Best cat tubes for my needs - Mountain Buzz

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Old 10-29-2017   #1
jacy's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 33
Best cat tubes for my needs

I've been looking at NRS tubes for some time, but am now wondering if I should consider Aire or Sotar. I'm looking at multi-day trips. I want to haul a cooler/kegorator on the back and general gear needs up front. So, it won't be hauling a ton (but I also don't want to limit myself if cool trips come along). It'd be nice to be able to also run on the Arkansas...but we have an Expedition, too.

Any thoughts or experience are appreciated!

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Old 10-29-2017   #2
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 32
The NRS tube will haul more gear than the same size tubes from Aire or Sotar. That being said the plastic nose cones are a joke and both of the other boats are sporty and more fun to row in my opinion. I've had great luck with aire cats and the 10 year warranty is nice but I've never had to use it so I guess it's a mute point,
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Old 10-29-2017   #3
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,736
I had Aire 18 cat and loved it. Same for Aire 143 self bailer and now Aire Outfitter ducky. Also have an JPW cutthroat and love it. Several boating buds with SOTAR Cats and they really like them. Lots of area rafters use JPW tubes and love them. From personal experience tho, Aire is a good safe bet with plenty of choices on length diameter design etc. Ten year warranty and I know of no Aire owners in my rafting groups that have used the warranty.
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Old 10-31-2017   #4
Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1970
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 353
I rowed an Aire Cougar for 15 years and retired (in good condition) for some RMR tubes three years ago. The RMR tubes are severely discolored and have some kind of gooey stick stuff. (maybe a reaction to 303?) Also don't like the way they row as well. Anyway, my take is get the best you can afford and stick with a top brand - Aire being my pick
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Old 10-31-2017   #5
Fruita, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 205
JPW tubes are the bomb-diggity IMHO

If you can find them used, even better! Mine are almost 20 years old, rowed hard and put away wet (pun intended), and not a patch to be seen.
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Old 10-31-2017   #6
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Tabernash, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,901
Stoked on all the JPW product's I've owned.

I feel like with Cats, it's good to with bigger diameter tubes, you don't have a floor to help with water displacement, and cat's get sluggish quick when really loaded down.
For a full on kegerator loaded with a pony keg, I would want at least a 14' cat with BIG tubes, or set of 16' tubes. I might be worth taking a look at the JPW Royal flush.
I've taken a keg with 2 passengers down the Royal Gorge in my NRS E-140, but it was a heavy boat. Forgiving water level to. I prefer a keg in the front of the boat, since it is a lot of weight to try and balance out with other gear or people.
In Utah it is illegal to bring them into the state
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Old 11-01-2017   #7
Willi..., Willimina, OR
Paddling Since: 68
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Posts: 482
Domestic Tubes

[QUOTE=mattman;625274]Stoked on all the JPW product's I've owned.

Domestic tubes will get you into heaven. When you assend up to see St Peter, She will inquire if you were riding around in a set of cheap non- domestic cat tubes. If so, you go down stairs.
Gary Foam
Proclaimed Lobbyist for Whitewater
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Old 11-01-2017   #8
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 315
All tubes of the same size will carry the same weight, if there is a difference it will be not noticeable.

For a do all cat, a set of 14x24 tubes will be hard to beat. I ran my 14x24 maravia on slaughterhouse, numbers, fractions, west water, crystal, lodore, and others. Now I have a 12-6 sotar for the technical stuff and the 14' maravia for multi day trips.
But, if your desire is to take mass quantities of beer, I question if you shouldn't get a round boat.
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Old 12-15-2017   #9
Crested Butte, Colorado
Paddling Since: 82
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Rocky Mountain Rafts has some screaming deals on cat tubes this winter.
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Old 03-13-2018   #10
Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1970
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 353
Thought I'd provide an update on my earlier post. A guy from RMR read my post about the discoloration and gooey mess on my tubes. He contacted me and long story short offered to replace them with new tubes. Didn't have to do that but I'm grateful. Great customer service.
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