Paddle Cat vs. Duckies - Mountain Buzz

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Old 02-21-2019   #1
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 18
Paddle Cat vs. Duckies

Looking to get a set up that is lightweight and able to accommodate over night trips for myself, the lady and two smaller dogs (~25lbs). We already have a nice oar frame raft for bigger trips, etc.

My initial question is would it be more fun with a paddle cat (JPW Caulebra, RMR Phatcat, Aire Sabetooth) or two duckies.
-Is an R2 a chore to paddle on flat water, say if we ran Ruby-Horsethief? Would duckies be more efficient?
-What would be better for gear? Looking at basically three dry bags and a cooler for lightweight (but not backerpacker light) overnight set up.
-What is the learning curve for a paddlecat v ducky? We are comfortable rafting Class III-IV on the oar boat.
-What would be more fun?

She is also potentially interested in rowing her own boat on trips like the Upper C, Gates of Lodore, MFS as her skills grow. Would a paddlecat with a frame be a reasonable choice for a trip like these?

Beyond that, recommendations on specific cats and/or duckies welcome. Or alternatives to both.

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Old 02-22-2019   #2
codycleve's Avatar
salmon, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,238
Have you considered a 10.5' raft. Like the RMR storm or mini max.. they r2 well, but also rig up well with a small 3 bay frame. A canyon 55qt cooler fits like a dream. And if she wants to row her own rig it is super responsive even when loaded down for a 7 day middlefork.. I have the storm and at 1.78 on the middle fork while everyone else struggled it was a blast, and very little work.. for the price of two duckys you have more than payed for it and a simple frame.

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Old 02-22-2019   #3
Fort Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 148
I would second a small raft. I absolutely love my mini-max. Super fun to R2, room for another paddler or two if you want, and easy to row as well. Would probably be the perfect fit for your crew and gear. It would be a bit of a chore to R2 in flat water, but with a small 2 or 3 bay frame there's no need - plenty of room for the captain and a passenger, as well as the dogs if they are on the smaller size. I was considering a paddlecat as well but I'm very pleased I spent the extra money on the mini-max.
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Old 02-22-2019   #4
Vail, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 41
having two dogs in any of the frameless cats would be miserable. the interior room is way diminished vs the small rafts listed above. duckies are good for day trips only, you don't want wet dogs and girlfriends at camp on multi day trips. i would look at the hyside mini-me or mini-max. the hypalon rolls up better than pvc and it seems like you're looking for a boat that is lighter and easier to move around than the work involved in getting your big oar rig out. good luck
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Old 02-22-2019   #5
Anton8100's Avatar
Upstate, South Carolina
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 85
Def duckie ! Two outfitters tandems ! Not the solo ones. You would have plenty of room for gear and dogs and you would enjoy the rapids much more.
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Old 02-22-2019   #6
Tres Piedras, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1979
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 76
Paddle cat is not very good for 2 people and 2 dogs plus gear, you want a raft. Duckies would be quite loaded with a person a dog and their gear, but doable. Why not just use the raft you already have? Its the best suited for your needs.
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Old 02-22-2019   #7
the grove, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,815
One boater here with a lot of different boats and 2 smaller dogs.

I love IKs, and doing multiday trips with all kinds of craft in including small rafts, big rafts, big cats, singe Iks, double IKs and with our 2 smaller dogs.

Regarding single or double IKs with gear and dogs, keep in mind the dogs will have a much wetter ride in any IK compared to a small raft. Some dogs might not like that much. It is harder to yard them back into an Ik than a small raft if they fall out. Dogs also will throw an Ik more off balance than a small raft. If it was me. I would have a 1 Ik and 1 small raft for a 2 person trip with dogs. While I don't have a Hyside minimax, I have been on trips with several of them. They make a pimpin small oar rig especially when paired with a whitewater machine works small raft frame. We have done a lot of light weight trips with a single Ik and an old aire puma with dogs and plenty of gear for a week.
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Old 02-22-2019   #8
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 18
Thanks for the advice so far.

The dogs are both ~25lbs. One loves to get wet. The other hates it. Good advice on the tippiness and wet ride of the IKs.

As for why a second boat, besides why not? We want multiple crafts to row or paddle on multi days. And then want to be able to keep the smaller boat/IKs in our small place for easier transportation and storage. The bigger raft is shared by me and my brother, and stored pretty far away, making it a hassle to grab and go for a short weekend run.
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Old 02-22-2019   #9
Fruita, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 288
I have both taken week long trips in a duckie, and in my mini-max. For your purposes I would go minimax (or RMR Storm) every day of the week.
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Old 02-22-2019   #10
the grove, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,815
Good Plan, 1 small raft and 1 IK

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