Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Cheaper Raft Options
Display Avatars Sort By:
Ryan W
(mwilks) - F
Re: Raft for class II on 05/06/2011 23:21:22 MDT Print View

Hey Karen,

What model and how old is the Alpacka you have? You might find some takers here on the Gear Swap or alternatively people are always looking for boats on the packrafting forums (


Chris S
(ChrisvonS) - F

Locale: UK mostly
Intex Sea Hawk on 07/08/2011 03:58:40 MDT Print View

You may think I’m joking but if you’re really hard up or just want to get an idea about packrafting, consider something like a tough, PVC Intex Sea Hawk dinghy. The one-man model goes here in the UK from 20 quid (pump extra); the 2-man less than double that. I’ve persuaded mates to get one of each to join me in my 1000-dollar decked Alpacka Yak and for what you pay a Sea Hawk must be one of the best value boats around. The quality is way better than you’d expect and I’m sure I could run WW2, and have a laugh doing it. It will definitely last more than a summer. The weight of the Sea Hawk 1 is about the same as my Yak, maybe a pound or 2 more.
The only drawbacks are they’re both too roomy for good control (unlike a snug Alpacka, etc); they have three chambers but some crap valves can’t deliver a high pressure. And also these are set up as rowing/fishing platforms, so you get moulded rollocks and rod holders getting in the way when paddling kayak-style. Like a rowing boat the fat bow is where you sit facing back towards the flat stern. As you see from my vids and photos on my blog (see profile - search 'Intex'), you can kayak paddle sitting either way, but at my weight the trim is a lot better if I sit at the bow in the rowing position facing ‘backwards’. Even then, paddling against the ‘blunt end’ I still managed 2.5mph on the sea.
Try one if you’re not sure, and then you’ll really enjoy the sensation of upgrading to a Flyweight, Alpacka, Baylee, etc!

Edited by ChrisvonS on 07/08/2011 04:00:11 MDT.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Let's Open the Discussion on 10/03/2011 09:34:13 MDT Print View

Let's do open the discussion.

It seems that one could DIY a servicable pack raft with a nylon shell and air-tight liner. The shell could be any weight of nylon appropriate to the end use and would serve to shape, contain, and protect the liner. The liner could be a thin film of vinyl, polyurethane or any other material that would allow a DIYer to seal the seams. Valves of various grades are available.

Roy Staggs
(onepaddlejunkie) - F

Locale: SEC
Marc Shea on 10/09/2011 11:56:32 MDT Print View

Marc Shea
This is what I want out of a pack raft:
Weigh less than 2 lbs
10' long and 23.25 inches wide
Stiff and as durable as a blow molded Prijon kayak
Able to support 666 lbs
Pack down and store inside a 500 ml water bottle
Nice chines so I can carve into eddies
Incredibly stable so someone who has no paddling experience can run class V
Inflatable self bailing floor
Water tight spray skirt
Camo on the top and florescent lime green on the bottom
I want it to track straight without corrective strokes from me
Must be able to spin on a dime and give me eight cents change
Must cost less than $100.00
Kind of stuff I used to hear when I was a canoe company rep. Keep working on and improving your designs. If you build a good product at an attractive price, people will wear you out buying it. Best of luck to you.

Jeremy Platt
(jeremy089786) - F

Locale: Sydney
El Cheapo on 04/07/2012 01:09:05 MDT Print View

The cheapest solution I could find is a small $20 kmart raft which I cut holes in to make it self bailing. Its biggest problem is, as mentioned earlier, crappy valves which do not allow it to develop high pressure. Also, I would love to see one with higher floor to keep me a bit drier.

It works for me in class 2 and even a couple of 3's if you are not scared of swimming.

Some pics at:

Edited by jeremy089786 on 10/22/2013 02:53:00 MDT.

. Callahan

Locale: Stoke Newington, London, UK.
The right price point! on 04/11/2012 19:57:38 MDT Print View

"What is the right price? I like to hear what the right price point is."

The right price point is the one that the raft manufacturer attains!

sean neves
(Seanneves) - M

Locale: City of Salt
Re: El Cheapo on 04/18/2012 12:02:51 MDT Print View

Hey that's an excellent modification you've done there! The "Bents basin" is the most substantial river that I have seen these toys in. A thought about mods (LOVE the self bailing mod!): install some "real" or "boston" valves for easy inflation and deflation. I will try this on my crappy pool toy and report!

Jeremy Platt
(jeremy089786) - F

Locale: Sydney
Bents Basin on 04/18/2012 17:58:52 MDT Print View

Hi Sean,

Glad you like the mod. It is really really simple! I was also amazed at how much it improved the performance of the boat. I got in contact with flyweight to see if they are keen to make one, but unfortunately they don't have time now.

I reckon you could buy one of their basic or rugged boats and simply glue in the floor of one of $20 boats and then make it self bailing. It is certainly very easy to cut the floor out of the cheap boats, I have done it a couple of times to make pillows and so forth.

Also, for those of you who are keen, I have added the link to the raft heading down Bents Basin:!/2012/04/packrafting-bents-basin-grade-2-3.html

All the best,


Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Bents Basin on 04/18/2012 18:09:19 MDT Print View

Feathercraft makes a self-bailing packraft but it's 10 lbs and more costly than a decked Alpacka. Sitting in water all day is not at all appealing to me either. Self-bailing big boats have you sitting on the thwart tubes and not the floor.

Nice work on the DIY though. Seems fine for the mild stuff.

Edited by simplespirit on 04/18/2012 18:11:07 MDT.

sean neves
(Seanneves) - M

Locale: City of Salt
Re: Re: Bents Basin on 04/22/2012 19:07:44 MDT Print View

Hard to tell from the pics, but I am seeing some substantial drops on that little stretch of water. Looks like solid 3 or 3+ to me. One solution would be to raise your butt above the water with a small inflatable seat. That's what I do in one of my more wet duckies.

Amy Hatch
If you use packrafts only occasionally, think about renting ... on 10/18/2013 20:18:04 MDT Print View

Just thought I'd throw this out there ...

Through my company, Jackson Hole Packraft & Packraft Rentals Anywhere (, I rent packrafts throughout the Lower 48 and Canada. Cost starts at $40 per day with significant savings for multi-day rentals (a week, for example, is $200).

My process is simple. I Fed Ex you the Alpacka or Feathercraft packraft and you go on an adventure. When you're done, you put the boat back in the box, affix the return label I provide and drop it off at any Fed Ex location.

Questions? My name is Amy and my cell number is 907-830-1016. We just finished our third summer in business, so we have the process pretty dialed at this point.

I will allow this posting as it is very relevant to this thread - but don't push it. I may change my mind if needed.
Vendors should NOT join in here: go to Gear Deals and offer a DEAL.

Roger Caffin
Online Community Momitor
Backpacking Light

Edited by rcaffin on 10/21/2013 14:34:58 MDT.