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sevylor trail boat for lakes?
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chris towles
(ctowles) - F

Locale: Teton Country
sevylor trail boat for lakes? on 03/23/2009 13:23:12 MDT Print View

well, let me start by saying that i am not a newbie to packrafting. over the past few years myself and friends have packed sevylor caravelle rafts deep into the wind river backcountry for fishing high alpine lakes. most of these trips have been so successful that i lament every time i get to a pristine fishing spot sans raft. the downside to packing the raft is the weight. the 4 person raft we used to carry in sat 3 people, was very reliable, but weighed in at 16 lbs for the raft alone...yeesh. the last couple summers we downgraded to the 3 person caravelle which really seats 2 and weighs in around 8 lbs...still pretty hefty. i'm looking for something even lighter. i have read the numerous "reports" of the downsides to the sevylor trail boat. however, in all of these reports, it seems like the testers were taking these boats and pushing them well past their intended purposes..thus finding limitations. let me say first off that i am not looking to run ANY whitewater in a sevylor trail boat. i am a very seasoned whitewater kayaker (10+ years) who has run plenty of class V in my day, and the idea of taking a 3.5 lb sevylor raft thru even a class II rapid sounds like a dicey proposition to me. what i'm looking for is a boat that can safely float me along the banks of a calm lake, and mabye even make a 1/2 mile lake crossing without trying to drown me. i understand i will need to be leary of rocks and logs, etc. with the light materials used in the trail boat. i just want to know if the trail boat is even worthy enough a vessel to do what i am intending to do with it, which is just to gain better access for fishing in high alpine lakes and mabye make a crossing or two. any owners out there that can comment on this subject?

i realise that getting an alpacka raft would alleveiate all problems, etc. however, spending over $800 on a raft to float flatwater seems a a bit overkill to me. i understand that an alpacka does have the added benefit of being able to run some moderate whitewater (class III), however as i said before this is not of much interest to me. most of the rivers/whitewater along the way of where i will be hiking are so gnarly that i would need a full on creek boat to survive safely, so anything outside of flatwater floating ability is overkill. so what do you guys think? will a sevylor trail boat work for what i am looking for? should me and my buddy just suck it up and carry the 8lb caravelle and redistribute the other gear to even out pack weights?

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: sevylor trail boat for lakes? on 03/23/2009 14:26:03 MDT Print View


I have used an Alpacka for high lake fishing since 2004 and I don't have first hand experience with the Sevylor Trail Boat. Before I bought my Alpacka, I considered it but decided against it after reading the review at

chris towles
(ctowles) - F

Locale: Teton Country
design flaws on 03/23/2009 15:08:51 MDT Print View

this was one of the reviews i was commenting on. in the picture atop the page there is a shot of running what looks to be a rocky class III rapid in a swamped boat. this is exactly what i do not intend to do. it then goes on to talk about "design flaws" of the trail boat...yeesh. i'm looking to float lakes, most of them fairly small in size and will do my best to load and unload in areas that do not have sharp rocks

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
sevylor trail boat on 03/23/2009 19:03:51 MDT Print View

Hi, I've got one and have floated successfully down my local stretch of the Eel River. The water is flat but moving. I am 6'3" and 220 lbs. I consider this to be beyond the realistic capacity of the craft, but it gets the job done. You will get wet while in it. I think though for the purpose you intend to use it for I would say go ahead. Especially if you are less than 6' tall Here is an unflattering photo of a fatter me in minetrail boat

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: sevylor trail boat for lakes? on 03/23/2009 19:13:56 MDT Print View

Chris, thanks for bringing this up, I too have been looking at the Sevylor, the Alpacka is cost prohibitive for what I need to do. At $800 it costs more then all the stuff in my pack combined (maybe not including my sleeping bag)!
I couldn't find any other lightweight rafts/boats anywhere. I have a friend who has a small 1 man raft that was used as a life raft for fighter pilots but he bought it years ago and I can't find them anywhere. It is very light weight and fairly durable (he would let the scouts paddle it around on small alpine lakes). I wish I could find whoever made it to see if there are any on a back shelf in some warehouse somewhere.

Edited by bestbuilder on 03/23/2009 19:16:01 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
go for it on 03/23/2009 22:49:29 MDT Print View

My Sevylor's great for flat water, though as the posted photo illustrates, not too much room for a pack. It'll serve your purpose well.

Erin McKittrick
(mckittre) - MLife

Locale: Seldovia, Alaska
Yes, Sevylor is fine for lakes on 03/27/2009 21:09:50 MDT Print View

As the person who posted the mentioned review...

Yes, you are fine to get the Sevylor for flat water lake paddling. I think I even say that at the end of the review. :) After all, I did survive fine with taking one on an 800 mile expedition - just wouldn't recommend it.

Just note the flaws and be prepared for them: Baby the paddles and the floor, bring patching material, expect water to get in if you're heavily loaded, and under no circumstances tie anything to the tie rings (just cut those off). You'll do fine with it unless you're a very large person.

Alex Maslov
(alexmaslov) - F
Re: sevylor trail boat for lakes? on 06/14/2010 11:16:57 MDT Print View

There is a new packraft available at in the $270 range, and is much more durable than the trail boat.

Matthew Perry
(bigfoot2) - F

Locale: Oregon
Re: Re: sevylor trail boat for lakes? on 06/18/2010 20:44:12 MDT Print View

"There is a new packraft available at in the $270 range, and is much more durable than the trail boat."

Looks like a nice option for a lot less money! Thanks! Now i have to get one :)

G Foster McLachlan
(hunter13) - F

Locale: NYS
Affordable Packrafts on 07/04/2010 12:05:07 MDT Print View

So the question is whats the difference in durability of the Sevylor vs this flyweight design packraft forthis price difference of ~200 bucks.

-The flyweight design is made of 200D Nylon.
NOt sure of the Sevylor but I/M checking.

Does it fill the gap between Alpacka and Sevylor?
Does anyone have experience here with the flyweight or is it completely new to the market?
All things considered is 200d nylon relatively strong? Or is it barely a bump up from the Sevylor which seems like a pool float to me.

Eventually I'll be buying a $$ Alpacka but want something now for lake floats for kicking back and flyfishing and just to get me started. Sevylor is an option but I would imagine puncture would be a constant issue.

Phil Turner
FlytePacker on 07/04/2010 15:15:47 MDT Print View

I've been playing with the FlytePacker on Loch Lomond in Scotland, and I'd suggest taking a look at the photos and video here before deciding. There is a world of difference between the FlytePacker and the Sevylor, not least that you've got room to carry a fair bit of equipment in comfort.

Plus, the lashing points aren't going to sink the boat if you somehow manage to pull them out!

Edited by PhilT on 07/04/2010 15:17:15 MDT.

Edward Z
(Fuzz) - MLife

Locale: Sunny San Diego
Must be well received! on 12/02/2010 11:46:50 MST Print View

The packrafts are sold out from the listed flytepacker.... Waiting to see when they are going to get them back in stock....


Additionally, great service times. Already responded to me and answered my questions. They will be producing more in about 4 weeks... Flyweight Designs... This will be my first foray into the field and I'm looking forward to trying it.....


Edited by Fuzz on 12/02/2010 12:08:22 MST.

peter vacco

Locale: no. california
Re: sevylor trail boat for lakes? on 01/22/2011 09:35:50 MST Print View

sevylor's are a chinese pool toy designed by the french, so obviously, you will be traveling at some risk. but aside from that, they are pretty cool. and for 60 bucks, what do you want from them ? i sevylor'd i think it was the Reed/Kobuk Rivers out of the Brooks Range before Sherrie invented the real thing, and while granted, it was an intense experience watching for every little insignificant snag (high water, gardens of trees just under the surface), everything worked out ok. no big deal.
when i received the raft, i did the appropriate testing to assure it would work in the arctic by taking it down to the pool at my apartment. the pool gate was locked, so, testing completed, i took it back upstairs and packed it for the north.
the first time ever on the water (Reed R.), i initially tried to knee in it. this lasted a car length and i was overboard. oh well ... so after that i did the sitting down routine and it worked great. until the first corner. did you know the water goes to the outside on the bends ?
using the paddle kayak style seemed to bring in a lot of wet, so i split it into 2 paddles and have been on that program ever since.
better manuverability, but not so much propulsion (wish i spelled) over any great distance. hella good though for about 100 yds, you can almost make her jump out of the water. split paddle is the hot ticket for avoiding sweepers in the corners.

people seem to want to trash the trail boat. yes, it holes easily. especially the floor. so what. deal with it. it has a smaller front tube and sits nice and level right at the seam line, which is rather more attractive than an Alpacka. i am every bit of 210 lbs and carry too big a pack. still, is enough boat if i am dealing with not hitting rocks and snags and ice.
i currently own (and love) an Alpacka for it's virtues of massive floatation and amazing durability. it is a great comfort knowing that the boat is not overly delicate. i am look'n Hard at the new scout, or putting a lighter floor in my "big" boat.
for what you get, a sevylor is a good deal. for what you get, an Alpacka is a good deal. is your choice.

Marc Shea
(FlytePacker) - F

Locale: Cascades
The Trail Boat is no longer produced on 01/22/2011 10:48:19 MST Print View

FWIW the Trail Boat was discontinued last fall.

Chris S
(ChrisvonS) - F

Locale: UK mostly
Sevy Trail Boat reborn? on 10/21/2011 00:57:34 MDT Print View

I got an email from a guy the other day who cut the outer hull off his Sevy Super Caravelle. Result: a lighter, slimmer, faster, more responsive and more compact boat that compares well if not improves on (more leg room) the withdrawn Trail Boat. Cost: £32 plus a bit of careful scissoring. More photos on my blog.
I love my Alpacka but couldn’t resist ordering a Sevy SC and following his mods. I’ve done a few trips this year with mates in these cheapo dinghies and as other posters have mentioned, as long as you appreciate it’s not an Alpacka or a Feathercraft Baylee, you’ll get a great boat for next to nothing.

Chris S

Cut down Sevy Caravelle

Edited by ChrisvonS on 10/21/2011 11:05:34 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Sevy Trail Boat reborn? on 10/21/2011 02:06:22 MDT Print View

Maybe in warm flat water with sandy banks, and I would be wearing my PFD. Not in 40F water, wind or tides, thank you very much! Very creative none the less.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Sevy Trail Boat reborn? on 10/21/2011 08:39:36 MDT Print View

Chris, the pic on your blog seems to be a Super Caravelle, 3 person. Which exact size super caravelle did you use?

Chris S
(ChrisvonS) - F

Locale: UK mostly
1 person Super Caravelle on 10/21/2011 11:03:55 MDT Print View

John, it's not my boat but the guy's who emailed me with pics.
I'm pretty sure his picture in my post above/below is the smallest 1 person- or '1+1' Super Caravelle: Sevy code XR56GTX-7
which is 1.9m long standard, and 1.63 once cut down.

Perhaps the sectional graphic with pillow was of a bigger, 3-pax boat?

The non-Europe (US?) 2-pax SC looks slightly different, but is still '56' on the side:
Same dims too, more or less: 6'5" = 1.91