddy for his opinion since he rows a 16 ft. SB raft & a 16 ft. Cat.
The bottom line for me is that I enjoy rowing my Cat. It's the perfect fit for me.
cataraftgirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2010   #4
CO.rafter's Avatar
up in them thar hills, Colorado
Paddling Since: 07
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 142
There will probably be more smaller runs done than bigger ones, Such as upper c, Glennwood below Shoshone, Moab trips and such. Not very big water. Looking to be able to carry a couple of people and there gear. A lot more day trips than anything. But I don't want to lose passenger and gear space. Oh and beer space.
Good advice so far keep it coming!!
CO.rafter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2010   #5
CO.rafter's Avatar
up in them thar hills, Colorado
Paddling Since: 07
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 142
Oh yah, how bout transport trailer or not? Is set up a pain in the arse?
CO.rafter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2010   #6
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,120
I used to transport my Cat tubes & frame in the back of a Ford Ranger pick-up with a shell. Now I have a small trailer so that I can transport it fully rigged & ready, or apart with lots of gear hauling space. I carry each tube in a separate boat bag so that they are easier (lighter) for me to load. I use an NRS frame that can be left together and loaded on the trailer, or taken apart for fly-in trips & winter storage.
Cats are definitely more labor & strap intensive than rafts to rig.
cataraftgirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2010   #7
Canon City, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 426
As previous posters have pointed out, handling really goes downhill when cats are overloaded. I tend to agree with the notion that a 16'cat is roughly equivalent to a 14' raft in so far as its handling and gear capacity. You will never fit as much gear, or as much weight into a 14' cat as you could in a 14' raft. When properly loaded the cat has a faster hull, which will tend to punch holes a little easier.

It seems that my friends with cats are usually more picky at the put-in about what gear gets thrown on their boats, simply because some stuff just doesn't work well. Lots of small boxes, bags, cases of beer just don't really have a place on many cat setups I've seen.

Don't underestimate the amount of weight a self-bailing floor supports. That's a lot of flotation underneath everything, and it contributes to some rafts having less draft than comparably loaded cats. This might be a concern on Upper C at lower water.

Last, consider wind. When wind really starts blowing (upriver, of course) it gets going underneath the gear in a cat, between the tubes, and really slows you down. In a raft, you've got the floor dragging you along in the current. This doesn't completely make sense to me, physics wise (maybe actually lifting force?), but I've seen my friends get hosed so many times. . .

I'll never give up my 18' raft. I can carry 2 coolers, a drybox, 7 rockets, and still have front and rear compartments with drop bags and hatches completely empty for beer, propane, loose junk, etc. Usually I put dunnage on the back, and a few pacos on the front. 2-4 party passengers on front.
climbdenali is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2010   #8
Plunk your magic twanger!
Gremlin's Avatar
New Castle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,105
I have a 16' NRS cat (big tubes) with a Down River 4 bay frame and an additional bay, three drop bags and wood floor in the rowing bay. I use it for much of the same floats you are interested in doing. With the cooler and dry box in it is nimble through Shoshone and the Roaring Fork for day trips. For multi-days I can carry a ton of gear. I am usually a little slower than the 14' rafts but I never run out of beer and enjoy the uncramped space.

As far as setup, I went one season without a trailer. It requires sixteen straps to attach the tubes to the frame. A trailer makes it very easy to just hitch and go. Rollers on the trailer are a big help for ramps that you can back down to the water. Two people can then load or unload. Otherwise, I need at least four people to carry it (Shoshone, Grizzly) or I need to take the cooler and dry box in seperate trips.

Although I packed Supercat away last weekend, It is definitely worth the effort to put it together again this weekend. NICE!
Gremlin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2010   #9
I'm wrong 50% of the time
brendodendo's Avatar
RFV, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 857
Aire Raft: Super Puma
Length: 13'1"
Tube Diameter: 18.5"
Load Capacity: 1050 lbs.

Aire Raft: 143R
Length: 14' 3"
Tube Diameter: 20"
Load Capacity: 1886 lbs.

Aire Cat: Ocelot
Length: 14'
Tube Diameter: 22"
Load Capacity: 980 lbs.

Aire Cat: Lion
Length: 14'
Tube Diameter: 25.5"
Load Capacity: 1200 lbs.

Air Cat: Wave Destroyer
Length: 14'
Tube Diameter: 22"
Load Capacity: 864 lbs.

Above is a sample of 14 ft (ish) boats. As you can see, the rafts will carry more in general as per load capacity. Tube diameter also make a big difference in amount of weight carried.

Cats are harder to rig, usually are stored inflated on a trailer, and have less paddler seats.

So it becomes a debate on what you want most out of a boat. Multi day or day trip? Do you want more gear or people? Do you have space to store a boat and trailer? When you figure all of it out, then you will know what boat to get.
brendodendo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2010   #10
CO.rafter's Avatar
up in them thar hills, Colorado
Paddling Since: 07
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 142
Thanks again. Keep it coming. The info is great. I already row a 13' 6" Hyside SB its great with a light load and a couple couple passengers, its a pig when loaded for multidays, but tolerable.

CO.rafter is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Topic Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
14.5' Sotar Legend Cat vs. Aire Jag 16' Cat MakoF16 Kayaking | Gear Talk 11 11-16-2010 04:24 AM
Looking for other rafters runriverrun Rafting | Trip Planner 1 04-27-2009 08:05 PM
14ft cat on cat or the gand davecosnowboarder Whitewater Kayaking 13 06-09-2008 08:41 AM
SWR for Rafters N. Wigston Whitewater Kayaking 0 04-25-2008 03:18 PM
any rafters on here? oopsiflipped Whitewater Kayaking 16 05-12-2006 11:06 AM

» Classified Ads

posted by Rendezvous River Sports


Jackson Karma Small...

posted by Rendezvous River Sports


AT kayak paddle

posted by marilyn anderson

AT kayak paddle approx 191cm

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:49 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.