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Thread: Packraft clothing for the hunter

  1. #1

    Default Packraft clothing for the hunter

    I see several options for clothing for pack rafting such as one piece ultralight dry suits that weigh a couple of pounds to two piece goretex paclite options.Just wondering what guys are using when you are doing big treks then dropping into drainages and rafting out..I don't anticipate anything more than Class II maybe some III.
    Of course i would like to be able to use it as my raingear possibly ? I have read that guys just use there regular rain gear but how do you stay dry that way? Thanks Dan

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramcam View Post
    I see several options for clothing for pack rafting such as one piece ultralight dry suits that weigh a couple of pounds to two piece goretex paclite options.Just wondering what guys are using when you are doing big treks then dropping into drainages and rafting out..I don't anticipate anything more than Class II maybe some III.
    Of course i would like to be able to use it as my raingear possibly ? I have read that guys just use there regular rain gear but how do you stay dry that way? Thanks Dan

    I use my raingear for when doing backpack/packraft trips for multi day. For day trips where I'm packrafting I use my drysuit because I'm not worried about the weight. With the rainsuit I do get wet and use fires along rivers to warm myself up/dry out. I do not do anything above class III in just my rainsuit. Mostly in Class II and I just your legs and your arms will get wet. In class III you will be soaked all over due to splashing. My arms up to my elbows normally get soaked with water in class II along with my legs.

    My advice, wear a rainsuit or get use to being wet. If you have any questions just let me know. I do have a drytop in I think Large that I'd be willing to part with that will eliminate your arms and torso from being wet.

  3. #3
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    I don't do pack raft hunts. Too much work, high risk of boat damage, meat gets completely soaked, and extremely limited payload capacity. If I did, though, I would wear a life jacket for those "out of boat" experiences in those rare places where there's enough water to float...

    Seriously, I don't understand the big attraction...but to each his own.

    Mike
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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post

    Seriously, I don't understand the big attraction...but to each his own.
    The big attraction is being able to access places that others cannot. I say this having not yet done a packraft hunt, but the draw to me is obvious - if I have the time/stamina to hike 25 miles on a hunt, I can either hike 12.5 miles in and back, or I can hike 25 miles one way and float my way home with my weight off my back. No, it's not a reasonable way to chase moose (with the possible exception of the very largest packrafts), but for a black bear or sheep it can open up terrain that may be otherwise inaccessible to most.

    It's certainly on my list one of these days.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    The attraction for me is to be able to hike up a drainage with 12lbs on my back and to be able to float back with an entire Ram. I use my rain gear and use gaiters over to help keep dry.

    Mike the raft does not have to be used for the entire trip,, just another tool. Many ways to use a pack raft other than to float the entire time.



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    I bought my packraft for sheep and poss. bou hunts. You will want to go with a packraft that has some durability and weight carrying features as well. I looked around long and hard before making a final decision on a raft. When wasall set and done I purchased the feathercraft baylee 2 self-bailer.
    It has the thicker durable fabric I was looking for plus hasa 500# weight capacity. It weighs in @ 11 lbs. which is a lil more than say an alpacka but itís in the fabric and self bailing floor. I can recommend that a drysuit is well worth the investment. You will get wet in these style boats. Which can be problematic during hunting season depending on weather which we all know after last season you cannot depend at all. Also note that as we add weight to these packrafts it changes how they handle.....I have put total weight in mine including my body weight up to 265lbs. and it still handled very. Well enough I thought to handle splashy class 2 no problem. That was with a pack frame and two large dry bags strapped down on it. For hunting I though that the self bailer is a must have. I will say this.....you will want to get comfortable in your packraft before planning any hunting trips in it.
    I also made some mods to my boat that are hunting specific. If you have any questions feel free to pm
    Last edited by mrgsholly; 03-14-2013 at 12:04. Reason: typo

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I have a self-bailer as well, which I use depends on the need. The self-bailer will haul more and is nice to sit up off the cold floor, but being a self-bailer, the floor will flood when under a heavy load. I drysuit is nice, but the weight is not always doable. Fleece under my rainsuit with dry clothes in a dry bag for after the days done.

    A pair of these are nice for a light weight option.

    http://www.campmor.com/kokatat-tempe...ts-socks.shtml

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  8. #8

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    Thanks guys i should mention that this will be for medium size game only.There are several opportunity's for me to use one of these rafts to get deeper into less hunted areas that others would not hunt because they don;t want to have to carry the meat back that far.And where plane or boat pickup is not possible .
    I will look at the packlite rafting pants and tops they are reasonably priced versus a heavier dry suit and should be sufficient as weight carried is a big deal .

  9. #9

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    I wear chest waders and a Rain jacket with velcro wrist straps. Ideal for packrafting because you're constantly in and out of the boat, and the rain jacket over the waders sheds water off your lap. The chest-highs keep wave splashes out of your crack.

    larry

  10. #10

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    I like the chest wader thing when I can afford to carry them...way nice compared to just running rain gear.

    That said sometimes its not feesible for me to carry waders and a raft where I go and I just use my rain gear. Something any new packrafter should know right out of the gate, packrafting is a wet endeavor. The sooner you realize that the better. What I have learned over the years is to wear as little clothing under your rain gear as possible as it will just make you colder as the water gets under yoru rain gear and the cold/wet clothing cools your more and more as you float. Obviously in mid-late sept this approach would not work very well, and you may have to change your tactics and hump chest waders in to make things less miserable, but for my summer and early fall (atleast up to early september) I usually just wear a simply baselayer top and my undies under my rain gear. When I get to where I am going or stop to take a break I dig my puffy gear out of a dry bag and throw it on. The name of the game for me in this instance is keeping my warm clothing dry for when I am stopped. Yes initially I'm not quite as warm as if I had more layers underneath my rain gear but after a few miles of splashing your way down class II/III rapids your only set of warm clothes (I'm assuming you only have one set if you are backpacking in) is soaked and you got nothing to keep ya warm.

    Anyways, this is what I've felt works best for me through some trial and error. Hope that helps....

  11. #11

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    Hmmm well looks like i need to spend the $800.00 bucks on that Alpacka 2 pound dry suit if i want to stay warm and dry.Not that appealing when your a gram counter but sometimes there are trade offs .I was hoping that the new white water spray deck they have would stop the pooling on the deck issue looks pretty good with the little bib that sits high on your chest.
    SO just over 7lbs with the Denalli llama ,dry suit and white water spray skirt.Think this will keep me warm and dry?

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    You might be surprised if you take a dry suit along on a hunting trip it will allow you to be out in the nastiest of conditions and stay dry where your rain gear leaves opertunities for water to wick down into your under layers and once your rain gear is wet it changes the hunt untill you can get them dry again. Also you might look into a paddle suit instead of a dry suit. It will drop the price a bit and in a lot of cases the difference is the neck gasket is neopreme instaed of latex. It is much more comfortable around the neck and the only time it will let water in is when you are submerged and its very little at that. Example: kokatat super nova or angler

  13. #13

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    Tried the paddle suit route and it didn't provide that much more protection over standard rain gear and paddle gloves and what not.

    I have dry suits so don't get me wrong. But when hiking in where every pound counts as well as volume in what you can haul in your pack, packing rain gear AND dry suit is not feasible atleast for my weeny legs that don't haul much.

    Above what I described is what I've found works best for packraft hunting where you are hauling in your raft hunting equiptment as well as camping equiptment. Don't get me wrong that is a heavy load in itself. Start adding a couple more pounds for a dry suit as well as the volume to put it and you'll cube out your pack pretty quickly....how do you handle your packraft hunt Holly..mrgsholly...would love to see pics of your pack heading in to go on a packraft hunt from the road...thanks....

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    None the less it packs pretty small and really doesn't weigh that much to make or break your hunt. IMO if you plan to cover a large amount of water during the hunt it is worth consideration. Good luck on the search for the right gear my friend.

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    Member LOCALAK907's Avatar
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    Anyone have experience with the Pristine Ventures PR49? Looking at this raft because of the load capacity and the room for two. I would only have a second person for fishing and pleasure floats. I travel a ton for work around the state and plan on packing this in my luggage for after work fishing and hunting on the weekends.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LOCALAK907 View Post
    Anyone have experience with the Pristine Ventures PR49? Looking at this raft because of the load capacity and the room for two. I would only have a second person for fishing and pleasure floats. I travel a ton for work around the state and plan on packing this in my luggage for after work fishing and hunting on the weekends.
    Would be great for that.
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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LOCALAK907 View Post
    ...Looking at this raft because of the load capacity and the room for two...
    Be advised that there are no universal standards accepted in the industry for determining raft capacity. Each company does it differently, and the latest trend among some respected companies (SOTAR for example) is to not publish such numbers at all.

    In the end it's just a math problem to determine how much weight will push the boat down (displace) one inch into the water, two inches, etc. Some day I'd like to round up a bunch of guys and gals to do that. But for now, be reeeeeal careful when you read published numbers like that.

    Buyer beware.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
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    Member LOCALAK907's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info Mike.

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    Buyer beware of course, but if companies don;t suggest what their boats are capable of, what do the customers have to start from in terms of capacity and performance standards.

    I disagree with Mike on this one. For the past 30 years companies have offered a safe allowable starting reference for weight allowances for each boat they produce. It's always up to the customer to find that comfortable balance between load allowance and load performance.

    If a boat, such as the PR-49, suggests a max load of 850-lbs, that number is only reflective of loading it on flat water until the tubes are 50% submerged. The user then must gage water depth and whitewater character as well as varied stream depth on the go to determine which river they hunt or float and how much weight the boat will hold to sustain passenger and primary gear weight.

    Even if the PR-49 boasts an 850-lb capacity, there are many rivers we float where 450-500-lbs would be the maximum advised (or doable) load allowance.

    But without reference customers are left to wonder in lolla land what the boat is fully capable of in a static (flat water) environment.

    lb

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    Buyer beware of course, but if companies don;t suggest what their boats are capable of, what do the customers have to start from in terms of capacity and performance standards.

    I disagree with Mike on this one. For the past 30 years companies have offered a safe allowable starting reference for weight allowances for each boat they produce. It's always up to the customer to find that comfortable balance between load allowance and load performance.

    If a boat, such as the PR-49, suggests a max load of 850-lbs, that number is only reflective of loading it on flat water until the tubes are 50% submerged. The user then must gage water depth and whitewater character as well as varied stream depth on the go to determine which river they hunt or float and how much weight the boat will hold to sustain passenger and primary gear weight.

    Even if the PR-49 boasts an 850-lb capacity, there are many rivers we float where 450-500-lbs would be the maximum advised (or doable) load allowance.

    But without reference customers are left to wonder in lolla land what the boat is fully capable of in a static (flat water) environment.

    lb
    Thanks for "weighing in" on this one Larry.

    We will have to agree to disagree concerning a rated capacity that pushes the tubes down to the midpoint. I know of no other manufacturer that uses this measurement, nor do you or anyone else I know with any experience recommend that kind of loading in the field. Particularly with the shallow water levels we often see in the fall up here, combined with the heavy loads of meat and gear most hunters have to deal with. Hunters need a maximum working load, not the amount of weight it takes to bury the boat. And it becomes really problematic when you combine all that with a very thin membrane that is fairly easily punctured or lacerated in field conditions.

    Be that as it may, my point still remains, that manufacturers are all over the map on this question. An example I cited in my float hunting book concerned a head-to-head comparison between three 16-foot catarafts of identical length, tube diameter and tube configuration; the Maravia cat (rated at 1,178#), the AIRE Jaguarundi (rated at 1,634#) and the SOTAR Elite Cat (rated at 1,650#). That's close to a 30% difference and the boats are identical. Well, I suppose the AIRE is heavier because of the construction used, but not enough to generate that kind of difference.

    SOTAR has completely abandoned the practice of posting rated capacities, and it appears that AIRE is going to do the same, starting next season. It's a huge liability, because most folks just see that number and assume they can run with it in all conditions. I would much rather see a chart showing how much weight it takes to displace one inch, two inches, three, four and up to maybe 12 inches tops. Then let the hunters decide how much is too much for the river they're floating.

    That's my take on it anyway. I know others are doing it different ways, but I am concerned about what folks are doing with these numbers in the field. It could be outright dangerous.

    No disrespect intended at all, and as I said earlier, I'm not a pack rafter (for several reasons). Just my take-

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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