What cataraft?

Hello, I'm new here and am considering buying a skookum guide model. I live only 30 minutes away from where they are headquatered in Oregon. I have also looked into bad cat river pontoons and cannot see alot of differences between the two except that the bad cats are heavier and have a single floor. I am still in High shool and would be floating rivers like the John day and other class 1-2 rivers. I would like something that can haul enough gear for a few nights.

I also hope to be able to use a cataraft durring and after college. I want something that could handle rivers such as The lower yellowstone in Montana or the Missouri below Great Falls. In other words, are these cats I am looking at something that can handle small rivers and lakes and biger water like the yellowstone? I am still a couple years from graduating, and don't know where I will be going to school. I would like to go to a school in Montana because of the hunting/fishing opportunities. If I had the tools, I would custom build myself a couple. My dad is looking at getting the Aire Jaguarundi. If aire made a 10- 12 foot solo cat, I would probably get it.
The skookum guide is what I just bought and it is great! It is built to last. The back deck is small but down low to hold a cooler or small gear box. If you want to hold more gear for a trip just install a rear upper deck behind the seat. You sit up high and dry.
You can buy a cheaper one and replace it in a few years down the road, but I feel better going down the river with a stronger cat.
I live in Bend right now if you would like to see one up close PM me.

I looked at outcast, but thought their weight capacity was far lass in the ten foot model than the guide. Does anyone have experience with bad cats? I might also be possibly interested in the aire wildcat.

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
I believe that a cat's weight capacity is a function of the size and volume of the tubes, not the frame's manufacturer. For instance, I've got a pair of 10'x20" Maxxon's that are rated by the manufacturer at 1,000 pounds. The 9'x15" tubes that originally came with the Skookum Osprey frame were rated at just half that amount.

Here's a pic of my boat fully loaded on our Smith trip in May. With 200 pounds or so of me plus all my camping gear, food, fishing stuff and booze, it drew just 4" of water.

It's also worth noting that rated capacity is NOT the weight that will cause the tubes to sink, but a smaller fraction of that amount - 50% as I seem to recall.

I spoke with the guys at Andy & Bax in Portland this spring and they said they were looking to put together a fishing cat package for next year that features an NRS frame and 10' Maxxon tubes with a target price of about $1,500. Might be worth getting in touch with them to see if that's gonna come true.

Are all those cats guides? Another question I had is what is the denier on the guide? The toons on the pac's look like they'd be a little less effective in white water. Does anyone know if that is true?

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
The other two are both custom boats: Outcast Ferrari-series frames with custom-made cargo modules and strapped to Maxxon 12'x22" tubes.

The reason that Maxxon and NRS and other tubes cost so much more than the those on the PACs is that they are bladderless instead of a zippered cover over a vinyl or urethane bladder. Tough as nails with a 20-year warranty to prove it.


Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
So bladderless is stronger?
Um, yeah, by like a factor of ten or so.

Take a closer look at your dad's Jaguarundi's tubes and then compare them to the ones on a Water Skeeter or TU 'toon. Most bladderless tubes also have double-thick skid plates on the tops and bottoms as additional protection against dragging across rocks and frame chafe. You can see them quite clearly in the pic I posted above.

That kind of industrial-strength whitewater tube doesn't come cheap though, or light. Those tubes will be double or more the weight of the lightweight zippered casing-and-bladder tubes found on cheaper 'toons.

I have one of the few remaining original Aire wildcats from their first production run, over twenty years old. The boat still is in great shape after 20 plus years of class 4 and 5 whitewater. It is rated at 500 lbs, for saftey, it will carry alot more but once you max out the weight the performence suffers. The newer Aire's dont have the high rockers as the originals,and are rated for a little heavier load I think. The wildcat is a good boat, but it is basically a one man boat. I also have an Aire Ocelot, 16 feet long, a good trip boat rated at 750 plus. Aire makes agood quality boat that will last. If you get a one man boat, people will always want to go with you. If you get a two man boat you'll never have riders. Get a boat big enough for your need, but not too big!
Does anyone have experience with bad cat river boats. After looking, they seem a little cheaper than the skookums. I aslo was wondering if anyone has ever owned or seen an aire bobcat? I know they went out of production. I think I have decided that Pac series boats are not what I want.
The Bobcat is a very manuverable whitewater boat. My orginal Wildcat has 3 foot rockers on each end giving it a smaller footprint then the Bobcat. You can litterly run circles around a raft in class 3 water. If you can find one go for it. you can't go wrong with a Aire boat.
I was looking, and the only way I think I can buy one ( an aire ) is if I get it used. The tubes alone cost 1700 plus their cheapest frame is like 600. Is it possible to get the aire tubes and a frame from another company? I think getting it new is too expensive for my budget.
There is a club called the Washington Recreational River Runners. You can try joining their Yahoo group. Their people are always selling or upgrading their boats. That is where I bought my first Whitewater boat.When I was in the club,80 percent of the whitewater cats were Aire. There were always boats being bought and sold.

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