Someone asked us this question in their search for rafts. "I am looking for advice on the purchase of a cataraft or maybe a raft, but not sure if its ideal or not?? Does anyone have any input on cats or rafts?" Answer: Cats are for maneuverability-small loads and is ideal for whitewater rafting and fishing. A raft is for large loads and more people so it is up to your trip details that determine a cat or a raft.
Cats are far more maneuverable than self bailers but carry less weight. They're the sports cars of a Breckenridge Rafting trip. And like sports cars, they carry fewer passengers, but provide a lot of fun for the driver. If you're new to rafting, you would be well advised to consider buying a cataraft as your first raft. Their maneuverability will help you recover when you misjudge a rapid, and of course they are just plain fun.
When you plan a Breckenridge Rafting trip, a cataraft is the ideal raft for a day trip. And cats are also ideal for high water or extreme multi-day trips when each participant will row their own raft.
There is a unique description to know when sizes of cats are discussed. Sizes of catarafts are described as pairs of dimensions separated by "X", like "12X20", "16X24". The first number is the length in feet, and the second number is the diameter of the pontoons in inches. So a cat that is 12X20 is 12 feet long with pontoons or "tubes" as they are referred to that are 20 inches in diameter.