Packraft advice

Inland paddling
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steve crofts
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Packraft advice

Post by steve crofts » Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:27 pm

I'm getting on a bit now and finding it difficult to get in and out of whitewater kayaks so considering a packraft. I did paddle an open for 20 years which are easy to get in and out of,but about 5 years ago found them too heavy to manhandle so I got back into kayaks which are half the weight. Now i'm hoping a packraft will keep me paddling for a few more years

I do mainly river touring these days nothing much above G2, the long Scottish rivers Tay/Spey etc and am going back to France for a few weeks this year to do the Allier/Ardeche.

As you might know all these rivers have rocks / stoney rapids / gravel runs etc and I can't get my head around a packraft being durable in spite of the many videos on YT of them doing G4 etc in New Zealand/USA. so i am looking for first hand experience of folk who paddle them on rivers, give them abuse etc.
Thanks for any info and re assurance you can give me

Rae1
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Re: Packraft advice

Post by Rae1 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 10:01 pm

There are a few people on the 'Song of the Paddle' forum that use Packcrafts and other inflatable boats.There are trip reports from the Tay, the Thames, the Clyde., and lots more. they are fine down the rapids on the Tay near Stanley, so must be pretty stable.
I'd go and have a look at SOTP first, as it is something that isnt mentioned much on here, if at all.

Chris Bolton
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Re: Packraft advice

Post by Chris Bolton » Sun Mar 10, 2019 10:09 pm

I don't have experience of Packrafts (and I know they are lighter fabric than some inflatables) but as a general comment on durability, when the RNLI refurbish their Class B (RIB) lifeboats after something like 20 years, they scrap the rigid hull and retain the inflatable part.

steve crofts
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Location: Fife

Re: Packraft advice

Post by steve crofts » Sun Mar 10, 2019 10:56 pm

Rae1, thanks I have put the same request on SotP as well.
Chris thats comforting about the RNLI,

thoma83
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Re: Packraft advice

Post by thoma83 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:12 am

I've been packrafting for five years and have found the Alpacka boats to be really durable.
I have seen them get punctured, although this was from paddler negligence on the land ( dragging a fully loaded boat along a track). Which resulted in puncture.
They are easily repaired in the field though.
You do have to be sensible,but all in all they are very forgiving boats.
We paddled the Allier in 2014. Our first whitewater packrafting trip and found gentle scuffing to the outer hull. Nothing these boats couldn't handle though. It was July and the water was too low really.
The range that Alpacka does now is huge and they have different grades of denier for the hull floors on the various models.
The new Wolverine and the old Alpackalapse have the most durable materials used. They also offer vectran fabric now, which is lighter and more durable than the standard material. Very expensive though!
From the sounds of it you'd probably be best with one of the classic models or a Gnarwhal.
I hope that helps.

swagstaff
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Re: Packraft advice

Post by swagstaff » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:59 pm

Hi Steve,
I have a demo Kokopelli Nirvana in Aberfeldy Steve if you would like to give it a try. I am also retired so can meet during the week. Not sure how long I will have the demo for.
WHITEWATER ALL YEAR LONG

steve crofts
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Location: Fife

Re: Packraft advice

Post by steve crofts » Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:23 pm

Thomas thanks for the advice, good to know that the packrafts handled the Allier in Summer.
It was something I was concerned about as most of these Massif Central rivers can be scrapy in Summer. I have bought a Longshore self bailer which has a 840d bottom so hopefully tough enough to take some wear.
Stuart thanks for replying and the offer to try the Kokopelli, did,nt see it till now, as above I bought one that Chris S of this forum recommended.
Just got it this week so hopefully get a chance to try it out on the Tay next week.

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