Mt Waddington's Outdoors

Education Centre

Raft Comparison Guide

Classic
5.5 – 7.9lb
  • Best Use: Adventure driven fun from the backyard to the backcountry
  • Sizes: Small | Medium | Large
  • Shape: 11.7-inch Classic Hull
  • Rigging: Classic Seat | Inflatable Backrest
  • Builds: OP | CR | WW | WR | SB
  • Cargo Fly Zipper: Optional | Dry Bags Upgrade
Expedition
7.9 – 8.4lb
  • Best Use: Epic backcountry adventures up to Class III whitewater
  • Sizes: Small | Medium | Large
  • Shape: 10.6-inch Rally Hull
  • Rigging: Classic Seat | Backband | Optional Thigh Straps & WW Footbrace
  • Builds: WW | WR
  • Cargo Fly Zipper: Standard | Dry Bags Standard
Mule
7.0 – 9.1lb
  • Best Use: Stretching out long legs and carrying heavy loads
  • Sizes: X-Large
  • Shape: 11.7-inch Cargo Hull
  • Rigging: Classic Seat | Inflatable Backrest | Front Handle
  • Builds: OP | CR | WR | SB
  • Cargo Fly Zipper: Optional | Dry Bags Upgrade
Wolverine
8.6 – 9.1lb
  • Best Use: Maneuverability and edge control in challenging whitewater
  • Sizes: Small | Medium | Large
  • Shape: 10.6-inch Rally Hull
  • Rigging: WW Seat & Foot Brace | Backband | Thigh Straps
  • Builds: WW
  • Cargo Fly Zipper: Standard | Dry Bags Included
Gnarwhal
7.7 – 9.6lb
  • Best Use: Ultimate stability for big water and developing skills
  • Sizes: Small | Medium | Large | X-Large
  • Shape: 11.7-inch Rally Hull
  • Rigging: WW Seat & Foot Brace | Backband | Thigh Straps
  • Builds: WW | SB
  • Cargo Fly Zipper: Standard | Dry Bags Included
Explorer 42
8.0 – 8.3lb
  • Best Use: Adventures with dogs and kids | Ultralight tandem backcountry trips
  • Sizes: One Size (1-2 Person Kayak Seating)
  • Shape: 11.7-inch Cargo Hull
  • Rigging: X42 Seat | Inflatable Back Rest | Front Backband Upgrade
  • Builds: OP
  • Cargo Fly Zipper: Optional | Dry Bags Upgrade
Oryx
10.8lb
  • Best Use: Open canoeing on lakes and flatwater river systems
  • Sizes: One Size (2 Person Canoe Seating)
  • Shape: 13.1-inch Cargo Hull
  • Rigging: Classic Open Canoe Seats for Two
  • Builds: Touring OP
  • Cargo Fly Zipper: Standard | Dry Bags Upgrade
Forager
13.4lb
  • Best Use: Classic river trips | Backcountry hunting and angling
  • Sizes: One Size (2 Person Raft Seating)
  • Shape: 13.1-inch Cargo Hull
  • Rigging: Inflatable SB Floor | Front Passenger Platform Seat Upgrade
  • Builds: SB
  • Cargo Fly Zipper: Standard | Dry Bags Upgrade
Scout
3.25 – 3.44lb
  • Best Use: Canyoneering | Mountain Lakes | Fast & Light
  • Sizes: One Size
  • Shape: 9.2-inch Classic Hull
  • Rigging: Scout Seat Upgrade
  • Builds: OP
  • Cargo Fly Zipper: Optional | Dry Bags Not Available
Caribou
4.8 – 5.0lb
  • Best Use: Bikerafting | Fast & Light
  • Sizes: One Size
  • Shape: 11.7-inch Classic Hull with Late Rise Bow
  • Rigging: Classic Seat Bottom
  • Builds: OP
  • Cargo Fly Zipper: Optional | Dry Bags Upgrade

Weight and Dimensions of Alpacka Rafts

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Small (Alpaca) Medium (Yak) Large (Llama) X-Large One-Size
Model Build Option Weight Packed Size Weight Packed Size Weight Packed Size Weight Packed Size Weight Packed Size
Classic Open (OP) 5.5lb | 2.51kg 16x6.5in | 41x17cm 5.7lb | 2.58kg 16x7in | 41x18cm 5.8lb | 2.65kg 16x7.5in | 41x19cm
Open (OP) | Cargo Fly (CF) 5.8lb | 2.62kg 16x6.5in | 41x17cm 5.9lb | 2.69kg 16x7in | 41x18cm 6.1lb | 2.76kg 16x7.5in | 41x19cm
Cruiser Deck (CR) 6.7lb | 3.04kg 17x6.5in | 43x17cm 6.8lb | 3.06kg 17x7in | 43x18cm 7.0lb | 3.18kg 17x7.5in | 43x19cm
CR | CF 6.9lb | 3.13kg 17x6.5in | 43x17cm 7.0lb | 3.18kg 17x7in | 43x18cm 7.2lb | 3.27kg 17x7.5in | 43x19cm
Whitewater Deck (WW) 7.0lb | 3.17kg 17x7in | 43x18cm 7.1lb | 3.23kg 17x7.5in | 43x19cm 7.4lb | 3.33kg 17x8in | 43x20cm
WW | CF 7.2lb | 3.28kg 17x7in | 43x18cm 7.4lb | 3.35kg 17x7.5in | 43x19cm 7.6lb | 3.45kg 17x8in | 43x20cm
Removable Whitewater Deck (WR) 7.3lb | 3.31kg 17x7.5in | 43x19cm 7.4lb | 3.35kg 17x8in | 43x20cm 7.7lb | 3.49kg 17x8.5in | 43x22cm
WR | CF 7.5lb | 3.40kg 17x7.5in | 43x19cm 7.6lb | 3.46kg 17x8in | 43x20cm 7.9lb | 3.58kg 17x8.5in | 43x22cm
Self Bailer (SB) 6.3lb | 2.86kg 17x6.5in | 43x17cm 6.5lb | 2.95kg 17x7in | 43x18cm 6.8lb | 3.08kg 17x7.5in | 43x19cm
SB | CF 6.6lb | 2.97kg 17x6.5in | 43x17cm 6.8lb | 3.07kg 17x7in | 43x18cm 7.0lb | 3.19kg 17x7.5in | 43x19cm
Expedition Whitewater Deck (WW) 7.9lb | 3.60kg 17x7in | 43x18cm 8.1lb | 3.66kg 17x7.5in | 43x19cm 8.2lb | 3.71kg 17x8in | 43x20cm
Removable Whitewater Deck (WR) 8.1lb | 3.69kg 17x7in | 43x18cm 8.3lb | 3.74kg 17x7.5in | 43x19cm 8.4lb | 3.80kg 17x8in | 43x20cm
Mule Open (OP) 7.0lb | 3.18kg 18x7in | 46x18cm
Open (OP) | Cargo Fly (CF) 7.3lb | 3.29kg 18x7in | 46x18cm
Cruiser Deck (CR) 8.3lb | 3.74kg 18x8in | 46x20cm
CR | CF 8.5lb | 3.86kg 18x8in | 46x20cm
Removable Whitewater Deck (WR) 8.8lb | 4.00kg 18x8.5in | 46x22cm
WR | CF 9.1lb | 4.11kg 18x8.5in | 46x22cm
Self Bailer (SB) 8.0lb | 3.63kg 18x8in | 46x20cm
SB | CF 8.3lb | 3.74kg 18x8in | 46x20cm
Wolverine Whitewater Deck (WW) 8.6lb | 3.90kg 18x7.5in | 46x19cm 8.8lb | 4.00kg 18x8in | 46x20cm 9.1lb | 4.12kg 18x8.5in | 46x22cm
Gnarwhal Self Bailer (SB) 7.7lb | 3.50kg 20x7in | 51x18cm 7.9lb | 3.57kg 20x7.5in | 51x19cm 8.1lb | 3.69kg 20x8in | 51x20cm 8.4lb | 3.82kg 20x8.5in | 51x22m
Whitewater Deck (WW) 9.0lb | 4.08kg 20x9.5in | 51x24m 9.2lb | 4.17kg 20x9.5in | 51x24m 9.4lb | 4.26kg 20x10in | 51x25m 9.6lb | 4.35kg 20x10in | 51x25m
Explorer 42 Open (OP) 8.0lb | 3.63kg 19x7.5in | 48x19cm
Open (OP) | Cargo Fly (CF) 8.3lb | 3.74kg 19x7.5in | 48x19cm
Oryx Touring OP 10.8lb | 4.90kg 19x8.25in | 48x21cm
Forager Self Bailer (SB) 13.4lb | 6.10kg 20x10in | 51x25cm
Scout Open (OP) 3.25lb | 1.47kg 15x5in | 38x13cm
Open (OP) | Cargo Fly (CF) 3.44lb | 1.56kg 15x5in | 38x13cm
Caribou Open (OP) 4.8lb | 2.15kg 17x6in | 43x15cm
Open (OP) | Cargo Fly (CF) 5.0lb | 2.27kg 17x6in | 43x15cm
Gnu Open (OP) 10.6lb | 4.82kg 18x8.5in | 46x22cm
Open (OP) | Cargo Fly (CF) 10.9lb | 4.93kg 18x8.5in | 46x22cm

Choosing the right boat

STEP 1: MEASURE YOUR SIT LENGTH

Your sit length, not your height, determines your boat size. Follow these steps to determine your sit length:

Place the starting end of a tape measure against a wall and pull out at least 48-inches of tape.

Sit against the wall on top of or right next to the tape measure and extend your legs out flat without pointing your toes. We recommend wearing your preferred paddling shoes for this step.

Have a friend measure the tape length to the bottom of your heels. Use a cardboard box if you don’t have an assistant. The distance from the wall to your heels is your sit length.

STEP 2: CHOOSE YOUR BOAT SIZE

Our recommended size is based on your sit length and the boat’s fit profile. If your sit length is in between our recommended sizes, we recommend the following:

  1. Classic: The Classic is sized for a relaxed fit, meaning that a typical paddler in the recommended size can fully extend their legs and not touch the bow unless they point their toes when sitting in the boat. We recommend sizing down if you are in between sizes unless you want a lot of extra foot room.
  2. Expedition: The Expedition is sized for a performance fit, meaning that a typical paddler in the recommended size can press their feet against the bow when straightening their legs which provides better control than a relaxed fit and more all-day comfort than the whitewater fit. If you are between sizes, we recommend sizing down to achieve a whitewater fit (especially if you are thinking about adding thigh straps) and sizing up if you want more leg room for longer days on easier water.
  3. Whitewater Series: The Wolverine and Gnarwhal are sized for a whitewater fit, meaning that a typical paddler in the recommended size will be able to deeply bend their knees for maximum engagement in the thigh straps for the most secure high-performance fit. If you are in between sizes, we recommend sizing down for the highest performance fit and sizing up for a better all-day paddling fit.

Training & Safety

Videos

Educational Videos

Inflation Techniques


Bag Inflation Demo

K-Pump Mini
Bike Pump Inflation and Bleeder Pressure Valve

Rapid Inflation

Alpacka Rafts Videos

Adventure and Conservation Films

Whitewater Films

Instructional Films

The Alpacka Raft Story

Alpacka Raft started in the fall of 2000 as a collaboration between Sheri Tingey, the design genius behind all of our products, and her son Thor, who had just completed a 600-mile packrafting traverse of Alaska’s Brooks Range and had some ideas for how to make a better-performing packraft.

Sheri’s journey began in the late 60’s, when she fled the socialite circles of Phoenix, Ariz., for the river-rat/ski-bum life of Jackson Hole, Wyo. Her grandmother had taught her how to sew. And while in Jackson she founded “Design by Sheri,” a custom ski clothing shop and one of the first modern outdoor clothing companies. Also an avid kayaker, she brought one of the first whitewater kayaks to Jackson. In the early 80’s, Sheri sold her original gear business to raise a family, and it’s only fitting she got back into it as a result of her son.

Thor was born in Jackson, but the family moved to Denali Park, Alaska in 1981 where Thor’s father worked for the National Park Service. He spent his childhood immersed in the outdoors, and with his family, did everything from backpacking, to river trips, to mountaineering, to dog mushing, to hunting and fishing.

In the late 1980s, the Tingeys met Roman Dial when he left a mountain bike at the their house while on a trip to Denali. A college professor from Anchorage, Roman had become one of Alaska’s most prolific adventurers and was also an early adopter of the packraft, after being introduced to one during the Wilderness Classic adventure race. In fact, he and his partners would make the cover of National Geographic for a 700-mile traverse of the Alaska Range via mountain bikes and packraft in 1992. Read about their trip here.

In 1996, Thor started college at Colorado College (“CC”) in Colorado Springs. The Ritt Kellog Memorial Fund had recently started a grant program to fund outdoor expeditions for CC students. Thor talked with his parents about ideas for a grand expedition, and they suggested that he meet with Roman, who in turn suggested Thor hike and packraft a 160-mile portion of his Alaska Range traverse. After he and four college friends received the new grant, they completed the trip in the summer of 1998 and were hooked. In 2000, they received a second Ritt Kellog Fund grant and spent 39 days traversing 600-miles of the Brooks Range.

However, according to Thor, the packrafts they used for these two traverses were wholly inadequate. Roman had used a Sherpa packraft for his trips, but they had been discontinued in the 1980s. Thor used a Sevylor Trail Boat, which was great for kicking around the local lake, but not durable or river-worthy enough for an Alaskan traverse. It was at this point that Thor asked his mom to build him a raft.

Sheri brought her decades of kayaking and clothing design experience and Thor brought his ideas for what would be suitable for his backcountry needs. That first boat, the “White Boat,” was made out of heavy white nylon with a urethane coating on one side with 12-inch diameter tubes and an upturned bow, all sealed together using a hot air gun, a roller, and a lot of Aquaseal®. The new design took the packraft world by storm, and the rest is history.

Today, every Alpacka Raft packraft is manufactured by hand in our Mancos, Colo., factory by skilled craftsmen and women that are dedicated to their craft. The current models are the product of years of experiments, re-design, and great feedback from the boating community.

Sheri remains our head designer. Thor rejoined the company in 2016 as the Chief Executive Officer, handling our day-to-day operations, strategic planning, and design assistance. And Thor’s wife, Sarah is the Chief Operating Officer, doing everything from planning outreach events, to partnering with nonprofits, to giving Sheri’s latest creation a whirl on the water. On any given day, up to 50% of our shop staff may be dogs.

We continue to build tiny, little boats for those who demand something unreasonable from them. Our designs and innovation have refined and defined the sport, and with the help of adventurers all over the world, pushed packrafting further than we ever thought possible.

Materials and Sustainability

Materials

Premium parts and materials are essential to producing the highest quality packrafts. Over the years we have tested parts and materials from around the globe, and our test results have shown that our Made in USA materials simply cannot be matched for quality, durability, and performance.

Fabrics

Just like you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a fabric by its denier and coating. The yarn and weave of the material combined with the chemistry and application of the polyurethane (PU) laminates are critical to the performance packraft fabric. Our fabrics have the highest tear strength, PU adhesion, UV protection, and long term durability in the industry. We have been making packrafts almost two decades and many of our original models are still going strong.

Hull Materials
  • 210-denier Standard Nylon: Our standard packraft hull material is a proprietary 210-denier high count nylon, single side laminated with a heavy duty pigmented PU film. We only coat one side because it provides significantly higher tear strength than a double coated fabric. The material is manufactured to our standards by our USA supplier.
  • 210-denier Ultralight Nylon: Our Ultralight Series hull material features the same 210-denier high count nylon as our standard packraft hulls, but with a lighter weight single side PU laminate to minimize weight and bulk.
  • 420-denier Nylon: Our standard Forager hull material is a proprietary 420-denier high count nylon, single side laminated with a heavy duty pigmented PU film. The material is manufactured to our standards by our USA supplier.
  • 330-denier Cordura® Nylon: Our Kuiu Verde 2.0 camo Forager hull material is an imported 330-denier Cordura® nylon, single side laminated with a heavy duty clear PU film. The base nylon material is imported and laminated with the PU film in the USA.
  • Vectran® Fabric: Vectran® is a high-performance fiber that is five times stronger than steel. Compared to similar nylon deniers, Vectran® fabrics provide better hull performance and tear strength but are more susceptible to pinholes and scratch leaks. Therefore, Vectran® is a great option for improving rigidity and hull performance in whitewater, but is not recommended for extensive use in shallow streams and rivers. We offer Vectran® in 200-denier and 400-denier weights:
    • 400-denier Vectran®: Our 400d Vectran® is heavier and bulkier than our 200-210 denier weight fabrics, but lighter than our 420d weight nylon.
    • 200-denier Vectran®: Our 200d Vectran® fabric provides almost the same rigidity as the 400-denier, but at a similar weight and bulk to our 210-denier Nylon.
Floor Materials
  • 840d Ballistic Nylon: Our standard packraft floor fabric is a Made in USA 840-denier Ballistic Nylon, coated on both sides with a pigmented heavy duty PU laminate.  Our floor fabric is designed to optimize weight and durability in a packraft floor. All of our scrap cuttings are recycled into the base materials for our grab loops, strap plates, and other welded attachments on our packrafts.
  • 420-denier Nylon Floor: Our Scout packraft floor is a Made in USA 420-denier nylon, coated on both sides with a pigmented heavy duty PU laminate. The 420d Scout floor is slightly lighter but significantly less bulky than our standard 840d floor.
Seat Materials

Our seats manufactured from a mix of Made in USA 200-denier oxford, 210-denier high count, and 210-denier diamond ripstop nylons, each single side coated with a lightweight PU laminate, depending on durability, weight, and packability considerations.

Spray Deck Materials

All of our spray decks are manufactured from a Made in USA 70-denier ripstop nylon with an ultralight single sided pigmented polyurethane coating. Our spray skirts are manufactured from an imported 30-denier nylon coated with an ultralight PU laminate on one side and an ultralight silicone coating on the other side.

Small Parts

All of our small parts are Made in USA, when available, and sourced from industry leaders like Duraflex, YKK, and ITW-Nexus. Our Cargo Fly zippers are Made in Germany by Ti-Zip.

Sustainability

Alpacka Raft is committed to reducing our environmental impact now and for future generations to come. We make all of our packrafts in Mancos, CO, and source American made raw materials wherever possible, to cut down on transportation and to support American manufactures—all helping to decrease our carbon footprint as a company and for our customers. Additionally, we are working to eliminate landfill waste by recycling leftover fabric scraps for use in scrap tote bags and scrap wallets. Not only are we offering an alternative solution to plastic bags, but we are recycling materials that would otherwise be thrown into landfills. A win for all. In addition, Alpacka Raft green practices include:
  • Commitment to using low VOC adhesives in all our manufacturing processes’
  • Upgrading equipment to reduce material waste (eg. Switching to automatic vs. manual cutting) and energy use
  • Use of energy efficient lighting products throughout office and manufacturing facility
  • Commitment to sourcing US made raw materials, where possible, to further reduce carbon footprint and support other US manufacturers
  • Purchasing of alternative energy credits to offset our manufacturing energy use
  • Continuously working to cut down on packaging, extra plastic, boxes, and printed materials such as hang tags, instruction manuals, etc.
  • Passive heating options utilized in new construction
  • Recycling of aluminum, plastic, glass, mixed paper and cardboard
  • Encouraging employees to use the office compost for biodegradable matter
  • Reducing our consumption of single use plastic containers by re-filling cleaning supplies and other office products like hand soap, lotion, and dish soap
  • Alpacka provided re-useable coffee mugs for staff to borrow when visiting the local coffee shop
  • Alpacka provided Tupperware and silverware staff can take
  • Recycling all outdoor industry related media and magazines to the local public library so they can get a second read