Cheaper packraft comparisons

#1
Hey guys,

So, I'm gonna be in the market for a packraft. I'm looking for something only for alpine lakes - no chance of floating down rivers or whitewater of any kind. It needs to be fairly lightweight.

I was initially looking into Flyweight Designs, however, they seem to be dormant/out of business? While I'm sure the Alpackas are nice I really don't want to spend more than $300 on such a niche item.

I ran across a few Intex/Sevylor offerings on Amazon that are under 10lbs and some are around 20-30 bucks. While I know it isn't going to compare to the higher end offerings, does anyone here have any experience with these boats in alpine lakes?

Even if these boats only last a season, I would have to go through more than 30 of them before the alpacka or higher rafts would make sense.
 
#2
Am biased against the cheap rafts. Took two rafts across Lake Dorothy several years ago in order to hike into Pugsley lake which is up the ridge on the other side of the lake. My buddy had a cheap raft. Halfway across Lake Dorothy is sprung a leak and went down. My buddy was an excellent swimmer and it was later in the summer and the water August warm. Hate to think what might have happened otherwise.
 
#3
If you are handy, just make one. Matt's DIY site has come a long way. You could easily make an Alpine Lake raft for under 300 bucks. I have several rafts - thought about making one too just because it looks fun.

For 300$ you won't find an Alpacka, unless you get lucky on a Scout - even those go for more than that. Supai is right in your price range and their rafts are lake only and under 2lbs. They are bathtubs though. Seyvlor doesn't make anything compact and lightweight anymore. They used to make a packboat that I liked - very similar to the Supai. I have an ongoing search on Ebay and haven't seen one in several years.

https://www.diypackraft.com/
 

Peyton00

Active Member
#4
I have used the intex type for 30 yrs in alpine lakes. Over those years my raft has become my sleeping bed/shelter. Save weight on tent and sleeping pad etc....those rafts are not lite weight, but they hold up against shore line sticks and rocks. Ymmv.
 

jwg

Active Member
#5
Hey guys,

So, I'm gonna be in the market for a packraft. I'm looking for something only for alpine lakes - no chance of floating down rivers or whitewater of any kind. It needs to be fairly lightweight.

I was initially looking into Flyweight Designs, however, they seem to be dormant/out of business? While I'm sure the Alpackas are nice I really don't want to spend more than $300 on such a niche item.

I ran across a few Intex/Sevylor offerings on Amazon that are under 10lbs and some are around 20-30 bucks. While I know it isn't going to compare to the higher end offerings, does anyone here have any experience with these boats in alpine lakes?

Even if these boats only last a season, I would have to go through more than 30 of them before the alpacka or higher rafts would make sense.
If the raft only lasts a season, would you survive the season?
J
 
#7
I can't get my head wrapped around that Klymit. Seems like you would get pretty wet. For what Jeff is describing as a need, that seems like a no brainer though. That, or build a more streamlined raft.

I couldn't imagine carrying a large Intex backcountry. I carried a 3 person out one time that some jackass left as it was too heavy for whoever that was to carry out. That ended up destroyed before I got out.
 
#8
The Klymit was a consideration, and still is - it just doesn't seem very stable or comfortable. While I know none of them are going to be super comfortable, I'd still like some semblance of comfort while I'm out there.

The Intex I was referring to is around 5lbs. Not 'lightweight' like a Scout or LWD, but certainly not as heavy as their heavier offerings.
 
#9
Got it. Just buy the Intex and try it this summer then if it's only 5lbs. An Alpacka is an investment, but worth it for the weight, durability and compactness (the compactness sometimes being the most important).
 
#10
I can't get my head wrapped around that Klymit. Seems like you would get pretty wet. For what Jeff is describing as a need, that seems like a no brainer though. That, or build a more streamlined raft.

I couldn't imagine carrying a large Intex backcountry. I carried a 3 person out one time that some jackass left as it was too heavy for whoever that was to carry out. That ended up destroyed before I got out.
That's just not true. I have one. The way it's designed, the back and sides come up a bit, back more so for lumbar support so you aren't holding your self up with your core the entire time. Also that deal from Costco isn't too great. That paddle probably weights 10 lbs. You'll want a 4 piece ultra light, for another 50 bucks or so Amazon offers them. The alpine lakes I use it on are small and very shelters (by huge mountains), so there isn't a concern for waves, extreme wind, etc. These are lakes you hike at least 3 miles to get to. If by Alpine Lake, the OP meant places like Lake Katchess, this is not your raft.
 
#11
That's just not true. I have one. The way it's designed, the back and sides come up a bit, back more so for lumbar support so you aren't holding your self up with your core the entire time. Also that deal from Costco isn't too great. That paddle probably weights 10 lbs. You'll want a 4 piece ultra light, for another 50 bucks or so Amazon offers them. The alpine lakes I use it on are small and very shelters (by huge mountains), so there isn't a concern for waves, extreme wind, etc. These are lakes you hike at least 3 miles to get to. If by Alpine Lake, the OP meant places like Lake Katchess, this is not your raft.
I never knew Katchess was technically an alpine lake, but no, definitely smaller water. I'm thinking hike in lakes that are maybe 50 acres or less in size at most.
 
#12
What's not true? Are you saying you don't get wet? That's good knowledge if so, but I didn't say one way or the other. I don't own a Klymit. Curious what you paid for the raft if 119$ bucks is not a good deal. They list that paddle at 34 ounces - which isn't bad at all for a full size paddle if it really is that weight. My full size carbon paddles are lighter, but not lbs lighter. I also own the ultralight from Supai which is considerably lighter, but also not cheap. Honestly if I am trying to go really light I just use the Supai as hand paddles as the full size shaft doesn't feel that great to me.

I assumed the OP is hiking in as he is concerned about weight. Otherwise you could just buy any raft on Amazon or Ebay and not worry about it.
 
#13
What's not true? Are you saying you don't get wet? That's good knowledge if so, but I didn't say one way or the other. I don't own a Klymit. Curious what you paid for the raft if 119$ bucks is not a good deal. They list that paddle at 34 ounces - which isn't bad at all for a full size paddle if it really is that weight. My full size carbon paddles are lighter, but not lbs lighter. I also own the ultralight from Supai which is considerably lighter, but also not cheap. Honestly if I am trying to go really light I just use the Supai as hand paddles as the full size shaft doesn't feel that great to me.

I assumed the OP is hiking in as he is concerned about weight. Otherwise you could just buy any raft on Amazon or Ebay and not worry about it.
Untrue that you get wet. $119 is a good deal, but not if you are including the paddle in that as good deal because it's worthless for packrafting. Regardless of how light it is, it' a two piece. I used to hike with a two piece, got snagged on everything.
 

Freestone

Not to be confused with freestoneangler
#14
I also have a Klymit. Once you figure out how to get in and out of it, on flatwater, you'll get wet only from paddle drips - the same as any other paddlecraft without a skirt.

I also bought a Intex Explorer 200 this summer just because I'd read great things about it (for a $20 raft). I was pleasantly surprised. The tiny oars moved it quite well, even when a huge windstorm came up. I couldn't believe how fast I scooted down the lake against the wind. I actually beat a couple in a small aluminum boat back to the launch! They expressed their shock at it's speed when they made it back to shore. Sure, it's no Alpacka and I would be even more careful with it than my Klymit, but with 3 chambers vs. Klymit's 1 chamber, I actually felt a little safer.
 

Latest posts