Recommendations for 6 week arctic trip

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Recommendations for 6 week arctic trip

Post by Monel »

Good day,

I would appreciate your advice/recommendation on an boat for me. Must be inflatable or folding as this is fly in and out.

About me: strong solid class III solo paddler

The trip: Noatak and Colville in the Alaskan arctic, 6 weeks, one resupply. Estimated maximum load with full food, including paddler and all gear, would push 350 pounds but will likely be around 300. These rivers are mostly class I with some class II stuff. I am a solid enough paddler that I'm not really worried about whitewater performance or stability, but, I wouldn't mind being able to lie back, relax, and just float for a bit. Maneuverability is NOT the highest concern. These rivers also have long stretches of flatwater and are known for regular strong headwinds, so boat speed and immunity to wind ARE of great importance.

Access is via charter plane so weight is important but not critical, packability is a must so any hard shell is out.

The Colville can have some low water and riffles so how much the boat draws when loaded and the abrasion resistance is a factor. Since this is a long remote trip, durability is also important.

I have an old reliable NRS Bandit II, the polyurethane version, that would suffice but I fear it will be slow and blown about by the wind.

I've got the budget for a new boat so I figured I'd seek out some combined wisdom about what might work best for me here. I'm inclined towards an inflatable (mostly because I am familiar with them) but would consider folding too.

Again, I appreciate any thoughts, comments or recomendations you have for me.


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Re: Recommendations for 6 week arctic trip

Post by mje »

I’d call Mark Eckhart at Long Haul and discuss your needs with him. He has outfitted many explorers and special forces troops.
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Re: Recommendations for 6 week arctic trip

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

You may want to consider a Pakboat or Ally folding canoe. I have known two guides who took clients backcountry fishing and hunting in the Alaskan interior and in Patagonia who swore by Pakboat canoes for up to Class III rivers. You can find YouTube videos showing how they handle. Contact Pakboat in New Hampshire for advice on models that would suit your needs.

Here's a video of their 17' model with a spray deck on the rapids of a river in Finland.

And here are shots from an Alaskan trip<
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Curtis Lady Bug solo canoe
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15

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Re: Recommendations for 6 week arctic trip

Post by overland »

I think a Pakcanoe is definitely what you'll want--probably a 150. I know someone who paddled both a 140 and 150 on long solo trips in the Canadian Arctic. They're tough. Cliff Jacobson has used them and has very good things to say about them. On the Noatak you'll see plenty Allys and PakCanoes. A few years ago we took a Pakcanoe 165 down the Noatak. Others in our group had a 160 and a 170. The 170, a big tandem, floated a little higher, which made me a little envious. An acquaintance of mine who runs a guiding business in Alaska swears by the Allys, but I don't know what they have for solos. They're not quite as well made as the Pakcanoes, but they're a little lighter and still plenty tough.
Interesting trip. How will you get from the Noatak to the Coville?

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