cant decide paddle cat or 12' SB - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 07-23-2016   #1
 
azpowell's Avatar
 
page, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2014
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cant decide paddle cat or 12' SB

i'm planning on buying another boat in the next month, just cant decide if i want to go with a rmrpaddle cat or a 12' tributary, boat will be used for low water trips and places like the Salt, Ark, Animas, also westwater... i already have a 14'cat and a 16.5'SB... what to do?

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Old 07-23-2016   #2
 
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Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
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I've been having a similar quandary about a boat for similar use and have decided on a smaller raft. I don't know exactly what happened in my brain, but I used to dream about getting a Cataraft but I found myself owning a 16' Avon Pro instead and really liking it.

I think they are just better for passengers and gear hauling. I guess if you were just looking for something fun to take out on the weekends the Paddlecat would be great, but if you want to haul gear the raft seems like the better route to me. I think I've settled on a 13' version of something. A couple guys on a Yampa trip I went on had 13' Hyside boats and I'd love to find a great deal on one of those. I'm sure a 12' would work well too, and the Tributary boats get good reviews too. My one grip with any PVC boat is they are hard to roll and weigh more...which is why i was leaning towards the Hyside. In an ideal world I would find an Avon Scout, but they seem like they are super rare these days.

Good luck on your quandary.
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Old 07-23-2016   #3
 
Minturn, Colorado
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Paddle cat, or mini max. You already have midsized boats in your quiver, why not a small one for r1 and r2? The tributary boats are great, but a bit heavy in my opinion. A smaller boat will extend your seasons nicely.


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Old 07-23-2016   #4
 
azpowell's Avatar
 
page, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2014
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i feel you on tribs being a little heavy , but i'm able to get a really good deal on them... both boats are in the same price point.
i like the paddle cat for it being light and small but it only gives me the ability to run as an r1 and r2 whereas, the 12' trib i could run as a r2, r3, r4, r5 or a oar frame....
but... the paddlecat i could realistically carry into somewhere(gunnison) or out of somewhere(verde river)....i also thought about the 9.5 trib but it seemed like it might be a swim machine if i ever take it on anything big...
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Old 07-23-2016   #5
 
Durango, Colorado
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As the owner of a rmr paddle cat, I would recommend a raft. I love the paddle cat, it is super stable, and can actually carry quite a bit of weight due to the large tubes. It is less versatile than a 12' raft, or even a 9 or 10 foot raft.
I have a buddy who I regularly run the upper animas and piedra with who runs a tributary 9.5 sb. I am amazed at how well that boat handles as an r3 rig in class 4 and 5 whitewater. It can get eaten by huge holes tho, where a larger raft may punch thru. The flip side is that he can hit kayak lines that a larger boat has no chance of running, and has the best ride in waves and other features. And it is light enough to pack into the gunny, or out of Rockwood without too much cussing. The paddle cat is awesome if you want to teach people to r2, or step up to running tougher rapids in small boats. It can only hold 2, where a 9.5sb will hold up to 5. I recommend getting the smallest boat you can get away with, as in my experience that leads to the most exciting runs.
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Old 07-23-2016   #6
td
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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I have an oar frame for my paddle cat (Hyside) that can be rigged for solo multi-days, solo play days, or 2 man fishing days as well as R2 and R1 (or R3 with my kids). Pretty much the most fun boat I own right now and I wouldn't think of trading it for a mini-me type boat. If I didn't have a larger self bailer for multi-person overnights and longer fishing days I'd feel different, but for the small boat spot in a quiver, a paddle cat can't be beat.
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Old 07-23-2016   #7
 
Minturn, Colorado
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5 people in a 9.5' raft?


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Old 07-23-2016   #8
 
Durango, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherpa9543 View Post
5 people in a 9.5' raft?
Yea, but not for every long. 5 for beer runs and for fun, but the max is 3 for anything serious. 4 can be fun in big water. The same with a mini me @ 9'. I also am partial owner of a mini me, and I think that it is more fun than our paddle cat. The paddle cat tends to make short work of most rapids, while the small rafts require a little bit more skill to guide successfully thru. The small rafts are also more active in the water, and slightly less predictable than the paddle cat in my experience. I have only owned the paddle cat for a couple months, but it seems to monster truck over most features, and definitely moves less front to back than a mini me does. It is more stable as well.
On a recent deso/grey trip I watched some friends in the fully loaded paddle cat get surfed by a 20' wide recirculation feature. They surfed for about 45 seconds, completing a 720 before successfully surfing out one side of the feature without incident. All I could think as they were side surfing and high siding is "I am so glad they aren't in the mini me" because they would not have remained upright if they had been. I think that they are different boats that have a little cross over. If your idea of a good time is running the meat with friends, and swimming when you get surfed and flipped, I would recommend a mini me. If you prefer to avoid out of boat experiences and don't mind the 2 person limitation the paddle cat is probably a better bet. Either boat is going to be a ton of fun. A 12' raft is also sweet, and great for more people and longer trips, just usually to heavy to easily hike in or out of remote areas. I would choose your next boat to fill out the areas of your boat quiver that are incomplete, and based on the most likely uses versus the boats that you already own.
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Old 07-24-2016   #9
 
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Denver, Colorado
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I agree with the "not really comparable" camp. Paddle cats are like catarafts in that your really need to add 2' to be comparable to a raft as far as capacity and such. 12' cataraft is more like a 9-10' raft not a 12 footer. I have a 12 foot Hyside as a rollable day trip boat and am very tempted with a paddle cat or mini raft for r2. I can r2 fine but way more fun in a little boat.
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Old 07-24-2016   #10
 
Castle Rock, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
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I am in the same dilemma in that I want a smaller boat for low water or just fun. I went in to RBW this weekend as they have both RMR paddlecat and RMR storm. I really thought I wanted the paddlecat until I saw how small that cockpit is. It's very tiny! I could not imagine doing any kind of overnighter with this boat (e.g., Gunny Gorge). It seemed fun, but more R2 paddling than a frame and any reasonable amount of gear. I'm sure someone has done overnights with it, but it was really small to me (I'm also 6'5 and my son is 6'6). Once I saw a 10.5 boat (RMR storm, Mini-Max), I knew that was the small boat for me. Now I just need to convince my wife to let me get one.
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