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Thread: Cataraft Floor Alternatives?

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    Default Cataraft Floor Alternatives?

    I have a 14' NRS cataraft with partial mesh floor in the back and 1x12 boards up front and on the deck. I am wondring what other rigid materials people use that is lighter than these boards. I am estimating they weigh in around 40-50 pounds. lookin to lighten the boat up a bit as the Gulkana and I did not get along below the canyon last fall.


    I am assuming some type of platic is the most readily available alternative. just looking for some ideas.

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    Member RC23's Avatar
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    Default cedar floor

    I used 1x3 cedar to built a deck of sorts. On the underside of the 1x3's is 3-2x2's to screw the 1x3's to. I would estimate that the 3x3 section weighs about 3 or 4 pounds. Make sure you use clear grade cedar; the stuff without any knots; since that is what is spanning from one side of the frame to the other. Here is a pic I have for now; I will get a better one and post it tomorrow.
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    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Default Mesh

    I have seen everything from metal to mesh. I previously used marine plywood or the same boards you have. But most recently I have used the mesh fabric floors that can be purchased at Alaska Raft and Kayak. At first I questioned the strength of the fabric. But after haveing some very large dudes on my AIRE Leopard, I'm sure they can take whatever load I stress 'em with. And the mesh-fabric-floors are light. Good luck on the Gulkana....always a fun trip (with no fly-in costs!).
    dennis

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Mesh

    I'd go with a mesh NRS trampoline floor. You're not gonna find a rigid floor that's noticeably lighter than the cedar boards you already have.

    Hope it helps!

    Mike
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    Thumbs up

    I would not recommend any sort of hard decking for catarafting on the upper Gulkana. Weight is a factor, safety is greatly compromised... no gain for the upper river character whatsoever.

    Hard decking would be used for wide open rivers with essentially no demanding sections or obstructions/hazards... like the Kenai River.

    Hard decking can also be good for a little dryer cruising when motor-catting, or carrying a specialized load like a 4-wheeler, fish-shocking generator, heavy hard stuff w/ edges that may rip out mesh flooring.

    My custom soft floors as well as fore/aft cargo bays are made of a barrier mesh & seat-belt with choices of sewn-in cam-buckles or over-sized heavy-duty grommets (for your own Cam-Straps). Put it this way - if you feel a safety belt in your vehicle is strong enough to saves lives... my cat floors can take a steady diet of river commercial-grade wear and tear.

    These also are drum-tight and does not sag like many of the factory floors that sleeve (pain in the buttt).

    While there are some factory floors that do stretch tight... they have no reinforcement web/belts -- in other words, one tear becomes a major rip in a hurry.

    If in fact you still want to go hard flooring... YES - there are indeed several lighter options of much, much greater strength to weight ratio and water/weather resistance. I can clue you in to those items - these options are spendy 'at first' - yet in the end game lighter, stronger, +++ synthetics will far outlast wood.

  6. #6

    Default mesh floor

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    I'd go with a mesh NRS trampoline floor. You're not gonna find a rigid floor that's noticeably lighter than the cedar boards you already have.

    Hope it helps!

    Mike

    i've had two nrs mesh floors and both times the grommets failed pretty quickly. in typical nrs fashion, they replaced the first one and gave me a free shipping coupon for a future order. on the second one i took store credit and there were no questions asked. great service, but not a great floor design imo. aside from the grommets, other issues to consider are that you have to take the frame apart to install the floor and they come in limited sizes with little adjustability.

    my new floor is from jan at www.stichesnstuff91.com . great design, all custom made for size and color with a couple of fabric and attatchment options. mine is 36" x 60" of grey "phifertex" and has cam buckles and straps sewn in every 8" in both directions. very heavy duty, easily installed, moved or tightened as needed. $130. i couldn't be happier with it.
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    "YES - there are indeed several lighter options of much, much greater strength to weight ratio and water/weather resistance. I can clue you in to those items -"

    and what might those be? and where can i look ointo them around town. I am intersted in your soft floor. any pics?

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default NRS or Aire mesh floor failure common?

    I have the Aire mesh floor, which is reinforced with fiberglass rods and mounts taut with cam straps. It's in great shape, but it's only 1 year old too. I have friends with older mesh floors - the NRS type - which sag some, but still quite functional.

    I don't doubt that these models fail - it sounds like there is a market for alternatives. And if like billfish, I had two floors fail "pretty quickly" - I'd be shopping too. But do the mesh floors by Aire and NRS fail often?

    This Aire floor struck me as well made - and employs the fiberglass rods to reinforce stress points along the sides and ends of the floor, using grommets only in the corners. I'll add a pic.

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    Thumbs up Cataraft floor options

    Quote Originally Posted by akphish View Post
    "YES - there are indeed several lighter options of much, much greater strength to weight ratio and water/weather resistance. I can clue you in to those items -"

    and what might those be? and where can i look ointo them around town. I am intersted in your soft floor. any pics?
    Hello akphish,

    One of the most rigid, lightest, and best strength to weight product is a Nomex comb core, composite
    skin (fiberglass carbon fiber or aluminum are all the options) , w/ epoxy coated (or 2-coat) laminate. .125" is .27 pound per square foot -- .5" is .35 --- .75" is .41/sq. ft.

    Another option is our foam-core fiberglass... strong, rigid, lightweight, and floats.

    Yet another is weldable sea-board.

    Heavyier stuff but good would be EDPM and 'recycled' UMHW.

    As far as our custom Mesh flooring... I have all rafts out on the water. At least 9 are coming back in this week - so I'll get a few pictures if I have time.

    The AIRE floor is not all that great to be honest. I have great words to say about AIRE Rafts... but the floor is a poor design for Alaska. It does not fold compact well or roll conveniently. Glass poles are a bad choice (just like on an expedition tent). No belting --- it's just a mesh trampoline with nothing to reinforce it. This one will wear fast from a commercial side of rafting or continual in/out of the raft.

    I do retrofit both the NRS and AIRE floors to a higher standard. So if you dislike sag or inadequate grommets on NRS and figure on reinforcing the AIRE floors with seat-belting.... I know you will see plus certainly realize the reliability difference.


  10. #10
    Member RC23's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by akphish View Post
    I have a 14' NRS cataraft with partial mesh floor in the back and 1x12 boards up front and on the deck. I am wondring what other rigid materials people use that is lighter than these boards. I am estimating they weigh in around 40-50 pounds. lookin to lighten the boat up a bit as the Gulkana and I did not get along below the canyon last fall.


    I am assuming some type of platic is the most readily available alternative. just lookiAttachment 36500ng for some ideas.

    I'm not sure if you are still looking for rigid options like you first stated; but here are the pics I promised; just late.Attachment 36499

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