Best Cataraft for big water multi day trips - Mountain Buzz

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Old 04-06-2010   #1
St. Louis, Missouri
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2
Best Cataraft for big water multi day trips

My wife is looking to purchase a cataraft. She would like one big enough so it could take big holes, like on cataract canyon, while still being manueverable. Any Ideas?

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Old 04-06-2010   #2
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,344
As a "cataraft girl" my choice is a Maravia 14 X 24. 900+ lbs of carry capacity, decent rocker for punching holes, but still very agile. I rowed a 14 X 22 Maravia Cat for years, and upsized to the 14 X 24 last fall. I've always liked a narrower frame, and now use a 66 in. NRS. I can carry my gear and a little bit of group gear, or a passenger. The 16 X 24 Maravia might also be a good choice for big water, as long as you avoid overloading it. But for a great all around Cat I like the 14 ft. I do Main Salmon, Middle Fork, Deso, Westwater, Payette, Snake in this Cat. Never done Cataract or GC.
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Old 04-06-2010   #3
Chip's Avatar
SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,099
I've got four cats from Jack's Plastic Welding:

I've used my Jack's cats on some large snarly stuff: good handling, no leaks or quality issues. Ran the Grand a few years ago with Jack and a bunch of his boats. No leaks and no flips (in the big cats- I took five swims in a paddle cat, but I was asking for it).

A 16 ft. x 24-inch cat is an all-round big water machine.

Go Jacks! Big Fun!
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Old 04-07-2010   #4
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,605
No question in my mind, when I buy my second cat (big, for long multidays like the grand), it will either be a 15'-16' Sotar Legend, or a 15' (maybe 16 by then?) Aire Wave Destroyer. There are not more playable, maneuverable boats out there. Right now I'm leaning more toward Aire for that bigger size, but I have a year or two to ponder it. Aire's have more rocker on the bottom, and the Sotar's are flatter. In theory this makes the big Aire's more maneuverable, but I know one guy who got a 15-16' Sotar and loves it as much as is 12'6". These boats are made to eat holes for lunch, and have fun while doing so!
Living in Montana, boating in Idaho
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Old 04-07-2010   #5
Bellevue, Washington
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 112
I agree with getting a Sotar Legend or AIRE WD. I'm biased towards AIRE, but Sotars are great too. I ran my AIRE WD 14' down the Grand last spring, and it handled things fine, but that was just me and my gear. For two people and gear you'll need the larger size. You won't regret getting either brand, but I prefer AIRE.
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Old 04-07-2010   #6
mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: '92
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 418
I have an NRS river cat. I like it. I've seen these threads go back and forth and so I'll just tell you what I like about my boat (not what I don't like about the others).
-Hypalon (easy to repair in the field)
-16' (tougher to flip than a 14')
-Can run a frame up to 156" (13') in length (keeps the weight low as opposed to a shorter frame in which your load has to go up).
-Still runs like a ferrari when running a light load (pretty much all cats do this
10' oars + great tracking - drag and weight= a ferrari
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