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Thread: Moose float with Packrafts

  1. #1

    Default Moose float with Packrafts

    hey folks, just got back from the terra incognita of Alaska's wilderness. Hunted moose and floated out 70 miles with our packrafts.

    Nice float, great scenery, awesome moose hunt.

    my bull 3.jpgrear view loaded.jpg

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    hey folks, just got back from the terra incognita of Alaska's wilderness. Hunted moose and floated out 70 miles with our packrafts.

    Nice float, great scenery, awesome moose hunt.

    my bull 3.jpgrear view loaded.jpg

    Larry, ok got my attention. Looks like 40 mile country??(too much water, but looks like that country)

    How stable is the red raft packed like that?.. what game bags do you use?.. the 8 bags I use tend to take up a back pack worth of space..yours look pretty light..nice..

    any room to ride in this operation or did you end up walking along a lot?..
    how did you get him out of he water??.. I carry a rope come along with 500 foot of poly(another space taker)...moose 2012.jpg

  3. #3
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Nice moose, Larry and good looking pack trailer.

  4. #4

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    hey anchor, that area reminded me a lot of 40-mile country, but we were a few hundred miles north of there.

    We floated the rigs you see in that shot about 70-miles, it's a nice paddling rig heavily loaded. The gray boat is our Big Rig, although we actually started with two larger packrafts: One Big Rig and one of our new packraft designs for 2013 (the PR-49). The red trailers are called the Shiz Niz.

    Mike had to paddle his shiz niz and loaded it with both front shoulders to balance his weight and gear load. It's basically a short version of the Big Rig. The BR is 9' long and the SN is 5.6' long, both are 43" wide and have 13" tube diam. Great little sheep or caribou packraft.

    As a trailer attached to the PR-49 or Big Rig, it makes the perfect moose boat for skinny remote streams. A little sluggish but you get the hang of the draft pretty quickly and can manage around tight turns and fast riffles pretty easily. I had approx. 780 lbs loaded on my setup, my partner had about 430 lbs or so.

    I use our own brand of game bags: TAG Bags.

    I posted a full thread about the PR-49 and this moose float on our forum at Pristine Ventures, if you're interested in more details and photos.

    http://www.pristineventures.com/foru...ewfor2013.html

    We had quite the adventure with getting this bull to shallow water, but you'll get the jest of it on the thread above. basically had to swim out to it and manually drag that hawg to the shallows...not an easy chore for one guy, but i managed. Once we gutted it, it was a little easier for both of us to drag a few more feet, then it was butchered right there. Not bad, clean meat with fresh water to keep blood washed away.

    As for how stable the red and gray packrafts were when loaded this way, both were cherry setups. I filmed the last three hunts i did this year and will deliver Float Hunting Alaska Volume 4 sometime next spring, and you'll be able to see how well they travel when loaded.

    Larry

  5. #5
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Larry, was there any packing of the raft involved? I can see the Big Rig being awesome when getting to a creek on foot would set you apart, but if you can fly into the area anyhow, why this over something like the Pro Pioneer? Or, perhaps the issue is that it allows you to fly in with a Cub or other lightweight aircraft? Just curious as to if you two packed in, or if you were simply putting the Big Rig through its paces to demonstrate its load capabilities.

  6. #6

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    great questions, brian.

    Our original plan was to charter two cub flights, one guy and his gear per trip. We were to land on a ridge about 4 miles off the river, hike our gear and boats down from there and begin the float. Snow on the ridgeline and strange winds prevented that approach, so we found a gravel bar and dropped in from there.

    A pro pioneer on that creek would have been doable with medium high flows only. Exposed riffles would have been a constant nightmare for the neoprene floor of the pro. The packrafts gave us huge advantages that the pro pioneer doesn't offer. We also packed 4 miles upstream from the drop and hunted for two days, that was just about 3-4 hours of lining our gear upstream...again, packrafts are much easier than a larger canoe.

    For the past 5 years i've monitored the water flow of this creek during september, and this was the first year that it was floatable due to higher than average flow. It was a huge gamble, because we didn't have a plan B. It was there or nowhere this year, so we opted for our packrafts and a trailer system for higher flotation with heavy loads and hoped the flows held out for us. Last year that creek had dry section that stretched 1/4-mile at time, for over 50 miles....so we still did some float draggin, but not as much as expected.

    lb

  7. #7

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    my theory behind the packraft system we used on this trip was to try to provide enough usuable payload with two packrafts that would compete with the pro pioneer. the PP has a 1500-lb capacity but performs best in shallow places to about 1160 lbs. The only way to provide close to 1100lbs with a packraft is to use the PR-49 with standard floor (550lb useful load capacity) and a Shiz Niz (350-lb useful load capacity). That's the safe load capacity that I've already field proven. I'd have to stretch that demand under an extremely heavy bull.

    Most bulls in the 50-60" range yield about 575-630 lbs on the bone. Me plus my gear = 300 lbs on day 1 and 280 lbs by day 6-7. so, i needed a packraft system to deliver me safely downstream with an expected load of around 930 lbs. That's just about right on the mark with the standard floor PR-49 and a Shiz Niz as a trailer, providing a draft requirement of 6". Not bad. The Big Rig adds about 200-lbs additional flotation with the inflatable self bailing floor, but with forcing 2" water on top of the floor at all times. Because of that, i actually prefer the PR-49 so i can bail out water and keep the inside warmer and dryer...and it still gets the job done at a lower cost overall at time of purchase.

    vertical loaded.jpg

  8. #8

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    Nice moose Larry. Should we expect a float hunting volume 4 soon?

  9. #9
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Very Nice L.B. thanks for sharing the photo's and data. Cutting edge thinking forward as always.

    RMM
    BMR

  10. #10

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    yep, Volume 4 will be released by spring. should be a great one, with awesome footage and hunts to share.

    larry

  11. #11
    Member TWB's Avatar
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    Default Moose float with Packrafts

    LarryB,

    With the mayhem, any future in multiple chambers?

    I'm looking at another packable raft to accompany us on floats, sort of a pilot raft if you will, able to free up space for meat but also scope out the river ahead.

    Floating with multiple rafts really requires finesse as stealth. The guy up front is gonna lay eyes on first usually.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

  12. #12
    Member RANGER RICK's Avatar
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    Looks to be another great write up Larry , congrats on the Moose . Looking forward to the Volume 4 .
    Thanks

    RR
    Practice does not make perfect !!!!!
    Perfect Practice makes perfect !!!!!!!!!!


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  13. #13

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    yeah, both the Big Rig and PR-49 have two air chambers, right and left side tubes inflate separately. The SB Big Rig has an inflatable floor with 5 separate i-beams.

    That decision to have two air chambers really helped me out when the left tube exploded when the tine entered. In a standard single chamber packraft, things would have been uglier.

  14. #14
    Member TWB's Avatar
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    Default Moose float with Packrafts

    2+ chambers possible? These little buckets fold up quick lol.

    Those your situation is one in a very low chance of reoccurring.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

  15. #15

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    I just watched a youtube video on a field repair job fixing a packraft torn to pieces by a bear. Massive damage with ripped sections 2-3 feet long. She used Tyvek tape on the inside of the tubes to hold the torn pieces together, then applied Aquaseal and another layer of Tyvek tape on the outside of the tube. When she was finished it held air. Pretty amazing considering the condition of the raft when she started. I think I will start carrying Tyvek in my repair kit. I wonder if this would have fixed Larry's raft at least to get him back. I have a Leviator raft but am interested in these light weight packrafts, especially the PR-49. Seems you sacrifice durability for weight savings but to me if I know that I can repair it in the field it would be worth packing down a hill at only 15lbs compared to 100 plus pounds on my Levitator. Last float trip we had to carry the 100 plus pound Lavitator three miles from the strip just to see water. I think we all decided if we could not be dropped off on a sand bar then we needed lighter rafts for the next float

  16. #16

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    Merritt, i doubt that tyvek would have held the packraft together loaded with hundreds of pounds onboard. Too much force.

    sheri patched that boat in the shop, too, not in the field. It would be critical to get the fabric DRY and CLEAN and WARM before Tyveking it for any reasonable repair to hold. Even then, weight demands would have stuck that tyvek right up my butt for even trying such an absurd thing on a 4'+ rip in cold weather.

    Just my 2cents.

    holla

  17. #17

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    Larry,

    It seemed to good to be true. Your right its one thing to get it to hold air in a warm dry shop but to attempt a repair of this magnitude in a wet, cold, silty environment is another story. Then add the extra weight of your moose and it would have probably made a bad situation worse. Thanks for sharing your trip. Looks like a safe successful trip in the end

  18. #18

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    Sweet Boat ! I need one of those ! Great read makes me want to go floating ! I did poke a pretty good hole in one with moose ribs OOPPS ! Note to self antlers and ribs are sharp and will poke holes in a raft. lol great story ! Thanks Larry
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