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Interesting Trips With Our Inflatable Products

Kayak Indonesia; Testing the potentials of the 2 man pack cat

This is a letter that was written by Jason Friedman. Jason is a adventure travel guide in South East Asia, and he is currently working for Kayak Indonesia, and Maluku Adventures. These are his own words.

Apa Kabar Jack!

It was good to talk to you on the phone the other day, and as promised, I am sending you that info on the Pack Cat. I have to tell you first that I used the cat on white water 4 days ago, class three and some 4 rapids. The river was outside of Bogor in West Java. WOW! what a ride. Talk about getting intimate with the waves in a raft. That was adrenaline pumping, muscle straining action the entire time. I took down one of the local river guides with me, it was his first time in the boat and mine on the river. He definitely enjoyed it. And as the white water market continues to grow and diversify, I think there will be a demand for personal water craft.

Now the Pack Cat on the ocean was a different story. There is no arguing that the cat is a comfortable and incredibly stable boat, perfect for tourists and first time paddlers, but the cat is a slug in the open ocean. As soon as you add a head or a side wind and then some current working against you the cat becomes a bitch to paddle. Its a lot of work and there is very little glide. People will get tired quick and they will not enjoy having to work so hard. A lot of drag is created because water slaps against the foot bag and the seat. The wind acting on the pontoons as well as the gear and a person has a dramatic effect on where the boat is going. The result is it is sluggish and does not track very well. I do not think at this stage it is a good ocean boat, but I guess that is why I am trying it out.

Now when I was surveying the crocodile infested waters of three of the Udjung Kulon's rivers, the cat was a dream. For that kind of nature observation paddle on flat water, the cat is exceptionally comfortable. Because the rivers were so choked with jungle detritus, we often found ourselves lying down in the cat, within the tubes, to squeeze under logs and vines. The way we were in the boat could not have been accomplished in many other kayaks. A+ for difficult river penetrations. The pontoon design is also ideal for this type of river work because if you get high ended on a log or shallow water, you can just plop your feet down grab the foot bar and easily walk the cat over the obstacle. At one point we had a big log over the river with no way under it. Because there were crocs in the river we did not want to get out into the water. We got up along side of this slick log, got out onto it, and because the cat is so light, I could just use one hand to slowly haul it up and over the log while using my other hand to hold on.

The materials also took a beating against sharp bamboo, deadly barbed vine creepers and a lot of other nasty stuff that would shred most materials, as it did my shirt. The only damage suffered was when a monkey chewed a hole through one of the pontoons. He did not get all the way through, just the first outer layer of blue material. I can see white woven material now and there is no air escaping. Even a 2 meter monitor lizard climbing around on the cat had no effects.

I will be going to Borneo in three days to do a river survey. I am very excited to use the cat there. I will send you some pictures. Kick ass boat jack. Stay in touch.

Sampai Jumpa

Jack's Note
I have a tendency to agree with Jason about using Pack Cats on the open ocean. Lets face it, It is hard to get an inflatable that is as fast as a sea kayak. If your paddling takes you to sheltered coves and harbors, and you do not intend to go out very far, Pack Cats can be an excellent choice. When purchasing a Pack Cat keep in mind the intend use, and remember that these boats are very easy to transport. That is why Kayak Indonesia picked these boats for exploration purposes.


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