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Discussion Starter #1
I've been paddling the AIRE BAKraft Expedition for the past month and am excited to share my impressions. This is the boat for those of you who want to hike into (or out of) mult-day runs.

The unexpected side benefit of this boat was how slippery the Spectra material is. It slides over rocks better than urethane making it feel more like a hardshell.

Here's a longer write-up with some photos:

AIRE BAKraft Expedition Review | Northwest Rafting Co.


I've never bought AIRE boats before because I'm personally not a fan of the inner bladder - outer bladder design. With some of the hi tech materials coming out I'm starting to see that the AIRE design could be the future of innovation. I hope the next thing they do is a 40 lb paddleboat.

I look forward to a great discussion and hope that Greenwall chimes in with some comic relief.

 

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Zach hey Bro,this is your story. I have no business with some high horsepower super spectra hydro twinkie. I need 2 sticks
 

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Discussion Starter #4
There's room behind the seat and in front of your feet for full size drybags.

For Rough and Ready Creek I used a full dry bag in the front as a replacement for foot braces. I had my internal frame backpack with gear that can get wet rigged behind my seat.
 

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Shapp
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Nice, Maybe someone at Aire can chime in and let us know when it will be out for sale, so I don't have to buy the damed Kokopelli. Releasing it this summer, say at the August gear show, means most of the stuff that would be great to use it for won't have any water left, until this next winter or spring.
Thanks!
 

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Jared
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How stiff does the hull become in comparison to a traditional IK? How much pressure does it take? What do you think the weight limit will be on it?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
AIRE tells me it will be ready for sale in 2017. I know that's vague and not very soon, but I am glad that they're thoroughly testing this boat.

The boat seems as stiff as any other kayak. SOTAR urethane boats are more rigid and can run at higher pressure, but this boat seems the same as any other IK. AIRE told me the recommended inflation pressure is 2.5 psi.

On Rough and Ready Creek I had 80+ lbs of gear plus me (220 lbs) in the boat and I felt it could have handled more.
 

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Misspellingintothefuture!
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Any thigh straps in that boat? Couldn't quite tell from the picture.
Looks like a sweet little boat, dig the idea of having an inflatable floor.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Mikesee - what would you like pictures of? There are a lot of photos in the blog post that I linked to.

Yes, we did hike in with our gear but didn't need to hike out. We had pretty heavy packs hiking in and after 2 days and nights of hiking/camping in the rain and snow everything was soaking wet. My best guess is 80 lbs.
 

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Mikesee - what would you like pictures of? There are a lot of photos in the blog post that I linked to.

Yes, we did hike in with our gear but didn't need to hike out. We had pretty heavy packs hiking in and after 2 days and nights of hiking/camping in the rain and snow everything was soaking wet. My best guess is 80 lbs.
Ah -- rain soaked = 80# makes sense.

Went and checked out your blog post just now -- wanted to see pics of how it was loaded for a multi-day.

Not a fan of the "IK junkshow" style of packing stuff all around my body inside the cockpit, but I recognize that people have been doing just that for a long time.

Thanks for sharing.

When would you anticipate Chetco coming into reasonable flows? Early May?

I've ELF'ed it once, but would love to get back with some padding.

Cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Mikesee,

I had my dry gear in a dry bag in front of my feet and everything that could get wet (or in smaller dry bags) packed in my internal frame pack behind the seat. I like things packed up nicely and away from the cockpit too. It's hard to do this with the 7 foot packraft or an Alpacka where your gear has to sit on your lap.

After trying a few configurations out I found that using a big dry bag as the seat/backrest was ideal. In this configuration I used my smaller safety/first aid/repair bag as a footbrace in front of my feet but I could have easily put another big dry bag up there.

As for the Chetco coming into reasonable flows I bet it will happen quite often between now and June. Right now it's 2000 cfs and dropping which is quite doable. I prefer 400-800 cfs for IK trips and that will happen after a dry spell. The key to getting on the Chetco this spring will be the trail being clear of snow.
 

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Mikesee,

I had my dry gear in a dry bag in front of my feet and everything that could get wet (or in smaller dry bags) packed in my internal frame pack behind the seat. I like things packed up nicely and away from the cockpit too. It's hard to do this with the 7 foot packraft or an Alpacka where your gear has to sit on your lap.
I was referring to the pic in your blog post, where the guy looks like he's sitting in a bathtub with his toys packed all around him.

Agreed on old-school Alpacka's with the pack on the bow, but the invention/adaptation of the Cargo Fly zipper changed that years ago. Gear stays low (at or below waterline) and dry inside the tubes now.


As for the Chetco coming into reasonable flows I bet it will happen quite often between now and June. Right now it's 2000 cfs and dropping which is quite doable. I prefer 400-800 cfs for IK trips and that will happen after a dry spell. The key to getting on the Chetco this spring will be the trail being clear of snow.
Any idea if Brad has been driving up to pack the road down? That'd be a lot longer walk if not.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I was referring to the pic in your blog post, where the guy looks like he's sitting in a bathtub with his toys packed all around him.

Any idea if Brad has been driving up to pack the road down? That'd be a lot longer walk if not.
Yes, that's one of my friends who is paddling a shorter boat. We normally use the 10' SOTAR ATVs so that the gear can be packed in the bow and stern and away from the paddler.

No, I don't think Brad is driving the road to pack it down.
 

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Not intending to thread jack, but we just finished an 11 day Grand Canyon trip in our Alpacka zipper boats.

I've used the Bakraft and I think it has promise for tight, low volume woody creeks, especially when you're in and out of your boat often to scout or portage.

For multiday stuff and *especially* high volume rivers, I'd never, ever choose it over a zippered Alpacka.

https://vimeo.com/155308111
 

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Shapp
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I for one want a packraft to hike into some steep narrow stuff in the PNW at low water that may have wood and lots of scouting. I also like the option to use my boat a a couch and bed and think the new bakraft fits the bill. I actually called up Aire last year to see if they would make essentially same thing that Zack is testing, and Aire said they were already in development of a longer bakraft. I would be stoked to try one out.

Ik as a bed and couch on the upper Chetco:



 

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Discussion Starter #19
Shappattack,

You and I want this boat for the exact same reasons. I'm so glad they're working on it and I think you're going to be stoked.

There is a large contingent of Alpacka'ers who want to do Class III runs that involve 20+ mile hikes. The shorter boat (Hybrid) is meant to compete with these boaters/backpackers/over-landers. These people enjoy the hiking as much as the river.

The longer boat (Expedition) is for people like you and me who have a whitewater background and simply want to get into some more difficult and eccentric runs that require 5-10 mile hikes. I have 2 more of these projects in mind right now. For us (or at least me) the hike is not as much fun as the river.

I think many whitewater boaters will buy the expedition for the hike-in trips and end up using it for their all around boat. It slides over rocks (aka "boofs") beautifully and makes portaging way more fun.

That's my take after getting involved in quite a few discussions over the past few days.
 

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I would be more concerned about the foot long gash just after taking off. Are the sharp rocks up there just going to slice through them or are they working on something more HD for the exoskeleton. I assume they are using Honeywell Spectra.
 
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