cats vs rafts? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 07-16-2012   #1
 
MountainManJake's Avatar
 
Winter Park, Colorado
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cats vs rafts?

I'm a commercial raft guide and a kayaker. I've spent more days than i can count in traditional rafts on the upper C and the Arkansas. I've never gotten a chance to row a cataraft. I'm just curious about the differences benefits and downfalls of a cataraft vs a traditional raft. obviously you're not going to get a paddle crew in a cataraft or more than 2 or 3 passengers for that matter. I'm more interested in performance in whitewater, tracking, stability, load capacity for multi-days etc. Tried doing a search, but didn't come up with anything.

thanks,
Jake

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Old 07-16-2012   #2
 
Boulder, Colorado
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Lots of folks will write to tell you that a cat can haul 28 days worth of gear and three other folks. This is true, but a raft can do that too and do it better.

Cats are freaking awesome and really come into their own if you want to row hard/big whitewater with one person on your boat and a minimal amount of gear.

If you want to do big multi-days with lots of folks and gear then stay with the raft. Switch to the cat if you want everyone to have their own boat, step up the difficulty, and lose some of the extra gear.

Kind of the best of both worlds between rafting and kayaking...
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Old 07-16-2012   #3
 
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My 18' aire cat (120" fame) can carry more weight, will oar easier in a upstream wind (wind passes thru frame between tubes), handles like a sports car, will drive through huge holes, will track straighter in Huge eddy lines easier, punch through raft stopping waves, can carry and mount a 5hp outboard easier (diamond plate cargo floor) than comparable sized self bailers.
Based on my trips down the Grand the 18' cat vs. 17' maravia raft, the cat stands so far above the raft I'm puzzled on why anyone would chose something other than a cat.
My theory in the grand is that you want weight ( can't hardly avoid it) and ease of rowing. Heck I can oar the cat faster with my feet than friends in their self bailers.
That's my $.02
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Old 07-16-2012   #4
 
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A cat is a sports car (a 12.5' cat NOT an 18' cat!) and a raft is a station wagon. I take the cat on bigger water, or when I'm solo on a multiday. The raft comes out when there are passengers and/or dogs.
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Old 07-16-2012   #5
 
Evergreen, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrkyak View Post
My 18' aire cat (120" fame) can carry more weight, will oar easier in a upstream wind (wind passes thru frame between tubes), handles like a sports car, will drive through huge holes, will track straighter in Huge eddy lines easier, punch through raft stopping waves, can carry and mount a 5hp outboard easier (diamond plate cargo floor) than comparable sized self bailers.
Based on my trips down the Grand the 18' cat vs. 17' maravia raft, the cat stands so far above the raft I'm puzzled on why anyone would chose something other than a cat.
My theory in the grand is that you want weight ( can't hardly avoid it) and ease of rowing. Heck I can oar the cat faster with my feet than friends in their self bailers.
That's my $.02

Cats get hung up easier (and more often) in shallow water, but are so stable it is almost like cheating in serious whitewater...
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Old 07-16-2012   #6
 
Salida, Colorado
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"Cats get hung up easier (and more often) in shallow water"I would have to disagree with this comment. IMO, Catarafts are far superior in low water.
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Old 07-16-2012   #7
 
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Kalispell, Montana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pearen View Post
Kind of the best of both worlds between rafting and kayaking...
Never been on a cat, but I raft and kayak--I could definitely see that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lhowemt View Post
A cat is a sports car (a 12.5' cat NOT an 18' cat!) and a raft is a station wagon. I take the cat on bigger water, or when I'm solo on a multiday. The raft comes out when there are passengers and/or dogs.

Great analogy--not a lot of sports cars seat more than two, either!
.....and a kayak is a motorcycle!! :laughing:

Are cats for rafters who get tired of schlepping other people around but don't want to learn to roll a kayak?





Huge difference as well between a 13' raft and a 16-18' raft as well.
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Old 07-16-2012   #8
 
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Winter Park, Colorado
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awesome info so far, thanks! might have to get a cat one day when i can afford to get my own boat. really just need to bring the girlfriend and the dog anyway. i can always borrow a company boat if i need to haul some people down the river.
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Old 07-16-2012   #9
 
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I own both. My opinions don't reflect everyone's. Both can haul gear. Both can do shallow water. Both can haul people/dogs. Both can handle big water. I trust the cat on SUPER high water, but that's because I have more miles on it. There are too many variables to just outright say one's better than the other.

By no means are cats unflippable, but I have put mine (unintentionally) sideways in Seidel's. Whole left tube submerged for a very stressful 30-40 seconds, but no flip. No way in hell would I expect my raft to come out upright.

On the flip side, the raft takes much less time to setup. Many MANY less straps. Less oar rig framework means lighter of my 2. Plus the option to use as paddle boat when 4-7 friends want to go. And for some reason it seems more inviting for the bikini clad lounging on the bow and stern.

In summation - My cat is the big smooth riding cadillac, and the raft is more of the splashy thrill giver.
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Old 07-16-2012   #10
 
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Also, for the benefit of upshitcreek, please search thru all the old posts. There are tons with good detail of cats and rafts.
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