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Old 04-07-2006   #11
Renaissance Redneck
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Huson, Montana
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 986
I went from a 12' Momentum to a 15' NRS and loved them both. Although now the 12'er wouldnt do because I'm also hauling gear for a wife and 2 critters.
I like the way cats step across the top of waves but I think they are slower to turn than a boat with a floor. Also you cant really run a paddle boat with a cat.
Besides if you knock over your beer in a cat you have to chase the can down the river.
It may be hard to find a used raft. People tend to hang on to them. There will be lots of swaps comming up next month, call ahead, the shop may know if there will be any rafts. Also call some river companies. They sometimes sell old boats that wont hold up to professional abuse anymore but will work fine for someone who will take care of it. Thats how I got my first raft

"You're gonna be doin a lot of doobie rolling when youre LIVIN IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER"
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Old 04-07-2006   #12
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Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 928
Rowing is easy to pick up if you already understand reading water, as just mentioned. I was a kayker who switched to rafting, and it was an easy transition once I realized I had to set up way earlier for my lines.

I have a 13'10 raft, and I can semi-comfortably pack me and a passenger and gear for one or two nights. If you are aspiring to run overnighters on bigger rivers like the Colorado in Utah, the Green, etc. 16ft would be best. If you think you are going to run Arkansas, etc. often, then 16 would work at medium or better levels, but would be a little cumbersome for those Ark day trips, etc. I would guess that inside surface area in a 16ft boat is maybe 50% more than a 13-14ft boat, and can hold a bunch more gear.

The ideal solution: 16+ footer for big water and overnights, a 13footer for day trips, and a little creeker for those R2 trips through the Black Canyon...

Happy boating, and be sure to holler at the Buzzards if you are looking for people to run rivers with.

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Old 04-07-2006   #13
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 43


i rowed rafts for years, lots of family trips, etc. but bought a 16 foot cat, jacks plastic, 4 or 5 years ago and i'd never go back to rafts. we've done long trips, up to ten days with kids and adults and baggage (and it was rather like rowing a log but it got the job done) and day trips and a cat works just fine. it all depends on how you rig it. deckboards help and also block out the splash.... i truly don't think it's any wetter of a ride. a cat is way more fun when it's light. cats are way more intensive for rigging and they are strap happy. a raft is much faster to rig at the put-in and people can sit on the tubes which is more comfortable....although it's hard to beat a deckboard with a paco pad laid on it for comfort. the ideal thing of course is to have both. my 2 cents.

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Old 04-07-2006   #14
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,768
your situation: raft for sure.
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Old 04-08-2006   #15
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 116
I found cats to be great for kids. we usually did class 1-2 desert rivers and the cat made great access to the water for the kids easy to get on and off with those drop floors. they can learn self rescue in the cat. in a raft you have to pull them over the tube. rig it right and you have some nice high and dry areas for sitting and sleeping. Nice to straddle a rock every-once-in-a-while for those low flows. or have the ease of dropping an anchor for fishing.

It is a tough choice but really there is not that much difference. each is great and gets the job done. I would be more concernd about the length to accomodate what you want to do and enjoy floating down the river reguardles of cat or raft.

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Old 04-08-2006   #16
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32
the misconception with cats

For your situation I'd go with a 16' raft. You'll be able to take 3-4 people and plenty of gear and still be able to get performance out of a raft. The misconception with cats that many people don't understand is that the more weight you throw on the cataraft, the more sluggish and difficult to row the cat becomes. Don't get me wrong, cats are alot of fun (if they are loaded light). Most people tend to overload the crap out of their cataraft...they don't know what they're missing. Good luck.

"Just what in the hell do you think you're doing?" "Well, learning about Cuba and having some food."
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cataraft, rafting

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