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Thread: Best Cataraft

  1. #1
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    Default Best Cataraft

    Hi, I am new to the forum.

    Trying to find the best cat to fit my needs... Want to use for day fishing 4-5 people. Weekend (2-4 day) fishing/ camping/ 2-3 people. Also want to build up to (pretty much a beg..) running rapids. Been looking at the 14 ft rivercat, but sounds like this is not the right cat for shooting rapids. Probably only will use motor as a kicker. I thought I wanted to go with a smaller raft as last fall I rented the 16 ft nrs river cat and seemed a bit of an overkill. The 14 ft river cat seemed to give me plenty of options to carry more weight than the ocelet. Any thoughts... Also, are dogs a problem as far as claws on the raft?

    thanks, ted

  2. #2
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Cataraft suggestions-

    Hi Ted,

    Welcome to Outdoors Directory, and thanks for the excellent question!

    You might have a look at the AIRE Jaguarundi. It should be able to handle day trips with several fishermen aboard if you go light, and is fine for two people and a light gear load for those overnighters. It will also punch whitewater pretty good as you grow into that (it will perform better than the NRS boats in this regard, because of the bow and stern design, and the fact that it's made of a stiffer material.)

    That's what I would recommend. Keep in mind that cats are easily overloaded because there's so much available space. You will also want a flooring system. I use cedar 1x10 boards on mine, some folks use marine ply with non-skid paint on it, while others prefer the trampoline floors offered by NRS or AIRE. Your call, but you will want a floor and perhaps a cargo module. If you don't know what any of that is, either drop me a private message or call the folks at Alaska Raft and Kayak in Anchorage. They're the AIRE dealer for the state of Alaska, and are great folks to work with.

    If you're even remotely thinking of heavier loads, or moose hunting with a partner, you need to step up to the AIRE Leopard. That's the boat I use for guiding hunters and it works great.

    Hope it helps!

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  3. #3
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    Default

    Thanks Mike.... I rented the NRS last fall from AK Raft and Kayak and they were a big help. I've been out of town the last two weeks and been getting the bug looking at catarafts online. Thanks again for the reply

  4. #4

    Default

    another vote for the jag, I have had 3 people and gear on my jag on some class IV and III it took them well, they are pretty sensitive to load distribution, more so then the nrs cats or lion cats. the plus side is the manuverability when lightly loaded, ease of repair, durability.....I think you would be tickled with a jag for river running and a bit dissappointed for hauling 4 or more guys and much gear. I think the jag is one of the best boats for running rivers like Idaho's Lochsa which is 20 miles of near endless class IV at peak flows.

    A 14' cat is fun in the big water, but too small for a lot of people/gear.

    the lion series is a killer gear and people hauler, but more sluggish in the handling dept. you can have a lot of fun on one, but you will work harder than on a jag. give this boat the nod for real big rivers or loads.

    I am a big fan of aire craft just from my own expieriences, not a thing wrong with any of the top name stuff, but the ease of aire repair is a big seller for bush use.

  5. #5
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default sportsman show

    The timing is perfect.
    you will get to see all of the local in state rafting outlets, and manufactures at the sports shows.
    I suggest you spend time looking and talking to each of them. You are going to see some great products on display, and great pricing.
    Alaska has a wealth of real knowledge in Rafting.
    Alaska is a different market than any other place in the United states.
    Most rafting in the lower USA is day trips, or loading a raft up full of people and blowing a few rapids in short days. The Exception is the colorado river and then things are different also due to ambient and water temp, camping is different etc.
    Alaska Rafting can be anything from a day on 6 mile, or Eagle river, or a lazy float down the Kenai, or a fly out trip to remote parts of Alaska for week long or longer trips.
    Things like weight, cargo hauling ability, how does the thing break down for a plane ride, set up for fishing?
    You can find Rafts specifically designed for Alaska here in Alaska.
    some good ideas, some potentially dangerous in certain situations.
    For instance, someone posted a picture of a Raft this last fall that was designed In Alaska, the raft was loaded with a moose, and due to the design, the Raft heaved up in the middle.
    Materials the craft is made from is important also.
    Talk to the manufacures as to why they choose a certain material over anouther. PVC, Hypalon, Neoprene, etc.
    Advantages and disadvantages of these materials.
    just beware of the fellows that spend lots of time putting down the other guys boats in order to build their boat up. ,, If they have a great product, they don't need to bash the other guy to sell theirs.
    Catarafts are the rage, and great crafts for many things, but no inflatable is great for all things.
    The shape of the tubes will make a difference like you mentioned. If you think you would like to do white water, make sure you get the tubes that can do that. 16 foot is a good size for multipurpose stuff.
    I Also like PVC material because it is slick, tough, and holds its shape really good in heavy loads. you can pump it up a bit tighter, and with the new UV protection within the materials, they will last for years.
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  6. #6

    Default best cat?

    NRS 16- tracks better, not as agile
    Aire 16- agile, doesn't track quite as well as the one above.

    Either will work, but the Aire warrantee is really good, repair is easy and it packs into a bush plane OK at about 83? lbs for the Jag tubes.

    A 14 ft cat with the loads you're planning on will be sluggish. Cats work best with light to moderate loads.

    An 18 ft is probably too much for most purposes unless you pack out moose on extended trips.

  7. #7
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    Default Dog claws

    My dog goes on all my trips, it usually takes her a while to settle in each day so there's an hour or so where she gets up and moves around every few minutes, plus she gets up during whitewater quite often. After 3 summers and ~ 35 days on rivers, the tubes are still in great shape. I originally draped a thin blanket over the tubes for her but left them at the takeout one day. I am going to start draping something over the tubes again so her claws don't continue to scratch the tubes. The scratches are very minor but I figure that after some more years of her walking/slipping around on them, they may eventually start to show some damage. For the short term though, her claws have not caused any problems, punctures, etc.
    I own a 16-foot NRS River Cat and love it, a buddy of mine has the 18-foot Aire, he loves it, I doubt either of us would trade.
    Good luck with it.

  8. #8

    Default Love my NRS 16f t

    I've had my NRS 16ft for about 7 years now and I love it. My friend bought the aire last year, I think the leopard, which ever is their 16 ft and he likes it as well. So you probably can't go wrong with either.

    I've had 8 people on mine for just a fun float and that was quite a load. I have been the canyons (upper Kenai) several times with several people/gear on board and haven't had any problems.

    I also have nothing but good things to say about Alaska Raft and Kayak, great people to do business with.

    My only gripe about the cats is running them with a motor, maybe I haven't had enough expierence or figured out the right combo, but they are slow and if you do go too fast you will get wet.

    A couple of years ago we towed three other rafts (two cats and self bailer) with out cataraft down to the mouth of the kenai river from the skilak boat launch and it worked really well.

    Best of luck!!

  9. #9
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Outboards on catarafts

    Quote Originally Posted by alaskariverguy View Post
    I've had my NRS 16ft for about 7 years now and I love it. My friend bought the aire last year, I think the leopard, which ever is their 16 ft and he likes it as well. So you probably can't go wrong with either.
    ...My only gripe about the cats is running them with a motor, maybe I haven't had enough expierence or figured out the right combo, but they are slow and if you do go too fast you will get wet.
    Yeah, the problem you're gonna have with the NRS cat is the blunt bow. It never will perform well with an outboard because it isn't designed for that. You need a boat with a gradual bow transition like the AIRE Leopard. The NRS boat plows like the barge it is. Not a bad boat for big loads, but not much of a performer with the outboard.

    That said, you could do the Skilak run with a small kicker just fine with your boat. You don't need to get up on step, just motor along.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

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