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  1. #1
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    Whitewater packrafting

    Is this an absolutely stupid idea? Or just a tenable stupid idea? I've run up to class III rapids in a hardshell kayak, but never a packraft loaded with a bike and gear.

    I'm looking at Alpacka models and trying to decide between CuriYak and a Yukon Yak. If running whitewater with a bike strapped on the vessel is not much of a reality, I could save about 150 bones and a lb.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Mikesee just posted a TR doing this. Check it out.

    FatCat, aka 'the Doom Direct'.

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  3. #3
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    No bikes aboard for that trip...

    Quote Originally Posted by SingleTrackLovr View Post
    Mikesee just posted a TR doing this. Check it out.

    FatCat, aka 'the Doom Direct'.
    MC and Doom stashed their bikes ashore for the trip through Cataract Canyon. As for the OPs question, most appear to be carrying bikes aboard Alpackas on relatively flatwater, say Class II and lower. After a couple of Class I+ floats with a bike, I think this is wise for many reasons: top heavy, mutliple snagging points, limited room for aggressive paddling, manuevering. I'm a Class II-III paddler, but you will not find me in my Denali Llama with a bike in real Class II water. Not a lot of personal experience yet, so I'll leave it at that. Maybe some more seasoned bike-boaters will chime in.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by intheways View Post
    Is this an absolutely stupid idea? Or just a tenable stupid idea? I've run up to class III rapids in a hardshell kayak, but never a packraft loaded with a bike and gear.

    I'm looking at Alpacka models and trying to decide between CuriYak and a Yukon Yak. If running whitewater with a bike strapped on the vessel is not much of a reality, I could save about 150 bones and a lb.

    Thanks
    Just because it *can* be done doesn't mean it should.

    So many variables involved--hard to answer without knowing specifics.

    FWIW, I've done some class III that would be fine with a bike on board (with proper prudence and good execution) but I've also flipped (with bike on board) in big water class II.

    Without a doubt though, the bigger the boat the safer you are with a bike aboard. Thus, Yak wins over CuriYak.

    MC

  5. #5
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    Mike,

    Thanks for the info. I'll prolly end up with an Yukon.

  6. #6
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    I don't have any expierence with the pack rafts, but i have kayaked and whitewater rafted alot. Before i got out of kayaking, i was a class v boater. with that said.
    I do believe class lll can be run in the packrafts, with someone who is a very good boater that knows how to read water and knows how to avoid waves and holes,

    If you don't understand that last sentence the answer would be no.

  7. #7
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    A packraft can handle Class III or higher so long as the paddler can - no question. A bike and camping gear strapped to the deck introduces a lot of additional issues, and that's what the OP is asking. Mikesee's response is the most informative so far, and has the benefit of being based on experience. Tim, take a look at some pics of people paddling loaded (with bikes) packrafts and let us know whether, you, as a former class V boater would attempt a technical class III, or even a class II run.
    The older I get the better I was...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim208 View Post
    I don't have any expierence with the pack rafts, but i have kayaked and whitewater rafted alot. Before i got out of kayaking, i was a class v boater. with that said.
    I do believe class lll can be run in the packrafts, with someone who is a very good boater that knows how to read water and knows how to avoid waves and holes,

    If you don't understand that last sentence the answer would be no.
    Thanks for the info. I'm probably intermediate in a kayak at best, but can read rivers okay.

    I'm just saving the bones for an alpacka and ill get to it!
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  9. #9
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    Like Tim208, I used to paddle class V in a kayak but have never seen a packraft in person. I've now looked at photos of curiyaks and yaks, though, and there is no way in hell I'd encourage a self-admitted intermediate-at-best kayaker who has never run anything bigger than IIIs in a kayak to take one of those with a bike in it on a class III trip. That thing is going to be a barge, worse than any ducky I suspect. Have you paddled a ducky in class III? It's like paddling a bathtub through maple syrup. Now load it with your bike, all your gear, and chop off a foot or two of waterline length so it goes even slower. How many holes, boulders, and strainers you think you're going to glide nimbly around?

    Unless this is some sort of clever insurance scam, I'm voting "absolutely stupid." Just my two cents.

  10. #10
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    I'm not gonna just dive right in and run class 3s with my bike loaded. My original post was a query as to the possibility. I'll definitely run the rapids sans bike and give it a go loaded when I feel ready.

    I'm also presuming that the packraft gives a bit of room for error versus a hard shell. In my experience, a ducky was easier on the river. Just float through everything-at least 3+ and below. Like riding a FS frame versus fully rigid.
    Last edited by intheways; 12-05-2012 at 08:06 PM. Reason: Grammar
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  11. #11
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    Okay. Good luck, be smart.

  12. #12
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    I'm a guide -- mountain bike and river and I don't trust the Alpaca's in bigger water. Anytime you strap weight to the deck of a boat, you throw off the designed balance and handling characteristics of the boat. If you're doing something by yourself or with just one other person, then perhaps an IK (inflatable kayak) can work, but there are others out there that I would personally use if I didn't have a mini-me raft handy.

    https://hyside.com/store/product.php?productid=148

    Once you start talking about an additional 50 lbs, however, you're into discussions on trip length, bike trailer vs vehicle shuttles, ROI for hauling the boat, paddles, pfd's, k-pump, etc.

    All that said, I'd love to do a trip with a couple folks where we ride into some crazy remote place with paddling gear and take off down river! Wait, we can actually do that on my Tibet trip -- just haven't had anyone who wants to paddle the Yellow River yet.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2biker View Post
    I'm a guide -- mountain bike and river and I don't trust the Alpaca's in bigger water. Anytime you strap weight to the deck of a boat, you throw off the designed balance and handling characteristics of the boat. If you're doing something by yourself or with just one other person, then perhaps an IK (inflatable kayak) can work, but there are others out there that I would personally use if I didn't have a mini-me raft handy.

    https://hyside.com/store/product.php?productid=148

    Once you start talking about an additional 50 lbs, however, you're into discussions on trip length, bike trailer vs vehicle shuttles, ROI for hauling the boat, paddles, pfd's, k-pump, etc.

    All that said, I'd love to do a trip with a couple folks where we ride into some crazy remote place with paddling gear and take off down river! Wait, we can actually do that on my Tibet trip -- just haven't had anyone who wants to paddle the Yellow River yet.
    You'll have to define "bigger" water?

    I want nothing to do with any boat in class V+ water, bike or no bike.

    Alpacka's were designed and have evolved to handle a bike. Implicit is that the boat is fit to the paddler--thus the paddler forms a rigid frame for the boat. At that point the weight of a bike on the bow is inconsequential to flotation, although it definitely affects handling.

    The IK's I've paddled were no better in "big" (rowdy) water with a bike attached. They were a small improvement in punching wave trains but so much less maneuverable that it was, at best, a wash.

    For any IK I've ever seen you'd need a trailer to haul it by bike, at which point the fun factor goes out the window.

    Paddling a mini me can be a blast, but riding anything while hauling one would be anything but.

  14. #14
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    I see the OP saw this TR posted on bikepacking.net. But for others interested in this topic, I think the poster of that TR prolly has some good insight and opinions on the matter.

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