AIRE Wildcat Cataraft review by TBP

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    Lee Arbach TBP

    The AIRE Wildcat Cataraft 13 feet is as safe as any of the bigger models in terms of “flip resistance” though it may not slide across the length of a big hole as easily as a longer tube might. There is a serious misconception that smaller catarafts are not as stable as larger sizes. In reality smaller tubes with lower buoyancy have less propensity to be picked up and turned over by hydraulics. The Wildcat and two smaller size Wave Destroyers are really three of AIRE’s very best class V cat sizes. You can also widen any cataraft frame for added stability.

    AIRE Catarafts Wildcat are great for solo use, or even as an overnight rig for two if you keep the total payload including frame & oars to around 650 pounds. We do get people wanting to put two seats and an inappropriate amount of gear on smaller cat tubes, and often it is not even a matter of payload capacity – sometimes the length of the frame is simply not going to allow what these folks have in mind. A small cat will not be more manueverable than a bigger model if it’s drafting too deep because of the load. If your gear including the cooler is going to add up to much over 250 pounds and you want to use your cat as a two-seater, consider either the Ocelot or the Wave Destroyer 14′, or the RMR 14′. Note that the Wildcat tubes now have a grey frame chafer, something new this year. The $2,109 price is for tubes only!

    The AIRE Catarafts Wildcat tubes are also available in a super-tough urethane material for an extra $1,225, though this is not something we or AIRE usually have on hand. Therefore, this option is not on the shopping cart because the lead times can vary greatly. Give us a phone call at 925-820-BOAT if you are interested, and we will check the delivery times for you. Whether it is worth spending half again as much money for a urethane upgrade is debateable, but we will let you make the call. The abrasion resistance in the water is far higher, and the base fabric is beefier, so you get an even stiffer tube. That said the standard pvc AIRE’s are mighty stiff as it is.

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