Talk me into or out of a packraft - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 12-20-2013   #1
 
2kanzam's Avatar
 
Charleston, West Virginny
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 462
Talk me into or out of a packraft

It's been too long since I've been on the water, therefore my mind goes where it always does..."I should buy another boat!" ...it says. That all too often tends to be my ill-advised rememdy to cabin fever.

So packrafts- They will fill a niche I do not have covered. I am a fisherman first and a boater second (although do both most weeks at the same time) and I think one could serve me well for a few certain areas. These streams would be mostly class I maybe II with shallow shoals for the most part. I envision the packraft expediting my exit back to the car or accessing the otherside of streams in spots I cannot wade nor effectively traverse.

I don't feel like I can justify the cost of an Alpacka to myself...so I look towards the NRS packraft.

The NRS Pros I see:
-2 tube chambers (vs 1 for the alpackas)
-Comes with floor, doubles as sleeping pad
-Larger than most (all?) alpackas
-Alot cheaper than Alpackas

The Cons:
[email protected] 200lbs I fear the tube design will have me floating "wheelies" all the time- alpackas have the pointy area in the back for the extra flotation for the torso
-Fewer options/ accessories, like no sprayskirt (not sure I want a sprayskirt tho)
-Apparently the NRS D-rings are total crap
-NRS is 7.4 lbs, slightly heavier than the alpackas (I'm no ultralite backpacker though)
-Maybe too large (being 5'9" I prolly will have trouble bracing against the front tubes.)
-Sounds as if they pack larger than Alpackas

So as you can see, many of the cons are "trivial" to a point. Anyone own an NRS packraft that would care to chime in?

Do you use it more or less than you thought, are they fragile etc. Talk me into or out of one of these. (or sell me one of yours)

Thanks as always buzzards

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Old 12-20-2013   #2
 
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,812
I do not have the answers to your question.

But am interested in following this thread.

Lately I have been researching the Alpacka set up and am totally amazed at what they can do and how little they weight.

Don't know about the NRS versions but the Alpacka's seem to be really light weight if you are carrying them plus fishing gear.
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Old 12-20-2013   #3
 
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Tigard, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 784
I saw an Alpacka at a lake in the Eagle Cap Wilderness last summer, they hiked it in a fished the lake with it for a few days. The quality was stout, it floated nicely with a variety of people trying it out and looked like it tracked well. I don't think you would go wrong with one. I have not seen the NRS boat in person.
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Old 12-20-2013   #4
 
Florence, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 220
I was interested too, mainly just curiosity. And since i'm not a cat, it seemed harmless. Material is different and supposedly fairly strong. Thought a few threads had been hit with this subject. The NRS wasn't highly reviewed, and had some complaints about durability, even on reviews on their website. Seems the Alpackas have a good rep and pretty good durability.
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Old 12-20-2013   #5
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 66
You'll want the skirt for any sort of whitewater. I'd recommend a used alpacka.
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Old 12-20-2013   #6
 
Pugetopolis, Washington
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 767
Cant comment on the NRS but I have an Alpacka Denali llama. Mine has the cargo fly to store gear inside. They're remarkable little boats really. Very lightweight and durable. The big butt design(stability) and the skirt,stowage ability impress me the most. I'm a somewhat big guy and no wheelies for me,in it. They track extremely well,I thought,in the short times I've had them on the water. I Took them on The Hoh and Queets river. not too technical but they're glacial rivers so fast with a strong cold current. Almost felt like I was in a hardshell boat. They're not super comfy for long periods of time but most little boats aren't either. Without going into it,I'd def take Alpacka over NRS. If you plan on hiking long distances with it(and that's what they're meant for) you'll be happy you went with something lighter that packs down smaller. Cause pfd's,helmet,paddles,food,water,fish poles etc all start to pileup quick. Lightweight is the name of the game with alpacas. If you're not doing much whitewater you probably wouldn't need the fancy WW spray deck. Their convertible one should be suitable.
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Old 12-20-2013   #7
 
StGeorge, Utah
Paddling Since: 1972
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 35
Do it and don't look back

I love my alpackas, I have run heavy class 3 and love how well they handle it. I have the denali for my main backpacker, a alpacka for smaller friends, and a fjord explorer with the rowing kit for fishing calm rivers and mountain lakes. I have the cruiser deck on all three but may have a white water deck put on the Denali so I can start running some bigger stuff with it. If I had to chose just one though, it would be the fjord hands down for its versatility, it has replaced all of my hard shell and sot kayaks at the lakes for fishing for all but the biggest lakes where paddling long distances in a short time is priority. It does almost as well in the white water as the Denali but has more room for gear and tracks better too.

I wouldn't waste my money on the NRS unit, I couldn't find one good review for it when I decided to buy something in that class. Be careful though, they are addictive little things and before you know it you have a fleet. It is kinda nice keeping on in the car or truck too.
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Old 12-21-2013   #8
 
Willi..., Willimina, OR
Paddling Since: 68
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 482
Look at Jacks Plastic in Aztec New Mexico

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2kanzam View Post
It's been too long since I've been on the water, therefore my mind goes where it always does..."I should buy another boat!" ...it says. That all too often tends to be my ill-advised rememdy to cabin fever.

So packrafts- They will fill a niche I do not have covered. I am a fisherman first and a boater second (although do both most weeks at the same time) and I think one could serve me well for a few certain areas. These streams would be mostly class I maybe II with shallow shoals for the most part. I envision the packraft expediting my exit back to the car or accessing the otherside of streams in spots I cannot wade nor effectively traverse.

I don't feel like I can justify the cost of an Alpacka to myself...so I look towards the NRS packraft.

The NRS Pros I see:
-2 tube chambers (vs 1 for the alpackas)
-Comes with floor, doubles as sleeping pad
-Larger than most (all?) alpackas
-Alot cheaper than Alpackas

The Cons:
[email protected] 200lbs I fear the tube design will have me floating "wheelies" all the time- alpackas have the pointy area in the back for the extra flotation for the torso
-Fewer options/ accessories, like no sprayskirt (not sure I want a sprayskirt tho)
-Apparently the NRS D-rings are total crap
-NRS is 7.4 lbs, slightly heavier than the alpackas (I'm no ultralite backpacker though)
-Maybe too large (being 5'9" I prolly will have trouble bracing against the front tubes.)
-Sounds as if they pack larger than Alpackas

So as you can see, many of the cons are "trivial" to a point. Anyone own an NRS packraft that would care to chime in?

Do you use it more or less than you thought, are they fragile etc. Talk me into or out of one of these. (or sell me one of yours)

Thanks as always buzzards
Ten fold improvement in quality over the N-Folks; Made in the NM USA
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Old 12-27-2013   #9
 
2kanzam's Avatar
 
Charleston, West Virginny
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 462
Quote:
Originally Posted by garystrome View Post
Ten fold improvement in quality over the N-Folks; Made in the NM USA
I don't see anything comparable @ JPW. The mosquito is much larger and heavier than I'm considering. Am I missing something?



Thanks tho guys, although I'm not sure I'm any closer to a decision eitherway.

I do like the concept of the alpackas...except they are 2x's as much $ for a boat that I suspect I may use 3x's a year....for that I feel like I can get away with being super easy on the crappy d-ring that everyone apparently rips off of the NRS.

Not worried about whitewater either...that's what the other 5 boats I have are for !

...Still thinking!
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Old 12-27-2013   #10
 
Bisters, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 422
I've seen both the NRS and Alpackas in action. I have a number of friends with various generations of Alpackas and as stated, those boats are where it's at. Personally I'm waiting for the next generation of ww specific Alpacka to become available (hopefully spring 2014!) Having read what you intend to do with it, the NRS will be just fine. It's small(ish), and it floats. Unless you intend to do more of what the Alpackas excel at, then you probably won't get your $$$ worth just putting around and ferrying across small streams.
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