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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Default Pack raft for 2...

    Alright gang... looking for a pack raft for myself and my son to use on a float trip.

    Does anyone make a large enough pack raft for 2 that you could put a caribou or into with a light camp?

    I've had a Pro Pioneer and it certainly fits 2 and camp and critter but it's a fair bit heavier than a pack raft. Alpackas seem to be big enough for two without any substantial gear and I doubt it makes the grade for hunting.

    Just looking at the options.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Hodge,

    With the current packraft craze going on, you will probably find someone out there with a recommendation. But really? A packraft that will hold two people, a caribou and your gear? I think you're pushing the absolute limits on what these boats are designed to do... but that's just my opinion. You might check out Our Packraft Page for starters. We have nine of them listed, with their specs.

    Could you provide additional details, such as why a packraft is required?

    -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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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    The "Big Rig" or PR-49 would just barely meets your requirements. Larry B had a couple new designs at the sport show that may be better suited for your task.

    In this photo, you can see not much room for gear. and for the record the way I had the rafts linked was an EPIC FAIL........ DO NOT TRY

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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    and for the record the way I had the rafts linked was an EPIC FAIL........ DO NOT TRY
    Please do explain Stid. I am curious what happened. Could save someone else from making the same mistake.

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    I was in the same boat (tiny ass raft) a few years back. Looking for a solo boat for remote floats and a boat I could haul around the Upper Kenai in the back of a rental pick up truck. I looked at lots of small rafts, pack rafts, etc. I was able to pick up a Sotar 10' raft from Goo Vogt in Anchorage. We had bought our first, larger, Sotar from him a few years prior. Very durable boats to say the least. Anyway, this is the smallest raft I could imagine hauling two folks, gear, and a bou. My wife and I used ours a few times recently in NE Tennessee. My buddy and I took it out a few times as well. I was very impressed how well the boat handled with 600 lbs in it. Self bailing floor, 10' long, and about 65-70 lbs. We got a very basic breakdown frame and 3 piece sawyer pole cats for our 14.5' Sotar. Airline friendly. Had the frame maker provide shorter cross members and sawyer made shorter mid sections for oars so our frame and oars work with both the 10' and 14.5' rafts. Given your goals, I would get some oar saddles from Goo and call it a day. PM if you want more info. This is a very tough little boat! Taking mine to Upper Kenai for a week in Sept. Can't wait.


    Dan





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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    Please do explain Stid. I am curious what happened. Could save someone else from making the same mistake.
    Got sideways and hung on a midstream boulder, rafts started getting flooded. Lost my 400 dollar camera trying to free it. My thinking was the wife was inexperienced and would do better with me, but she did fine in the Alpaca with me hauling the load. Trailering worked great in the class I sections but I would not try again in swift water with obstacles.
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    Got sideways and hung on a midstream boulder, rafts started getting flooded. Lost my 400 dollar camera trying to free it. My thinking was the wife was inexperienced and would do better with me, but she did fine in the Alpaca with me hauling the load. Trailering worked great in the class I sections but I would not try again in swift water with obstacles.
    Ouch! Sounds like you got lucky.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    But really? A packraft that will hold two people, a caribou and your gear? I think you're pushing the absolute limits on what these boats are designed to do...
    Could you provide additional details, such as why a packraft is required?

    -Mike
    Mike- I used the term "pack raft" inappropriately I believe. I should have said "lightweight raft". I'm looking at an area with my son that will require several longish portages. I can manage something heavier than a traditional pack raft but want something lighter and less bulky than a Pro Pioneer.

    Danattherock- that's a sweet looking setup and probably closer to what I'm looking for. How many pieces does the raft break down into?
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    The Sotar 10' is one piece, minus two thwarts of course. I carry deflated raft in a tarp which is wrapped in a tic tac toe rope wrap. Easy to fly commercial or toss in back of a bush plane. About 70 lbs total. My frame is a custom Riverboat Works (Salida,Co) that breaks into four pieces. After posting pics for you here I actually called Goo myself about his oar saddle. If he still has them I am buying a pair for my 10'. Will make flying it up this Sept that much simpler, and cheaper. Hard to tell in the pic above I posted but his oar saddles break down and travel flat.

    Basically, it will allow my current oar/frame bag to be under 50 lbs, and save me $100 in baggage fees. I will put three piece Sawyer pole cats and a PVC fly/Centerpin rod tube in a Burton youth snowboard bag which is only 129 cm (50"). That will be a $25 baggage fee rather than a $75 overweight fee. At any rate, you should at least go by Goo's and check out his ten footer. It's built like a brick shet house and is suited for rapids that I doubt either you or I will ever use the raft in. On Sotars site look at the 10' ST. Same raft as I recall. On Sotars site if you click raft frames, that blue boat up top is my larger boat. Wife standing beside it with two silver bullets.

    Wife and I are so impressed we are soon buying a third Sotar. This will be a bigger 15' self bailer for my wife and soon to be two small kids. Floating NE tenn and WV rivers with raft on a raft trailer. Great fly fishing. Not a boat that will ever make it up your way as it's like 137 lbs. Point is, Sotar makes a bombproof raft. Compare the material against other options. Goo has samples and actually mailed some to me here in NC. The Sotar fabric was 15-20x as thick as the others. Most the other small rafts out there are Chinese made junk and look like pool toys compared to a Sotar. At 6'6" 300 lbs, I wanted something a little better, while still being portable.


    Dan
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Hodgeman, you might consider an Aire Traveler as a potential candidate as it rolls ups small for transport, easy for two guys to control and has decent load carrying capabilities. http://www.aire.com/aire/products/default.aspx?id=205

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    Mike- I used the term "pack raft" inappropriately I believe. I should have said "lightweight raft". I'm looking at an area with my son that will require several longish portages. I can manage something heavier than a traditional pack raft but want something lighter and less bulky than a Pro Pioneer.

    Danattherock- that's a sweet looking setup and probably closer to what I'm looking for. How many pieces does the raft break down into?
    No problem, Hodge. The latest packraft craze has me a little apprehensive. We're bending the concept to the breaking point, and besides ending up with wet, spoiled game meat as a result (you can't really keep it dry in a packraft), we're seeing catastrophic tube failures from overloading / dragging. It's only a matter of time until we read about someone in the paper, too. It's a tragedy waiting to happen.

    I think Dan's on the right track. Goo Voght is the SOTAR dealer for Alaska, and he tells me they will build whatever you want. I would give him a shout.

    Your Pro Pioneer weighs 80# without the rigging. It's going to be hard to beat that for weight. The AIRE Traveler is 70# without rigging, so not a lot of difference there (though it slides MUCH BETTER over wet rocks). The downside to the SOTAR idea is that the material is stiff and does not fold up really tight like rubber does. If you're set on a canoe, you might look at the Grabner Adventure. It weighs 55# and claims to have a 992# capacity, though it would be a slug with that kind of weight in it.

    I'm not a fan of the canoes or pack rafts, because of the meat care issue as well. Proper meat care is enough work already, but when you have to shoehorn it all into a small boat, it gets wet from sweating against the boat fabric and other meat bags, plus it almost always gets splash over from the river. River water and game meat have almost identical pH, which is ideal for the growth of spoilage-causing bacteria. You might review our Meat Care on the River section for additional insights on this topic.

    One consideration might be a cataraft. I've portaged my AIRE Leopard many times, the longest portage being three miles, by carrying it one piece at a time. The tubes weigh 52# each, making it well within range for most folks. And with that boat, you have tons of other options besides floating the one area you are looking at.

    Hope it helps!

    -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/
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    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    One consideration might be a cataraft. I've portaged my AIRE Leopard many times, the longest portage being three miles,

    -Mike
    Mike- I hadn't considered a cataraft but that is certainly an option since it breaks down to smaller pieces and carries a large load.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

  13. #13

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    here's the boat I designed for 1 guy, gear, and a moose: The LEGEND

    12' length
    45" wide
    14" tubes tapered to 16" at bow and stern
    self-bail convertible (screw cap lids)
    Fabric: 30-oz PVC with extra 30-oz chafe guard on the bottom all around the boat
    row capable (Oar Saddles) or paddle with 220cm kayak paddle like the PR-49
    Weight = 46-lbs
    Max Capacity: 1350-lbs with screw caps closed
    Best max payload = 1200-lbs
    COLOR: Hunter Green (2015 production)

    currently sold out will have more inventory in mid winter. Have 8 ea used Green ones after season, will update website with this boat this fall. This yellow one is my personal rig for this fall!

    Price = $2200 with boat, oar saddles, oars and two seats, repair kit and air pump
    Price = $1700 with boat, repair kit, and two seats, repair kit and air pump

    Legend Final-A.jpgLegend Final-B.jpg

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    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    Is that a drop-stitch floor Larry?

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    Yeah Strike, that's a 3" drop stitch and super lightweight. That floor is rigid and buoyant. I cannot wait to hunt moose with in 6 or 7 weeks.

    Mike, I'd like to know your source of information about wet spoiled meat being a new trend related to packrafting. I interview many meat care shops and ask about spoilage and user trends. No one has mentioned a relation to wet spoiled meat and packrafting. Thanks.

    larry
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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I kept sheep meat on a pack raft trip last fall for 12 days,, since I have all but ate it all, I'm sure it was fit to eat.

    Wet spoiled meat is nothing new, pack raft or not.
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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    ...Mike, I'd like to know your source of information about wet spoiled meat being a new trend related to packrafting. I interview many meat care shops and ask about spoilage and user trends. No one has mentioned a relation to wet spoiled meat and packrafting. Thanks.

    larry
    Larry,

    You stated it a little more strongly than I was suggesting, however this will work. My meaning is that meat gets wet in packrafts. This is not generally true with properly-loaded round boats and catarafts, though moisture does accumulate between stacked meat bags or bags that are in contact with raft fabric (which is often the case with round boats, because of limited space).

    Whether or not the meat spoils as a result of getting wet is mostly up to the hunter and elements that may be beyond the hunter's control. One of the best practices of proper meat care is to allow the surface to dry in order to prevent surface bacterial spoilage. Since wet meat is the rule (not the exception) on a packraft, a meat care dynamic is introduced that is usually not necessary with other types of boats; dealing with moisture and potential contamination. There are two remedies for this: 1) hanging and drying both the meat and the bags, and 2) constant treatment with citric acid solution. In the former case, if you are traveling every day, it's unlikely you will have dry bags in which to place the meat by morning (even if you let them dry overnight), and in the latter case, though citric acid might be used every day, it is being washed off in the boat. The pH of game meat is around 6.8-7.0 and groundwater ranges between 6.0-8.5. These are ideal levels for the proliferation of bacteria. A case could be made that the bacteria are washed off with river water along with the citric acid during packraft float operations, and this is probably true to an extent. So unless pack rafters are allowing enough time each float day, and are disciplining themselves to take that time after a long, tiring day of floating, to pull the bags off, hang them to dry, and then mix up some acid and spray all the meat again, we are seeing more spoilage than we would have seen with conventional float gear.

    If I overstated my case in the former post, I apologize. It was a quick phrase that was not intended to suggest that every packraft user was ruining their game meat. Clearly that's not the case. But I don't think anyone with much float hunting experience would not acknowledge that packrafting creates additional meat care chores beyond what is usually required with conventional equipment. For what it's worth, I have carried citric acid in my pack for over 25 years and have yet to encounter a situation where I needed to use it. The only time we probably should have used it was during one of our game bag tests, when we discovered that some bags were not ventilating properly, and the meat was still moist after several days. We didn't lose that meat to spoilage though, as we took other precautions in the field to prevent spoilage (we pulled the bags off and built a smudge fire at both ends of the meat pole to keep the flies off while the meat dried).

    As to what the meat shops are saying, it doesn't surprise me that the butchers are not mentioning the type of raft the hunters are using, any more than they would comment on the bullet used, the types of game bags used or a host of other aspects of the meat care process which they were not in the field to observe. Their job is to take what we bring in and process it. I believe some meat shops have individuals who can speak intelligently to certain aspects of the field care process, and others who have never been in the field on a hunt and have little to say about it from a practical perspective.

    Again, no offense intended; I'm just reporting on what I've seen in the field, am observing with float hunters, or can derive based on field experience.

    -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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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    L

    Again, no offense intended; I'm just reporting on what I've seen in the field, am observing with float hunters, or can derive based on field experience.

    -Mike
    Mike, can you comment on the packrafts you saw in the field and observed with meat care options? I have only packrafted out 4 animals so take that for what its worth, but with caribou and sheep I found it easy enough to debone them, through them into a dry bag while rafting for the 6-8 hours for the day and then hang the game meat. As Stid mentioned doing this kept the meat just fine on a very wet dall sheep hunt in which we were also packrafting in some splashy water. The dry bag did its job during the floating days and the hanging meat as you would on any raft trip when not rafting seemed to work just fine.

    Curious to hear which style of packrafts you observed in the field that required additional meat care.

  19. #19
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    ...Again, no offense intended; I'm just reporting on what I've seen in the field, am observing with float hunters, or can derive based on field experience...
    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska_Lanche View Post
    Mike, can you comment on the packrafts you saw in the field and observed with meat care options? I have only packrafted out 4 animals so take that for what its worth, but with caribou and sheep I found it easy enough to debone them, through them into a dry bag while rafting for the 6-8 hours for the day and then hang the game meat. As Stid mentioned doing this kept the meat just fine on a very wet dall sheep hunt in which we were also packrafting in some splashy water. The dry bag did its job during the floating days and the hanging meat as you would on any raft trip when not rafting seemed to work just fine.

    Curious to hear which style of packrafts you observed in the field that required additional meat care.
    Luke,

    I think you misunderstood me. As you know, I am not a packrafter or a canoe hunter. I have indicated my reservations about both types of boats for hunting here on multiple occasions. Therefore I am not talking about hunts I've done with packrafts.

    I'm talking about my meat care observations and experiences over most of the last 30 years in the field both recreationally and professionally. Getting meat wet goes against one of the primary rules of proper meat care. I am not saying that if meat gets wet it will spoil every time; clearly some hunters have had some success with getting meat and game bags wet in the field.

    Based upon my field experience and related observations, it would be irresponsible for me to recommend getting meat and game bags wet in the field. Sometimes it happens incidentally and you have to regroup and get it dry again. But to endorse a method that guarantees that the meat will get wet every day... I can't do that. All it takes is the loss of one animal (which will eventually happen with this practice) and we have taken an animal's life for nothing. I can't in good conscience do that.

    I say the above, having never lost a single quarter of game meat to spoilage in the field. Proper meat care practices work, consistently. The practice being recommended by some packrafters is rife with opportunity for failure. It's unlikely that we will read of those failures in these forums, as the individual involved would be cited for wanton waste. So all we're going to get is what they recommended BEFORE the loss- only half the story, without the benefit of what they learned not to do.

    Some years ago I was chided in these forums for not trying another practice that was being recommended here (I forget what it was just now). My response to that was that you don't have to try everything to know a bad idea when you see it. Your own experiences and those of the hunters from which you learn will tell you when something is just not the best path. If that were not so, we would all hunt brown bears with a .243 at least once, until we figured out for ourselves that it wasn't a good idea.

    None of this in any way diminishes my respect for you or Steve, or Larry or any of the other packrafters who have done this successfully. It may well be that challenging these norms will overturn some long-held misconceptions about meat care. Most of us have learned the bulk of our stuff from other people and there are not a lot of new ideas being invented. I would welcome a pleasant surprise. If you guys can tell me that you could do packraft hunts for 30 years without meat loss, I could be convinced... and I would want to know exactly how you did 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

  20. #20

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    I agree with what you are saying Mike. Meat care on ANY float hunt presents challenges that the ordinary hunter doesn't normally deal with. And it makes complete common sense that a smaller boat like a pack raft would be more susceptible to water splashing into the boat and getting meat wet more than a larger round boat or cataraft. I have also thought this exact thing about catarafts with a mesh floor.

    I am sure most of us have watched Larry's videos on float hunting and meat care and it is easy to see why Larry has a different perspective because Larry works really hard at taking care of his meat (to his credit). But, let's face the truth. Larry is probably the exception to the rule. We all know there are (unfortunately) plenty of slob hunters out there that should't be getting their meat wet because they do not take the proper precautions to prevent meat spoilage.

    For what it's worth, I tend to agree with you. I think pack rafting (and float hunting) for that matter does create more risk for meat spoilage. That is why I think it is so important to educate new hunters who are considering float hunting so that our craft does not get a bad rap.

    Perhaps you and Larry ought to think about putting together a class or clinic together that is intended to help new hunters learn the ropes about meat care in the field. That could go a long way to help preserve our sport.

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