Raft Size Question: Sweet Spot for gear hauling vs. maneuverability and speed
I've been doing river trips since I was a little kid, but have been away from most things whitewater for the last 5 years or so. I was VERY into kayaking from the age of 12 till my late 20's. Lately, I've had a hankering to get on the river again but rafting seems more appealing to me these days. I'd like to focus on multi-day stuff, but also want to get out on a day trips too.
For years I've only really considered catarafts, mostly because I like that they seem to be sleaker and just fit my style (percieved style). Seems to be a popular view, but I get the feeling they are great for carrying enough gear for 1-4 people but not as a Grand Canyon gear pig unless you get crazy big with them.
There are some pretty great deals for complete packages on the gear swap page in the 16-18 foot self bailer category, but I'm concerned that those might be TOO big for my needs. I've rowed a 14 foot raft down Cataract at super low water (Spring break....I think it was like 5000 cfs or less...class III at best at that level) and felt like that was just on the small side. I went to Andersen Camps as a kid too, and they had some VERY big support rafts that were great for multi day hauling gear for a large group but definitely overkill for stuff like a day trip down the Arkansas.
What do you guys think the sweet spot is for a heavy gear hauler vs. speed, maneuverability and just fitting down varied size rivers? Mind you, this is for an Oar Rig and not something that will ever be just a paddle boat.