Good kayak for Alaska trip?

A place to answer questions from newcomers.

Moderators: mje, chrstjrn, krudave

overland
faltbootemeister
Posts: 122
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2016 4:17 pm
Location: Chicago

Good kayak for Alaska trip?

Post by overland »

I'm new here. I'm planning a late summer trip to Alaska. I have an old Klepper Aerius 2 that's in OK condition. It needs work, maybe a new hull. The stitching that attaches the deck to the hull is pulling out in places, and the deck itself may be getting weak. I'm considering getting a new hull from Long Haul, or maybe buying a much younger (at least younger than my kayak!) Nautiraid Packer that I can get for less than half the cost of a new hull. Which would be smarter? Or should I just try to repair the seams on the Keppler?
But the biggest problem is that the Kleppers and the Nautiraid are quite heavy--heavier than a 16 or 17 foot folding canoe, for example. We're going in by bush plane and I'm worried about the weight--also for the cost of getting it there from Chicago. Is there a lighter alternative? I see the newer Folbots the Greenland 2s, are only 60 pounds, but I wonder about the quality. Yost has a plan for a tandem inflatable kayak (the Sonnet Double), which I could build. But I don't know if it has room enough for gear-or if it would be tough enough. Any suggestions?

User avatar
chrstjrn
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
Posts: 1718
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:47 pm
Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)

Re: Good kayak for Alaska trip?

Post by chrstjrn »

Will this be a coastal trip, or would something like a Pakboats canoe work at least as well?
Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: Early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift (prototype), as well as an '84 Hobie 16.

overland
faltbootemeister
Posts: 122
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2016 4:17 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: Good kayak for Alaska trip?

Post by overland »

Good question. It's a river trip and a pakboat foldable canoe would work just fine. And they're 20 or more pounds lighter than my klepper. But they're hard to find used, and it doesn't seem as if any of the expert skin on frame boat builders has come up with a plan for do it yourselfers. But you're right--one of my friends on the trip is bringing a Pak canoe.

User avatar
chrstjrn
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
Posts: 1718
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:47 pm
Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)

Re: Good kayak for Alaska trip?

Post by chrstjrn »

Call Alv at PakBoats and ask him if he has any deals on canoes.
Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: Early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift (prototype), as well as an '84 Hobie 16.

User avatar
KerryOnKayaks
lord high faltbotmeister
Posts: 592
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:46 am
Location: inland Pennsylvania, USA

Re: Good kayak for Alaska trip?

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

Yes, do look at Pakboats, both their canoes and their XT kayaks which have a lot of cargo room. I bought an XT on recommendations from a guide who has used Pakboat canoes and kayaks to take his fishing clients on rocky remote rivers in Alaska and Patagonia.

Alv at Pakboat has a used XT-17 Kayak with both the solo and tandem decks for $1700. The XT's are very easy to set up, have good rigidity, very comfortable seats and great cargo access since the entire deck can be peeled back and you can load them like a canoe.
Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Curtis Lady Bug solo canoe
Previous:
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15

overland
faltbootemeister
Posts: 122
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2016 4:17 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: Good kayak for Alaska trip?

Post by overland »

According to PakBoat's web site, that kayak has a capacity of 400 pounds. If it's used as a tandem, that doesn't leave much, if anything, for gear. Or am I misreading something?
Also, what's his reason for recommending these boats? The kayaks are lighter than most because, I think, they use PVC instead of Hypalon. And yet you can get a PVC or TPU skin for a Klepper from Wayland. How well do those skins work?

User avatar
chrstjrn
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
Posts: 1718
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:47 pm
Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)

Re: Good kayak for Alaska trip?

Post by chrstjrn »

Klepper only started offering TPU/PVC very recently. They have used exclusively Hypalon for 30-40 years. The idea that Hypalon is better for whitewater, etc, is very controversial. The PakCanoes use PVC, and are very tough. They also have padding between the frame and the skin, which allegedly increases their whitewater toughness and is not a feature shared by the XT-17.

The XT-17 is one of those boats that make a good day-double or expedition-single-- the Feathercraft Kodiak and the Fujita double also come to mind, in that category.
Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: Early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift (prototype), as well as an '84 Hobie 16.

overland
faltbootemeister
Posts: 122
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2016 4:17 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: Good kayak for Alaska trip?

Post by overland »

I think Wayland also offers replacement skins made of TPU or PVC, although I don't know if they are currently a reliable company to deal with. Isn't the issue with these alternatives chiefly longevity? Hypalon lasts forever. These alternatives, though lighter, not so long. I bring this up because one alternative, for me at least, would be to buy a replacement skin for my Klepper made out of a lighter material.

overland
faltbootemeister
Posts: 122
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2016 4:17 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: Good kayak for Alaska trip?

Post by overland »

I also wonder why no one has drawn up a good do-it-yourself folding canoe plan. They don't seem that complicated: a tub of pvc with foam on the floor (about the thickness of a yoga mat), a semi rigid frame, and sponsons on the side. I should think someone with skin on frame expertise could design one.

User avatar
chrstjrn
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
Posts: 1718
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:47 pm
Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)

Re: Good kayak for Alaska trip?

Post by chrstjrn »

I suspect it is more complicated than you think.
Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: Early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift (prototype), as well as an '84 Hobie 16.

User avatar
gbellware
lord high faltbotmeister
Posts: 891
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:05 am
Location: atlanta, georgia

Re: Good kayak for Alaska trip?

Post by gbellware »

The search for the right kayak is half the fun...and the other half is planning the trip!
Any folder is going to have some potential for damage in Alaska rivers, whether from large rocks or from gravel bottoms. And I think it is too early to know whether between TPU and Hypalon (which is no longer available because of environmental issues) there is a clear winner. And I have no idea about PVC.
My Quattro is TPU and I have bounced it of plenty of coral heads with no damage beyond minor scuffs. My Kahuna and I spent quite a bit of time on shallow Alaska rivers and it definitely showed wear from gravel. There is another kayaker on the Forum with extensive experience in Alaska waters, although I think he is partial to places where the whales play, but maybe he will chime in.
Good luck with your search,
g
"There is nothing--absolutely nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats"

1988 A1 Expedition
2010 carbon Klepper Quattro
BSD sail rig, 24' mizzen + 36' main
39' jib
Torqeedo outboard
1938 Sachs-Fichtel seitenbordmotor

User avatar
chrstjrn
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
Posts: 1718
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:47 pm
Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)

Re: Good kayak for Alaska trip?

Post by chrstjrn »

It's years ago, and much of it was before the hacker attack that wiped several years of discussions (2006? 2008?), but we had extensive discussion of the PVC vs. Hypalon controversy on here. And before that, there was plenty of it on Bagboater (which is now almost completely inactive).
Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: Early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift (prototype), as well as an '84 Hobie 16.

Apathizer
knight of the folding kayak realm
Posts: 293
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:09 pm

Re: Good kayak for Alaska trip?

Post by Apathizer »

overland wrote:According to PakBoat's web site, that kayak has a capacity of 400 pounds. If it's used as a tandem, that doesn't leave much, if anything, for gear. Or am I misreading something?
Also, what's his reason for recommending these boats? The kayaks are lighter than most because, I think, they use PVC instead of Hypalon. And yet you can get a PVC or TPU skin for a Klepper from Wayland. How well do those skins work?
It's my understanding the XT 17 is intended as either an expedition-capacity single, or a day tripping tandem. You can certainly call them to make sure, but if it's set up as a tandem I doubt there'd be much storage space.

I have their more recent (discontinued) Quest 155. I think the newer XT 17 models are made of polyurethane, which is certainly durable. The older XT models were made of PVC, but I don't know if there still using for any of their newer models (maybe the canoes, but I don't know). Just an FYI, DuPont discontinued production of Hypalon, supposedly for environmental reasons, but I understand a generic version is still being made.

While I don't have any experience with their canoes, Pakboats impress with their simplicity and functionality. While they aren't as aesthetically pleasing as most other makers, I like that they're designed to be as simple as possible without compromising function. While I generally avoid rough conditions, I have encountered them a few times and my Quest 155 handled them just fine. Reputedly, their XT and canoe models are even more durable.

So basically, I like Pakboats because I prefer function, light weight, and simplicity over sexiness.

overland
faltbootemeister
Posts: 122
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2016 4:17 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: Good kayak for Alaska trip?

Post by overland »

This is helpful. Just to clarify something, is polyurethane better than pvc for a boat skin?
Also, how do the PakCanoes perform on flatwater--compared to a regular canoe, that is?

User avatar
gbellware
lord high faltbotmeister
Posts: 891
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:05 am
Location: atlanta, georgia

Re: Good kayak for Alaska trip?

Post by gbellware »

I am no chemist, but TPU is just one of many types of polyurethanes and it is much more expensive and, from my limited experience, it is better for the skin of a folder than PVC, whereas PVC may be preferable for inflatables.

Best,
g
"There is nothing--absolutely nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats"

1988 A1 Expedition
2010 carbon Klepper Quattro
BSD sail rig, 24' mizzen + 36' main
39' jib
Torqeedo outboard
1938 Sachs-Fichtel seitenbordmotor

Post Reply

Return to “What boat for me?”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users