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Thread: Any thoughts on the pack raft?

  1. #1
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    Default Any thoughts on the pack raft?

    I'm thinking about selling my 9 foot fish cat and getting a pack raft, those 5 lbs one man boats. They are kind of like a kayak raft combo but I can actually take it places, I can't do that with the bigger boat and they, according to people I have talked to, will go the same places.

    Any thoughts on these things?

    Anyone use them?
    River Runnin

  2. #2
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Default Alpacka Rafts

    Alpacka pack Rafts have a loyal group of users that have used them for all kinds of adventures. Here are a few links.

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...hlight=alpacka
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...hlight=alpacka
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...hlight=alpacka

    Good Luck

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
    Founding Member
    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

  3. #3
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I absolutely LOVE my Alpacka and plan on using it a lot this coming summer. I only got out a few times last year (my first year of ownership), but I was impressed in every way. Look at the forums on www.alpackaraft.com for a realistic view of what they can be used for. Also, consider reading Packrafting! by Roman Dial. He is a packrafting pioneer and expert, and this is the only book devoted to the topic.

  4. #4

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    I bought mine the same time as Brian M. My wife and I used them several times throughout last summer and am also very impressed with how well they do. I am using mine this summer on a 95 mile trek on a sheep hunting expedition into an area that would be a 20-25 mile hump in and then will be able to float back out. Opens up a lot of possiblities as for as backpacking and backpack hunting goes. Takes a little getting used to vs. a kayak, but not that much. Can't wait for summer to get it out again!!

  5. #5
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    Default NRS Pack Boat

    Mr. River Runnin,

    The pack style of boats are great, for a number of uses. Here at Alaska Raft and Kayak we offer a four chamber 6 pound NRS made pack boat for mountain hunting, to access those waters off the road system, and to make use of the small spaces in the back of planes/trains/automobiles.

    However some boaters find the pack boats to be a bit cramped, and a bit less directional than a well designed inflatable kayak. If you have any concern about a pack style of boat you might consider a one person inflatable kayak. The NRS Bandit I is a 17 pound inflatable kayak that offers a bit better directional control than some of the pack style of boats, and considerable more room for gear.

    If you want to compare the two boats come on down to the store. We will be happy to set one of each up so you can compare the two different styles of boats.

    Good luck in your search,

    Tracey Harmon
    Alaska Raft and Kayak
    1.800.606-5950

  6. #6

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    Tracy,
    How long have you been carrying these nrs packrafts?
    Are they available for viewing on your website?
    Thanks, abel6wt

  7. #7
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    Default NRS Pack Rafts

    Mr. abel6wt,

    We have had these boats for less than a year. We sld a number of them last fall to a variety of users; hunters, fisherpersons, adventure seekers.....you know.....Alaskans! They are not on our web site.....yet. They will be soon though. In the meantime, we have one in the store for all to look at. We might even be talked into letting a fellow "play" with it for an afternoon!

    Tracey

  8. #8
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I am a big guy but I will be in the market for a pack raft later this year. My friends are all running Alpacka rafts but I would be interested in taking that NRS out and putting it head to head with several of the alpacka rafts. While it would be interesting to run 6 mile I think perhaps a run down upper eagle river would be a more moderate test. It would be very interesting to swap from raft to raft and do a group comparo.....wheels turning in head......

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    I am a big guy but I will be in the market for a pack raft later this year. My friends are all running Alpacka rafts but I would be interested in taking that NRS out and putting it head to head with several of the alpacka rafts. While it would be interesting to run 6 mile I think perhaps a run down upper eagle river would be a more moderate test. It would be very interesting to swap from raft to raft and do a group comparo.....wheels turning in head......
    The upper 15 miles from nature center to the briggs?? bridge is where my wife and I took our rafts on their maiden voyage. Its SUPER mellow and a good place to get the feel for things. It could be a lot of fun though to put something like a NRS packraft and Alpacka Raft comparison for members interested in testing out these rafts.

  10. #10
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I thought about offering to take it on a 95 mile sheep hunt adventure comparison with the Alpacka and the promise of video taping it and letting them show it in the store but then figured that a strait up member comparo on ER would probably be more realistic...

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    I thought about offering to take it on a 95 mile sheep hunt adventure comparison with the Alpacka and the promise of video taping it and letting them show it in the store but then figured that a strait up member comparo on ER would probably be more realistic...
    Well there is that, plus the fact that it would cost a lot to ship the NRS raft to Egypt (where I sheep hunt.)

  12. #12
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I would love to have one shipped out here it would make for a neat pic of me fishing in one of the local Baghdad lakes!

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    ...ship the NRS raft to Egypt (where I sheep hunt.)
    That's funny. I certainly look forward to hearing about your epic adventure this fall.

    So I feel I am being tempted by another hobby. A couple of questions for you owners of Alpacka rafts:

    1) What sort of day/weekend trips are you guys doing with them?
    2) Any pictures of them in action in Alaska?
    3) How easy is the transition to rafting in such a small, well raft? I have many hours of canoeing under my belt, but only a few kayaking and whitewater rafting, and no time in a small inflatable.

    Bryan

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    Default a great tool

    Over the years I have used a wide variety of personal fishing craft. Float tubes, one man cats,water master etc. Last year my better half got us Alpacka rafts. The Denali Llama for me & the Yukon Yak for her. For fishing the one man cats are definitely much easier to fish out of also much easier to get in and out of when making frequent stops to fish. What you gain is an ultra lightweight raft you can fit in your daypack. (don't forget the paddle though) and float out with. We took ours down the Kenai (sportsman's to Jim's) I missed not being able to fish as I was floating to the next stop. On the plus side, I was very impressed with the way these boats handled on upper Eagle River when we did Crow Pass last 4th of July. I also found it great when I hiked into the upper part of certain Parks hwy streams and floated out. They are a great tool for accessing remote streams and they open up so much more country to the person willing to make the extra effort. However,they are expensive, but like anything you get what you pay for. That being said I think they are a great piece of equipment. If you plan on doing much whitewater I would definitely spend the extra $200 for the spray skirt. I would also order a couple extra loops attatched for lashing down rod&reel cases. I'm already chompin' at the bit to get out and do more with them this summer! Have fun!

  15. #15
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn Wx View Post
    1) What sort of day/weekend trips are you guys doing with them?
    2) Any pictures of them in action in Alaska?
    3) How easy is the transition to rafting in such a small, well raft? I have many hours of canoeing under my belt, but only a few kayaking and whitewater rafting, and no time in a small inflatable.

    Bryan
    Bryan -

    1) A few of the "classic" short trips in Southcentral are hiking over Winner Creek Pass from Girdwood and floating out 20 Mile River to the road, Hiking over Crow Pass from Girdwood and floating out Eagle River to Echo Bend, then hiking the last 3 miles to the nature center, hiking the Albert Loop trail from the E.R. nature center and floating down to either the Mile 7 E.R. Road boat launch or further to highway bridge. There are tons of other options, though. I'll be floating the Russian River from the falls down to the Kenai confluence on June 10th so as to avoid fishermen, and I think I'm going to try a float my friend did two years ago - hike over Kesugi Ridge and float back to the Parks Highway on the Susitna River. I'm also planning a fall brown bear/moose hunt in a non-motorized area.

    2) No pictures yet from me, but there are lots of them (and videos) on the Alpacka website.

    3) I'm not super experienced in other watercraft, but the learning curve in these boats is very short. They're really easy to maneuver, and once you figure out how they respond to simple paddle strokes and whitewater, you'll feel very secure and comfortable in one.

  16. #16
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    On a side note, if I can get the day free to go on the ODD spring float trip, I'm planning to float in my Alpacka Denali Llama. I'd be happy to let others take a spin if you're along on the trip.

  17. #17
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    Thanks for the response, Brian.

    These rafts are becoming all the more tempting...

    Bryan

  18. #18

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    Bryan,

    I know what you are thinking I've been there. The answer is YES YOU NEED ONE!!!

    Seriously though they open up so many more trips and what not that would normally just not be feeisble given the distances and time constraints otherwise. Also being able to float a sheep or grizzy out of a non-motorized area allows you to go in further than you would normally go knowing that you will just be steering a load out in the raft rather than hoofing those extra miles with a sheep on your back.

    Depending on who is availible and what is going on I maybe trying to talk a certain teacher to join me on a sheep hunt from the 8-15th or so that involves packrafting.

    Whether you are floating down a river that you dropped into from another drainage back to civilization or hiking into a remote mountain lake to go fishing. The options really start opening up to ya and you can look at planning trips in a different light.

    Here is a few pics to get those gears turning.

    Buddies working their way across a lake to camp:


    On board with a 95 liter backpack and still able to stretch out my legs. If a sheep was involved I'd gladly have to for go that luxury though:


    Maiden voyage for the packrafts, going down Eagle River with my wife:

  19. #19

    Default Fun boats

    They are a lot of fun. The maiden voyage in mine was from just below the falls on MF Montana Creek, a real eye opener for sure. I had run rafts and cats for a long time but never a kayak. That section drops pretty good at the top and is loaded with good sized boulders. I swam twice but otherwise had a blast, afterwards I had wished I opted for the skirt.

    Next up was Glacier creek at 26cfs except this time I used my buddies extra Yak w/ skirt. That trip was the most fun i've had in a boat although considered childsplay to those with a lot of experience in packrafts. I sent my boat in for the lastest spray deck and extra loops earlier this winter and am patiently waiting for some flowing water. Not to mention Oct goat. I wouldn't suggest either of these for a first run unless you have experience or dont mind being a little scared and paddleing your rear end off. Good luck.

  20. #20
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    Default Durability

    I am very intriged by the Alpaca, however I was curious about the durability of these rafts. They look to be really nice but I just can't see were they can take the abuse of some of the heavier rafts. Has anyone had any issues with theirs?

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