Catarafts for Expeditions

Hey fellow paddlers! I need the community’s input on an idea I’ve been kicking around:

I’m planning a long (several month) paddling trip from Seattle/Anacortes up through the Inside Passage, to include little side-trips along the way. I’ve been kayaking for years and own two already; in fact, I was thinking about using my Folbot Kodiak for this trip.

But (and this is going to sound werid) I’ve recently starting looking at catarafts. I love their load capacity and stability! So my question to you all is, is it completely nuts to use a cataraft for flatwater touring? I understand the high freeboard of a cataraft means wind is much more of an issue than in a kayak, but that seems to be the only downside. Is there something I’m missing? There’s gotta be SOMETHING more to it, or you’d see everyone doing it!



No experience rowing a cataraft, but
the only ones I know are designed for whitewater, and while they are faster than oared rafts, they aren’t fast enough for flatwater touring. Maybe there are some low rocker catarafts around that I haven’t seen.

I don’t know the history of catarafts, but my first awareness of them was back in 1990 when Russians came over to participate in a spring rafting conclave. The Russians had no source at that time for ww kayaks or rafts, so they had “invented” whitewater catarafts on their own. They were so ingenious at adapting whatever materials came to hand, and had already done a bunch of first descents of Russian whitewater rivers.

Different kind of problem
How heavy is a cataraft?

It’s bad enough dragging a kayak over those barnicled and musseled rocks on the Inside Passage. You can’t always unload the boat and carry it over them. Like when waves are big enough you have to jump out, grab the toggle, and yank it out of the water before the next wash-over comes.

Also consider that every day you move camp, you will have to get that boat up and down the beach (loaded or unloaded). Sometimes multiple times if you misjudge where the high tide line is going to be.

Going with the kitchen sink means you’ll have to move that kitchen sink many times.