Cats: Single tube vs. double tube? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-25-2008   #1
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 8
Cats: Single tube vs. double tube?

To those out there in the know, what are the pros and cons to both single tube cats and double tube cats.



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Old 06-25-2008   #2
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,199
Single Tube: Lighter, Quicker, Spins faster, Surfs better, Punchs holes better
Easier to rig/derig, Easier to find frames, Easier to fit on trailer or truck
Less surface area (floor). If you want a floor get a raft, not a Cat.
Much better in low water, rocky conditions (can straddle rocks)
Fully loaded: load is low between tubes, not on top of tubes
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Old 06-25-2008   #3
rwhyman's Avatar
Unincorporated Douglas County, Colorado
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Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 968
Here is my guess. Owners of single tube cats will say they are the best, owners of double tube cats will say they are the best.

I run a 16ft Aire Jag. Just got off the Middle Fork and in the group was a double tube Aire. We both did fine.

What you will find is that the single tube has more room between the tubes for coolers, dry boxes and drop bags.

The double tubes will be smaller in diameter, so you have a lower center of gravity, but you also have more surface area on the water. Coolers and dry boxes will have to be setup long way instead of cross way.

Just my thoughts, I could be wrong.
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Old 06-25-2008   #4
Cheyenne, Wyoming
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Join Date: May 2008
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I have both - my double tube sits lower in the water, carries less gear between the tubes (I carry two coolers lengthwise, front and rear), but has 3' X 9' deckboard areas over each set of tubes for gear. They both haul about the same amount of gear, but the single tube is definitely more responsive when equally loaded. That said, the double tube is much more stable and forgiving when you screw up and go into a big roller sideways.
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Old 06-25-2008   #5
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double's more stable both ways

So it kind of goes without saying, that if it's more stable right side up it may be more stable upside down.

I watched a guy pin his double tube cat (total of 4 tubes) on magnetic wall in West Water canyon this spring (before the water was raging). Two buddies, rather loaded for the overnight. They were unable to pull it off/re flip the boat and were forced to derig and pull apart the entire boat right there.

Not that I've ever been in such a boat, but now I have no desire to try one.

Just an observation.
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Old 06-26-2008   #6
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SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,099

Aire used to build a double tube cat, with the tubes joined, sort of like a couple of extra-long duckies. My neighbor's got one and swears by it— his favorite Grand Canyon boat. But I think Aire quit making them, and I don't know who else does at the moment.

My first cat had double tubes (two sets of 12-inch Pack Cat tubes with a homebuilt frame.) Given the narrow space between the tubes, a loaded boat ends up having a high center of gravity because all the gear rides on top, unless you rig the icechest and dryboxes lengthwise, which buggers the seating arrangements. It was awkward in more ways than one, and handled less well than a single-tube cat.

Now I've got two single-tube cats with oarframes and like them much better than the double-tube set-up. The tubes roll up small enough to be backpacked, while those double-tube thingies are pretty bulky when rolled, and can be a pain to repair.

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