Alpacka Oryx experiences?
May 9, 2021 at 5:51 am #3711900
Morning all, hope everyone is doing well as spring rolls in.
Was wondering if anyone on this forum had experiences with the Alpacka Oryx specifically and how it compares to a canoe. There are a few articles out there on the web but not that much in depth (or seem like a marketing article). I am into lots of flatwater canoeing and am looking to the Oryx to replicate that body motion and relaxed paddling, either alone or with a partner from time to time.
I know I can just get a regular canoe but I live in a city and the packability/portability is key – I’m not doing a lot of Alaska hike-in and canoe expeditions (though sure, why not in the future) but sometimes I may just want to take a train to a lake or river (including the Hudson River, which is bigger). I just want something that works well, that feels good and that I can paddle into the middle of a lake or river, fish, jump out and swim and climb back out, just like a canoe experience. Can people speak to this on here, or am I seeking a unicorn?
Separately is it true that the zip Cargo Fly requires you to deflate the whole boat then reinflate it in the AM (on multiday trips) to use it? The Alpacka site doesn’t have too much on this.iMay 9, 2021 at 9:51 am #3711917Ben BrochuBPL Member
@crooked_creek-2-2Locale: Hinterland Outdoors
Having coming into packrafting from canoeing, the Oryx as a great boat, but the short answer is that it will not replicate a canoe experience. Being lighter it will get blown around in the wind a lot more. Any inflatable will. You have to deflate the boat to use the cargo fly, but it only takes a couple of minutes and is not a big deal. If you’re looking for a hardshell feel that is portable and compact (but not hiking in), you might want to consider a PakCanoe or Ally canoe. That said, an Oryx (or any packraft) will do what you want it to do, but the experience will be different.May 9, 2021 at 1:20 pm #3711934
Thanks Ben! Do you have direct experience with the Oryx or just generally the Alpacka line? There’s just so little out there and it is a $1800 investment.May 9, 2021 at 7:38 pm #3711955Luke SchmidtBPL Member
If you like canoeing I might consider a smaller canoe. I used a 14 foot Old Town for caribou hunting. It was pretty easy to move around and generally fun. Much much better on lakes than my packraft. There is a 12 foot model but I never tried it.May 10, 2021 at 5:21 am #3711970
Hi Luke. unfortunately a canoe is out of the question as even a 12 footer would be too massive for a 2 bedroom NYC apartment. I completely realize the Oryx isn’t a ‘canoe’ per se I just really wanted it to get close for the compactness and versatility. Thanks.May 10, 2021 at 10:30 am #3712000Bob KernerBPL Member
I asked a similar question (but for kayaking) on a couple of pack rafting sites. The consensus was : it’s not a kayak or canoe, don’t expect it to perform as such. If you’re willing to tolerate poor tracking (compared to a rigid hulled craft), being blown in the wind in exchange for packability then go for it. It’s a compromise at best.
Having kayaked in the Hudson (lower Hudson= NYC, and up by Storm King), I don’t think I’d take a raft. I’ve seen pictures of people in rafts but I can’t imagine it being fun or safe. There are rental sites if you want to give it a try. The closest one I found in 2019 was in MT (found it on the Alpaca website) and they had a whole shipping process. Then Covid came so I stopped pursuing the rental idea.
I’m East of you on LI. It’s tough being surrounded by water and not having a practical solution for storing a boat. We kept our ‘yaks on a rack behind our rental apt. Then when we had kids sold them because we knew we wouldn’t be using them for awhile. I miss the boats but not enthusiastic about tying up space in my yard with a rack.May 12, 2021 at 2:05 am #3712236Steve SBPL Member
I used an early Gnu. It was shorter than the Oryx and we used canoe paddles in a kneeling position. If you wish to kneel in the Oryx expect to need padding for your knees. The fabric floor offers no protection from rocks or other obstacles you cross. The lack of a keel seemed to limit directional control from the rear seat when the front passenger was taking pictures. But perhaps the main factor limiting control was that the paddles were from the Alpacka-sold convertible kayak paddle, which converts into too-short canoe paddles. You would prefer still longer paddles for the wider Oryx. In a wind, cooperation between the front and rear paddlers seems likely to be essential. In one person mode, I suspect a kayak paddle would be preferred to a canoe paddle, but I didn’t try the experiment,
The effort level with the Oryx would be higher and the speed somewhat lower than with a canoe due to the shorter length and the resulting lower hull speed. But (1) the Gnu was fun, (2) the Oryx would probably offer 90% of what you expect from a canoe, (3) it weighs 1/3 as much as a folding canoe and is much more convenient, and (4) you can carry it into lakes and swamps you would never explore with rigid canoe. For my taste, big lakes would be a worst case scenario; small lakes and lazy rivers the best. Because of the portability, you may find the Oryx to be superior to a rigid boat as the only boat you own.
Last, packrafts depreciate relatively slowly, so if you are unhappy and sell it, you probably won’t be out that much cash.May 12, 2021 at 6:26 am #3712245
Thanks all for the good tips. The resale tip is a good one. My intention would not be to kneel, I’m really into the sitting and just fishing/sightseeing/beer trips most of the time. Interestingly Alpacka really hypes that splitting “shred apart” paddle and I’ve seen good reviews for it, so interesting @steve_s-2 that it didn’t work for you.May 12, 2021 at 9:03 am #3712257Steve SBPL Member
If you look at pictures of the Oryx in action, whenever you see a fully immersed paddle blade, the shaft is quite long. It follows that a short shaft limits the quality of draw strokes.
I did not mention in my first post the importance of keeping a 2-person raft inflated hard. If you do not, the raft can twist between the paddlers. Inefficient for paddling and can lead to exciting experiences in even moderate whitewater.May 13, 2021 at 10:30 am #3712433Kevin BabioneBPL Member
It may not fit your needs because you’re looking for a canoe-experience, but I bought my daughter an inflatable Advanced Elements Island Voyage 2 kayak and she loves it. She lives in an apartment with not a lot of space and it folds down to the size of an aerobed. For her the best feature is that it comes with 2 seats but three seat positions. If there are two of them going out they use the front and rear positions, but if she’s solo she’ll just put one seat in the middle. It’s also only $399 which might make it easier to “catch & release”. I bought for her on Drop two years ago and paid $395 for the kayak, the pump, and two paddles and thought it was a good deal.
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