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Thread: Pac-rafts

  1. #1

    Default Pac-rafts

    Hey Mike-- why not put a spot on the basic forum on pac-rafts? After this weekend show -- seems lots of folks have their own spin on this basic, light-weight, type of raft, Material, thickness, where made and put together, as well as the type of fabric and glued or welded, both the basics of Alaska back-country light weight crafts. This is "big time" information for here and other remote parts of the world.
    I personally feel not every one needs the same thing. Some rivers are fine for everything and others are MONSTERS!!
    So many new options. The whitewater junkie and hunters are two different babies and need to know there is not "one glove that fits all needs"!
    Again just my thoughts.
    Goo

  2. #2
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goeaux View Post
    Hey Mike-- why not put a spot on the basic forum on pac-rafts? After this weekend show -- seems lots of folks have their own spin on this basic, light-weight, type of raft, Material, thickness, where made and put together, as well as the type of fabric and glued or welded, both the basics of Alaska back-country light weight crafts. This is "big time" information for here and other remote parts of the world.
    I personally feel not every one needs the same thing. Some rivers are fine for everything and others are MONSTERS!!
    So many new options. The whitewater junkie and hunters are two different babies and need to know there is not "one glove that fits all needs"!
    Again just my thoughts.
    Goo
    Sure thing Goo, just shoot me a note and let me know what you have in mind. Lots of new product out there for sure! Sorry I didn't get back by your booth; I made a couple of trips over to the Ben Boeke, but you were talking to folks and I didn't want to bother you. I had to collect some videos from Scott Luber over there, as we were selling them for him at our booth too, just to help out. Anyway, shoot me a note and let's talk!

    -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.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  3. #3
    Member jaydog's Avatar
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    Just my .02 - splintering off yet another forum sub group, especially from the fairly lightly used Rafting forum will just make it harder for folks to find info, not easier. I, for one, check about 6 different forums each day for info. Is pac rafting really all that much different from the concerns and interests of the general rafting community? And aren't a lot of the issues the same?

  4. #4
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    I'm not sure a new forum is the way to go, but we at least need a Packraft section in the main site pages, parked in our Inflatable Boats pages. I put some info together for the Sportsman Show and folks were interested in it. I'm more concerned about the recent packraft craze among hunters than I was the inflatable canoe craze that hit us a while back. I understand both boats are being used to access smaller, isolated creek systems, however without proper training in river navigation, loading principles and boat care, some of these folks are headed for real disaster. Particularly hunters, who tend to overpack and will carry heavy meat loads even if their food and gear loads are minimal.

    I also need to educate myself on fabric quality with these boats. Yes they are fragile craft, but are some tougher than others? What part does fabric quality play in that. And of course, some are concerned about where the boat was made, but admittedly this is not a large concern with most consumers. Not that it's not important, it's just that manufacturer location often takes a back seat to quality, performance, and features.

    If any of you writers out there want to give a hand with this, I'd love to talk with you about it!

    -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.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    I also need to educate myself on fabric quality with these boats. Yes they are fragile craft, but are some tougher than others? What part does fabric quality play in that. And of course, some are concerned about where the boat was made, but admittedly this is not a large concern with most consumers. Not that it's not important, it's just that manufacturer location often takes a back seat to quality, performance, and features.

    -Mike
    You also need to use one on a float hunt to have a better understanding what they are about than pure speculation...

  6. #6
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska_Lanche View Post
    You also need to use one on a float hunt to have a better understanding what they are about than pure speculation...
    There might be some benefit in that, however if you are using the term "speculation" in the sense of "conjecture" (which suggests forming an opinion that is not supported by fact) I disagree. There are inherent weaknesses of packrafts which are simply a matter of physics, namely:

    1. Very limited load capacity.

    2. Wet ride (game meat will get wet in most cases, requiring much more time and effort caring for it). This may also require wearing a dry suit in some cases.

    3. Fragile hull. Thinner material is more easily damaged. The risk of catastrophic tube failure is multiplied.

    So while I certainly agree that I would obtain additional insights by using a packraft on a float hunt, the three points above are deal breakers for the kind of hunts I do. They are unnecessary risks, given the rivers I float. That said, I understand the desire of some who float smaller streams, to find something light-weight that can be backpacked in. To each his own, but there are some valid points that can be derived from overall experience with other types of boats. I've always disagreed with the "don't knock it until you've tried it" argument, because it disregards prior experience, dooms us all to making the same mistakes, and assumes there is nothing we can learn from the experiences of others.

    Hope that makes sense?

    -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.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  7. #7
    Member Yukoner's Avatar
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    Why not just go to the Alpacka forum http://packrafting.org/forums/
    Never wrestle with a pig.
    you both get dirty;
    the Pig likes it.

  8. #8

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    weakness is a term used to compare the strongest option to a lessor option of the same class...kind of like comparing a heavy weight fighter to a lightweight, but both would kick a hole in your head if provoked by a weaker specimen...LOL

    To pursue a packraft hunt for a sheep requires a different approach to a float for two caribou, which requires less than a moose float in a packraft.

    Goo's right, every situation is different and every paddler requires a special tweak on a personal watercraft.

    Sure packrafts are inherently weaker than a top-of-the-line whitewater raft, but in the right hands a given packraft can deliver optimal results and provide a safe and reliable and proficient watercraft for hunting multiple animals on the same float...without failure.

    Most catastrophic failures with packrafts are user error, pushing the limits and making bad decisions. Otherwise the problems are non-existent and the float goes off without a hitch. One man's failure is another man's experience.

    For me, packrafts have opened up options to allow hunting access where "rafters" have been denied. That in and of itself is the main attraction to choosing a packraft to support my big game float hunt pursuits.

    larry

  9. #9

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    Well said Larry-
    Goo

  10. #10
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    1. Very limited load capacity.

    2. Wet ride (game meat will get wet in most cases, requiring much more time and effort caring for it). This may also require wearing a dry suit in some cases.
    In my scheming and planning of packraft hunts, these two issues are basically non-issues. I have two reasonably solid plans for packraft hunts targeting black bear and sheep. In both cases, the fruits of a successful hunt would add ~120 pounds to my raft, which is well within the safe load capacity of my packraft based on the water I would be floating. I'm not looking to use my packraft for a moose hunt, and if I did, that could be addressed as well by either attaining a more robust packraft or by splitting the load among multiple rafts. For me, though, my packraft is targeted at specific low-weight species on rivers that fall within my experience and capabilities.

    As for wet meat, again, my plans make that less of an issue. I intend to use a packraft to access walk-in areas that others either cannot or will not access. In a number of potential situations, my packraft would be used for a float back to the road or other motorized access point which would take no more than a day. I do not consider my meat being wet for 4-12 hours as being a major concern so long as it is taken home to be processed and/or dried and cooled immediately.

    Obviously there are limitations and concerns unique to packrafting that don't apply to traditional float hunts, but given appropriate plans those concerns can be adequately addressed. Or...at least, that's the assumption I'm working off of. I'll let you know how it works out.

  11. #11
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    I'd love to see a write on the use of pack rafts for hunting (sheep sized critters vs moose) Pros and cons of each....
    PR-49 and the Feathercraft Baylee are two I am considering...

  12. #12

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    PM sent your way!

  13. #13
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    Understand the draw of the PR49, but thought I would throw this out there for further discussion. It appears there are 3-4 options for a guy who wants the ability to hunt sheep / caribou size critters.... The PR49 is clearly the big boy of the bunch, but it is heavier and not self bailing... The Packrafts don't list their weight capacity, but the tubes are clearly smaller.. I think of the bunch I am leaning toward the Packraft Explorer 42 vs. PR49. Just trying to determine what benefits I get for the extra weight and cost of the PR49.

    I copied all the specs below:

    PR49 - $1495
    Product Specs:

    Width: 43 inches
    Length: 9 feet
    Tube Diameter: 13" to 15" taper
    Weight: SF = 15lbs.
    Capacity: SF = 15lbs.
    Inside width: 17 inches
    COLORS: Gray

    The PackRaft Alaskana (PR-49) is a 15-lb packraft designed specifically for Alaskan adventures. This 9-ft packraft has an impressive 850-lb load capacity and is constructed of tough PVC material using 420-denier side tubes and 840 denier floor thickness, with plenty of lashing points and strong handles for ergonomic dragging and lining around hazards. Special design features include a revolutionary seat and cargo sling that provides high performance control and effective load displacement. Each raft comes equipped with a mesh seat and cargo sling, double-action air pump, a robust repair it with extra material for extensive repairs, a 240-cm four-piece Aqua-Bound kayak paddle, and a PVC carry bag for easy transport to the field. Larry Bartlett designed this packraft to provide an extreme access option for serious hunters and anglers, and this boat is ideal for wilderness streams with character rating of Class I-III. Customers can expect extremely shallow draft with moderate loads. Visit our chatroom for the field trial reports and stories with lots of pics that show this boat in action, and be sure to watch the YouTube videos using this boat!


    Packrafts
    Unrigged Explorer - $945

    Weight: 5 lb. 10 oz. (2.6 kg)
    Max Outer Length: 95 in (241 cm)
    Max Inner Length: 53 in (134.5 cm)
    Max Outside Width: 37.5 in (95 cm)
    Max Inside Width: 14.5 in (37 cm)
    Bow Upturn: None
    Tube Diameter: 12 in (30.5 cm)

    Includes:
    Stuff sack, basic repair kit, inflation bag. Removable seat. 2 stern grab loops, 4 bow grab loops.

    Color Choices:
    Blue, Cedar, Red, Yellow, Multi-Color (FACTORY CHOICE or $50 custom)
    Roll Down Size:
    Approximately 8" diameter x 24" long.

    Options:
    The Unrigged Explorer can be fitted with an Attached Spray Deck. However, if you later choose to equip it for rowing, the spray deck and rowing rig can't be used simultaneously.


    Packrafts
    Explorer 42 $970

    Weight: 5 lb. 14 oz. (2.7 kg)
    Max Outer Length: 102 in (259 cm)
    Max Inner Length: 61 in (155 cm)
    Max Outside Width: 36 in (91 cm)
    Max Inside Width: 14 in (36 cm)
    Bow Upturn: None
    Tube Diameter: 12 in (30.5 cm)
    Includes:
    Stuff sack, basic repair kit, inflation bag. Removable seats: front: 5oz. bottom rear: 6oz. top rear: 6.4oz. (This is actually the explorer seat.) 2 stern grab loops, 4 bow grab loops.
    Color Choices:
    Blue, Cedar, Red
    Roll Down Size:
    Approximately 20" long by 7" diameter. (51 cm x 18 cm)



    Feathercraft BayLee 3
    Length x Beam: 86″ x 37″
    Tube Diameter: 11.4″
    Pack Size: 25.5 x 10 x 12″
    Approx Pay Load: 600 lb
    Weight:
    BL3 LW 12lb $1900
    BL3 HW 14 lb $2050
    Includes: stuff sack, double action air pump, rowing frame, oars, skeg, repair kit.

  14. #14
    Member TWB's Avatar
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    Just my opinion having owned several of the Alpaca brand rafts, I wouldn't hunt out of them. I'd be inclined to split a sheep between 2 for a short jaunt.

    But now a complete sheep, 60# pack and myself. Nope. The load capacity and materials aren't conducive to such.
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by TWB View Post
    Just my opinion having owned several of the Alpaca brand rafts, I wouldn't hunt out of them. I'd be inclined to split a sheep between 2 for a short jaunt.

    But now a complete sheep, 60# pack and myself. Nope. The load capacity and materials aren't conducive to such.
    Which raft did you use?

  16. #16
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    I've used the Unrigged Explorer. Found it too small or my height, I couldn't stretch my legs out 100%.
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by TWB View Post
    I've used the Unrigged Explorer. Found it too small or my height, I couldn't stretch my legs out 100%.
    Any thoughts on the Explorer 42? 7" longer than the standard Explorer. ??

  18. #18
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    With any Alpacka you're up against a low threshold for weight capacity. Lighter weight means lighter material. Their design wasn't based with hunting or a load in mind.

    For $500 more you can step into a platform that has a pretty solid amount of field work behind it to illustrate its capabilities.

    Might want to check with Larry Bartlett on his PR-49. I know he has been working with Feathercraft as his manufacturer for that and the Big Rig.

    Can't comment on the Baylee 3 but the PR-49 is in a closer class than the Alpacka.
    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

  19. #19

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    Don't forget that the PR-49 comes with a 4-piece Aqua Bound kayak paddle, and the Alpacka's and the Baylee 3's don't...so add about $190 to the cost to outfit those for use.

    Just a thought.

    Larry

  20. #20

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    Sure you can use a packraft from Alpacka to float out a caribou in calm water if its just you and the caribou meat. Like to ferry gear/meat across the sag on the north slope. But start adding gear for an extended float hunt, and then a caribou, and yourself you'll be wishing for a bigger boat when it comes to hunting. I would feel more comfortable with two guys and both their gear and adding a caribou to it on a PR-49 then just me, my gear, and a caribou on an Alpacka. 50% more money gets your more than 200% more boat and heck they even throw a paddle in with it as well. There is a reason I sold my Denali Llama in favor of the larger PR-49. Granted just starting out and never used either before I can see how you might be led to believe you could "get away' with a small and lighter (by quite a bit for sure) Alpacka. But for me I found that the extra 10 pounds of raft worth the weight.

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