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Old 04-07-2006   #1
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 41
Raft vs cataraft?

I am looking into getting into rafting for fishing, whitewater, multi-day trips, and family recreation (we have two older kids). Can anyone provide information on rafts vs catarafts - which are better for these purposes, better for novices? Can you even fit 4 people on a cataraft? What size raft or cataraft would we need (16'?). Any advice is welcomed - thanks! Also looking for a used raft to puchase.

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Old 04-07-2006   #2
WhiteLightning's Avatar
Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 928
What rivers would you mostly want to run?

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Old 04-07-2006   #3
caverdan's Avatar
C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,443
Get you a 14' self bailer. It's the perfect all around raft for what you are describing. You might try checking with Marshall Welding in Salida or Down River in Denver for used rafts or possible deals on a new one.
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Old 04-07-2006   #4
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,910
I agree with Dan. Check the swaps (Alpenglow this weekend, AAA soon?) for a used 14' boat. A 14' is big enough to do multi-day trips with, small enough for headwaters rivers like the Ark, and you can run paddle boat or oar rig with it. Also easier to rig than a cat if you don't have a trailer.

See you on the river,

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 04-07-2006   #5
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 25
I'll throw in my opinion....Multiday trips with four people is tight for space without going to a 16' SB or simular sized Cat. In general your passangers will get wetter on a Cat, a concern if you'll be running Spring or late Fall. Of course everyone thinks what they run is the best and you'll have to think about YOUR needs for the rivers you REALLY expect to run.
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Old 04-07-2006   #6
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 140
yeah, I agree, a 16ft raft is the way to go in my opinion. Especially if you want to get into multiday trips w/ 4 people and gear for 4. This past year was my first year owning a 16fter and took 2 week long trips with 3 people each time. We kept it pretty simple gear wise and it was a full raft, for sure. Can't imagine going smaller anymore. Very good size for that stuff.

4 people in a cat would suck. Plus you can move around abit in a raft. Not in a cat.
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Old 04-07-2006   #7
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 178
Our boat is a 17 foot Aire Cougar. We've done 7 day Deso trips with 5 people (some in kayaks part of the time, somtimes all the boats piled up on the tube tips for lunch or long flatwater pulls). It's worked well for us on all the standards like Deso, San Juan, Ladore, Cataract, etc.

Cats are less rubber, so may be lower cost. Some say less rubber in the water, so more maneuverable, but we generally pig it out so badly, who could tell.
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Old 04-07-2006   #8
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 41
Thanks for the replies so far. The rivers we want to run mainly are the Colorado (Colorado and Utah), Arkansas, Green. I live in Colorado. May check out other rivers as well, once we get some experience on rivers we know. I've heard that catarafts are better for novices - anyone agree/disagree?
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Old 04-07-2006   #9
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 831
A cat is more fun to oar, but I would rather be a passenger on a raft than on a cat. You can outfit a cat with a few chairs up front for 2 passengers but then you have reached your limit and they have to sit in that chair all day, perched in the path of all oncoming waves. No small kids allowed, but it sounds like you have big kids. I like sitting in a raft, where I can either sit on the decking on the front of the frame or on a tube when my ass gets sore. Passengers on a raft have more freedom of movement than cat passengers and they can put their feet on a floor and move around instead of having a 2' wide foot rest for a week.
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Old 04-07-2006   #10
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 140
I wouldn't really factor in being a novice personally. If you are already a kayaker and understand how to read water then it won't take long to lose the novice status at all. This is a boat you can have for 10-15 years and an expensive investment. Why worry about a slight edge to the novice for the first few days on the river? I'd look at the long term first. Just my opinion.

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