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Old 04-09-2010   #1
cheyenne, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 26
raft or caterraft?

I'm looking at getting into rafting.We have a trip planned on the San Jaun in may.My question is which is a better boat? A raft seems more comfortable for more people. I have 6 grandkids. A cater raft seems that one sits to high on the frame and the passengers are setting on gear. A cater raft seems to be able to manuever around rocks better. I guess there is pros and cons on both. I would appreciate feed back on both. Thanks rti50

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Old 04-09-2010   #2
Frisco, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 62
For your needs it sounds like you need a raft! Unless you are going to carry lots of gear go with the raft.

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Old 04-09-2010   #3
rwhyman's Avatar
Unincorporated Douglas County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 961
If kids are involved, get a raft.
Karma is like this: If we set causes in motion the effects come back to us.
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Old 04-09-2010   #4
Crested Butte, Colorado
Paddling Since: 82
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 205
6 grand kids, you want a raft for sure. Cat boats have lots of hard parts, and limited seating. Sounds to me like you need a 16' self bailer.
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Old 04-09-2010   #5
caverdan's Avatar
C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,443
I too would recommend a raft. Much easier to haul people to load and go. Cats take lots of straps (mine takes 22 before adding gear) and have limited seating (usually 3-4 max). You have to balance the load on a cat when your packing it or it won't handle right. Most cats don't have floors so everything you drop ends up in the river. Cats do handle better in general, but stop dead of you catch the frame on that rock you are trying to straddle.

Rafts you can run with or without a frame and oars. If you have a bunch of people, you can all use paddles and fit the whole crew. Much easier to load a raft because you don't have to worry about weight distribution as much.
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Old 04-09-2010   #6
The Russian
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SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,380
Cataraft is good for max of 3 people + gear. Cats are great boats, fast, turn good and easy to attach a motor.

Rafts are great for gear hauling, 3+ people and less setup time. If you have any kids under 12 years of age, go with a raft for sure. If you are not doing anything that involves creeks and fast skinny whitewater, then raft and cat would handle the same.

NRS E160 boat is a wonderful boat, which will last you easily 15+ years. If you want a cheaper route go with a Saturn or Vanguard. If you have family go 16', don't go less. You definitely want Self Bailing (SB) floor. 16 foot boats run 10' oars. You will want a frame, go with 88" 4 bay frame for a 16 footer. Hope this helps.

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Old 04-09-2010   #7
Bellevue, Washington
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 112
Another vote for Raft. I myself use a cataraft, but never have more than 2 people. For trips that you take the grandkids there is no doubt that you want a raft. What rivers do you plan on doing with it?
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Old 04-09-2010   #8
Pugetopolis, Washington
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 767
Originally Posted by rti50 View Post
A cater raft seems that one sits to high on the frame and the passengers are setting on gear. A cater raft seems to be able to manuever around rocks better.

A "cater raft" does sound pretty sweeet....
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Old 04-09-2010   #9
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,347
Raft here too. I mostly catboat, but mine is a one person boat. When a passenger and/or dogs are involved, the raft is the boat of choice. Many people do multiple passengers on cat-boats, but I think it's something where they get into catboating first, and want to stick with that style. For a beginner, a used raft is a good testing ground to figure out what you really want someday.
I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 04-09-2010   #10
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vancouver, Washington
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,146
cat owner ... get a raft if you want more than 3 people. You could probably construct a cat frame for six but you will have no space for gear unless its an 18' boat ...

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