A little packraft-curious

camelman

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2021
Messages
19
Location
Nebraska
First off, and with much enthusiasm, this is not an endorsement of packrafts over ****** old canoes in any way shape for form. All SOCs are clearly still better, and cooler, but...

I might want to explore some areas that I can't readily pack any of my SOCs into. I may also be a little interesting in flying this glorified rubber inner tube somewhere remote and trying to kill something then not have to hike out, or at least hike less. With that being said:

What do I need to know about this endeavor? I'm currently planted solidly in the unknown unknowns. A total noob. I've backpacked a lot. I rafted a fair bit.
What do I want in a boat and why?
What don't I want and why?

I recognize there are multiple ways to skin a cat but I am looking for opinions. I will sort them out and weigh them appropriately once received.
 

VernAK

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2018
Messages
54
Location
Delta Jct, Alaska
I suggest Larry Bartlett at his web site Pristine Ventures may give you some benefit. Larry designs rafts of all sizes but arranges remote Alaska hunts and raft trips......he's hands on as he's done most of these rivers himself....give him a try.....many satisfied customers.....my friends that have his rafts and boats are very experienced backwoods hunters.
 

calling4life

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Joined
May 22, 2012
Messages
175
Location
Brookston, MN
Look at the load rating, you don't want to buy a raft with a load rating of 220lbs just to realize that you, with your boots, heavyweight clothes etc... are going to be pushing that.
Also, bigger tubes for something that will help keep water from splashing in.

Also, are you going to be in rapids? If so, you'll want great durability.

If not, you may still want great durability because there may be sunken logs or rocks or you may drag in up on gravel beaches etc...

Alpacka rafts are where I am looking, I am also looking at their biggest, the forager, 13.4lbs but this thing will hold 1,000lbs... so, a 2nd person, sure, large heavy pack and moose meat, ok, duck and goose decoys stacked high, I suppose.

They also have a system where you can store stuff inside the tubes of the raft.
So, say I was going to duck hunt out of it, I could jam a bunch of duck decoys into the tubes, put my blind bag in there, shut it, inflate the boat.

Now I can have less stuff in the boat with me that keeps me from being able to paddle well.

They have many models and their rafts have done rapids I would never have thought humans would do, I'm not a white water rafter, but I could never have fathomed the stuff these guys take on, it is truly insane.

You can also custom order one of their rafts, so if you don't need insane durability like that, order the forager, or the ranger, or whatever, in the lighter fabric... Their carabou is 5lbs holds 400lbs and still has the ballistic 840d floor, they've got many models with an eye towards lasting.

Many other companies, pay attention to durability if it is needed, pay attention to tube size as noted, weight may be a factor, shape can even come into play.

Also realize you still need a life jacket to be legal, and a paddle to paddle, or buy the weird paddle gloves, they may fork for you and save a ton of space and weight.
 

Wallrat

Active Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2020
Messages
30
Location
Logan, MT
Look at the load rating, you don't want to buy a raft with a load rating of 220lbs just to realize that you, with your boots, heavyweight clothes etc... are going to be pushing that.
Also, bigger tubes for something that will help keep water from splashing in.

Also, are you going to be in rapids? If so, you'll want great durability.

If not, you may still want great durability because there may be sunken logs or rocks or you may drag in up on gravel beaches etc...

Alpacka rafts are where I am looking, I am also looking at their biggest, the forager, 13.4lbs but this thing will hold 1,000lbs... so, a 2nd person, sure, large heavy pack and moose meat, ok, duck and goose decoys stacked high, I suppose.

They also have a system where you can store stuff inside the tubes of the raft.
So, say I was going to duck hunt out of it, I could jam a bunch of duck decoys into the tubes, put my blind bag in there, shut it, inflate the boat.

Now I can have less stuff in the boat with me that keeps me from being able to paddle well.

They have many models and their rafts have done rapids I would never have thought humans would do, I'm not a white water rafter, but I could never have fathomed the stuff these guys take on, it is truly insane.

You can also custom order one of their rafts, so if you don't need insane durability like that, order the forager, or the ranger, or whatever, in the lighter fabric... Their carabou is 5lbs holds 400lbs and still has the ballistic 840d floor, they've got many models with an eye towards lasting.

Many other companies, pay attention to durability if it is needed, pay attention to tube size as noted, weight may be a factor, shape can even come into play.

Also realize you still need a life jacket to be legal, and a paddle to paddle, or buy the weird paddle gloves, they may fork for you and save a ton of space and weight.
Sorry, but I’d absolutely stay away from the Alpacaraft. They’re great for certain things like remote whitewater trips, but to get to their weight, the fabric has to be thinner, and that leads to problems with pointy objects. You’re asking a Kia to be an F250.
If you can be absolutely meticulous about how you pack them, and constantly baby it, you might be ok. But for the money I’d go with a heavier IK. Mountainbuzz is a boating website with numerous threads on IKs, and would be worth a look. It’s oriented towards whitewater, so plenty of discussion on that...but not much on hunting.
Here’s a link to a solid pickup truck of a kayak: https://www.inflatablesolutions.com/whitewater/inflatable-kayaks.html
 
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calling4life

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Joined
May 22, 2012
Messages
175
Location
Brookston, MN
Packraft thread and what you show is 30lbs, for some reason they don't have a load rating either... Then again I don't know to what SOC refers in the OPs original post and when he typed it out the one word was censored out... so maybe he doesn't care about weight.

That Alpacka is made out of ballistic nylon, which is in my chainsaw chaps.

Here's stuff I'll never do, hard for me to see something being not durable when people are quite literally risking their life doing stuff like this in it.
Not that I don't understand a guy could have issues with about anything depending upon certain circumstances, so I'm sure you could tear a hole in either of what we've noted.

 

Wallrat

Active Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2020
Messages
30
Location
Logan, MT
The Alpacarafts are super lightweight, that’s for sure. They even make a model designed for hunting. They’ll haul a bunch of weight. But they’re made out of fabric: if you want half the weight, you get half the fabric thickness. Do what you want with the information.
The guys doing those super rad things with the Alpacarafts are treating them as disposable. The Wing boats are made for commercial use. Nitwit newbies that run over every rock in the river. I’m just offering a tough workhorse option to the OP.
 
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Argon Glen

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Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
47
Packraft thread and what you show is 30lbs, for some reason they don't have a load rating either... Then again I don't know to what SOC refers in the OPs original post and when he typed it out the one word was censored out... so maybe he doesn't care about weight.

Yeah, I'm with you. A packraft was asked for in a backpack hunting forum. To me that's not asking for a 30 pound solution. OP will have to decide though. I read "SOC" to be Chitty Old Canoe.

Of course, Wallrat's consideration of materials/durability is certainly important.
 

Akmtnrunner

Active Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2015
Messages
28
Larry Bartlett's PR49 is what you want. It comes in only a little heavier (15 lb raft) than the Alpacka Forager but because it's reinforced in the right places and has a superior cargo carrying/sitting system. I've brought out all of my gear plus half a monster moose (split with another PR49), another time an entire spike fork moose with no problems. Unless you're a serious kayaker and exceptionally strong at paddling, you're ability at maneuvering the weight will be the limiting factor far sooner than the raft itself.

You can find some of Larry's videos on the internet putting it through its paces. You'd be hard pressed to push it harder than he shows.
 
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