Name: paddler1662865

Most Recent Reviews

The Alpacka Expedition and the Wolverine are the same boat with different features. The Wolverine has thigh straps and the Expedition does not. Since early 2020, I have purchased and used two Wolverines for various rafting adventures. Both of my boats have spray skirts without the self bailing option. These adventures include a 50 mile trip down the San Juan River in southern Utah, the lower Escalante/Lake Powell in Utah, Split Mountain daily on the Green River in Utah, South Fork of the Payette in Idaho, the Snake River, the North Fork and Buffalo River, and the Bear River in Wyoming. The wave conditions range from flat to class 3+.

My Wolverines have held up without a hitch. Presently, I have not had any holes, tears, or other wear. I have taken care to baby the T-zip zipper, since sand or other debris can make it less than airtight. That service includes ample zipper wax and a toothbrush to clean the teeth. The Wolverine/Expedition has two internal drybags that come with the purchase. The bags easily encompass the backpacking gear that I often bring (HMG 4400 Southwest breaks down with accompanying sleeping systems, food etc.). When filled with gear the Alpacka boat sits a tiny bit lower in the water and is less likely to flip due to the added ballast.

The Wolverine handles well; it turns on a dime. I find ferrying and lateral movement across rivers to be quite easy. However, it can flip. I have had some opportunities to "take a drink" when on a challenging rapid (e.g., Lunch Counter on the Snake). Particularly, the Wolverine can flip when hit with lateral waves; I have found that it does very well perpendicular and obliquely angled to wave fronts. Parallel waves show a higher chance of flipping.

Since 2019, I have purchased and used three Alpacka Classics. One is a stripped down model that I use for paddling on lakes. The other two have spray-skirts and thigh straps. I also have two Alpacka Wolverines. The Classics have been down the San Juan River in Utah, the Provo River in Utah, the Bear River in Wyoming, the Green River in the Northern Wind Rivers, the South Fork of the Payette River in Idaho, North Buffalo and Buffalo Fork in Wyoming, and the Snake River in Wyoming. Some of these rivers have had multiple trips on them. So far, I have not had any leaks or tears, although my brother popped a hole in a rental during a portage when he dragged his across a log. Repair for his was rather straight forward with Aquaseal, Gorilla Tape and a patch. The boats have been down rivers up to class III, including the infamous Lunch Counter and Big Kahuna Rapids (both class III) on the Snake. No one has flipped on the August and September runs on those rapids. However, we have had Classics flip on Government Rapids (a technical class III) on the San Juan. I find that the Wolverine turns easier than the Classic, but the Classic is steadier in the chaos of big waves (I have flipped more often in my Wolverine than the Classic). Care and maintenance has been easy with a spray down and drip dry on a laundry hanger after each outing. Alpacka also suggests dish soap to clean dirt off the boats. If I were to buy the Classic again, I would add the internal zipper system. That allows someone to store equipment in the baffles. Packrafts are not inexpensive, but they are like mountain bikes for rivers. You do get what you pay for in terms of durability and responsiveness.