expedition boat

A place to answer questions from newcomers.

Moderators: chrstjrn, mje, krudave

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chrstjrn
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Post by chrstjrn »

ALM- you're exactly right on many counts. My challenge, over the past couple of years, has been getting to the water with my Puffins on the Japanese trains. I'm about to be done with that challenge (and my boats left today), but I wouldn't envision putting anything bigger than a Kahuna or a Fujita on a pack frame or "carry bone".

I'm going to go back and chop up that link with the carriage return, since it has made this thread hard to read. The problem, now, will be that if you want to use that link you'll have to piece it back together again. Sorry...
Chris T.
Klymit Packraft
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig (in storage)
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind
'64 Klepper T12
Early '90s Old Town Canoe
Previously: '04 Pakboat Puffin II, '05 Swift (prototype), '84 Hobie 16.

acrosome

Post by acrosome »

krudave wrote: I agree with the other experienced sea kayakers: rough water can occur anywhere at sea; being able to see your destination is no measure of the difficulty of the passage.

As to whether a given boat is durable enough to handle mild rapids: they all will, provided you do not hit a rock with force; none will, if you do hit a rock. The dynamics of mild rapids are easy for these boats to tolerate, but they are fragile in collisions with a hard object. For rocky reaches, if you are not skilled enough to avoid rocks, you need a plastic boat; even a fiberglass hardshell will lose out in a collision with a rock.

The limiting factor will be your own skills at avoiding rocks, not the boat you are in when (if?) you hit a rock. Get some WW training if you do not already have river-running skills.

To a significant extent, a "compromise" boat needs to have quicker mobility in current than the traditional sea kayak has: viz., more rocker/flatter hull profile. It will be slow as hell on that long crossing.

I think the "durability" question is moot: get a boat you can easily guide away from rocks, and buy it.
Well, yes I think everyone would concur that it is better to not hit the rock than to hit it. However, the truth of the matter is that accidents do happen and some designs are more durable than others. Some designs are also easier to repair than others. And some designs shrug off wear and tear better than others.

Besides, I'm not talking about truly wrapping my boat around a rock in some class IV monster rapids- which NO sea kayak would survive, not even a plastic one- it would just fold. I'm talking about tolerating a little rough treatment, rubbing rocks, perhaps the occasional misadventure with a sweeper, etc.

Also, yes rough water can separate you from your kayak anywhere, and some would even argue that this is more likely near land, and thus the rip currents, shoals, etc. But being in sight of land certainly makes emergency navigation easier (thataway!), and probably also means more people to potentially spot your flare or hear your marine radio. And if you're VERY close to shore you can swim in. If nothing else I am a damned good swimmer.

I guess I'm just trying to convince you that I'm not being naive about my close to shore aspirations. I've heard it said that you can see about 5 miles on flat seas. Thus, 10-miles is my absolute limit, and in the short-term I'll keep it to 5.

I need a good general-purpose boat that can take a joke. (What I REALLY don't need is some tippy and eggshell-thin fiberglass performance kayak.) But if you tell me the aluminum frames aren't as fragile as I think they are then I will believe you. I'll check out the Feathercraft stuff. The weight advantages are attractive. I'll get a chance to see the Long Haul stuff at the West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium http://www.wcsks.org/ but they do weigh a ton, don't they?

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krudave
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Post by krudave »

acrosome, I have seen Grumman aluminum canoes wrapped around small boulders on Class I or low Class II runs, nailed there by someone's ineptitude and the effects of slow-moving water. Some were usable after extraction; some were not. I don't think any of the folders on the market today could be easily field-repaired after a wrap. Some would demand most of a new frame, although the skin would not be difficult to field-repair.

If your main concern is abrasion on rocks and the odd bump with a sweeper in a low-energy situation, any of the folders under discussion will do. I believe you said you were going to do the Stikine, however, which has some unavoidable high-energy water, doesn't it? Or, maybe you are not intending to do those sections. I am ignorant of the Stikine, so maybe you could fill us in on what you expect to encounter. Might be you could get along with a less expensive boat than a Feathercraft, and maybe be less conservative in your usage.

Should be the trip of a lifetime, I bet! I'm jealous as hell, of course ...
Dave Kruger
Astoria, OR
--
Folbot Kodiak, Cooper, and Edisto; three hardshells; Mothership: Surf Scoter the Bartender; dinghy Little Blue Duck.

mje
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Post by mje »

For river running, paddling effciency is less important than the ability to bounce off rocks. Folders work well if you put a layer of foam between the ribs and the hull, as Pakboats does. Inflatables are a good choice, too.
Michael Edelman
FoldingKayaks.org Webmaster

acrosome

The Stikine Trip

Post by acrosome »

Yes, I've heard of putting a layer of neoprene or other closed-cell foam between the hull and frame. As I recall Klepper used to recommend that for river kayaking. Also, Ally includes a foam sheet with their folding canoes.

Regarding the Stikine, yes, there are hairy spots with vicious whitewater but they are all upriver of my start point at Telegraph Creek. Just upriver of Telegraph Creek is the Grand Canyon of the Stikine, which only 7 whitewater expeditions have successfully navigated. In one spot the river is only 2 meters wide! It is thought that the cliffs on either side are extensively undermined, otherwise there is no way that all that water could fit through 2 meters, but no one has proved it yet. Below our start at Telegraph Creek the river is only class I in a few spots, otherwise flat. It is a broad but amazingly fast river- 7 to 9 knots!

You see, my intent is not to have fun through adrenalin-junky type whitewater. What I enjoy is wilderness. I'm just doing this trip to get away for a while. See some bears, watch a glacier calve, eat with my fingers, get a little smelly, etc. I hope to do similar future trips on the Copper River near Valdez and/or the Colville River on the North Slope. Perhaps also the Noatak River. God willing, I will hit them all before I die.

So, yes, my concern is more mid- to long-term durability against rock rubs and landings on gravel, though being short-term bulletproof wouldn't hurt either. So, if you can tell me that the more affordable Folbots are adequate that would be excellent! A Kodiak would do nicely. Otherwise I am trying to decide between a Long Haul Mk I or a Feathercraft Wisper or Klondike. (The Klondike seems like a good compromise boat, since it can be configured variously to seat 1-3 people...)

Since I am graduating residency my income will be going up a bit around the time of this trip, so maybe my best option would be to try the Folbot for this one and upgrade to a Long Haul if I shred the Folbot?

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krudave
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Post by krudave »

acrosome wrote: Since I am graduating residency my income will be going up a bit around the time of this trip, so maybe my best option would be to try the Folbot for this one and upgrade to a Long Haul if I shred the Folbot?

That might be a good approach. Shredding a Long Haul or a Feathercraft would hurt a lot more. Repairing a Folbot, once home, is pretty simple -- they will ship you replacement parts, at cost, or maybe free, if it seems the use is "normal."

The Stikine stretch you describe sounds wonderful. For reference, local buddies did a big hunk of the McKenzie (swift, but no rocky stretches) 3-4 years ago, in Folbot Greenland doubles. No probs. I have seen one of the boats that went. Still in very good shape. I owned a G II for several years, and loved it, except for the cheesy spraydeck.

The Kodiak is a tougher, stiffer boat than the G II. Similarly cheesy spraydeck, but good enough for what you have in mind. Rumor is that Folbot is working on a improved spraydecks, with "coaming" similar to what the Cooper has, to use standard hardshell-style skirts. A huge improvement.
Dave Kruger
Astoria, OR
--
Folbot Kodiak, Cooper, and Edisto; three hardshells; Mothership: Surf Scoter the Bartender; dinghy Little Blue Duck.

mje
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Post by mje »

Well, my motto is buy the best, and you only cry once ;-)
Michael Edelman
FoldingKayaks.org Webmaster

acrosome

Post by acrosome »

mje wrote:Well, my motto is buy the best, and you only cry once ;-)
You know- I have learned that lesson over the years, too. I am in a bit of a spot here, though. These "wife" things are really handy some times, but other times they can really cramp your style... plus we have a baby on the way. I know- priorities!

Alm

Re: The Stikine Trip

Post by Alm »

acrosome wrote: So, yes, my concern is more mid- to long-term durability against rock rubs and landings on gravel, though being short-term bulletproof wouldn't hurt either. So, if you can tell me that the more affordable Folbots are adequate that would be excellent! A Kodiak would do nicely. Otherwise I am trying to decide between a Long Haul Mk I or a Feathercraft Wisper or Klondike. (The Klondike seems like a good compromise boat, since it can be configured variously to seat 1-3 people...)

Since I am graduating residency my income will be going up a bit around the time of this trip, so maybe my best option would be to try the Folbot for this one and upgrade to a Long Haul if I shred the Folbot?
Some unusual range of models: MK1, Whisper and Klondike. All are quite different from Kodiak, except for MK1, which is probably the closest cousin (significantly longer, heavier and with higher payload). Missed out Klepper AE1 would've been the closest to Kodiak, and money-wise some old AE1 bought for 2000 wouldn't be a big mistake. May be Mike hasn't sold his yet. It is a 2-bag boat, same as Kodiak, heavier than Kodiak, but not much.

Whisper is hardly an expediton boat - no more than Kahuna, anyway (which has better primary stability and I wouldn't be surprised if better maneurability too). Both models are good for 7-10 days of self-supported trip at best.

Klondike is a relatively narrow double, yet too much of a boat for solo paddling on fast rivers (and too much for solo paddling almost anywhere, except for tall or heavy people where there is no other choice, or for very serious expeditons with a lot of cargo).

You can't have one boat for all purposes - efficient solo paddling on short trips, reliablly hauling tons of cargo in multiday expediton, light and compact enough for most of air flights and solo handling ashore (cart isn't always an option), and roomy family boat. This would've been at least 3 or 4 boats, so any recommendations should've been given separately within each of these 3 or 4 categories.

Christov_Tenn

Re: The Stikine Trip

Post by Christov_Tenn »

Alm wrote:
acrosome wrote:Missed out Klepper AE1 would've been the closest to Kodiak, and money-wise some old AE1 bought for 2000 wouldn't be a big mistake. May be Mike hasn't sold his yet. It is a 2-bag boat, same as Kodiak, heavier than Kodiak, but not much.
There is, or at least has recently been, an AE1 with a new Longhaul skin and a heavily modified Klepper skin advertised on the Longhaul website. I thought very seriously about buying it, but bought the Pouch tandem instead because we would like to be able to include our (as yet hypothetical) kids in the family activity.

The seller sent photos of the AEI, and it looks terrific. Comes with skirt, Longhaul bags, rudder set up.
http://www.longhaulfoldingkayaks.com/cl ... y4sale.php
Scroll down to ad number 16.

Chris

mje
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Post by mje »

That looks like a super deal... and it would be a good river runner.
Michael Edelman
FoldingKayaks.org Webmaster

Alm

Re: The Stikine Trip

Post by Alm »

Christov_Tenn wrote: There is, or at least has recently been, an AE1 with a new Longhaul skin and a heavily modified Klepper skin advertised on the Longhaul website. I thought very seriously about buying it, but bought the Pouch tandem instead because we would like to be able to include our (as yet hypothetical) kids in the family activity.

The seller sent photos of the AEI, and it looks terrific. Comes with skirt, Longhaul bags, rudder set up.
http://www.longhaulfoldingkayaks.com/cl ... y4sale.php
Scroll down to ad number 16.

Chris
Yes, LH skin with hatches and "modified Klepper skin for easy loading of gear" - which could mean zippered hatches that Klepper adds for extra $$$ - I don't know how this is better than those hatches in LH skin. Anyway, 94 frame with new skin (+ second free skin) for $2000 is very cheap. Posted in March, 3 months ago.

With kids... Ralph Diaz says in his book (sorry if this sounds like quoting a Bible) - that buying a tandem without solid chances that it would be paddled by 2 people - isn't worth it. Meaning, that if there is no wife, or she doesn't paddle often, and second seat is reserved for such occasions (or for a friend, again, not sure how often) - then paddling it solo most of the time is - well... suffice to say that paddling a single kayak solo is more fun. Before kids kids arrive, wife wouldn't paddle for a few motnhs or so. After they have arrived, very few people "baptize" them into kayaking before they are 1 year old or so. It takes consious effort to break the vicious cycle of priorities that both spouse have to deal with after kids have arrived - for most of people this turns out to be very difficult. Introducing kids at a very young age is possible - there is a whole issue of Wavelength Magazine on that subject: http://www.wavelengthmagazine.com/2002/am02.pdf . On-line versiopn doesn't have all the articles of the hard copy, - but probably most of them are included. Anyway, for mostly solo paddling a single kayak is needed - I agree with Ralph. For family paddling anothe boat is needed - if there will be such a paddling. Only 2 boats are designed for paddling in trio - FC Klondike and Russian Vuoksa (which I don't know much about), plus very expesive and probably very heavy Klepper XXL. All other boats coud accomodate a trio, but comfort and efficiency (and safety) will be sacrificed significantly.

gregn

Post by gregn »

Only 2 boats are designed for paddling in trio - FC Klondike and Russian Vuoksa (which I don't know much about), plus very expesive and probably very heavy Klepper XXL
Alex, FC Klondike is not a three person kayak. I do not know why manufacturer decided on this idea. Perhaps a designer, who could be a lightly built person, took his wife and a small child for a little spin in the prototype, enjoyed such family outing and called it a tripple. I do not see three people in Klondike's cockpit, no matter how small they are.

Otherwise Klondike is a wonderful kayak, as a mid size double, or a very large single.

acrosome

Re: The Stikine Trip

Post by acrosome »

Christov_Tenn wrote: There is, or at least has recently been, an AE1 with a new Longhaul skin and a heavily modified Klepper skin advertised on the Longhaul website. I thought very seriously about buying it, but bought the Pouch tandem instead because we would like to be able to include our (as yet hypothetical) kids in the family activity.

The seller sent photos of the AEI, and it looks terrific. Comes with skirt, Longhaul bags, rudder set up.
http://www.longhaulfoldingkayaks.com/cl ... y4sale.php
Scroll down to ad number 16.
Chris
Thanks! I emailed the seller, as well as the seller for another boat, for details and to see if they are still available. More to follow...

You know, for some reason I just don't like the looks of the Feathercraft K1. Also it is just ridiculously expensive. That's why I was thinking Wisper or Klondike. But it looks more like my decision is going to be the affordable Folbot Kodiak versus a higher-end Long Haul or Klepper. But if this $2000 Aerius I works out then I guess my decision is simpler. Assuming I can talk the wife into it...

Alm

Post by Alm »

>I do not see three people in Klondike's cockpit, no matter how small they are.

This puzzles me too. The location of ribs could make make difference, but even then with 10" shorter cockpit than in GII (albeit 10" longer overall hull) - promoting Klodike as a 3-person boat sounds odd. May be you are right and they tested it with a short-legged rear paddler, so small child could fit in the middle.

>You know, for some reason I just don't like the looks of the Feathercraft K1. Also it is just ridiculously expensive. That's why I was thinking Wisper or Klondike

Klondike costs more than K1. And with K1, same as with AE1, it is possible to get a used model in decent shape. Used Klondike or MK1 are rare, - new models, not many people bought them. Wisper, from my point of view, is more a performance kayak than an expedition one. More performance than Kahuna, but not more expedition (and both Wisper and Kahuna are less expedtion boats than K1). I don't remember what tubes they are using in Wisper - if the same diameter as in Kahuna, then it's a weaker frame than K1.

Looks of K1 - well, it looks pretty much like most of high-volume hardshell expeditiion single sea kayaks; and behaves accordingly too. It's a boat for large bodies of water, - big lakes, seas and wide rivers.

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