Aire Jag 16' vs Aire Lion 16'... - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 03-11-2013   #1
 
tallboy's Avatar
 
Telluride, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 197
Aire Jag 16' vs Aire Lion 16'...

Time to upgrade the 18' Aire, and I am looking for some advice. My wife, 6 year old, and I boat the typical western Colorado and Utah rivers. The 18' has been good, but with a grand coming up next year, I'd like to be on some new rubber (I got the cat used 5 years ago). I have been looking at all the cat boat specs and just can't figure out which way to go, as I feel like we probably push around 1200-1500 lbs of stuff on our 3-7 day trips. Here's my math:
  • Tubes-100#
  • Frame-150#
  • 120 qt cooler-150#
  • 40qt cooler-40#
  • Lg dry box- 100#
  • Kitchen dry box-100#
  • Firepan and tools-60#
  • Tent/bags/pads-60#
  • Lg shelter-30#
  • Table/chairs/pump-60#
  • Groover and 3 ammo boxes-80#
  • 2 adults and 1 50# grom-400#
Total of 1270# (rough guess, but reasonable)

16' Jag 1100 lbs
18' Leopard 1427 lbs
16' Lion 1679lbs

15' JPW Royal Flush 1600 lbs with 10" drag

My concern with the Lion is it looks like it may handle like a barge, It has a waterline longer than the 18' Leopard too, yet I was trying to go to 15'-16' to have a boat for some of the narrower rivers around here. What do you think?

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Old 03-11-2013   #2
 
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
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17' Sotar ST!
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Old 03-11-2013   #3
 
Northern Colorado, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
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For the weight you're hauling you might want to consider a 15-16' raft. I owned two renditions of jag tubes- when they first came out and the more recent continuous curve design. I loved it for most stuff- everything from the Salt, to Upper Kern to the Taos Box to medium length desert runs.

The stretch of rio I really didn't like it on was the Grand-which I did 3 trips with. Why? First of all, as you know or have heard, an overly weighted cat looses most all positive attributes when fat.

Secondly, when a cat is loaded for a Grand trip-unless you're sandbagging everyone else on the trip w/your share of gear, you'll have boxes or a big cooler down between your tubes. So even though cats can have more generated speed going into big hydraulics, as soon as your cooler or dry box or row of rockets hits that water, you loose a lot of momentum.

Cats are stable as hell in big water for sure- but long waterlines and heavy loads can make 'em slow to come around and cumbersome.

I advise getting a small play-cat for yourself and a mid-range bailer for your family on stuff like Lodore, Deso, the Grand...
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Old 03-11-2013   #4
 
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Silverthorne, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
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Get the 16' Lion. You wouldn't regret it. It is a barge fully loaded on a windy day but it can carry weight and hit gigantopithecus holes. I would love to get a bigger boat but its already as big as my garage. I like the jpw cats but they are a good but of cash more. I included some pics of my boat showing with and without decking for size ref. As far as response goes I've run the upper blue, mf, upper eagle up to cat and Westwater. Im sure it might act different than a smaller boat but just like everything else, you get use to it. I dont keep track of weight but ive run a couple week long trips down cat with just my boat. Its more than capable of carrying two people with all the gear on a week or two trip. Best times of my life on that boat.
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Old 03-12-2013   #5
 
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Telluride, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillYates View Post
Get the 16' Lion. You wouldn't regret it. It is a barge fully loaded on a windy day but it can carry weight and hit gigantopithecus holes. I would love to get a bigger boat but its already as big as my garage. I like the jpw cats but they are a good but of cash more. I included some pics of my boat showing with and without decking for size ref. As far as response goes I've run the upper blue, mf, upper eagle up to cat and Westwater. Im sure it might act different than a smaller boat but just like everything else, you get use to it. I dont keep track of weight but ive run a couple week long trips down cat with just my boat. Its more than capable of carrying two people with all the gear on a week or two trip. Best times of my life on that boat.
That's great info, glad to hear you've taken it on some of the smaller ones.

I definitely want a cat, money is a big factor and I already have a custom frame I built.

Anyone have a newer leopard that can chime in? It holds a little less than the lion but has a sportier waterline and bow rise.
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Old 03-12-2013   #6
 
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portland, Oregon
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I've had both a 16 lion and now an 18' leopard. I think with the same load the leopard handles a lot better

Neither are really great for day trips or narrow rivers. I intentionally went sideways through the narrowest part of mule creek canyon on the rogue and still had enough room (leopard). I also took it down the MFS at 2.1' and really didnt have any issues.

on the lion, I went down the owyhee at 1200 cfs and got stuck a lot because i missed some lines.

I think its easier to maneuver a loaded leopard in a tight spot than a lion
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Old 03-12-2013   #7
 
Park City, Utah
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I also took it down the MFS at 2.1' and really didnt have any issues.
I think its easier to maneuver a loaded leopard in a tight spot than a lion
Good to know. We have an invite for a 6/20 launch and I was debating on whether to take the 16' Sotar cat or the Leopard. It will more than likely be around that level at that time this year.
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Old 03-12-2013   #8
 
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salmon, Idaho
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I had this same problem... I had the jag and I will tell you the jag does not handle well with loads in the 900 to 1000 range.. for what you described I think you can scratch it off your list.. this will be my first season with 16' lions so I can't really comnent until after this summer.. I have a main and a hells to test them on... can't wait..
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Old 03-12-2013   #9
 
Columbia Falls, Montana
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Mar 2013
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I got a 16' jag 6yrs ago. I wanted the perfect boat for local Montana rivers and an occasional Grand trip. The jag cat has been awesome at everything from gear packing to multi person & dog drunk floats. It's just so versatile on how it can be set up I even run it as a paddle raft! But now that I'm gearing up for a grand trip I wish I had the lion 16'. I've rowed the jag at close to 1,500# and although sluggish (like a raft) it handles it just fine. Anybody wanna trade jag for lion?
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Old 03-12-2013   #10
 
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Martin City, Montana
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We took our 16' Jag down the Grand a few years ago. It was heavily loaded and harder to move. We were able to get it where it needed to go and still had a good ride. That being said, it would be nice to have slightly bigger tubes to handle more weight. With the kind of weight you are talking about, I would go with bigger tubes. That being said, the Jag is great for our local rivers like the Flathead or whatnot or week long down the MF. With three people, however, I would def consider a bigger boat.
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