Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    RTR's Avatar
    RTR is online now Shumanitutonka Ob' Wachi
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    With the Plebes...
    Posts
    1,041

    Comprehensive Packrafting Question Thread (from those that actually packraft)

    Long time, no see, maggots.

    I now live in Austin and there are a number of "user-friendly" rivers (Santa Elena Canyon, Boquillas, Devil's River, etc.) that warrant getting my wife onto the water more. She's done some inflatable kayaking but nothing too crazy. I believe a packraft is going to be the easiest to convince her to get on the water. I've been hard-shell kayaking for years now, but she's very much a novice.

    Can those of you who have actually pack-rafted chime in on must-have's about the boat and gear? I've seeing that the market has produced all kinds of offerings but some of them seem like pool toys. Should I only buy an Alpacka Raft? Can Kokopelli compete? Is a spray deck a must? And if so, does the "cruiser" style spray deck work fine or do I want one with more of a WW kayak skirt-type? Is it worth the extra money to do the interior, in-the-pontoon-style storage option? Are the tandem style options total crap? A recent review I read says that the Aire BakRaft is the way to go because it ferries, tracks, and eddies more like an actual kayak. Am I wasting my time on a packraft when this is an option?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Helltown, MT
    Posts
    1,391
    You might check out this book by Molly Absolon. It's very well done and informative.
    Name:  51StSPUZ0DL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
Views: 108
Size:  48.1 KB

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    240
    Austin!! Woot woot. Sub'd to see what you work out re:Austin packrafting.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Golden
    Posts
    6,249
    Here's my 2cents:

    I own a circa 2012 alpacka w/whitewater deck. Amazingly durable. I've had many days where i was sure i'd raked it over enough low water rocks to have ripped it right up, but absolutely nothing. Seriously impressed. Friends with Kokopelli's have not had the same experience. I have no experience with Aire. Self-bailers were not an option when I bought my boat, but I would imagine they track better and get tossed around a bit less. That said, it is nice staying dry for mellow floats when you are just passively travelling without much whitewater.

    Spray deck is a must if you are going for any whitewater. pulling over

    The cargo fly seems WAY better than straping my pack to the bow. I'm considering sending mine in to get styled....Otherwise, I really have no motivation to shop for a new boat....
    Drive slow, homie.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    girdwood
    Posts
    263
    Quote Originally Posted by Z View Post
    Here's my 2cents:

    I own a circa 2012 alpacka w/whitewater deck. Amazingly durable. I've had many days where i was sure i'd raked it over enough low water rocks to have ripped it right up, but absolutely nothing. Seriously impressed. Friends with Kokopelli's have not had the same experience. I have no experience with Aire. Self-bailers were not an option when I bought my boat, but I would imagine they track better and get tossed around a bit less. That said, it is nice staying dry for mellow floats when you are just passively travelling without much whitewater.

    Spray deck is a must if you are going for any whitewater. pulling over

    The cargo fly seems WAY better than straping my pack to the bow. I'm considering sending mine in to get styled....Otherwise, I really have no motivation to shop for a new boat....
    ^^^^This is spot on.

    You're on the right track getting your wife into packrafting as opposed to hardshell. Very user friendly but still provides some degree of learning curve that will keep it interesting.

    I had a first gen Alpacka with the velcro cruiser skirt and without the cargo fly. Now use the newer Llama with the whitewater skirt and fly. If you're doing whitewater, the whitewater skirt is the way to go. If you're not, I don't really see the need to get one and I think you'll enjoy the boat more without one. If your wife isn't use to the feeling of being attachted to the cockpit of the boat, and you don't think she'll like that sensation, I would also recommend the cruiser skirt. As Z noted, you can always get Alpacka to retrofit options at a later point. The cargo fly is great and makes for a more enjoyable ride, especially if you flip. (Related: Alpacka has great customer service and are super helpful. You may want to reach out to them.)

    Havent' tried the Aire, but the alpackalypse also paddles closer to a hardshell. Friends that own them also say that there's a lot of moving parts and they don't love the fiddle factor on BC trips.

  6. #6
    RTR's Avatar
    RTR is online now Shumanitutonka Ob' Wachi
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    With the Plebes...
    Posts
    1,041
    Good thoughts, gentlemen.

    Quote Originally Posted by thejongiest View Post
    Austin!! Woot woot. Sub'd to see what you work out re:Austin packrafting.
    So far, I'm looking into the Devil's River (doubled as a fly-fishing trip) that would likely require a shuttle of some kind due to access. I'm also intrigued by a couple of the canyon options of Big Bend NP (Boquillas and Santa Elena, in particular. Santa Elena looks to be one where you could do a pretty rough hike up to the put-in then run the river to the take-out where you would park your car.) There are other river options, I'm sure, like the Guadalupe... but these ones seems to be promising in terms of an actual "wilderness" feel.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Nashville TN
    Posts
    134
    Are you planning the Devil's as an overnighter or a day trip? I did some vague research on that as a trip option a couple of years ago, but I never quite sorted out what (if any) camping options were available due to the amount of adjoining private land.

    I bought a first gen Alpaca a few years ago too, but I've never done anything other than play around with it a few times, so I don't have anything to offer other than my thread hijack.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    187
    Speaking from 5 years of pack rafting in Alaska, as well as a few seasons guiding pack rafting there...

    Alpacka is the way to go. They are leading the (niche) industry. Quality materials, excellent company, better design.

    The I would only recommend the WW skirt if your planning on class 3 or higher whitewater. The cruiser deck should be fine for anything else.

    Internal tube storage is almost a necessity for anything more than a day trip.

    The first generations of Alpackas were like paddling a rubber duck that always filled up with water. The newer generations are much more efficient at travel, not just floating. They track well (for an inflatable), are durable, and a super useful tool for crossing a lot of land.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •