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Thread: Basic Alpacka questions

  1. #1

    Default Basic Alpacka questions

    I'm considering buying the Alpacka Yukon Yak sight unseen (like most people I suppose).

    I do have some basic questions about entry and exit. I presume that a wet entry and wet exit is required? I can't see a person getting in the boat on the lakeshore and scraping the bottom on the beach to launch.

    If you are only doing wet entries, does the boat tube "squish" down to let water in? Do you have be very careful exiting as well to avoid flooding the raft with your weight on the tube?

    I'll be mountain biking to some very cold remote lakes and I don't want to get wet, and I don't want to haul a drysuit either. Paddling boots in the backpack are fine though.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuckjgc View Post
    I'm considering buying the Alpacka Yukon Yak sight unseen (like most people I suppose).

    I do have some basic questions about entry and exit. I presume that a wet entry and wet exit is required? I can't see a person getting in the boat on the lakeshore and scraping the bottom on the beach to launch.

    If you are only doing wet entries, does the boat tube "squish" down to let water in? Do you have be very careful exiting as well to avoid flooding the raft with your weight on the tube?

    I'll be mountain biking to some very cold remote lakes and I don't want to get wet, and I don't want to haul a drysuit either. Paddling boots in the backpack are fine though.
    No, you can get in from shore. I usually wear footwear that can get wet, either non-waterproof on a warm day or waterproof. my butt scrapes a little and i shove off. have done the same with my 5 yr old in it with me.

    it does not squish down to let water in. no problems getting out

    you won't get soaking wet on a lake paddling, will get some drops on you.

  3. #3
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I haven't taken the "plunge" yet but it is high on my list. After talking w/ Alaska_Lanche and others it seems that the spray skirt is a must have if you want to stay dry. On lakes it keeps the paddle from dripping on you and on even moderate flowing water it keeps the splashing from giving you a puddle to sit in.

    Unfortunately for me I am super human size 6'5"/250#s so I will be getting the Fijord Explorer with the spray skirt which cost a small fortune!

  4. #4

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    What canukjgc said.

    And I'll add that the boat has an inflatable seat, which helps to keep yer butt dry while paddling.

    And yes, even on a lake or any other flat-calm conditions, you can expect some dripping water to come off your paddle. For short paddles in easy conditions (like paddling to the beach from my anchored boat) I will skip the spray skirt and paddle carefully with shallow strokes to avoid dripping into the boat.

  5. #5

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    I have a little experience with Alpacka rafts as I have used them for the past two summer. Getting in and out of them from shore is simple. I put the end you are going to sit in in the deeper water and the end where your feet go right next to the shore. This way when you sit down the majority of your weight is already floating and only your feet really drag on the bottom.

    That said I'd done more than my fair share of dragging and rubbing against the bottom of some shallow creek with no damage to the rafts at all.

    Also the rafts are tough enough that if you have a wet entry they will keep their form enough to not allow it to be filled up with water when you climb into the raft.

    I would also highly suggest the spray deck. I bought mine without a spray deck and got my wife's with one. They are worth the extra $$$ in my opinion. When we get into the splashy stuff I'm having to stop and dump out my raft while my wife floats on by dry as a bone in her decked raft.

    Also starting this past summer I haven't been bringing rain coat along. Instead on my packraft/backpacking trips I've been just using my paddletop to keep me dry. Sure it has no hood, but it cinches around the neck tight and my ball hat just gets wet. I was just allowing my bottom half to get wet in my open boat rather than allowing my rain pants to get wet when I might need them. However, I recently bought a pair of paddle bottoms for myself and then got a pair for my wife off of Sierra Trading Post for cheap. So we'll be using the dry tops and bottoms instead of raingear so we don't have to carry two sets of items to keep us dry.

    Here is a link to the dry tops & bottoms we use. Not perfect as a dry suit would be a lot better if you fall in but also better than a dry suit when you are hiking as you can loosen the waist/neck/wrists ankles on all the gear to allow it to breath a little better than a dry suit when hiking which is important as we do a lot more hiking than we do actually falling in the water (well if we are doing things according to plan anyways). Let everything else its a compromise. Not as breathable as raingear for hiking, but certainly drier in the splashy water while in the raft. Not as dry as a dry suit in the water, but much better for hiking in than a drysuit and also a LOT cheaper.

    My wife and I run the same style top just different size:

    http://www.sierratradingpost.com/p/3...and-Women.html

    This is the bottoms I picked up:
    http://www.sierratradingpost.com/Pro...&cdf=TopSeller

    And these are what my wife is getting for her b-day:
    http://www.sierratradingpost.com/p/4...For-Women.html

    Be sure not to purchase at the listed price also. Sign up for their deal flyer so you get email alerts when everything is 25-30% off and save a little extra $$$

    Also as you can see its relatively light for raingear as well and if my top is any indication it holds up well even when struggling through the alders.

    Also depending on where we are packrafting to we will either bring our watershoes in addition to our hiking boots if mountain passes and ridges are on the agenda. However if its going to be on a trail or swamps we'll just hike in our watershoes and call it good to save a extra weight. Then when its time for bed we throw on some smartwool socks to give our feet a little time to breath outside of the neoprene socks.

  6. #6

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    Really great tips, thanks!

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    Thumbs up Packrafting Book

    Don't know if you folks already have this, but we still have some copies of Roman Dial's book "Packrafting" in our bookstore. Excellent work by someone certainly qualified to write it. HERE'S THE LINK.

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    Great thread, thanks for the good info! I like to use lightweight waders if the water's cold. I havnt tried a wet entry yet.

  9. #9

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    Thanks, I'll buy the book.

    Any suggestions on the right boat for me? I'll be mountain biking to small remote lakes for fishing. I'm thinking the Fjord Explorer but it's a tad heavy, though for fishing it may be the most comfortable...

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