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Thread: Best midpriced pack rafts

  1. #1
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    Default Best midpriced pack rafts

    Im looking to buy a mid priced pack raft. Any suggestions. $300 or less?

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    Member power drifter's Avatar
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    Do they make such a thing? That's safe for Alaska

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    I believe your price is way too low, but you might find one on the used market. Check out our Swap and Sell forum here on the site. I would avoid a really cheap boat like a Sevylor, for example.

    Here is a list of pack raft companies that are worth a look:

    Northwest River Supplies

    Feathercraft

    Alpacka

    I also know that Larry Bartlett of Pristine Ventures is currently running his new "Big Rig" through final testing... well... shoot, what do I know. Maybe it's available to the masses by now? Check it out HERE.

    Finally you might want to have a look at our Inflatable Boats section of this site. We are constantly adding new material and you will probably find useful info there. To anyone out there who wants to help us write this content, shoot me a pm; I'd love to talk with you!

    -Mike
    Last edited by Michael Strahan; 01-02-2012 at 15:45.
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    Member scott_rn's Avatar
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    Larry Bartlett's new packraft looks really cool, I just read up on it again last night. His latest price estimates are around 1800 for the standard floor and 2100 for a self bailer.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Pack rafts are awesome, I love my Alpacka but, Larry was kind enough to let me test drive his Big Rig raft.

    The Big Rig is very nice, plenty of room for two guys and gear and with the self bailer no more bailing and the floor adds to the floatation. The way the seats are rigged keeps you up out of the floor unlike my Alpacka, so no wet behind.





    Larry's Big Rig self bailer.






    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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  6. #6

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    You certainly want to steer clear from anything other than one of the premium brands. I tried using a Sevylor on a sheep hunt in 2005 and it made for a memorable (and miserable) trip. I quickly found a used Alpacka and have been satisfied ever since. Some of the newer models look like they might be good options as well. I think that the NRS raft is the least expensive out of the reputable companies pack rafts. I think having some other options in this market will be great for the consumer. Good luck.

  7. #7

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    PacificAmos, man I wish packrafts were that inexpensive, but they aren't. If you have only $300 to spend on a packraft, you might consider renting for one trip and then deciding where your money is better spent down the road.

    I have a few Alpacka Explorers, which is the largest of that maker's models, and they cost around $800-$900, in some cases more$$. You might find a used older model for $600 or so, but they hold their value for a long time.

    I would take the advise others have given regarding buying the best you can hope to afford. You'll have to look at your investment as wise payment for reliable transportation. If you spend $300 on a cheap "fish hunter", you'll likely find out quickly that your loss of equipment and/or potential emergency rescue from the wilds costs 10-15X more than that initial boat purchase...just a thought.

    Our Big Rig's are made by Feathercraft out of Canada, and they are a spendy option, but high quality speaks volumes about your future potential success...and they are designed to couple big game hunting and river adventure. Other brands just don't have the safe hauling capacity and paddling comfort...the lesser expensive the boat, the less you can expect to receive in payoff once you pull the trigger.

    larry

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    Member scott_rn's Avatar
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    Larrry,
    I really like the big rig. Out of curiosity, how did you calculate capacity? I read on the pristine ventures forum the hunt report and how much moose you were able to carry. Pretty impressive.

  9. #9

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    hey Scott, load capacities are not as scientific as you might think. There are physical formulas that can be used by calculating tube diameter coupled with waterline (the boat's footprint). However, the way I have learned to determine weight capacity of any raft is this:

    When load weight is applied to any raft, that watercraft's maximum capacity will be when the tubes are 50%; evenly sumberged.

    Now, when you're comparing "max" capacity to "maximum performance" capacity, you're splitting hairs to describe a simlar debate between a bullet's max range and max effective range. That is, how far a bullet will travel vs. the effective accuracy range.


    So, the Big Rig for example: a standard floor model holds approximately 800 lbs before 50% of the tubes are under water. The maximum effective range that offers the best performance in river character is roughly 75% of a boat's maximum capacity. For the standard floor Big Rig, that translates to roughly 600 lbs load demand (800lbs X .75 = 600lbs). That means under most river scenarios, a hunter can expect to transport effectively up to 600 lbs, while ensuring up to 75% of its tube height remains above water, or 25-30% of its tubes immersed.

    In the Float Hunting Alaska: Volume 3 video you'll see I floated the standard floor Big Rig with two caribou on board, plus my body weight and personal gear. This load I estimated to be 510 lbs total weight, which equates to about 64% of this model's total weight capacity (800 lbs X .64 = 512 lbs). I felt comfortable with this load in class I-II river character. If i were maneuvering class III, i would have wanted to maximize performance and tube height above water, so less load weight should be utilized. In class III I would likely want a maximum effective capacity of 55-60%, or 440-480 lbs total load demand to provide more tube height above water underway.


    to get a copy of Volume 3: http://www.pristineventures.com/prod...d-library.html


    The Self-bailing model Big Rig can be loaded with 1000 lbs before 50% of its tubes are submerged, but it's maximum effective range is closer to 750 lbs to provide enough tube height above water while maneuvering with mild stream character. If running class III, then a more conservative effective capacity would apply (1000 lbs X .60 = 600 lbs load demand).

    to get a Big Rig packraft: http://www.pristineventures.com/prod...s/big-rig.html


    Hope this helps,


    larry

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    I bought this 2 person crocodile for $50 at a swapmeet. I hope to be using it soon in AK.

    http://www.ark.co.za/crocodile.php

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCePC...ure=plpp_video

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    The 2 person Croc looks like an interesting inflatable kayak. You'll have a lot of fun in it. Not a pack raft though. That thing weighs 50lbs. 5-10 times a pack raft. Looks like it uses a solid foam floor too from what I read on the website. That gives it a nice flat floor, which ought to make if faster and surf better, but not so good for packing into small spaces. I have a Thrillseeker that's about the same. Fun boats, but I don't want to be packing it very far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Strutz View Post
    The 2 person Croc looks like an interesting inflatable kayak. You'll have a lot of fun in it. Not a pack raft though. That thing weighs 50lbs. 5-10 times a pack raft. Looks like it uses a solid foam floor too from what I read on the website. That gives it a nice flat floor, which ought to make if faster and surf better, but not so good for packing into small spaces. I have a Thrillseeker that's about the same. Fun boats, but I don't want to be packing it very far.
    5-10 X heavier ! what does a 5-10 lb raft look like and can you trust it ? I don't plan on backpacking this raft but it is "packable" in the sense of it fitting in a bush plane or trunk of a car. More of a drop camp raft, kinda like my North Face Himalayan 47 tent, it's a
    backpacking tent but no way I'd carry it very far. I have smaller tents for backpacking but everything has it's ups and downs/tradeoffs.

    ps. I just checked out the specs on the Alpacka, very impressive, less than 5 lbs. I could see where it would be great for crossing swollen streams and rivers but I don't see where there's room for your gear AND a biggame animal.
    Last edited by glass_eye; 01-28-2012 at 05:43. Reason: ps

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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    Pack rafts are awesome, I love my Alpacka but, Larry was kind enough to let me test drive his Big Rig raft.

    The Big Rig is very nice, plenty of room for two guys and gear and with the self bailer no more bailing and the floor adds to the floatation. The way the seats are rigged keeps you up out of the floor unlike my Alpacka, so no wet behind.





    Larry's Big Rig self bailer.







    Great pics, but you didn't float a river packing out a bear, 4 deer and all the meat plus your gear for 2 persons and yourselves ?

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    Member Gilliland440's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glass_eye View Post
    5-10 X heavier ! what does a 5-10 lb raft look like and can you trust it ? I don't plan on backpacking this raft but it is "packable" in the sense of it fitting in a bush plane or trunk of a car. More of a drop camp raft, kinda like my North Face Himalayan 47 tent, it's a
    backpacking tent but no way I'd carry it very far. I have smaller tents for backpacking but everything has it's ups and downs/tradeoffs.

    ps. I just checked out the specs on the Alpacka, very impressive, less than 5 lbs. I could see where it would be great for crossing swollen streams and rivers but I don't see where there's room for your gear AND a biggame animal.
    Check out at 2:50 Packraft loaded with my big frame pack, dog & I. Well over 300 lbs
    -JR

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hl2eS...opKm5O14OdWVon

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