Alpacka Scout Packraft Review (Video)

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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Alpacka Scout Packraft Review (Video)

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    Ryan Jordan


    Locale: Central Rockies

    Companion forum thread to: Alpacka Scout Packraft Review (Video)

    The Alpacka Scout Packraft bridges the gap between more fragile flatwater packrafts, and more durable / stable whitewater packrafts.

    Richard Nisley
    BPL Member


    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area


    Thanks for the review and video… very interesting!

    Duane Hall
    BPL Member


    Locale: Nova Scotia

    An excellent review.  I am going to have a close look at this little raft. Do you have any recommendations for a back packing paddle for primarily flat water (with some wind generated waves)?

    Philip Tschersich
    BPL Member


    Locale: Kodiak Alaska

    Last summer a few friends and I hiked and packrafted from Lituya Bay to the town of Yakutat along Alaska’s ‘Lost Coast’ (basically the shoreline in front of the Fairweather Range at the top of Alaska’s panhandle). It was about 100 miles and there are a LOT of rivers and estuaries to cross, plus we portaged up into a glacial lake to skip a section of really bad beach boulders, so packrafts were a necessary gear addition. Everyone brought standard Alpacas, Yaks and Llamas, but I opted for a Scout. I had added a very modest and removable splash deck made from silnylon and gear tie down loops to the Scout so I could handle rain and some small waves while putting my 40-pound backpack on the bow.

    Overall the raft worked fine for the job. The lack of a rockered bow and small tubes meant that when paddling into a headwind on rivers I got sprayed by waves that were slapping the upper half of the bow tubes while my companions were staying dry. No biggie. The Scout was noticeably slower on flatwater than the other boats (perhaps because I was pushing a bow wave?), but I was the strongest paddler in the group so again, no biggie. I have a 31″ inseam and I cannot straighten my legs in the boat but I prefer a snug fit in my kayaks and rafts and would normally opt for bent knees anyway, so again no biggie, but the lack of foot room when wearing hiking boots was a bit of a bother. I used a NeoAir inflatable seat which kept my butt out of the water and was very light and raised me into a better paddling position.

    If I were to do the trip again I suppose I might opt for the Scout. There certainly are downsides including cruising speed, paddler fit and comfort, and the ability to keep water out (the lack of a factory deck option and small tubes). On a shorter trip with less paddling on protected waters I would certainly grab it. But last summer when I did the entire length of Kodiak Island, I took my Alpaca.

    Lituya to Yakutat video: Hiking and Packrafting from Lituya to Yakutat

    Kodiak Island video: Hiking and Packrafting Kodiak Island

    Here are some screengrabs from the first video showing my Scout which generally show the spray deck folded forward though it actually reached back to my waist. I had the only multi-color boat:

    Richard Nisley
    BPL Member


    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area


    For casual lake trips, the Alpacka Ninja Paddle is ideal. For pushing the boat to its full potential, the 210cm-Werner Shauna (4-pc) is ideal.

    Brad Rogers
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southeast Tennessee

    If Alpacka offered the Scout with a spray deck (or Kokopelli with the Hornet) I think they would sell well.

    brian H
    BPL Member


    Locale: Siskiyou Mtns

    this is the most useful, interesting, entertaining review I can remember in my years of membership.

    perhaps the nice video gets much of the credit. kudos.

    whats up with not having a dry fly ready for those risers?

    Duane Hall
    BPL Member


    Locale: Nova Scotia

    Thanks Richard.

    David Chenault
    BPL Member


    Locale: Queen City, MT

    Well done Ryan.

    I used a 2012 Scout on a whole lot of western rivers, recently selling it in favor of the now deceased Curiyak.  If Alpacka has indeed cut a legit pound (though claimed at 3 lbs, the old Scouts were all 3.5-3.7) off the weight without sacrificing much if any durability that is an accomplishment worth lauding.

    The genius of the Scout is that while it may come up short when deflecting waves or fitting people taller than 5’7″, it paddles like an Alpacka, which is to say that if you have skill, a good paddle, and the boat isn’t too full of water you can make it go wherever you want.  I’ve paddled loads of class III, and probably a few creeks harder than that, in a Scout and so long as things weren’t too pushy and I didn’t mind getting wet and having to dump the boat often I did well.  I found the old materials burly enough for anything I wanted to do, including late fall rivers at way-too-low levels.

    I upgraded boats mainly because I couldn’t carry a bike with the Scout, and at my height big packs and skis were a no-go, too.

    There’s a glaring hole in the market for something like a Curiyak with a simple, lighter deck.  4 pounds all up without seat would be ideal.  A rig that could tackle simpler class III in colder conditions without absolutely mandating a dry suit.  Based on my experience at the Packraft Roundup this summer there are plenty of people who want that kind of boat, but there are a lot more who want a sidecountry boat that is easier to learn on and not as massive to haul as a kayak.  In many ways packrafting has, and will probably continue to, move away from its UL backcountry roots.

    John S.
    BPL Member


    What PFD is Ryan using in the video?

    Michael Moomaw
    BPL Member


    Question: Is there a radical solution for long paddles and a big PDF?  What about a mouth inflatable pdf (i.e. not CO2) and hand paddles?  I guess no PFD is always an option where there are no rules and little white water.  People will probably yell at you though…

    Based on the review above I bought an Alpacka raft and have taken about a dozen trips.  Very happy.

    The raft itself is small and light but the paddles and pfd and big and heavy’ish (Aqua-Bound Shred Carbon and Astral V-Eight PFD).  The raft fits in a day pack.  The full kit requires almost a full sized packpack (I use a old Gossamer Gear G4).  I know there are slightly lighter paddles and PFDs.  I was thinking about a radical reduction.

    Kevin B
    BPL Member


    Locale: Western New Mexico, USA

    Cut a tree branch to serve as the shaft for your hand paddles. I think supai gear or alpacka used to sell a kit of paddles that attach to hiking pole.

    Durston or others have found ultralight aircraft emergency pfds similar to what you describe.

    Or like me, just make the best of the lightest type III pfds and relish the dual use as a killer pillow and a ‘puffy’ vest when late spring snow in the Gila makes you shiver in camp

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