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Discussion Starter #1
So I think I have decided to keep my 15' raft as a paddle raft, and not make it into a gear hauler for overnight trips. And am now wanting to get a cat. I found a decent deal on cat tubes, and was wondering which tube size would be best for me. I would like to have one set of tubes that can do it all.

I would like to be able to cat the Ark, from Numbers to the Gorge, on day trips, and then be able to carry enough gear to support 6 people on a 4 night trip (there will be only one person on the cat, 5 others on the paddle raft). So is it possible to get that kind of gear on a 14' (probably not), or have the 16' be fun and maneuverable on smaller water like the Ark at 1000. I am looking at the Aire Performance tubes right now if that helps, so 24" diameter for the 16' and 22" for the 14'.

Then someday I would like to row the GC, and I assume that even a 16' would be too small for this. Would an 18' cat be big enough to fully support 6 people?

Also, I would like to get a frame to span the two options also. Would it be best to get a smaller frame, and then virtual bays to add onto when I need the capacity? What is the problem with a large frame for day trips? Heaviness? Too stiff?

Sorry about all the newb questions - BS
 

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no tengo
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so just an FYI I would be taking a 12 cat on the grand next month if it would have been ready in time but I'll probably end up taking a 13' raft or 14' cat.

your main problem is offering to support freeloaders be they paddle rafters or kayakers. otherwise you could go light and playful.

so in case you didn't get my opinion go as small as you can. like a sports car vs a u-haul.
 

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I am not that much of a expert on raft loading as only been rafting a few years. But have been retired and done a lot of trips since 2003

I have a 143 Aire Self Bailer and a 18 ft Aire Leopard Cataraft.

I do not think either would fully suport 6 people on a typical 7 or 8 day western river trip like Middle Fork of the Salmon.

Cats even the big ones do not perform well if over loaded.

Took my 18 foot Aire down the GC last october and it did fine. But, we did not overload it. We had several 18 ft self bailer rafts that were the gear haulers. For info we had a 16 ft marvia cat on the trip and he did great.

hope this helps but others need to chime in
 

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Discussion Starter #4
That is kind of what I expected to hear, bigger is better for hauling, smaller is better for fun. Can I really believe the load capacity of the Ocelot to be 980 lbs? With an 80# frame, 200# me, 20# oars, that would still be 680# of carrying ability. Right? Or is this hype?

I really want to hear if the 16' would be too much for the Ark and other similar rivers.
 

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dude, go big

i row a 16 Kodiak cat for safety boating in the northwest, you will be stoked to have a bigger boat for western rivers, as far as the ark, i dunno, i would go big, ask ihwmt, shes the queen of the cat
 

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I have a 143 Aire Self Bailer and a 18 ft Aire Leopard Cataraft.

I do not think either would fully suport 6 people on a typical 7 or 8 day western river trip like Middle Fork of the Salmon.
Just a reference point - I loaded down my 14'3" hyside with me, three passengers, and gear for another 5 people (kayakers) and ran the Middle Fork at mid-high water. It was a blast. We went on the small end of rafting trip gear, but i still had a big cooler and dry box, two rocket boxes, several water jugs, and a mountain of dry bags. The raft did fine from Marsh creek right on down. I actually think the dry bags multiplied during the trip - I was carrying at least 10 Bills Bag's, plus a lot of smaller bags. It was loaded to the gills and at or near max rated capacity. We had to make some sacrifices - like more hard booze - Nalgaritas anyone? - and less beer. But I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Sometimes I forget that when I do a 5 day backpacking trip I carry 55 lbs including my 6 lb back pack and really enjoy it. If you limit the kayakers you are supporting to 75 lbs each, and you have 600 lbs of extra capacity so you can support 8 of them. And they come in hand for loading and unloading your boat:)
 

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I have a 16' nrs river cat and find it on the big side for the Ark at 1000cfs. But I also have huge frame - 72" by 120" With a cat you can really change the way it performs with the width and length of the frame. A friend runs a 16' on the ark with a much smaller frame 62" by 88" and has no problems.

16' is a nice compromise. It’s a little small for the Grand but doable, a little big for the Ark at moderate to low water but doable. I have found it works fine on most rivers.


In terms of gear hauling I have found a 16' cat = a 14' raft

With all of that said I am in the market for some 14’ tubes to make my frame a little more versatile.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the info, sounds like the 16's are the way to go. A couple of quick questions though.

Are there any negatives about a larger tube diameter? I can get pretty close to 80% of the load of an Aire Jaguar (16') with a Aire Lion 14 becauase of a 1.5" larger tube diameter. But the waterline is longer for the Lion (according to Aire), will that really negate the advantage of a shorter tube?

Also, have people found Aire's load numbers they claim accurate and still have the cat be somewhat manageable? Jaguar = 1500#, Ocelot = 980#, Lion 14 = 1200#.

Last question regarding frames. If I want x amount of square feet of frame, is it better for controllability both loaded and unloaded for the frame to be longer/thinner or shorter/wider?

Thanks again, you guys are better than KGBKGB.
 

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Last question regarding frames. If I want x amount of square feet of frame, is it better for controllability both loaded and unloaded for the frame to be longer/thinner or shorter/wider?
I prefer a longer narrower frame personally. I have found the 72" to be a little wider then I like. 66" is about right. Another option is to get the longer frame and make it modular so you can remove a couple bays for trips on smaller rivers, day trips, etc.

Others will have different opinions.
 

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I went from a 14' raft to a 16' Aire jag. On day trips with 2 people and a cooler I could squeeze through some tight spots and shallow water no problem. On overnight trips loaded with gear not so much... Catrafts at least the Aire Jag is not a good gear hauler (IMO). I played hell getting my load balanced, the cat seems to be front heavy or back heavy with the placement of a single dry bag!! and sat so low in the water I had to get used to what I could and could not make it thru with minimum drag. I thought that it was a great day trip boat, tracked like a champion. but when I wanted to bring the steaks and 30 packs of PBR on some multi-day trips, it was not the boat for me....
 

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so I really don't see the point at all of getting a big cat and trying to load it up.

Cats are best for running whitewater without lots of people or a heavy load. If you need to carry people or gear use a raft.

think of a cat as something like a large kayak and you are on the right track.
 

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IMHO If you want to haul gear you might want to look at NRS tubes or something similar. You know you have too much loaded on a cat when the floor touches the water. You want to weight it with the floor a couple of inches out of the water or it will be a real pig to control. That said....I can load my 14' Avon with probably twice the gear as my 14' NRS cat. Good Luck and SYOTR. :)
 

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My 16' (NRS rivercat) has made it down browns below 200 cfs with no problem. I would never hesitate to take it down the Grand. I personally think it will hold more gear than a 16' NRS e-series raft (and have had friends with 16' rafts comment, "Wow, I didn't know a cat could eat up all that gear." Full floor is the key. I bought mine because I wanted a oar boat that can do it all. It had to be able to do class V and be able to take 3 people down the Grand. I've even ran it as a paddle boat before. Running just me and 2 passengers, I can treat the river like I do in a kayak (playin with the river instead of just floating down it.)
 

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I have a friend who puts an IK between the tubes and under the frame of his cat to increase it’s load capacity.
 

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I have a friend who puts an IK between the tubes and under the frame of his cat to increase it’s load capacity.
That is what I did last summer on the Grand with a Lynx II when a weld on my frame cracked. It really picked up the load, but it looked like I had a bad accident with another boat.
 

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ask ihwmt, shes the queen of the cat
No, I know nothing about a cat as a gear boat, and when I run the grand next, it'll probably be on a 15' cat, tops. I'd love to take my little Legend, but unless I'm the PH like Mania (and can make everyone else carry the gear :p), I'd never get enough stuff on it. But, it does load like a dream, but I was lucky enough to have good advice from many others running the exact same boat. I found it not to be particular, as I unloaded it over 6 days, I just found surfing to get easier and more pleasant.

The right Buzzards for this Question are Rich and Dgosn. Rich since he boats in CO (I know there are others out there also....), and Dgosn, because he rips it up on a huge gear cat. His cat is Monstrous, yet he rips it up on high water Lochsa, and high MF Salmon. Keep in mind, I believe he's getting a little Sotar Legend.

There's also been some talk on bigger cats over on the GCPBA yahoo group.
 

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i too, have a little cat. 12' hyside w/ marshall frame. it will tote gear, but handles like a bus when overloaded, i have done it, several times but would not on big water. if you can travel light, IE tote your share of goods (light) with the smaller cat, maybe the rafters will carry the heavier, more easily loaded square stuff.

next GC, I'll be in the 12' packed like a kayaker+100 lbs+me

16' for the quiver is perfect.

OB~
 
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