Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: 14'' Catarafts

  1. #1
    New member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    8

    Cool 14'' Catarafts

    14'' nrs cataraft or the 14'' aire lion ? PROS AND CONS. CANT DECIDE WHITCH ONE TO GET.

  2. #2
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    5,765

    Default Input on cats

    Quote Originally Posted by emcpipe View Post
    14'' nrs cataraft or the 14'' aire lion ? PROS AND CONS. CANT DECIDE WHITCH ONE TO GET.
    Pipe,

    The main differences between the two boats are as follows:

    1. Materials. The NRS boat is made of rubber (Hypalon and maybe it has neoprene chafers on the bottom; I can't remember). The AIRE boats are plastic (PVC and urethane). Plastic is a stiffer material, therefore plastic boats will not flex as much as rubber and perform better overall.

    2. Warranty. AIRE offers the best warranty in the business; ten year, no fault. The NRS warranty is limited to the original purchaser and all damage is evaluated for cause before a decision on coverage is made. NRS makes good boats, and the chances of a warranty repair are small, but you need to understand that NRS is in the driver's seat. With AIRE, you are.

    There are other minor differences as to cost, weight, etc. but these are the two main issues to consider. For the long haul, I'd go with AIRE.

    Other considerations you did not ask about, but should know, have to do with the performance differences between a blunt-nosed cat such as the two boats you're looking at, and something with a more gradual bow transition. Boats like the Leopard will perform much better with an outboard or when they have larger loads. The blunt-nosed boats plow like a barge when they're loaded heavy. You didn't ask about these aspects, but others need to know.

    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

    Default

    Another point of view...

    Other things to keep in mind, hypalon is 15 x more wear resistant than PVC. Rolls up smaller and easier. Does not crack like PVC in very cold conditions. The flex of hypalon is not a across the board bad thing. I prefer it for better tracking and in big whitewater. I'll take better tracking over "that sporty feel" any day. Your arms will thank you at the end of the day.

    NRS's cat tubes have a less extreme rocker so you have more tube in the water to carry loads in shallow conditions. It will assist with better tracking too. NRS's tubes are 3 inches larger in diameter too which will again help with bigger loads.

    Don't buy a boat solely on the warranty. It is in the top 5 reasons for sure. And Aire does have a great one. NRS's is still 10 years for private parties and if you sell it then it's really not your problem anymore, is it? Anyway, these are both great boats that come from great, customer service oriented companies with long histories of taking care of their customers. Buy it for what suits your needs and purpose best.

    Personally, the Aire 14 cat is a **** sporty whitewater boat. That's it design and purpose. Just look at the rocker on that baby! The NRS is a more all around design with bigger load capacities.

    Anyway, just wanted to offer the other side of the coin to plusses to NRS.

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,449

    Default

    Yep, the 14 Aire is the sportier version by far. Built to pack less weight, turn on a dime, ferry a steep angle, drop over the edge of something scary, and surf better at the bottom. It's a good boat for day trips to Nenana Canyon, Sixmile Creek, and Lion's Head. It's a play boat that will still pack enough for tripping with a couple people, but it's not a meat hauling boat, and not really a family boat either. But personally, I think a better *play* boat would 12-13'. The 14' Aire is a compromise between a medium hauler and a play boat, but never quite perfect for either.

    The NRS is built like a freighter, and most Alaskan paddlers want freighters, but who wants a 14' freighter? If you want to pack heavy loads, get a 16-18' cat. I'm still trying to see a good use for the 14' NRS.

  5. #5
    New member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    8

    Cool 14' nrs

    Thanks Guys. I Live 15 Min From The Little Sue And Planned On Doing Alot Of Rafting On It. I Work 3 On And 3 Off So I Have A Bit Of Time. It Would Normally Be Just 2 People. But I Would Moose Hunt Out Of It Also. Just One Moose And Two People. I Am Leaning Towards Nrs 14'. What Do You Think Thanks Agian.14

  6. #6

    Default

    Yeah, you'll want to go bigger for your purposes or consider a 14ft raft(bare minimum,for sure).

  7. #7
    New member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    8

    Cool

    would a16' be to large for the little sue?

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    eagle river
    Posts
    34

    Default

    16' is not to big for lil sue.

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,449

    Default

    They get 20+' power boats up & down the Little Su. Indy's right, if you're planning on hunting moose with it get a 14' round boat or a 16-18' cat. The 14' NRS cat might haul that much, but it would drive like a slug. You'd be happier with a bigger boat.

    On a related note, a couple friends successfully hunted the Little Su this fall in a large jon boat and step ladder. It's not a new trick, and I have done it myself years ago. But it would work with a large cat even better than the jon boat. Lash a tall step ladder (12-14' would be nice) to the deck and send some young buck up there with a large gun while floating gently down the stream. The problem with many of these nice gentle rivers is the brush & small trees that grow right along the edge blocks your view. If you get a little hight it thins out and you can see over the tops and into the swamps on the other side. A small outboard to power back up would be nice too.

  10. #10
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    5,765

    Default Wrong boat, Indy...

    Quote Originally Posted by indyjones View Post
    Another point of view...

    Other things to keep in mind, hypalon is 15 x more wear resistant than PVC. Rolls up smaller and easier. Does not crack like PVC in very cold conditions. The flex of hypalon is not a across the board bad thing. I prefer it for better tracking and in big whitewater. I'll take better tracking over "that sporty feel" any day. Your arms will thank you at the end of the day.

    NRS's cat tubes have a less extreme rocker so you have more tube in the water to carry loads in shallow conditions. It will assist with better tracking too. NRS's tubes are 3 inches larger in diameter too which will again help with bigger loads.

    Don't buy a boat solely on the warranty. It is in the top 5 reasons for sure. And Aire does have a great one. NRS's is still 10 years for private parties and if you sell it then it's really not your problem anymore, is it? Anyway, these are both great boats that come from great, customer service oriented companies with long histories of taking care of their customers. Buy it for what suits your needs and purpose best.

    Personally, the Aire 14 cat is a **** sporty whitewater boat. That's it design and purpose. Just look at the rocker on that baby! The NRS is a more all around design with bigger load capacities.

    Anyway, just wanted to offer the other side of the coin to plusses to NRS.
    Indy, I think you're looking at the AIRE Ocelot, not the AIRE 14' Lion that Pipe was asking about! If you look at the Lion and compare it to the NRS 14' River Cataraft Pipe was comparing it to, you'll see that both boats have the same blunt bow transition, the same length and the same tube diameter (25"). Hence my comments about the performance differences.

    I disagree with your claim that the flex of rubber fabrics contributes to better tracking. I can't see where tracking and flex have anything to do with each other. I do maintain that rubber wears more evenly than plastic (which tends to gouge), but I don't know where your figure of 15x more wear resistance comes from. Is this from a study that you can point us to? I also think that the cold weather cracking issue with plastic is overstated. I've been using plastic boats in Alaska for over 15 years and have never had one crack, though I have stored them both folded and inflated, outside, through the entire Alaska winters. I have heard this claim made, and perhaps it is true in extreme temps below 55ºF, but I don't know anyone that has experienced actual cracking here. That's not to say it doesn't happen; I just haven't ever experienced it myself, and don't know anyone who has. How about it folks? Any stories on this issue?

    You make a great point about the NRS rubber boat rolling up tighter; this is a factor on flyout trips for sure, and makes the tubes somewhat easier to deal with in a portage situation; especially if they have to be backpacked.

    Sorry to come across so negative; that's not my intention. But I think you were looking at the wrong boat, therefore some of your comments (and Jim's too) were based on the substantial differences between the AIRE Ocelot and the NRS boat in question. I would not disagree that the Ocelot is intended as a whitewater playboat, whereas both the Lion and the NRS boat are intended as big load haulers. The history of this (for those interested) is that NRS pioneered this design and Alaska Raft and Kayak was selling so many of them that AIRE jumped on the bandwagon. It is my understanding that the design enjoys more favor in Alaska than anywhere else, or at least it was that way initially. Some of the folks I spoke to at AIRE the year after the Lion was released were not really complimentary of the design, for some of the same reasons I mentioned in my first post (it plows like a barge when heavily loaded- the blunt bow pushes water and becomes much more resistant to rowing efforts, etc...) But essentially I was told that AIRE built it specifically to compete with the NRS boat (which was originally marketed as their "Grizzly Cat"), and that's why the tubes are nearly identical in shape, diameter and configuration. That being the case, the only real differences are performance characteristics related to fabric type, the warranty, and minor pricing and weight differences between the two boats.

    Another comment for Pipe- I'm glad you mentioned two hunters and a moose. In that case, you might consider a rig in the 18' class. The fourteen-footer will leave you overloaded and it will row like a slug. I would recommend the AIRE Leopard with perhaps a small adjustable transom. This will allow you to float longer rivers, while still letting you make your take-out on schedule. Flat water can take a loooooong time to float at a dead drift or rowing. I use one on my guided moose hunts with exactly the loads you are expecting, and it's just about right.

    Perhaps an option is to try both on the water next spring before you make your decision. Drop me a PM and I'd be happy to let you row my Leopard on the upper Kenai if you are available then. Maybe if someone can come up with an NRS we could do both at the same time.

    Regards,

    -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

  11. #11

    Default

    Yep, my bad on the boat. Not reading carefully enough.

    Better tracking... this comes out especially in whitewater. The flex of the boat keeps more of the boat in contact with the water and conforming to the waves shape,ect moving like a caterpillar over the waves vs. the stiffer pvc which does not mold as well thus less contact and less tracking.

    And yeah, it's widely known PVC is the least durable of the 3 main materials. PVC then Hypalon then Urethane coated PVC for abrasion resistance. Urethane boats are somewhere around 40 times more abrasion resistant than PVC too. If i find some independent study deal I'll post it. I've certainly come across the info enough talking with the pro's in shops,ect. But even just my own real world experience with all 3 types of rafts has only shown it to be pretty accurate.

  12. #12
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    5,765

    Default Tracking issue

    Quote Originally Posted by indyjones View Post
    ...Better tracking... this comes out especially in whitewater. The flex of the boat keeps more of the boat in contact with the water and conforming to the waves shape,ect moving like a caterpillar over the waves vs. the stiffer pvc which does not mold as well thus less contact and less tracking...
    Indy,

    I see where you're coming from; you're talking about whitewater. I guess it's personal preference in some cases. I do know that some rubber boats tend to "taco" (fold in half) on steep drops. This is of course because rubber is more stretchy and bouncy than plastic. It's all about whether a stiffer boat is an asset or a liability. Most of the folks I run into (including the whitewater guys) prefer a stiffer boat.

    For my purposes, in a float hunting context, a stiff boat is an asset, because it performs much better with heavy loads and also with an outboard. I use the outboard on long, slow rivers with limited access points. Without the outboard it would take weeks to float some of our rivers, because there are very few places where an aircraft can land. A good example I have mentioned in the past is the Dishna, with 95 miles of Class I from the put-in to the take-out. We haven't found a stretch long enough to land a floatplane, and the gravel bars are too short for wheel landings most years. Sooo... my recommendation to float hunters is usually a plastic boat with a gradual bow transition and an adjustable transom capable of handling an outboard up to 15 horses. Whether the individual wants the outboard and transom right away or not, these kinds of tubes give them room to grow as they expand to other areas of Alaska.

    Because of the performance superiority of plastic over rubber (for my float hunting context), I'm willing to accept the way PVC handles abrasion. What would be ideal in my opinion is a very light cataraft made out of urethane over a poly base cloth, if someone could make a welded one that didn't break the bank. As you say, urethane is very abrasion resistant. Of course Maravia coats their boats on the outside with urethane, so perhaps this makes the abrasion issue a moot point as far as that manufacturer is concerned. SOTAR does essentially the same thing, though in a better way, by using a urethane scrim.

    I'm not much of a whitewater guy, and perhaps if I was my recommendations might be different; I don't know.

    Hope it makes sense!

    -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

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,449

    Default

    Yep, I too was looking at the Ocelot. Completely forgot about Aire's Lion, as it never interested me. But the blunt nose shape begs the question, "What use is either of these boats?" Adding 2-4' would make it a far better rig, especially for hunting.

    I have some Aire PVC tubes that are probably 15 years old, and have been thrashed mercilessly since new. They have large gouges, patches and wear areas, but they still hold up and still hold air. I think the whole wear issue is overinflated. The studies that I have read in the distant past put PVC slightly behind Hypalon, with Urethane way out ahead of both. But again, in use, I don't think it matters to most of us.

  14. #14
    New member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    8

    Cool

    okay how about the aire jaguarund for 2 person hunt or little sue fishing - camping? compaired to the 16' nrs? does the 24'' tubes and turned up ends make alot of weight carring differance from the nrs or is this a white water raft? im not into white water rafting this is new to me and I would preffer mild drifs I think Ive outgrown that stage of my life now its time to slow down and smell the water thanks for all the input. ps my wife gave me the okay for a drift boat after 3 years of dropping the hint so I should take advantage now before she decides we need ??????????? catch my drift I would like to try them out but dont have the winter to wait. its not that bad shes great but when you get the okay you learn to jump before its gone. thanks again keep it coming and ill see you on the river this summer.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •