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Old 03-14-2008   #1
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 490
NRS Kayak Sherpa backpack

Anybody have experiences with this product?

I'm using pool foamies now and it works okay, but I'd love to have a waist belt.

I'm particularly interested in knowing if it's:

a.) sturdy enough to prevent much rocking back and forth.

b.) does the waistbelt carry much of the load or does it still feel like the shoulder straps are doing the work?

I couldn't tell from the product write up how supportive the pack frame is.

Thanks in advance for any feedback.

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Old 03-14-2008   #2
tango's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 689
i bought one but haven't had any practical use with it yet. i've strapped on my playboat and creek boat and walked around my apartment is all. it seems like the waist belt carries a significant amount of weight.

i'm sure it will beat shouldering a creek boat with overnight gear out of the rockwood box.

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Old 03-14-2008   #3
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 393
Schizzle -

I used my Sherpa pack on a two day death march with 100 lbs of gear. There was also a crawpack and a salamander in the group...seems we all agreed the Sherpa was the best option. That said, it still doesn't feel nearly as nice as a good backpack. I ended up shouldering some just to use different muscles.

I think it will be pretty sick for longish hikes and empty boats (W. San Juan comes to mind). If I ever do another multi-day with a massive hike I'll probably still use the sherpa (or kick myself in the nuts for thinking a hike like that is a good idea).

Shout out if you wanna look at it sometime. I'm driving through your town all the time.
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Old 03-14-2008   #4
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
I borrowed one and I like the concept and the weight belt did carry the weight but I found the setup to be very important or it swayed back and forth. I think that could be solved by getting the setup correct. If I bought one I would customize to where it attached tighter.
"Yesterday I was clever and tried to change the world. Today I am wise and try to change myself." -Rumi
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Old 03-15-2008   #5
Austin/ Santa Fe, Texas/ New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 27
I have one but have yet to use it. Another nice option can be found here...

Adrian Tregoning - Lekker Kayaking - Homemade Kayak Carrying System
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Old 03-15-2008   #6
N. Wigston's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 557
I have been using a Yak Pak for about 5 years now. I use it for 5-15 mile hike ins at least three or four times a year. It has withstood the test for sure. The nice thing about the yakpak is that it has a gear bag and it attaches to the cockpit. You can stuff your gear in the bag instead of in the bow and stern. This way, the weight of your gear is centered in the boat and it is much easier to carry and less painful. The negative is that the bag is a little bulky when packing it in the boat, but I haven't ever had a problem.

I have heard that the sherpa pack has low quality buckles that will break after a few uses. Haven't tried it myself so I don't know for sure.

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Old 03-20-2008   #7
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 129
If I buy one will you test it out for me? A hike up the werner trail with a loaded creeker with no water should be good testing grounds. I've heard that water is eventually available after you reach the rim, if you are friendly.
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Old 03-21-2008   #8
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1492
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 283
I bought the NRS one last spring and used it twice. Hated it both times. It is very poorly designed, despite how great it looks in the catalog and at first glance when you pull it out of the wrapper. Hiked 8 miles up to do the Grand Canyon of the Elwha out in WA, with a full load, and it swayed back and forth from the get go. Found that adding one additional 9' strap around the bottom of the cockpit helped with that. BUT, the plastic buckles on the Sherpa were nearly ruined by the time we got to the put in, very poor quality. Also, the long strap that goes up to your bow grab loop slides loose all the time. If NRS corrected these three problems, added one more "boat belly" strap, it might be really decent. As it is, it's also tough to find a space to stuff the thing in the boat. I had to wrestle it in behind the side of the seat in my Nomad 8.5. It wouldn't be so bad if you're just hiking in for a day trip with no camping gear, but the back pad is very stiff, no way to roll it up. My buddy had a Salamander, and if it had had a better waist belt, it would have been 10 times better than the Sherpa. Nuff said.
So many rivers, so little time..........
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Old 03-21-2008   #9
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 490
I'd like to take you up on your offer to test it out. You should kick yourself in the nutz for thinking like that, and you just should anyway -- 'cause I'm jealous of your energy.

The Salamander website is down until April so I want to see that, too. I think the Yak Pak that Nick mentions is a Salamander product, correct?

I will never do that trail again, for anything...even if two corgis greeted me at the top and I get a bizarre gymnastics show to boot. That guy wasn't sharing his beer and that was probably the worst part for me. I was about to snap with every sip he enjoyed and I didn't... What we really need is your son to get old enough to do this stuff with us and then we'll have him carry our stuff -- that would fit into the masterplan nicely.

I wonder if the town of Golden has rules against having a donkey in your backyard? I think a pack animal would be the best.
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Old 03-21-2008   #10
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1492
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 283
Forgot I had these. Here are some pics of the Sherpa "in action." The Sherpa is on the orange Nomad in the right side of the pic, without any added straps, and supposedly as it is supposed to be rigged up. It was swaying like a sick donkey in less than 50 steps. I tried tightening and rearranging, but no real improvement. The other photos are after I added a 9' strap I keep in my boat in case my backband breaks. This helped a LOT, and NRS should have provided one in this position. If you look closely at the last two photos, you can see how I had to interlace the strap, and if you look really closely, you can see how the cheezy NRS plastic buckles are about to bust out of their snap locks. They are some kind of Korean knockoff of true "Fastex" buckles, and seem to be a lot softer and more prone to bending and failure. Hope this helps. I have been meaning to send these pics in to NRS along with my Sherpa, which I wouldn't trust to one more big hike-in. Their buckles will all fail, for sure.
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So many rivers, so little time..........
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