The Refuge is the dream boat for the old school packrafter, the person who spends their winters drawing lines on maps and their summers exploring up and down valleys and over the crests of mountains finding their own route instead of following an established one. At just 5.5lbs with a whitewater deck and cargo fly, the Refuge is the ultimate landscape traverse packraft.
Alaska packrafting in the 1980s and 1990s was an exercise in gear failure, hypothermia, and general suffering. The lightweight open vinyl and nylon inflatable boats available were simply not up to the task of the Alaska backcountry. But the experience of following your own path on a big landscape traverse was often worth the misery of paddling for hours in an ice water bathtub. Alpacka Raft was founded to remedy the gear failures and suffering on those original packraft trips. And we like to think that we've done a pretty good job over the years, innovating fabrics, hull shapes, spray decks, and the Cargo Fly internal storage system along the way. But as amazing as these innovations are, we still had a hole in our lineup for a packraft that would combine all of our best features into the lightest possible package for the ultimate landscape traverse packraft.
Meet the Refuge, weighing in at only 5.5lbs with a full whitewater deck and Cargo Fly. The Refuge utilizes the same hull design and lightweight fabrics as the Scout, which cuts nearly two pounds off the weight of a medium Classic with the same leg room. That weight savings can add days and miles to your range on big trips with a lot of hiking. Compared to the Classic, the Refuge is lighter and more packable but doesn’t offer as much carrying capacity, durability, or stability for every-day use. Experienced whitewater paddlers should be able to paddle the occasional Class III rapid in the Refuge, but whitewater and eddylines will be more difficult for novice and intermediate paddlers. The Refuge is ideal for the experienced wilderness packrafter who can limit their pack weight to 50lbs for a 14-day trip.
Very small paddlers who find the small Classic and Expedition to have too much volume should consider building a Custom Lab Refuge with standard fabrics for a better fit. Contact our Custom Lab specialists for additional details.