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  1. #1
    Lord Thunderbottom
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    Inflatable Boat / Packraft

    Does anyone here do 1/2 pedal, 1/2 paddle day trips?

    What are you using for the paddle portion?

    I've got quite a few navigable rivers at my disposal so I've been looking into inflatable boats

    I'd love an alpacka packraft but I'm not 100% sure I'd get my money out of it at $900+

    Been looking at reviews for the Sea Eagle 370, it looks very manageable for hauling in my YAK trailer and will hold the weight of 2 riders, 2 bikes and the trailer while being very river tolerant unlike some of the wider raft options

    Sport Kayaks ? Inflatable Kayaks For One or Two Adults ? from SeaEagle.com - Prices start at just $239. FREE SHIPPING to lower 48 US States.

    I don't foresee doing any rapids, more like lazy river cruising

    I think I could easily get my $350 out of this thing and I can head out unassisted unlike a regular kayak or canoe
    Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can do what others can't

  2. #2
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    Inflatable Boat / Packraft

    Bike rafting is definitely on my to do list but I have never done any to date (though plenty of paddling and biking separately). The first thing I noticed is that the sea eagle weighs 26lbs vs. just under 5 for the Alpaca. That's a huge difference. I also didn't see if the sea eagle came with a pump. Another important consideration.

    I suspect there are other options out there as well. I have also toyed with a trailer to haul my Kevlar canoe upriver and then float back down. But I have to be able to fit it all in the boat and I haven't figured that out yet.

    If you search something like "bike rafting" you should get some good trip reports from which you can figure out what boats people are using.

  3. #3
    saddlemeat
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    I ride with the best dogs.




  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
    As a New Mexican, I must exalt Kevin's badassedness. That's one hell of a trip!

  5. #5
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    Get an Alpacka Yak or Lama. Thought out and perfectly designed boats that are light, tough, tracks well on longer flat water crossings and can do whitewater. They have excellent resale value, if you find you don't use them enough.

    We've only had ours for 3 months, but find new routes to do with them about every weekend.

  6. #6
    Lord Thunderbottom
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    I should add here that I'd like it if someone could come with me on the trips, my wife or another friend, I could stretch for the alpaca but there's no way I'm buying 2 of them and finding another person willing to make that big of a commitment is highly unlikely

    Has anyone taken trips with a lesser "boat"?
    Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can do what others can't

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by TitanofChaos View Post
    Has anyone taken trips with a lesser "boat"?
    i'm also very interested in anyone else's experience with this. I live a half mile from a beautiful river to paddle and have been itching to do some rides out and float back trips, but i can't spring for an alpacka for the job.

  8. #8
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    Alpacka's are worth it. Way worth it. They've been on the market for so long, that older models are now starting to pop up on craigslist. So, you could try that route.

    Although, even if you get one of those, you will still have a very awkward time strapping both a bike, and a trailer, to your deck. It's something I would not recommend.
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  9. #9
    @adelorenzo
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    Alpackas are the bomb and worth every penny. I can't say enough good things about them as a product and a company, and they have been proven in the field time and again.

    That being said, if price is a concern you could also look into NRS packrafts. They seem to be popular with packrafters and they are a good deal cheaper than the Alpacka. They are also under 5 lbs.

    Check the buy and sell forums on packrafting.org as used boats can be a good deal. Especially if you are not doing a lot of whitewater, a used first generation design raft would be a good choice and probably more affordable.

    I'd say you'd want to leave the trailer at home though.

  10. #10
    Lord Thunderbottom
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    I agree with you guys on leaving the trailer home assuming I'm not hauling a 30 something # "boat" and other gear, a normal packraft would easily fit in a larger camelbak or strapped to a rack

    came across this yesterday New Pack Raft Model Weighs 35 ounces. We Put To Full Test | Gear Review | Gear Junkie

    looks like a cheap enough option for a day trip and could certainly buy a 2nd for whomever comes along
    Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can do what others can't

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TitanofChaos View Post
    It looks like a nice boat for completely flat water, but with a bike attached, I probably would not run even class II in it. Especially rocky class II.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by anthony.delorenzo View Post
    Check the buy and sell forums on packrafting.org as used boats can be a good deal. Especially if you are not doing a lot of whitewater, a used first generation design raft would be a good choice and probably more affordable.
    thanks for the link for packrafting.org. a good used on would probably be the best route to go for me.

    here's a bit of a curve ball question for people: do you know of any 2-person inflatable rafts that could work? the best situation would be to find something that my wife and i could take out on some days and then could double as a packraft with my bike secured to it on others. i can't say i've looked a lot, but if anyone had ideas about something that would work without too many compromises, that'd be awesome. thanks!

  13. #13
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    wait.
    This for something that will be hopscotch between water and trails? or ride to water, leave bike on shore and paddle the day away?

    For the latter, the sea eagle would work

    Have you looked into pontoon boats?
    I have a older one of these:
    The Creek Company :: Pontoon Boats :: #886 - ODC Classic XL
    Love it. Its my fishing rig complete with Lowrance fish finder. Could easily strap your bike to the back and float.

    I used to have a Classic Accessories Colorado, heavy beast (built that way to handle a trolling motor). They make (or made?) a backpackable boat. Think they have frameless ones now.

  14. #14
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    I've never used it, but Alpacka's new tandem boat may work.

    I probably wouldn't take it on anything too crazy.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by flumphboy View Post
    I've never used it, but Alpacka's new tandem boat may work.

    I probably wouldn't take it on anything too crazy.
    thanks! that is exactly what i had in mind.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by flumphboy View Post
    I probably wouldn't take it on anything too crazy.
    I would!

    I got to see one in action last summer, and was intrigued enough that I made another, separate trip down there to paddle it. I've been waiting ever since with baited breath for them to release it.











    Amazing, capable, and light. I'd take it on any III to III+ whitewater run I've ever done. It's at least as capable as I am as a paddler. Probably more.

    I'm currently considering it for an upcoming ~weeklong traverse in SE AK. So fast on flat water, so light (when split between the two of us) on the back.










    Last edited by mikesee; 02-03-2016 at 09:50 AM.

  17. #17
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    Holy crap, Mike. That deck looks incredible. Any chance you know for sure if they are going to release it, or something like it? This may be great for mellow runs with one of the kids.

    Also, you heading to the Packraft Roundup this summer?

    Edit: Just checked and it has been released - Alpacka Gnu. Crazy cool. And yes, I agree, this one looks fun water worthy. (the above link I threw out was to the Explorer 42)
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  18. #18
    @adelorenzo
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    It should be worth pointing out that any Alpacka can handle a two person load for things like river crossings or paddling around a flat lake for fun. They have more than enough flotation, it's all about trying to squeeze people and gear into the boat.

    SE Alaska is near my neck of the woods. Mike I'd be curious to know where are you headed on your trip, if that is something you'd be willing to share.

  19. #19
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    I'd be careful about ordering that Sea Eagle. I've heard that their quality is fairly sketchy.

    See if you can find someone selling a used one, so you can take a look at how it's made before you consider buying.

    Better safe than sorry.

    Steve Z
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    And paddling when it's wet

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by flumphboy View Post
    Holy crap, Mike. That deck looks incredible. Any chance you know for sure if they are going to release it, or something like it? This may be great for mellow runs with one of the kids.

    Also, you heading to the Packraft Roundup this summer?

    Edit: Just checked and it has been released - Alpacka Gnu. Crazy cool. And yes, I agree, this one looks fun water worthy. (the above link I threw out was to the Explorer 42)
    Roundup is on my radar, but that's a long ways away at a busy time of year. We'll see.

    Gnu arrived today. Few more wheels to build before I can unbox it and schlep it down to the lake for a maiden voyage.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by anthony.delorenzo View Post
    It should be worth pointing out that any Alpacka can handle a two person load for things like river crossings or paddling around a flat lake for fun. They have more than enough flotation, it's all about trying to squeeze people and gear into the boat.

    SE Alaska is near my neck of the woods. Mike I'd be curious to know where are you headed on your trip, if that is something you'd be willing to share.
    Southern half of the Northern half of AK's Lost Coast. No bikes, just feet and boats.

  22. #22
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    I am a bit biased as I helped start Alpacka and still keep a role in some of their operations. That being said, the Gnu (2 person) is a really great boat. I have one of the prototypes and have used it mostly for fishing, but the bike applications are fantastic as well. There may be some accessories down the line specifically geared towards biking with the Gnu as well. Otherwise, for an all purpose bike raft, I'd have some one get either the Fjord Explorer (for big and comfortable) or the Curiyak (named after Mikesee) for something lighter and faster.

  23. #23
    Lord Thunderbottom
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    so being cheap got the best of me, I want to try out some 1/2 pedal 1/2 paddle days and for $200 I went with this

    Intex Mariner 3

    The actual weight is around 60# after the top 1/2 of the rod holders are removed and I'll be switching to a kayak paddle rather than the oars when I go solo

    the bag that it comes in is almost exactly the same size as the dry bag that came with my YAK trailer

    pictures to follow, I'll get some of it loaded in the trailer and of course with the bike(s) and trailer in it as well

    I'll get my $200 out of this thing just fishing with the kiddo even if I don't do many bike trips with it, if the pedal/paddle trips are something I want to do more I'll end up buying an alpaca
    Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can do what others can't

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by TitanofChaos View Post
    The actual weight is around 60#
    ?!?!?!?! Holy cow! I love my Alpacka Yak. With all my equipment I can always find something to to fault it, but my packraft, I seriously can't find anything wrong with it, except maybe to have more attachment points, but those you can glue on yourself. You can't beat < 5 lbs!
    All I am saying is give pizza chants

  25. #25
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    Inflatable Boat / Packraft

    Here's 2 bikes on an Alpacka Gnu. Keep in mind this was all class I-II.

    Inflatable Boat / Packraft-gnu2.jpg
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by flumphboy View Post
    Here's 2 bikes on an Alpacka Gnu. Keep in mind this was all class I-II.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Care to share some thoughts on how it worked for what you did?

  27. #27
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    This was a day trip. We rode out along the Blackfoot river, and paddled back through the newly opened confluence with the Clark Fork and back to town. While rigging the Gnu on shore the bikes seemed awkwardly top heavy, but once everything was in the water it was not noticeable. We went through two class II rapids. There was not a problem on ether, but then again I am intimate with both, and folks tube them in the summer.

    I'm using those newish 1/4in-webbing Sea-to-Summit straps. Used about 7 of them total. In the future i will not have both handlebars on the same side. I've also thought about taking stem/handlebar/fork off for longer trips.

    We bought the boat for a few different reasons. One was to use with an 8 year old in front, and occasionally it will be used by 2 adults, but my favorite is the idea of using the Gnu as a packraft gear boat. The massive cargofly that comes installed on the center tube hold an impressive amount of stuff, and if you'd add one to the outside you could hold 2 peoples gear and bikes on one boat. Maybe even 3. Maybe even 5 if you get that added accessory on the back Steve was telling me about, but I'm not really interested in a flat water trailer.

    I have not try to put 2 people + two bikes on one boat. Although this intrigues me too. It would be a crazy light setup with canoe paddles.

    Speaking of paddles, I just threw up another comment on the packraft forum thread, but I'll add it here too:
    "This past weekend we did 2 days on the North Fork of the Flathead (class I-II) followed by activities at the Packraft Roundup. I was not able to get a kayak paddle beforehand, and was forced to deal with the canoe paddle (2 piece Aquabound Edge 56cm). I was certainly apprehensive, but once I got use to it the canoe paddle worked great. Granted, the boat is definitely not as nimble, but using the paddle half the time as a canoe paddle, and half the time as a guide stick, equaled a whole lot of fun. I never missed a line or eddy. The only time things got to be an issue was on Lake McDonald in Glacier. Paddling went very very slow. Everyone else was casually cruising across the water while I was doing some serious work. I did not have the skeg on."

    The other thing I'll add to that is that a normal sized boat with a kayak paddle was kind-of boring after running the Gnu this way. At least on class I-II. Every time me and Erin would switch boats I couldn't wait to get back into the Gnu.

    Here's what one bike + one Gnu + 5 days worth of food looks like while Beverly-Hillbillies style hiking. It's heavy, but doable. (had to bail on this one a few weeks ago due to partner failure):

    Inflatable Boat / Packraft-r_77.jpg

    Have you got one of these yet, Mike? I'm interested to hear your thoughts.
    Last edited by flumphboy; 07-18-2014 at 01:30 PM. Reason: spppeelllin
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  28. #28
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    Great info.

    We demo'ed one but couldn't immediately see a need for it, so we didn't buy it.

    That said, every time I look at a map some part of my subconscious is searching for a reason/justification to own one...

  29. #29
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    Couple shots of a day trip with my daughter and our bikes on the Gnu:

    1 Instagram
    2 Instagram

    I got lazy here and did not take the rear wheels off. Class II was fine. Downside was she did not have a ton of room to paddle up front.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by flumphboy View Post
    Here's 2 bikes on an Alpacka Gnu. Keep in mind this was all class I-II.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Nice. I've started to ponder a packraft for bike or hike assisted fly fishing trips. The Gnu caught my eye because it's faster on flat water and can hold 2 people easily. That way I can take a fishing buddy or my GF along for the trip. They sure aren't cheap, but the quality/design/construction detail seems to justify the price.
    Safe riding,

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    Another boat option

    I haven't paddled a packraft before, and I see the allure of the lightweight inflatables, especially for remote river exploration. However I think that the design of these boats is rather low on the actual on-water performance spectrum compared to other river specific designs that are significantly heavier and bulkier to pack.

    I wanted to add another boat on your radar. The Urethane Thrillseekers made by Custom Inflatables could be a good option for a faster more performance oriented boat. They also do custom work, and would probably be interested thinking up some more specific designs.

    Disclaimer: I do not seek out the bike-packing + river trips. I do however ride a lot of bikes and do a lot of whitewater kayaking. I have once in a while combined the two in a weekend. Mostly when I combine bikes and rivers its using a bike to run shuttle for the river.

  32. #32
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    My only problem with the Gnu, and a kinda significant one at that, is that it's basically a canoe, and I struggle with that concept when incorporating it into a bikepacking trip. My knees are bad enough already, I'm afraid of the implications of throwing an extended duration in kneeling canoeing position into that mix.

    Now, if it were a sculling boat, I would be selling blood to buy THAT.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by ru-tang View Post
    I haven't paddled a packraft before, and I see the allure of the lightweight inflatables, especially for remote river exploration. However I think that the design of these boats is rather low on the actual on-water performance spectrum compared to other river specific designs that are significantly heavier and bulkier to pack.
    That's the big compromise. I've had a friend push the Thrillseeker on me, but i can not get over the bulk and weight. Basically any boat over 10lbs is too much weight for me to be hauling around on multi-day trips. Or, I should say it limits the versatility of the boat for the uses I have for it. Which is basically nothing over class III. It is the best option for remote day trip creeking though, and if I was more into that, I'd probably grab one.

    There is one boat that is going to be released this fall which looks to be a heathy combination of Alpacka's whitewater packrafts and the Thrillseeker: Bakraft

    I need to get down to Idaho to test one out.
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChristianCoté View Post
    My only problem with the Gnu, and a kinda significant one at that, is that it's basically a canoe, and I struggle with that concept when incorporating it into a bikepacking trip. My knees are bad enough already, I'm afraid of the implications of throwing an extended duration in kneeling canoeing position into that mix.

    Now, if it were a sculling boat, I would be selling blood to buy THAT.
    I only kneel in the Gnu when i have to. Like going through rapids and such. Most of the time i sit on the back when paddling. Or, on the front while fishing.

    Example: Instagram

    But the more gear/bikes you throw on top the less space you have on deck for sitting. The cargo fly in the centertube is massive, and if you get the cargo fly option for the main tubes... Well, you could probably store 4 people's gear inside + a couple bikes on the front.

    I've found the Gnu a crazy versatile boat. It's only hindrance being crazy whitewater with inexperienced (me!) paddlers.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    Nice. I've started to ponder a packraft for bike or hike assisted fly fishing trips. The Gnu caught my eye because it's faster on flat water and can hold 2 people easily. That way I can take a fishing buddy or my GF along for the trip. They sure aren't cheap, but the quality/design/construction detail seems to justify the price.
    A Gnu is perfect for that, and an uber lightweight option with 2 canoe paddles and 2 people hauling it all. Or, even lighter with just 1 kayak paddle.

    I suspect if you got one you'd probably use it for a tad more then just fishing trips though
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  36. #36
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    My Alpacka Llama w inflation bag, drybags, paddle, life jacket and repair kit is around 9lbs. Maybe a little more.

    This is a serious weight addition to any multi day backcountry kit, whether biking or on foot. Especially if the boating component of the trip is short. And it's all personal weight, unlike kitchen, shelter, etc, which is shared weight.

    For me it's worth it for these reasons:
    Adding fresh options to the old local stomping grounds.
    Opening up a whole new adventure concept to all future trips.

    Alpacka's are high quality, extremely capable boats for their pack size and weight. This company currently provide, for me, the only craft that is not too heavy, not too skimpy, with design features suited to everything from long coastal paddles to whitewater.

    I keep seeing links to upstarts and establishment offering alternatives, but none yet have trumped what I get out of Alpacka.

    Here's pics from three very different trips:


    image by kullaberg631, on Flickr


    image by kullaberg631, on Flickr


    image by kullaberg631, on Flickr

  37. #37
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    Hoom. Is Bakraft made by the same people who manufacture the Oru Kayak, or do they just have coincidentally similar web design?

    Oru is a nice product, by the way, but not suited to anything like what we're discussing. Would fit great on a Big Dummy though if one were to, say, want to cycle over to English Bay and row around to their heart's content. Not naming any names here.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by flumphboy View Post
    I suspect if you got one you'd probably use it for a tad more then just fishing trips though
    So far I haven't felt the need for a packraft for bikepacking where I live as waterbodies haven't gotten in the way of my trips and I'm not a whitewater paddler. The fishing application has appealed to me because my plastic kayaks are only good when you can drive close enough to water to tow them in on wheeled cart. With a Gnu I could access high mountain lakes where the trout haven't seen a ton of fishing pressure.

    Having said that maybe once I get a packraft I might use it bikepacking on trips away from home. If that was the case I'd probably be better of with a Yukon Yak which wouldn't be as ideal for fishing, but is half the weight and half to 2/3rds the cost of the Gnu.

    Given the costs of these packrafts I definitely can't afford two so I need to figure out which way to go.
    Safe riding,

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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChristianCoté View Post
    Hoom. Is Bakraft made by the same people who manufacture the Oru Kayak, or do they just have coincidentally similar web design?
    The Bakraft folks are in Idaho, and it seem Oru is in Cali.

    Quote Originally Posted by jan_nikolajsen View Post
    I keep seeing links to upstarts and establishment offering alternatives, but none yet have trumped what I get out of Alpacka.
    No way anyone could argue with the versatility of an Alpacka.

    But, Bakraft is interesting to me because of the design help they've received from a local Idaho company called AIRE, who apparently knows a thing or two about designing boats. I'm not saying it will be better then Alpacka's boats in whitewater, but it the first boat in the same weight category who has the potential to do so, and that's pretty exciting.
    Last edited by flumphboy; 08-19-2014 at 11:32 AM. Reason: spealllin
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    Given the costs of these packrafts I definitely can't afford two so I need to figure out which way to go.
    That's definitely the tricky part. I get the feeling that most people end up going with a standard Alpacka Boat (Yak) with the cruiser spray deck, for their first boat. It's burly enough for whitewater, it can take a bike on the deck, and it's not too heavy to carry up to a mountain lake for fishing.
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    Thrill seekers where the first, and are still the best whitewater inflatable kayaks. They were used to pioneer the steepest whitewater around the time that mountain biking was being invented.

    They now have a lighter weight option, and would be the only option I would ever consider. I'm glad you like your Alpacka, but I'll stick with modern design features like self bailing floors and multiple air chambers. There's a reason every raft outside of communist russia is built this way.

    Yes they are heavier but the performance and efficiency Of not having to bail your boat will make up for the extra calories burned while biking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ru-tang View Post
    Thrill seekers where the first, and are still the best whitewater inflatable kayaks. They were used to pioneer the steepest whitewater around the time that mountain biking was being invented.

    They now have a lighter weight option, and would be the only option I would ever consider. I'm glad you like your Alpacka, but I'll stick with modern design features like self bailing floors and multiple air chambers. There's a reason every raft outside of communist russia is built this way.

    Yes they are heavier but the performance and efficiency Of not having to bail your boat will make up for the extra calories burned while biking.
    Totally agree.
    If all there was to talk about was "whitewater performance", Alpacka would not exist because Thrillseekers have it nailed.

    Again, what is so intriguing about the Bakraft linked above is that it looks like a nice combination of a Thrillseeker - shape/selfbailing - and an Alpacka - weight/packability.
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    Thrillseekers seems to have as much in common with packrafts as a yurt compared to a tarp tent.

    Just my opinion. Maybe people are really hauling those things over mountain ranges and thru deserts to hunt for unnamed little creeks.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by flumphboy View Post
    That's definitely the tricky part. I get the feeling that most people end up going with a standard Alpacka Boat (Yak) with the cruiser spray deck, for their first boat. It's burly enough for whitewater, it can take a bike on the deck, and it's not too heavy to carry up to a mountain lake for fishing.
    Makes sense. I need to see if using the Gnu solo is a good idea. If not that will help make my mind up. I've got 2 bikes to sell to free up the $$ for a raft and I am heading to Moab in Oct so that might be a good time to pick up a raft straight from Alpacka and save the shipping to Canada. So no rush to figure this out.
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    That Thrillseeker is at least 15 pounds heavier than an Alpacka. For me that's a non-starter for anything more than maybe a very heavily-loaded overnight trip. When you're carrying 10+ days of food it would be impossible to add that much weight to the load.

    That self-bailing Bakraft, OTOH, is very interesting to me. I've been looking at the 10 lb. self-bailing Feathercraft Baylee but the weight is a bit much. I'm keen to hear some reviews on that Bakraft once it gets out into the world.

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    I'd go with a Litewater Dinghy - it's small, it's lightweight(~2lbs) and will carry your bike if you're not too heavy.

    The bigger packrafts are just too bulky imho.

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    Quote Originally Posted by inch View Post
    I'd go with a Litewater Dinghy - it's small, it's lightweight(~2lbs) and will carry your bike if you're not too heavy.
    That looks absolutely perfect for super calm river crossings and lakes, but i'd be hesitant to run it through boney class II with a bike on board.
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    Just wanted to throw out a couple of links:

    - Forrest McCarthy has probably the best run-down of the different types of packrafting there are out there, and the gear you would ideally want for it, And yes, he even mentions an IK in there.

    - Ryan Jordan over at BPL has a more in-depth review focusing on only on the different boats themselves. Unfortunately, you have to be a member to access the article, but it's a good one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inch View Post
    I'd go with a Litewater Dinghy - it's small, it's lightweight(~2lbs) and will carry your bike if you're not too heavy.

    The bigger packrafts are just too bulky imho.


    Seems pretty marginal and very wet.

    The weight and price is right. I guess it depends what you are after. It would float you and your gear across some slower moving water.

    I'd like high sides to keep water out.
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    I love my Alpackaraft Yukon Yak. I took it to Baja last spring and had to paddle a 12 km section of the Sea of Cortez with my Pugsley and Extrawheel trailer on the front, as well as all my other gear. I got the option with the Cargo Fly which lets you put gear inside it before inflating. I basically totally filled up the insides, and had it hugely loaded up top as well. It was impressive how much I put in that thing. Here is what it looked like waiting for the tide to rise:

    Inflatable Boat / Packraft-gopr1316_000.jpg

    Here is the blog report for the trip and I still need to add more photos. This week I am planning on heading up to the Chilcotins again to do a 2 week trip with the bike and packraft up over the mountains and down the Lord Rivers and upper Taseko lakes, then back out to Gold Bridge along the Warner Pass horse / bike trail. I tried last year but only had a week which wasn't long enough.
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    I sold both my fatbikes so I've got the $$ for a packraft. I'm having a hard time deciding what to get.

    The primary use I have for it is for fly fishing in mountain lakes [hike or bike approach] as well as floating some rivers to fish.

    I may bikepack with it, but at this point I have no trips in mind that need or would benefit from a raft. Maybe I'll come up with some, but it's not likely something I'll do a ton.

    I've got no interest in serious whitewater paddling.

    These are the rafts I'm thinking about. If you have any feedback I'd love to hear it. I realize this isn't the MTBR raft fly fishing forum, but poking around the net some of the best discussion on the topic is happening here.

    Yukon Yak: https://www.alpackaraft.com/index.cf...rafts/YukonYak

    - lowest cost $895 + $50 taller seat + $115 Ninja paddle = $1060
    - most compact 23 x 61cm
    - lightest weight 2.2kg
    - poor flat water tracking
    - single person
    - I'd probably get the taller fishing seat

    Fjord Explorer: https://www.alpackaraft.com/index.cf.../FjordExplorer

    - middle cost cost $1350 incl oars/paddle
    - same roll down size as Yukon Yak without rowing hardware
    - raft alone has relatively low weight 2.6kg
    - rowing hadware is 1.8kg extra
    - decent flatwater speed and tracking using skeg and oars
    - single person
    - I can use with oars when carrying them isn't a problem and with kayak paddle as normal raft when I need lightest setup

    Alpacka Gnu: https://www.alpackaraft.com/index.cf...fts/AlpackaGnu

    - highest cost $1250 + $260 paddles = $1510
    - larger roll down size 31 x 61cm + 18cm +36cm accessories
    - highest weight 4kg
    - decent flatwater speed and tracking canoe paddles or kayak paddle and skeg
    - true double person can be used as a drift boat

    If I forget about bikepacking the Gnu looks like the best fishing option and I can split weight with a friend. It's heavy and bulky for solo bikepacking, but would be okay for the occasional use - especially if it wasn't super demanding.

    Yukon Yak is the cheapest, lightest and most compact option. I'm thinking it won't be a ton of fun to paddle far on lakes.

    Fjord Explorer seems to be a decent compromise of fish-ability, lightweight/versatility for hike and bike in trips plus good flatwater performance when I can haul in the oars. If I ever want to bikepack with it the weight/rolled size penalty is low.
    Safe riding,

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    Feathercraft baylee 1 would be perfect for your usage. Weight is good. Comfort is great. Durability is amazing. Local too! Can go skirted or no skirt. Very stable and build quality is fantastic. 6-7lbs.

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    Sweet, Vik!
    Here's some thoughts:

    - I wouldn't get the Explorer.

    - The other 2 look like solid choices.

    - The Yukon Yak is fine paddling on lakes. So much so, i would not let that influence your decision. The skeg doesn't make a crazy amount of difference on the Gnu.

    - If you get the Yak, you may want to check this out: The table: packraft fishing and hunting gets easier - Garage Grown Gear
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    Quote Originally Posted by flumphboy View Post
    Sweet, Vik!
    Here's some thoughts:

    - I wouldn't get the Explorer.

    - The other 2 look like solid choices.

    - The Yukon Yak is fine paddling on lakes. So much so, i would not let that influence your decision. The skeg doesn't make a crazy amount of difference on the Gnu.

    - If you get the Yak, you may want to check this out: The table: packraft fishing and hunting gets easier - Garage Grown Gear
    Thanks for the feedback Casey.

    Do you think the cruiser spray deck makes sense for winter PNW lake paddling/fishing?
    Safe riding,

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    Ya, i think it does.
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    Thanks for all the input. I've got a raft ordered I'll collect from a friend in SLC on my way to Moab in Oct.
    Safe riding,

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  58. #58
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    Well, don't leave us in suspense! What did you pick?
    Long is the way, and hard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChristianCoté View Post
    Well, don't leave us in suspense! What did you pick?
    Sorry. LOL. I din't think it would be all that interesting to folks.

    Yukon Yak

    - cruiser spray skirt
    - ninja paddle
    - taller seat
    - a few extra tie downs to stick on once I get the boat

    I was very tempted by the Gnu, but without a partner in crime who is stoke about using it I figured I'd just spend a lot more to get a heavier bulkier raft. Neither my GF or my regular fishing partner wanted to use a raft.

    Picking it up from my buddy's place in SLC saves me an extra $250 in shipping and taxes.
    Safe riding,

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    I was out fishing mid-way up Vancouver Island on the weekend at a river mouth near the ocean. There were easily 50,000 pink salmon cruising around waiting for enough rain to swim up the river and spawn. We could wade and reach the pinks, but there some much bigger and feistier coho salmon that were just on the edge of our casting range in deeper water. We got a couple, but if we had a raft and could have gone 10' further away from shore we'd have been scoring one coho after another.



    It was a hike in location so a real boat was not going to work. Anyways the pinks were a lot of fun.

    At one point 1000 pinks spooked and stampeded towards where I was waist deep in the river and created a 6" wave in front of them.

    I kept thinking if only I had a raft in the truck,



    ^^^ my buddy and his first ever coho on a fly...

    Sorry if the fishing/raft talk is too far OT. I'm just so stoked to add a raft to the arsenal and I am sure at some point I'll use it with a bike!
    Safe riding,

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    Congratulations. If you ever regret the purchase, you can always just sell it to me. B)
    Long is the way, and hard.

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    Vik, did you end up getting the boat?
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    Quote Originally Posted by flumphboy View Post
    Vik, did you end up getting the boat?
    Casey I did. A Yukon Yak. I'll post something here when I've done something moderately interesting with it.

    Thanks to everyone that replied to my post.
    Safe riding,

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    I have a Denali Llama. I really prefer not to float with the bike attached though. Visibility is much reduced. For solo float trips with road access I will dump the bike at the put in or the take out, and vice versa for the car.




  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by flumphboy View Post
    Sweet, Vik!
    Here's some thoughts:

    - I wouldn't get the Explorer.

    - The other 2 look like solid choices.

    - The Yukon Yak is fine paddling on lakes. So much so, i would not let that influence your decision. The skeg doesn't make a crazy amount of difference on the Gnu.

    - If you get the Yak, you may want to check this out: The table: packraft fishing and hunting gets easier - Garage Grown Gear
    Resurrecting an old-ish thread because I was curious about about this. Specifically why not the explorer? I've been considering a pack raft for a while now. Until the Gnu came out, I was thinking the Fjord Explorer was my best bet because it'd have good capacity and because the oar-frame could be really nice for local trips even though I can't see taking the frame on anything other than day trips or car trips.

    Then the Gnu came out, which is also supposed to have a rowing frame and is more of a canoe. I have more canoeing and rowing experience than kayaking, so that appealed to me, but it's also a bit heavier, bulkier, and pricier.

    So now I'm trying to figure out if the Gnu is worth the extra expense and carrying hassle (I mean it's a couple of pounds and a couple of inches, so maybe it's not big a deal, but that's the kind of thinking that makes my load get heavier). Makes me wonder why you dismissed the Explorer as an option.

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    Hi guys. I'm in the throws of putting a sea tiger on an extrawheel trailer. The boat has paddled real well down some 2-2+ with two mtbs on board. I'll be doing weekend trips from Friday after work myself and a friend on their bIke. I'll likely have a revelate harness on the bars and maybe a tangle bag for camping gear/food etc. Should be great. The load will be right up there for the trailer but it's all good. Plan to pile all gear on boat and paddle toward home and the coast with road ride to finish the weekends in most cases.

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    Less capablé in rapids and not the lightest

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
    Resurrecting an old-ish thread because I was curious about about this. Specifically why not the explorer? I've been considering a pack raft for a while now. Until the Gnu came out, I was thinking the Fjord Explorer was my best bet because it'd have good capacity and because the oar-frame could be really nice for local trips even though I can't see taking the frame on anything other than day trips or car trips.

    Then the Gnu came out, which is also supposed to have a rowing frame and is more of a canoe. I have more canoeing and rowing experience than kayaking, so that appealed to me, but it's also a bit heavier, bulkier, and pricier.

    So now I'm trying to figure out if the Gnu is worth the extra expense and carrying hassle (I mean it's a couple of pounds and a couple of inches, so maybe it's not big a deal, but that's the kind of thinking that makes my load get heavier). Makes me wonder why you dismissed the Explorer as an option.
    Did you get the fx in the end? The explorer 42 probably came about because the fx is not good in proper rapids. The other boats are good in rapids

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by jja37 View Post
    Did you get the fx in the end? The explorer 42 probably came about because the fx is not good in proper rapids. The other boats are good in rapids
    Well, I have been throwing most of my "extra" cash at my newest bike, so the pack raft remains on the back shelf until I get this thing fixed up the way I want it. I'm leaning towards the Gnu because I think the canoe-style paddling will suit me more in the long run, but it is considerably more, so it may come down to how much I want to spend when the time comes. The other thing that gives me pause is the oar frame. I feel like I might really enjoy the oar frame in the local lakes and rivers, even though I wouldn't want to carry it around on an extended trip. So far the Gnu oar frame doesn't exist. Sounds like there are some prototypes out there, but nothing actually available on the website. So that's another vote for the Explorer, but that may change by the time I'm ready to put any money down.

  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    I did. A Yukon Yak.
    Cool!

    But -- weird, because I don't remember seeing any trip invitations come through my emailbox. I'll go check again...


  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Cool!

    But -- weird, because I don't remember seeing any trip invitations come through my emailbox. I'll go check again...

    I'm not worthy. My WW skills are limited. I was doing some WW canoeing last winter to scout a river for fishing and had an "incident" that put the seriousness of what I was undertaking in perspective. Unlike biking I don't have anybody locally to work with on my packraft skills and I haven't found a course that made sense. Our rivers are quite steep and tend to change volume rapidly from low rocky to raging and epic.

    That leaves me with lakes and chill floats that would bore the $hit out of you.

    I am working on a shift to part-time which would give me months of free time to load up my truck with bikes, camping gear, fly rods and packraft for some extended road trips. I figured that would give me a chance to seek out opportunities to enhance my skills through training and seeking out appropriate rivers to paddle.

    It's a little embarrassing to have a fine piece of gear like the Yak and not be using it as much as I could, but staying safe is my main concern.
    Safe riding,

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  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    I'm not worthy. My WW skills are limited. I was doing some WW canoeing last winter to scout a river for fishing and had an "incident" that put the seriousness of what I was undertaking in perspective. Unlike biking I don't have anybody locally to work with on my packraft skills and I haven't found a course that made sense. Our rivers are quite steep and tend to change volume rapidly from low rocky to raging and epic.

    That leaves me with lakes and chill floats that would bore the $hit out of you.

    I am working on a shift to part-time which would give me months of free time to load up my truck with bikes, camping gear, fly rods and packraft for some extended road trips. I figured that would give me a chance to seek out opportunities to enhance my skills through training and seeking out appropriate rivers to paddle.

    It's a little embarrassing to have a fine piece of gear like the Yak and not be using it as much as I could, but staying safe is my main concern.
    Canoes have virtually zero in common with packrafts. Least stable craft ever invented, but really good in certain applications. Paddlers that master WW canoeing are like the pro singlespeeders of mtb.

    Whitewater with a bike on a packraft is pretty silly. A rapid here or there if you must, but it's so much more fun to leave the bike on shore and just go paddle. Infinitely safer too.

    Some Yak's in use last week on the Grand Canyon.

    Inflatable Boat / Packraft-8a3a7527.jpgInflatable Boat / Packraft-8a3a7690.jpgInflatable Boat / Packraft-8a3a7846.jpgInflatable Boat / Packraft-8a3a8264.jpg

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    I'm not worthy. My WW skills are limited. I was doing some WW canoeing last winter to scout a river for fishing and had an "incident" that put the seriousness of what I was undertaking in perspective. Unlike biking I don't have anybody locally to work with on my packraft skills and I haven't found a course that made sense. Our rivers are quite steep and tend to change volume rapidly from low rocky to raging and epic.

    That leaves me with lakes and chill floats that would bore the $hit out of you.

    I am working on a shift to part-time which would give me months of free time to load up my truck with bikes, camping gear, fly rods and packraft for some extended road trips. I figured that would give me a chance to seek out opportunities to enhance my skills through training and seeking out appropriate rivers to paddle.

    It's a little embarrassing to have a fine piece of gear like the Yak and not be using it as much as I could, but staying safe is my main concern.
    I'm trying to find routes for the packraft next summer. Trying to link up toba inlet or princess Louisa with the clendenning or sims creek which flow into the Squamish. That would be a fly or boat in and hike/ packraft out. Very rough terrain though.

  73. #73
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    Agreed about the canoe vs. packraft. It was just a harsh reminder not to over estimate my skill in an area I'm not as well equipped to judge as my main sporty activities.

    If I had a buddy to paddle with it would be a lot easier to develop skills with safety in mind. As it is I'm exploring new rivers and having to learn new skills solo. Taking a cautious approach that's not the fast way to get better.

    If I had some easier rivers close by I'd be on them. So far everything close to me seems pretty intense.
    Safe riding,

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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    Agreed about the canoe vs. packraft. It was just a harsh reminder not to over estimate my skill in an area I'm not as well equipped to judge as my main sporty activities.

    If I had a buddy to paddle with it would be a lot easier to develop skills with safety in mind. As it is I'm exploring new rivers and having to learn new skills solo. Taking a cautious approach that's not the fast way to get better.

    If I had some easier rivers close by I'd be on them. So far everything close to me seems pretty intense.
    Two words: Pool session. Bet you can find a kayak roll class somewhere nearby. No need to go there to roll, you can simply play with edging/leaning/bracing in a warm, safe environment, and learn the best way to re-enter your boat from deep water. Chances are good you'll find a paddling partner or two in the process.

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Two words: Pool session. Bet you can find a kayak roll class somewhere nearby. No need to go there to roll, you can simply play with edging/leaning/bracing in a warm, safe environment, and learn the best way to re-enter your boat from deep water. Chances are good you'll find a paddling partner or two in the process.
    I've done lots of kayaking and some canoeing. I feel like what I need is to:

    1. see a demo of packraft WW skills
    2. get a chance to practice on a chill river

    I'm 100% comfortable in flat water and can get in and out/paddle fine. I'm sort of missing the "game plan" for WW features and don't have a suitable river to practice in where I live. And doing everything solo amps up the risk.

    However, you are correct hanging out in my speedo at the pool with a packraft will definitely garner me some attention.
    Safe riding,

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  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_BC View Post
    I'm trying to find routes for the packraft next summer. Trying to link up toba inlet or princess Louisa with the clendenning or sims creek which flow into the Squamish. That would be a fly or boat in and hike/ packraft out. Very rough terrain though.
    At this point I am not interested in doing anything that isn't reasonably easy. There are areas of sporty endeavour I don't mind jumping into "the deep end of the pool" so to speak, but when it comes to WW or ocean kayaking I am really aware that the risk of serious consequences is not a laughing matter given my skill set.
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  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    At this point I am not interested in doing anything that isn't reasonably easy. There are areas of sporty endeavour I don't mind jumping into "the deep end of the pool" so to speak, but when it comes to WW or ocean kayaking I am really aware that the risk of serious consequences is not a laughing matter given my skill set.
    Actually a lot of these rivers aren't too rough. The mountains are super steep and go down to a relatively flat valley, maybe the odd kilometre or two of bush whacking around rapids. The challenge is getting from one river system to the next. I spoke with a guy at work today who worked in toba last year and the road up the valley is good, it's just the hike over the passes to the other drainages...

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    I find packrafts very safe, compared to canoes and kayaks. On flat water rivers and lakes you can basically rule out capsizing, even with extreme shifts of weight and balance.

    For ocean paddling one has to have a pretty solid background in wind and weather management, total awareness of surroundings and a timid approach. That said, compared to sea kayaking, these boats are by far the safest choice. On our trips off the west coast of Vancouver Island we casually traversed water that would have scared me so much in a 23" beam kayak.

  79. #79
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    I just got a Klymit LWD (Light Water Dingy). It's much smaller than the Alpackaraft when packed down. Definitely less stable and you're going to get wet, plus you can't put stuff inside the pontoons. But for the price ($200), definitely worthy of consideration.

    It would be a good piece of bikepacking kit if you just need a way of crossing rivers or small lakes. The Alpackaraft takes up a lot of space and is more suited to longer expeditions where you have to pack all your gear in the raft and go. You can't really pack all your gear and bike on the Klymit (well maybe you could but it wouldn't be comfortable) but for short crossings you just go back and forth a few times to get all your stuff across. Wouldn't want to paddle any long distance into the wind with it, actually I doubt you could.

    One thing that would have been nice though is a mouth inflator which you can use to adjust the inflation while on the water depending on temperature. There is a big difference in stiffness when you inflate it in the sun then throw it in the cold water. This is really handy on the Alpackaraft. I suppose I could rig something up.

    I had my dog and medium size backpack in it, no bike yet.
    All I am saying is give pizza chants

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