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Old 04-18-2013   #1
Temecula, California
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 5
What Cataraft to Get?

I have been planning a float trip that I can fish and hunt along and am hoping that it will be a yearly trip to various rivers. I have tried to make sense of all the different catarafts out there but I have look at sooo many that it has become a cluster in my head. Can someone please give me a ranking of the best companies out there regardless of the price? Also best value/bang for your buck companies. Most of us going on the trip have our own personal fishing pontoons (fishcats), so this would be mostly for carrying gear and a couple people plus a dog. Also what size would best fit my needs? Thanks for any help you can provide me.

P.S. If anyone has a reasonably priced craft out there I would be interested in talking with you. Take Care

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Old 04-18-2013   #2
Eugene, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 39
You have just poked the bees nest; a lot of folks on here believe their cat brand is the only one.

Aire, Sotar, Maravia, Hyside are solid in my opinion and maybe more but those are the ones I see holding up over time in my neck of the woods.

Good Luck.

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Old 04-18-2013   #3
dirtbagkayaker's Avatar
Bazzaro, World
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,323
Best dirtbag deal going that I know of.

Bound is boatless man
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Old 04-18-2013   #4
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,120
I row a Maravia 14 X 24 Cat. Love it. If you're going to carry much group gear or passengers, consider a 16-18 ft. Cat with 24 inch tubes or bigger. Also consider a 14-16 foot self bailer raft as well. Aire, Maravia, Sotar, NRS, Hyside, are all top brands to look for.
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Old 04-18-2013   #5
GoodTimes's Avatar
Eagle, Idaho
Paddling Since: '78
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 794
That there ^ is a pretty good deal. NRS makes good equipment too....probably the best bang for the buck

Best of the no particular order...all depends on your preference, ability, and needs.

Sotar, Aire, Maravia mentioned gear, a couple people and a dog. You might want to seriously consider a raft if passengers and dog will be frequent. You just can't beat a raft for gear and passenger comfort.

Size...for the needs described...I wouldn't go less than 15-16'.
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Old 04-18-2013   #6
codycleve's Avatar
salmon, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 639
Most of the hunting type cats that you see are cats at least 16' long and the over sized diameter... like the lions and nrs river cats and kodiaks... you can find a lot of these for sale in alaska for that reason... anything smaller if you kill an elk or two and stack an extra 300 lbs of meat on there it doesn't handle it well... these cats also handle 12 and 14 foot frames which meens lots of places to put extra ice chest for your game... a big raft handles geer and people better but a big cat handles a lot of just gear better... I could easily put 4 coolers and geer on my oversized tubes with a 12 foot frame...
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Old 04-18-2013   #7
Missoula, Montana
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 97
My buddy got a great deal on rocky mtn raft large diameter 16' tubes and they seem pretty bomber. Can't beat NRS for customer service.
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Old 04-18-2013   #8
Temecula, California
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 5
Thank you all for the quick responses. I kinda felt that it might be poking the nest since just like everything people have their favorite (ie ford v chevy). I am leaning towards a 16' so what length frames would you put on that? I ask cause I like to map out how all the gear fits in so I can see if the 16' is the correct size. Also the width between the pontoons is typically 36"? As to the meat issue I am mostly planning on bird hunts (chucker, quail and the like) so the additional weight should not be a problem. I forgot to mention that these trips will probably be around 5 days.
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Old 04-18-2013   #9
codycleve's Avatar
salmon, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 639
On most 16 foot cats you can put a 10' frame... I think with the rocker of the sotar its a bit less... on my lion its 12'... I think one of the nrs cats advertise 13'... my brother has the rmr which is the best bang for your buck cat and it has a 10'... I had a jag and had a 10' on it... I run a 72" frame and have 42" between the tubes
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Old 04-18-2013   #10
San Francisco, California
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 105
Where will you be using the boat? If you are thinking annual fishing, hunting, renting might be a better option. To start from scratch with all the gear you'll need, you are looking at 5K on the lower end. That will be at least 8-10 annual trips. If you plan for more frequent trips, of course it makes more sense to own.

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