Boats For Your Backpack: New Packrafts For 2015

Last year Alpacka dove headfirst into heavy white water with the Alpackalypse, a rugged packraft capable of boofing over drops and eskimo-rolling out of holes. But it didn’t forget its tamer roots and recently introduced three boats for less technical water.

alpacka Mule

The Mule Like its namesake, the Mule is Alpacka’s beast of burden. Longer and wider than their traditional boats, it’s their XL-sized boat for husky paddlers, parents hauling kids, or those who like to bring the kitchen sink deep into the sticks.

  • Weight: 5 lbs 6 oz
  • Price: $895-970
  • Options: Spraydeck: $200; whitewater spray deck: $250. Cargo fly: $275

alpacka ghost

The Ghost: A few years ago, Alpacka released the Scout — a ‘satchel’ boat — made for ultralight trips that crossed rugged terrain. Half the weight of the Scout, the Ghost eschews durability in lieu of utility. Its designed to disappear in your bag until you absolutely need it. Hence it’s a great boat for fishing, lake paddling, or ultralight traverses with low risk of puncture.

rolled ghost

  • Weight: 1 lbs 8 oz
  • Price: $595
  • Options: Seat included; no added spray decks available

alpacka gnu

The Gnu: While not new for 2015, the Gnu is a relatively new addition to Alpacka’s boat house. And with its long and lean design, it’s touted as Alpacka’s most versatile craft and worth mentioning in the list. The canoe-style raft is designed for two or one plus gear, which makes it ideal for longer expeditions, hunting trips, fishing with two, or trips that require ferrying a small band of fun hogs across tamer waters. Its long inflatable saddle is designed to kneel over and paddle with canoe paddles. But the saddle can be folded over itself for the solo paddler using it kayak style.

Cargo fly included.

  • Weight: 8 lbs 14 oz
  • Price: $1250-1500
  • Options: A two-person spray deck can be purchased aftermarket for an additional $300. It can be converted to a drift-boat style with an optional oar frame.

Summer’s in full swing, and if you are in the mood to get on the water, give Alpacka a look. The packraft opens the horizon to new adventures and nobody’s been doing it longer than Alpacka.

Steve Graepel

Steve Graepel is a Contributing Editor and Gear Tester at GearJunkie. He has been writing about trail running, camping, skiing, and general dirtbagging for 10+ years. When not testing gear with GearJunkie, he is a Senior Medical Illustrator on the Neurosurgery Team at Mayo Clinic. Based in Boise, Idaho, Graepel is an avid trail runner, camper, angler, cyclist, skier, and loves to introduce his children to the Idaho outdoors.