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Thread: cataraft Questions

  1. #1
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    Default cataraft Questions

    Hello all,

    I am trying to decide what boat to get. I have been debating between the 16' aire jaguarundi, or the 18' aire leopard. I am also not sure what frame to get. The NRS fat cat frame looks good.
    I will mainly be using this boat for day trips, and would like to be able to fit the oarsman, and 3-4 passengers. If I can get away with the 16' boat I would prefer going that route. Would it work well on a cataraft to have two passengers in front and two behind the oarsman? Can you put two seats on the same cross bar.
    Thanks for any suggestions or input.

  2. #2
    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    In short, yes to all. For day trips with 5 people and minimal gear the 16 footer should work fine. The Fat Cat frame is a great choice IMO. The configuation of people on the boat (two in front,two in back) works good also.

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    If you are ever going to add more gear for multi-day trips I would recommend the 18' version. 18' weighs little more than 16', and it's not that much longer to push around.

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    thanks for the feedback. Someday I will probably use it for multi day trips with two people. My only concern with the 18' is that it will be too big (more difficult to haul around on a trailer, more boat to control on the river etc.)
    I've wanted a raft/cataraft for a long time now, and the wife finally said yes. It seems like the more I look and think about exactly what boat and frame to get the more difficult it gets to make up my mind.
    If anyone has pictures of boats and frame setups that would be great, especially seating arangments.
    Thanks

  5. #5
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Leopard

    Quote Originally Posted by mountainhunter View Post
    thanks for the feedback. Someday I will probably use it for multi day trips with two people. My only concern with the 18' is that it will be too big (more difficult to haul around on a trailer, more boat to control on the river etc.)
    I've wanted a raft/cataraft for a long time now, and the wife finally said yes. It seems like the more I look and think about exactly what boat and frame to get the more difficult it gets to make up my mind.
    If anyone has pictures of boats and frame setups that would be great, especially seating arangments.
    Thanks
    I second Jim's comment on the Leopard. It's a better choice for many folks. You will quickly discover that the Jag has considerably less payload capacity than the Leopard, and will sit deeper in the water as a result. I would equate its capacity to a 12 1/2' round boat.

    There's a LOT of info on catarafts on this site; just do a search through the forum archives.

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  6. #6

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    just for some perspective. i did a 4 night float in late sept. last year on my 14' nrs rivercat. we had 4 ppl total and gear. we were way to overloaded, i'll try to post some pics, but it was ugly. i would think the 18' leopard would be the right cat for what you have described your needs being. take care, abel6wt

  7. #7
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    Smile Decisions... Decisions...

    Quote Originally Posted by mountainhunter View Post
    Hello all,

    I am trying to decide what boat to get. I have been debating between the 16' aire jaguarundi, or the 18' aire leopard. I am also not sure what frame to get. The NRS fat cat frame looks good.
    I will mainly be using this boat for day trips, and would like to be able to fit the oarsman, and 3-4 passengers. If I can get away with the 16' boat I would prefer going that route. Would it work well on a cataraft to have two passengers in front and two behind the oarsman? Can you put two seats on the same cross bar.
    Thanks for any suggestions or input.
    Decisions... Decisions...

    Some good input on your thread so far, yet I'm pretty inclined to relate that choosing the 16' AIRE Jag will be better suited along the lines of your decision making, preferences, and main use of the boat. I'd normally say 'for Alaska' the 18' AIRE Leopard has been a more versatile boat for trips all over the State... with the exception being several popular roadside accessible day trips for whitewater or sportfishing. The JAG overall has been more popular throughout the USA for this application and your specified crew number aboard. Commercially available Cat-Frames are by and large identical on the 16'-18' Catarafts. Components and features will be identical to much the same in addition attach in similar places. Cost will be close on tubes, frames, as well as components on both the 16' & 18' Cats. Pricing will vary drastically depending on where/how/when you go about the purchase.

  8. #8

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    it should also be mentioned that these particular boats are sort of apples and oranges to each other. the leopard is for large loads for less technical water, therefore minimizing its need to be super agile. the jag is more of a shorter duration trip, all around good boat. more maneuverable than the leopard but with less carrying capacity. jag can be taken down more technical whitewater, but with less of a load. if you load the jag like a leopard you will lose all of the maneuverability gains you got from buying a jag and probably end up dragging or worse. blah, blah, blah. do you think you will run class iv or higher? if not, get the leopard. just my $.02. take care, abel6wt

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    For up to 5 people for day trips, and overnighters with no more than 2 people, either boat should work fine. I usually prefer the smallest boat that will adequately do the job, but either one will do.

    I took an 18' Leopard down Sixmile once. It had wood floor, a large cooler, and three people. It seemed like a barge for such a small class IV creek, but it worked OK. The Jag would have been a better choice for sure, but the bigger boat can be pressed into service for more than it was designed.

    For what you are proposing, I think you'll be happy with either one.

  10. #10
    Member gspd750's Avatar
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    Default

    I also considered the Jaguarundi when I made my purchase last year and am glad I spent the little extra on the 18 ft Leopard. With Aires improvments by increasing the rise on the tubes you will find the manouverability quite amazing for such a large boat...even with a heavy payload it can turn on a dime.
    A twistier river with a larger payload will obviously put you to work more and you will feel it in your arms. I went with the 10 ft fiberglass oars which helps the fatigue factor.
    I also went with the Top Cat Frame (72"X120") which is pretty much the same as the Fat Cat. The larger frame of the 2 is the way to go on the Leopard. The high-back drain hole seat is very comfy and the seat plate is welded to the cross bar making it very secure. You won't regret the larger boat when it comes time for that day trip with your pals and the cooler.



    Following pic gives you a good idea of the increased rise to the bow and stern of the newer Leopards. Obviously a light load with my teenage daughter.


  11. #11
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    Thanks for all the suggestions. I did some searches on this forum, and found a lot of great info. I've decided on the Jag, with the fat cat 120" frame. This should be enough boat for my intended use, but if it's not, or when I'm ready to do that moose float hunt, I guess I will have to buy another boat. Now I just can't wait for the maiden voyage.

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