Which Cataraft??? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 08-21-2016   #1
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1987
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Which Cataraft???

I've been rafting for years and I have never owned or even rowed a cataraft. I'm looking to buy a small (14 ft?) cataraft for Christmas for my 15 yo to learn to row(along with some help from my wife.)

We like to do multi day trips and I want it to be able to haul some light gear too (I picture sitting on a small dry box with a small cooler in the back). I've looked at the Aire lion, Wave Destroyer and a used Aire Ocelot but I would consider just about anything.

I think the Aire Wave Destroyer would be tough for her with all of the rocker, The lion may be a bit big?

I'm most concerned about the wind on the multi-day trips - but I think a cataraft will be more forgiving in everywhere else. Should we just stick with a raft?

Thanks for your input!

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Old 08-21-2016   #2
 
Great Falls, Montana
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OK I'll play. The only Wave Destroyer with a lot of rocker is the 15. All of the others are flat on the bottom the 14 would be a great choice.
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Old 08-21-2016   #3
 
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Rathdrum, Idaho
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We just bought a 14' wave destroyer for my 14 yr old niece and sister to learn on. Also had a friend with an ocelot, that would work great too.

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Old 08-21-2016   #4
 
k2andcannoli's Avatar
 
Denver, Colorado
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I'd get a set of 12' tubes unless your definition of a little gear and my definition are different. Small cats are a blast and are easily moved by one person and fit into a full size pickup. I've seen some really nice sotar tubes that length that could carry a bunch of gear.
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Old 08-21-2016   #5
 
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Sandy, Utah
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I rowed 14 foot cats for about 20ish years before switching to a raft. I had a 14X 19 Jack's Plastic Flyer Cat that was a fun starter boat, but it wasn't much of a multi-day boat. Next I got a 14X22 Maravia, but soon switched to a 14X24 Maravia which was perfect. I always rowed solo and carried a medium gear load. 14 is an all around great size and with the right frame set-up would be an awesome boat for your teenager to learn on & grow with. We have a 16 year old in our group who started rafting when she was 4 years old. She has started rowing solo on easy overnighters this summer, and just got off the MF where she rowed a 14 foot cat with back-up from her mom on the harder rapids.

Maravia, Sotar, Aire are all great choices. 14X22 or 14X24 with a dry box & medium sized cooler. Maybe go with some counterbalanced oars.
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Old 08-22-2016   #6
 
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
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14x23 or 24 is a great solo boat with gear. I assume that's what you're looking to do? You and your wife on another boat?

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Old 08-22-2016   #7
 
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at my house, Montana
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I would not look at the Lion, it won't be nearly as much fun to row. The tubes are much bigger and much straighter, it is designed to haul gear. Either the ocelot of wd would be super fun, but if you can get a used ocelot go for it. Assuming it is not an old style flat top ocelot.
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Old 08-22-2016   #8
 
Great Falls, Montana
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I agree that the Lion would be the wrong choice. They make a great Barge (I have the 16' Lion) but even the 14 is a small barge. I initially avoided suggesting the Oscelot or Wildcat because they are rockered boats and It looks like your trying to avoid rockered boats. As catgirl meantioned, the Maravia 14x22 and Jacks are would be good choices or the 14WD. The Sotar legend would make a good choice too but I would go down to the 13 since they have a slightly longer waterline. Your getting into the season to find great prices on used gear so grab a good deal. That way even if you outgrow it you don't lose too much. JMO
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Old 08-22-2016   #9
 
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Sandy, Utah
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I'd recommend a Sotar 14X23 Legend or ST classic, a Maravia 14X24, or an Aire Ocelot. Looking at the Aire website, it appears they have dropped the Ocelot from their line, but there are always used ones to be had. The Sotar Legend will have a bit more rocker than the Sotar ST Classic. My older Maravia 14X22 had a straight top line and very little rocker, but my 14X24 was after they did a design change and added a little rocker to their cats.

A 14X23-24 will serve your daughter very well and I doubt she'll outgrow it. It's a really nice size cat to have in your fleet for multi-day and day trips. You might find yourself fighting her for it

Frame width is a personal preference thing and can be influenced by the cooler and dry box you decide on. I always ran with a narrower frame with 34 inches between the tubes. I liked being able to easily reach my oar locks in an emergency oar situation. that frame coupled with counterbalanced 9.5 foot oars made a very comfortable set-up for me. As a reference, I'm 5'5" with average wingspan. A 34 inch frame width does present some problems with dry box & cooler size though. 36-40 inches is a more standard size.

Whatever you do.....pick a cat with a rocking' fun color for her My last cat was a beautiful teal color and the person who bought it got it for his wife as a Christmas gift. She wanted teal or purple.

Not too many dads get their kid a cataraft as a Christmas present. Big thumbs up to you!
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Old 08-22-2016   #10
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1987
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Thanks for all of the input. The first boat I thought about getting was a 14 ft Aire Wave Destroyer. I thought it might be a bit squirrely for a first boat. It sounds like most think that would be a fine first boat.

I also appreciate the input on frames. I have looked at the NRS sport cat frames but I'm not sure I like it. I also want to put a floor in it for her. I think she will feel more secure. I like the looks of the DRE Arkansas frames though.

I also like the suggestion of counter balanced oars. I'll probably let her use oar rights too I don't personally like the weights or the rights but I think they would be a big help for her.

Unfortunately she will probably have to "share" it with her sisters as they get older unless we need to add something else to the fleet!

Thanks for the input!
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