Alpacka Gnu vs 2 person inflatable whitewater kayak - Mountain Buzz

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Old 05-06-2016   #1
wasatchbill's Avatar
Riverdale, Utah
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 231
Alpacka Gnu vs 2 person inflatable whitewater kayak

Hi folks,
I am looking for a two person inflatable whitewater kayak. I am mainly a hardshell kayaker, and paddle mostly class 4 to 4+.
I have not paddled inflatables much, and have not paddled a packraft. I did paddle a Sevylor two person inflatable kayak with a beginner friend last summer on some Payette river classics like Swirly, Main Payette, and Cabarton, and those are high on the list for this summer as well. The Sevylor worked fine, but I was not impressed with the "self-bailing"; the boat was slow to drain. It would fill up early in the wave trains, then it felt like 500 lbs and was hard to maneuver. From reading about the Aires and so forth, I understand they drain better. I am leaning toward an Aire Lynx 2 or Outfitter 2.
But I am curious about the Alpacka Gnu. The videos I have found show it on class 1 to 2 whitewater. I understand its designed as more of a canoe, but Alpacka says it can be outfitted with kayak-style seats and paddled by two people with kayak paddles.
Has anyone paddled a Gnu as a 2 person kayak in big water class 3 to 3+?
It is quite a bit shorter, and the weight difference is huge; under 10 lbs, while the 2 person IKs are more like 43 to 46. If I ended up with a Gnu I'd probably paddle it solo as well, on hike-in whitewater in the class 3 to 4 range.
I'd also be curious about what your favorite two person whitewater IK is and why. Are the Tributaries good? Anyone compared Lynx 2 to Outfitter 2?
Thanks for any input!

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Old 05-06-2016   #2
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 99
Give a 2-man Jack's Yack from Jack's Plastic Welding (JPW) a try. The have more rocker than most IK's and can handle waves better. We have 1-man and 2-man versions of those and like both. Also have a 2-man Hyside Paddilac which is bombproof and a good gear-hauler, but the JPW IK's are better in rapids. The Aire Lynx II is good performing IK, but has only 11" tubes which I find to be on the small side. Prefer an IK with at least a 12" tubes. Ran Cabarton in a 2-man Legacy as well as a Lynx, but preferred the Legacy since it had larger tubes (13"). Too bad its a non-bailer else I'd recommend that.
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Old 05-06-2016   #3
Enfield, New Hampshire
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 390
Which Sevylor model did you paddle? Was it the sk200ds? I have the solo version and its no problem bailing. The tandem version should bail pretty well also. Of course the tubes are smaller in diam. than what you want, but I am sure that upto 3+ water they would be no problem and would probably handle 4s also with an experienced paddler. They are very rigid compared to Aires etc and also much lighter. Dont have any experience with Alpacas and the others you mention.
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Old 05-07-2016   #4
SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 148
What do you plan to do with that boat? The boats mentioned are all lots different and good for different things. If you are going to backpack with it, an Alpaca or one of the other packrafts is your only realistic choice (check out the Alpacklypse for a more serious 10 lb whitewater boat that will carry gear. If you are looking for a kid's intro to paddling, any "real" ducky or a Jack's Pack cat will work well, I think. If you looking for something to do things like low water MFS or San Juan self-support trips with no significant packing in, a 2 person Lynx or a Jack's Fat Cat work great.
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