Sotar Cat Tube Add-Ons? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 02-28-2010   #1
 
Park City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2001
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Sotar Cat Tube Add-Ons?

I am about ready to buy a 15'6" sotar ST, but was wondering if the added top and or bottom chafe is necessary. The material all around the tube is 40 oz / 3000 denier polyurethane, which seems better than most other cats with chafes. The good deal isn't as good as a deal if I got to buy chafes.

My frame is a T's and straight pipe kind. I am not looking to run anything more than class III+/IV- on 700+ days on the Ark for day floats and places like Westwater, etc on overnight trips.

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Old 03-01-2010   #2
 
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at my house, Montana
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I can't imagine not getting upper chafe, lower is unnecessary. With frame rubbing (both on water/trailering), straps, etc, etc, that top part gets a bit beat up.
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Old 03-01-2010   #3
 
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Evergreen, Colorado
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I agree with Laura that the bottom chafe is unnecesary, but I think that the top chafe is optional. I opted for no chafes on my Sotar cat tubes and have YET to regret this decision. The custruction of these tubes yields a seam of overlapping material that runs along the top center of the tube. I place my frame along this seam and have never had a wear problem. While I don't log as many river days as some of you, I do trailer my fully-rigged Sotar cats virtually everywhere I go and they have held up superbly. While top chafes are never a bad idea, I dont think that they are a necessity.
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Old 03-01-2010   #4
 
Park City, Utah
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Could I just wrap my frame in foam? Cut some of the kids swim play noodles in half and strap to the tubes? Could I just put a one foot wide, ten foot long piece of PVC between my frame and tubes?

My problem is that with a 120" frame, I would need at least 20 feet of chafe, and at $12-16 / ft that is a lot more than I would like to pay.
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Old 03-01-2010   #5
 
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Evergreen, Colorado
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BullSCit,
I had similar concerns about rub wear when I bought my first cat (used). My solution was going to the fabric shop and buying some boat upholstery material. I cut this into strips that provided chafe coverage of both the top and drop bars of my frame. This is an economical option for you. I ran like this for a long time but eventually cut this extra rigging step out of the equation. Regarding wrapping the frame with foam, keep in mind that you want the frame and tubes to move as a single unit and adding compressible foam to the mix won't help to achieve this. Plus the foam just won't hold up. Sotar tubes are tough, as are the other top cat tubes. You can always skip the chafe strips for now and add them later if you feel the need. Part of my decision to skip the chafe strips on my Sotar cats stems from discussions with Ted Day of Payette River Equipment. Ted has been instrumental in the design of Sotar cats and at the time I became convinced that the extra cost and weight of the chafes wasn't necessary. Ted's opinon may be different now, I don't know. Maybe you should check out the YouTube videos of Memorial Day on the Lochsa and do a count of what the big-water gnar catarafters opt for these days? A bit of statistics couldn't hurt. If you don't already have top-of-the-line oars, I would suggest putting the price difference into upgrading oars rather than chafe strips. High-end oars will bring a bigger smile to your face than chafe strips, in my opinion.
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Old 03-01-2010   #6
 
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at my house, Montana
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I think some of the desires for chafe strips on top may be cosmetic. They give you another way to make your boat a color-combination that you love. Ted's new boat last year was the boise college football team's colors (I don't know what school that is), and had chafe strips. It was stylie. Without the chafe strips you are more limited. But you can always just do the top seam tape in a different color for a good effect. Sotar brings out the fashionist in all of us! Give some good thought, you can not do it again. I wish I had put more thought into it when I bought our raft. You've got the following pices to work with (I think this applies to the ST): Bottom fabric, inside fabric, outside fabric, top seam tape, inside seam tape, outside seam tape, nose cones, hardware/d-ring patches, and I think that's it unless you add more.
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