August 22, 2009 at 1:18 am #81897Minda PaulParticipant
I am finally ready to purchase and use a trailboat for the first time and I need some help. Can anyone offer me some suggestions for purchase and any other valuable tips? I am looking for something lightweight, reasonably priced and patchable because I know I’m going to snag it with my lack of casting skill.
August 23, 2009 at 11:14 pm #88197Mick ScottParticipant
Hey Minda – I bought a boat from alpaca raft co in alaska. Brian Curtis suggested them to me. It is by no means a curtis raft as far as weight and pack size goes but it is a sturdy vessel. They are designed for rivers and they are expensive as well. I had to justify the purchase to myself by thinking about it as a 20 year boat. It should last that long as long as I use it on flat water and not on boulder drop on the Skykomish. I use a long river kayak type paddle with it. I bought it through alpaca as well. They were super nice and helpful. I got the biggest boat they had. it weighs 4lbs and the paddle I have is just under a pound. I thought bigger might be better for me if I wanted to run bigger lakes with a full pack, plus its nice to have a little extra leg room although its not a must. They have a web site to look at. Mick
August 24, 2009 at 2:03 am #88198Brian CurtisKeymaster
Alpacka recently came out with a new lighter weight boat called the Scout. It still isn’t as light as one of ours, but it is the best product I’m aware of. I’d recommend making your own hand paddles and their inflation bag isn’t as light as it should be, so that’s another place to potentially lighten up.
August 24, 2009 at 5:32 am #88199Dave WeyrickParticipant
Bug Andy Schmidt to build you one!
August 24, 2009 at 2:49 pm #88200Zack LeakeParticipant
Now, I’m sure I’m going to get blasted about this because there are a bunch of people who have had bad experiences with this particular boat, but I just finished with the maiden voyage of my new Sevylor Trail Boat and it seemed to work pretty well.
I was with some Curtis rafters this last weekend and it is definitely NOT a Curtis raft. It doesn’t inflate/deflate nearly as fast, weighs considerably more, and doesn’t pack down as well as a Curtis or Alpacka.
Also, I’ve heard horror stories that if you yank on the the the D rings on the sides of the boat, you can rip a GIANT hole in the side and deflate the boat almost instantly! 😯 So, to try and keep this from happening, I just cut off the D rings. Other than that, the boat seems pretty sturdy. I’m way over the “suggested” weight limit of 175 lbs, but it took me and some gear with no preblem at all. It also came with some pieces of the PVC material to patch it with, so just take some Aquaseal with and you should be able to patch all you need!
All this being said, I’m still pretty darn happy with it. The Alpacka may be nice, but WAY out of my price range And since Mr. Curtis no longer makes his rafts, I’ll be out of luck until I can maybe find one someone wants to sell, which isn’t very likely. I paid about $65 for my Sevylor at Campmor, so it’s reasonable priced as well.
So, as long as you are aware of the shortcomings of this little boat and are careful with it, I think you will be happy with it as I am! Good Luck!
August 24, 2009 at 7:41 pm #88201David HolmesParticipant
A trailblazer friend of mine recommended the Sevylor Trail Boat so I got one.
The pros: Hey its 4.5lbs, and its cheap. You can buy 10 of them for the price of one Alpacka.
The cons: After four trips I’ve had to repair it twice. I bought some $25 Tear Aid and fortunately the repairs have been basically the same as putting on a band-aid.
Maybe I’m just clumsy and/or dim. YMMV.
I’m thinking of taking up Chris Scoone’s offer of trying out his loaner alpacka, just to see what I’m missing.
August 24, 2009 at 8:17 pm #88202Cliff ChurchParticipant
I have a Seylor I keep as a backup boat, but I’ve had some bad luck with them ripping at one of the seams as I was inflating it. I’ve heard enough bad stories about them that I won’t use it unless I’m really desperate. On the other hand, my hiking buddy has used one for years and has had no problems whatsoever.
August 25, 2009 at 4:51 am #88203Vlad KarpinskyParticipant
I second the recommendation of Savylor Trail Boat. It’s working very well for me. It’s true, it doesn’t pack as well as Curtis raft, but it has inflatable bottom. This is a big plus! First, it means it’s safer and warmer. Second, it can be used as sleeping pad. I just had a three day trip with it – it worked flawlessly. True, this is small boat and there is a chance of capsizing or puncturing it, but I don’t think it’s greater then with other similar boats. You better be a good swimmer or use a flotation aid. As of the problem with D-rings – don’t pull them hard! I never ever had any problems like that. During last five years there were only two times when I coudn’t fix a problem with the raft right on the spot. First time it was a sharp rock that cut through the floor. I was able to fix this when I returned home. Second problem was caused be 100% DEET. Don’t use it while in the raft in a hot day. 🙂 By the way, both times I probably could fix it right on spot would I had Tear Aid at that time.
Tear Aid is another great recommendation. This is instant permanent fix for typical problem of a small puncture.
I suggest you try this raft first as the most easily available option and then look into other options if something doesn’t work out for you.
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