Newbie looking for advice
Jun 13, 2019 at 5:42 pm #3597671
have any advice/suggestions for getting into it? recommendations ect… i know the big 2 are alpacka and kokopelli and believe alpacka are the original in the market. any advantages of one over the other?
i’m 6′ about 190lbs. looking to use it for lakes, rivers, in the bob marshall wilderness, and class II to possible class IV or V rapids.
i’m wondering if i go with the alpacka yak if the cruiser skirt will do or if i should go with the white water or removable white water? are the skirts interchangeable? ect…
trust me i’m not going to jump into rapids right away, planning on getting use to it, build up skill, take some classes ect. before getting into more technical stuff :)Jun 13, 2019 at 6:14 pm #3597686Kevin BuggieBPL Member
@kbugLocale: NW New Mexico
I enjoy being warm,pretty splash proof, and easy safe exit with the whitewater deck on my yak. Never used the cruzer deck though. I also added thigh straps with lots of white water function with little weight or fuss penalty.
I’ve paddled up to class III rapids in the yak with gear/bike on the bow, but general consensus is you’d be better off with the more whitewater specific models if you’re going to run CLASS IV+ rapids (backcountry packrafters normally Portage such rapids since the boats are easy to carry and that level of risk is usually avoided when outside of side-country rafting).
I prefer a legal type 3 Pfd when using my yak. My background with hardshell kayaks and conventional rafting makes the super light myog/repurposed pdf’s used by some packrafters is beyond my comfort level. Lightest type 3 pfds are usually the cheapest budget models. I’ve dual used the pdf as pillow and insulated vest on prior trips. Also, slightly deflated boat makes a luxurious air bed when upside down cowboy camp.
Anyway, the little boats are a blast. You’ll have fun.Jun 18, 2019 at 8:03 pm #3598362James TaylorBPL Member
From my experience, I think the Yak with Cruiser deck is the best for starting out and solo racing, because it’s a good combo of light and capable, with the emphasis on light. It’ll handle everything you can throw at it as a beginner. Dan Durston uses his for the BMWO. You can also take the deck off for use around the midwest, which makes it even lighter. If you’re by yourself in the wilderness, you may not want to run class IV/V stuff, even if you have the skills. I hesitate to do most class III stuff by myself, but that’s mostly due to my lower skill level. The Cruiser deck is great for class I and II stuff, and works decently on short class III. It will allow the boat to take on a hundred pounds of water on longer class III stuff, and then you have to pull over and dump it or it handles like a drunken pig. Like Kevin, I also put wilderness thigh straps in mine, and they make me feel much more secure in the boat. Mine only weigh 4.4 oz, and 2.3 oz of that is removable if I’m on flatwater. The lack of Cargo Fly on mine hinders me a bit on class III, but I’m glad I don’t have one, just to save weight and bulk. I get the job done anyway. If I’m gonna do a lot of class III or above, I’ll just get a whitewater specific boat.
I also have a Curiyak, which isn’t made anymore (replaced by the Caribou) but it’s not nearly as versatile as my Yak because of it’s lack of a spraydeck. It’s good for calmer and warmer rivers though.
The Wolverine seems like a good all-around boat, but I don’t have one. If I had the money that’s the next one I’d buy. I want to start doing class III and up whitewater, and I think that this would be the best boat for that. I’d probably get the WW deck. But money, money, money.
If I could buy any boats with what I know today, I’d get a Yak w/cruiser deck for lighter/faster stuff, and a Wolverine with WW deck for bigger whitewater.
I use the MTI Journey for a PFD if I expect harder stuff. It weighs 14.4 oz and costs $40. If I were doing III/IV stuff I would get a heavier, more capable PFD (maybe the NRS Ninja?). I use an airline inflatable (EAM GA 12) modded to remove all the CO2 parts if I only expect easier rapids and I need to hike fast. It weighs 4.9 oz. On warmer rivers with no rapids I don’t bring a PFD because I can swim just fine.
I’ve never used a Kokopelli, but I think you can use your 20% off coupon at REI, which makes them the best deal. If I could only buy one boat and cost was an issue, I’d probably get the Nirvana w/ spraydeck and Ti-Zip. At $960 after the coupon, I bet that thing is an awesome value. Not as light as the Yak or capable as the Wolverine, but probably a really good workhorse for a low price.
Because of the money involved, it’s a big decision, so it helps if you can map out your needs and budget for the next several years. That’s what I did and I’m pretty happy with the boats I’ve got.Jun 18, 2019 at 8:21 pm #3598363
awesome! the only hesitation i have on the kokopelli is the extra weight and the ti-zip just for maintenance of not using it that frequently. just like the alpacka you can get zippers but the lubing ect… if i was using it a bunch and it was part of the routine for maintenance then it’d probably be worth it but i think i’m sold with going with a yak and cruiser since right now my plans are mainly lake, river and class 2, and if i get into a situation were i need to bail water i will or just upgrade boats if i start doing it more or doing bigger rapids
where did you get the airliner vest?Jun 24, 2019 at 2:21 am #3599018James TaylorBPL Member
Yeah, that’s what I was thinking about the cargo fly too. I got the PFD from some random airline supply company that was willing to sell less than 20 of them at a time. I can’t remember which one, but you can just Google around for one. Then I cut off the CO2 parts with scissors and patched the hole with Tenacious Tape and Aqua Seal. It saves like 6 or 8 ounces I think. I just blow it up using the mouth valve.Jun 24, 2019 at 8:18 pm #3599103
ok, i just measured my sit length according to alpacka’s website and for their classic series i barely fit in their recommended sizes….. my sit length measured 45″ without shoes…. could i fit in a yak comfortably?Jun 28, 2019 at 7:39 pm #3599785Doug GBPL Member
Yes. You want a tight fit and for your feet to touch the bow.
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