Cat Chat, Jacks, Maravia or Sotar - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 07-23-2013   #1
 
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
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Cat Chat, Jacks, Maravia or Sotar

Well after a long spring, summer is shaping up work wise and it looks like I'll be in the market for a 14' cat this fall. I don't want to start the Maravia vs Sotar issue since I already have 2 Maravia boats I am a tad partial to them. I would like to hear from some folks who run a Jacks cat. Sotars appear to be the most sporty, but I could be wrong. I plan on using my cat for bigger WW, low water weekend overnights and packing it up tight for plane shuttles to open up my options. I do like the looks of the JPW cats with their stubby tubes. Aire is out due to zippers and invasive species issues

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Old 07-23-2013   #2
 
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Waha, Ida'maho
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Im gonna have to go with sotar for that "sporty"-ness. I have a 15 ft asymmetrical elite sl (i think?) and it goes everywhere with no issues. I had this conversation with my buddy during this years lochsa weekend.... cat boaters dont even try anymore or even look like theyre have fun. I think were switching to rafts again. but those sotars are amazingly light and tough.
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Old 07-24-2013   #3
 
flagstaff, Arizona
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Coolest part about the JPW 19 footer I have is you can roll up both tubes put one under each arm and walk off with it. Try THAT with any other boat!
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Old 07-24-2013   #4
 
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19ft, that a lot. impressive!
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Old 07-24-2013   #5
 
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleighr View Post
Coolest part about the JPW 19 footer I have is you can roll up both tubes put one under each arm and walk off with it. Try THAT with any other boat!
That is a real plus in my book. I need a light rig for plane travel. How tough is that boat? I really like the way Jacks cats look, not that looks count but I think they are cool.
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Old 07-24-2013   #6
 
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Albuquerque, New Mexico
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I love Jacks products and service, but Sotar is hard to beat.

Dad has both.
The first Jack's Daddy cat, now decorated and known as the "Hippie-Cat" has been everywhere and is a great gear hauler. I have pushed it down the Grand twice and it has made countless trips down Cataract (as one of the motor rigs), including a high-water flip in Frogs Hole of BD3, followed immediedly by another 16' Daddy cat which also flipped on the same line.
Almost 25 years of use and like the owner, still going strong with some re-work.

The Sotar is super responsive and can be rowed with finger tips. We joke about it being the "girly-boat" that is so easy to row with a load, or "Stale-air" boat because the material is incredible and never needs topped off.
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Old 07-24-2013   #7
 
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Sandy, Utah
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You know I've had mad love for my Maravia cats for years. Started off with a 14 X 22, now have the 14 X 24. Sturdy as heck. There was a design change in the cat tubes in between my 14 X 22 and my 14 X 24. Newer cat has more rocker. Turns faster than the older model. My tubes might be looking for a new home as I transition from cat to raft.
Here's some pictures. Middle Fork 2012 and the new and old tubes side by side.
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Old 07-27-2013   #8
 
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SE, Wyoming
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Big fan of Jack's cat tubes, here. I've been running Jack's cats for 25+ years, on everything from steep creeks to the Grand Canyon, and have never had a puncture. One of my early (c. 1980s) Pack Cat tubes has a very slow leak, in the end cone, which is the only quality issue I've seen. I have two Pack Cats, a Cutthroat with a Fat Pack Cat frame and my own ultralight oarframe, and a 15 ft. stretch Flyer Cat.

I also build specialised research boats for hydrology and biology work, and use Jack's tubes exclusively. They're very open to building custom tubes and discussing design changes.



This cat, for the University of Wyoming, has gray tubes to reduce reflected light for spectrographic measurements. It's basically a floating instrument platform.
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