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Old 09-25-2020, 01:26 AM   #1
forest dweller
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Who can recommend a great packraft?

Who can recommend a great packraft - super strong and reliable, able to accommodate a 190 pound man and 45 pounds of gear...for flat water tripping? Have never done the Long Lake to Tupper Lake Racquette River trip because of the 1 mile carry around the falls with a royalex tandem canoe and a heavy pack...saw some guys getting ready to do this trip in pack rafts at Long Lake boat launch as I was getting back from my recent trip...saw how it solved that problem!
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Old 09-25-2020, 08:27 AM   #2
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The Racquette Falls carry is a tough one, but certainly doable, even if you can't traverse it in a single trip and need to make it a double (actually a triple length) trip. There are three rocky initial slopes to negotiate before you reach height of land and can go (mostly) down again. I've seen young Boy Scouts handle it and appreciate the experience. I am not sure how hauling a raft plus 45 pounds of gear would be any easier. Plus the problem of rowing a raft in the often potential strong winds on Long Lake, which can give even race paddlers in sleek canoes problems reaching the far north end.
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Old 09-25-2020, 10:38 AM   #3
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The Racquette Falls carry is a tough one, but certainly doable, even if you can't traverse it in a single trip and need to make it a double (actually a triple length) trip. There are three rocky initial slopes to negotiate before you reach height of land and can go (mostly) down again. I've seen young Boy Scouts handle it and appreciate the experience. I am not sure how hauling a raft plus 45 pounds of gear would be any easier. Plus the problem of rowing a raft in the often potential strong winds on Long Lake, which can give even race paddlers in sleek canoes problems reaching the far north end.
I usually have a 6 or 8 mile limit per day and that should be doable, even if tough, paddling a barge in strong winds. A 65 pound 16 and a half foot tandem royalex tripping canoe would probably be tougher and more awkward to carry than a packraft. Besides, it's just as much about travelling the backcountry in another way as it is for ease.
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Old 09-25-2020, 06:21 PM   #4
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How about a Hornbeck?
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Old 09-25-2020, 07:56 PM   #5
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Your best bet is probably to do as was suggested and invest in a lightweight canoe. I can't imagine paddling a packraft on flatwater for any distance.

I'm not sure I would go the Hornbeck route, but certain models could probably get the job done. If I was going to combine big(er) water with need for lightweight I'd probably recommend looking into a solo canoe, or a lightweight tandem. A 40lb 16' canoe will do the trip easily, and if you double portage, you'll never carry more than your pack weight.

Most any decent solo canoes less than 16' will weigh far less than 40lbs in Kevlar. Mine weighs around 32lb. It's not as easy to carry to ponds as a Hornbeck, but it's much better on bigger lakes. I consider it the best all-around compromise for ADK tripping.

Paddling a 16' tandem solo with only 45lb of ballast is not ideal, IMO. If you're not a solo tripper as it is, this is probably your best bet though. Keep an eye on the used market for any Swifts. I actually have a 40 year old Kevlar boat that is in excellent condition. If they are stored properly (out of the sun) they last a long, long time. Some of the older boats, even in Kevlar will weight more. I think my old one is around 50 lbs, but it's not hard to find one in the 45 lb range.
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Old 09-26-2020, 09:09 AM   #6
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A 12' Hornbeck with a 35# pack gets the job done just fine on LL. Never tried a pack raft but they seem to have alot of exposure to the wind. I saw someone trying to inflate one the other day, the hand pump was HUGE! You would have to triple carry just for the pump!
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Old 09-26-2020, 12:51 PM   #7
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There have been Hornbecks for sale on this forum recently. A pristine 14 footer was up for $400, less than 1/5th of its real value. It did not last long.
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Old 09-26-2020, 01:37 PM   #8
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There have been Hornbecks for sale on this forum recently. A pristine 14 footer was up for $400, less than 1/5th of its real value. It did not last long.
Hopefully the police recovered it and reunited it with its rightful owner
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Old 09-26-2020, 03:05 PM   #9
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Hopefully the police recovered it and reunited it with its rightful owner
They single guy had 3 boats for sale, his car and trailer were loaded with all he needed, heading out, moving to Florida that very day. Nothing otherwise unusual about him or his home where the boats resided. Are you aware of a report of any missing canoes in the Albany area?
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Old 06-27-2021, 03:37 PM   #10
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Probably too late, but an Alpacka Expedition should do pretty well. It weighs around 7Lbs and you inflate it with a dry bag/inflation bag. This is not an old school rowing raft, but a serious packraft for real paddling adventures. I have done this route with my wife and dog, 3 days worth of gear in our 14' Hornbeck classic. The classic hull design works great, even on large bodies of water in big waves and strong winds. I have done many multi week trips with mine in serious wilderness up in Canada, no problem. That being said, I am getting an Alpacka Expedition to add variety to my adventures. They are both awesome boats!
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Old 08-30-2021, 09:39 PM   #11
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I've recently been looking at getting a packraft and one from Alpacka. They fit an interesting niche or two.

You can carry them in your backpack and go to places not practical, or maybe even possible, with a light kayak or canoe. Moreover, they are much lighter than almost all Hornbecks yet can carry substantial loads. The tradeoff is they cannot paddle with the speed or grace or a canoe or kayak and are susceptible to being blown around on the water.

My use would be for remote ponds/lakes that you have to backpack into. The problem with packrafts is they are not available anywhere in the Adirondacks, that I am aware, to view, touch, and get a sense for. You have to buy online, spending a substantial amount of money, and hope for the best.
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Old 08-30-2021, 10:26 PM   #12
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I've carried my 16 pound 10.5' hybrid Hornbeck into the remotest western Adirondack ponds, with full backpack (knupak) and canoe both mounted on my back without issue. Longer canoes would have difficulty maneuvering a bushwhack in thick brush or closely spaced trees, as evidenced by a friend of mine on a trip with me. I could travel in a mostly straight line path, he could not without a lot of wiggling to get through on a longer path.
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