Alpacka offers new packraft Paddle

Alpacka is selling a new paddle. Check it out:

For five years Alpacka Raft has been trying to get a someone to build us a paddle that was specifically designed for packrafting. Last season Sawyer paddles agreed to give it a try. The results were spectacular so we are adding it to our paddle line.

This paddle is the perfect paddle for packrafting. It is extremely durable, weighs only 28 oz, 4 oz lighter than our next heaviest paddle, and is adjustable in length and feathering from 205cm to 230cm. It breaks down into 4 pieces with a fifth core piece for the adjustment. The blade is a laminated Western Red Cedar and they are reinforced with fiberglass, carbon and have Sawyer’s ToughEdge (a Dynel edge protection). This makes for a very light weight yet tough paddle. The adjust-ability allows you to keep your paddle short for whitewater yet still have the ability to lengthen the paddle for those long flatwater pulls.

Bottom line: This paddle equals the splat in strength yet it is 4 oz lighter and has 25 cm of length adjustment available. And it is a beautiful to look at! What more could a packrafter want? This paddle costs a bit more than our Aquabound line but it is still less expensive than any of the other high-end paddles. Everyone that used this paddle last year wanted one.

All of our paddles are good choices. However, if you want the ultimate paddle for a packraft we feel this is about as close as you can get.

Cost: $270


Has anyone had any issues with the locking mechanism? Is it bombproof like I think it is? That is a great looking paddle for sure.

I was pretty skeptical when I first held it, because the blades feel so light, but Hig & Erin have been using it for a couple months now, and they say it’s done great and is as durable as the Splat. Don’t have one myself, yet, but I’ll give it a try this summer. The cedar appears to be very strong.

DUDE I’M AM SO STOKED!!! My wife just gave the green light for me to get one of these paddles (it’s her anniversary gift to me) or something like that… YES!!!

Well I got my Sawyer Packraft paddle! I am doing an overnight trip on the Rio Chama this coming weekend, so after I will post a review of this great looking paddle. :stuck_out_tongue:

I got one of these with my new Yak a couple of weeks ago. I’ve only had it out on the lake, but it did a good job there, and seemed sturdy enough to take more punishment than I was giving it in flat wide open water.

I did have a slight problem with one of the locking mechanisms. It was very hard to push it down far enough to slide the sections apart. Hopefully with more practice and use it will become easier.
Enjoy your rafting this weekend Glenn, I’ll be out on the Current river here in MO for a leisurely class I paddle and camp trip.

I have the same problems with one side of my paddle, but nothing a feather touch with a Dremmel Tool can’t handle! :smiley:

Any input on using the middle sections (the adjustable shaft) as a walking stick? Normally when I’m out on a longer trip, I carry the paddle (completely collapsed) in my pack shovel-pocket, and have trekking poles when walking/schwacking through the woods & mountains.

My current (el-cheapo) paddle shaft is a bit short to use as a walking stick with any comfort, but the adjustability of the Sawyer seems to make it ideal for that. I’m only worried about the shaft breaking or chipping under such use. So I guess my main question is about the durability of the shaft material. I know they make carbon-fiber trekking poles, and this is obviously thicker than those. Perhaps if I fashioned some kind of clip-in “tip” for the bottom, to keep the rocks from chipping up the shaft edge. Hmmm…

Anyhoo, I’m just curious if any of y’all have tried that yet, or if you have input one way or the other. Maybe this is a good post for the “alternate uses” thread.

  • Mike

People have used the shaft from Aquabound paddles for walking sticks. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work with these new paddles. You can protect the end with rubber floor protector made for a chair leg. You can get them at your local hardware store.

Sounds like the new paddles are success. I will need to add one to the quiver.

Perfect. Thanks.

  • Mike

OK I have just run 31 miles of wilderness with my new Alpacka adjustable Sawyer paddle, and I must say, it worked great!!! The Rio Chama has many rapids spread out between fairly long stretches of smooth water. It was nice to be able to switch to longer mode for the flat stretches. It proved to be strong and firm. The ONLY thing I have to say is that the quick clamp can pop out after snagging on something. A large rubber band or wide velcro strap would work fine to keep it locked down. A very, very lightweight, nice paddle. :smiley:

Actually I found the “rubber floor protector made for a chair leg” to be basically useless when I was in Alaska. After 3 days of using my Aquabound paddle as a walking stick it had eaten right through the rubber down to the ground. I had better luck carving a wooden base and lashing it to the hole for the paddle.

Bad news on the beautiful Sawyer paddle, folks. I received one from Sheri and broke it within two days. One of the blades broke four inches from the tip (see the photo below). The amazing thing is that the blade broke while I was paddling. I didn’t hit anything but water. While these paddles are beautiful and light, I am not at all convinced that they will hold up for packrafting in Alaska. I have returned the blades to Sawyer and we’ll see what comes from it. Caveat emptor.
Sawyer paddle 004.jpg

I realize evrything is “Tougher in Alaska”, so I assume these new paddles will be OK evrywhere else?

Looks like mine, didnt make it through the first trip.

Following on what’s been a very good service record, several of our users have broken Sawyer paddles within the last few weeks. Most or all of these breakages appear to be on new paddles. Obviously can’t happen. We’re working with Sawyer to figure out what’s going on.

If you break your Sawyer, please alert us immediately & keep the paddle for return to Sawyer. -Alpacka

I’m sorry to hear about your recent broken paddle(s). We are working to assess the problem and remedy it.
The Sawyer/Alpacka paddle was designed to fit these parameters: 1. Ultra-light (to weigh 2lbs or less overall) 2. Tough (to endure the rigors of packrafting and whitewater paddling) 3. Performance & function ( must paddle well, be fully adjustable, and break down into sections 22” or less.
Sawyer has built this paddle well within these perameters and the paddles have excelled in the field. Hig & Erin’s 4000 mile trek is a testimonial to this. There are several hundred of these paddles out in the field (in Alaska or other parts of the world) that have paddled thousands of miles (accumulated).
This is the first breakage(s) that I’ve heard of.
This is also not to say that there aren’t some limitations with this paddle. It is an Ultra-light packraft paddle (probably the only one specifically made for packrafting of it’s kind). It is not a class IV and V whitewater paddle.
In the outdoor industry, “ultra-light” gear is generally a little less tough than other gear not classified as “ultra-light”.
Sawyer paddles are tough and are known for their toughness (40+ years in the making).
The Sawyer/Alpacka paddle is very tough, especially for its Ultra-light weight.

Does this answer the question as to why your paddle broke?…No, it doesn’t. And I’m not sure why it broke. But we will make sure you’re taken care of. Sorry for the inconvenience. - Sawyer Paddles and Oars
Alpacka blade test 004.jpg
Alpacka blade test 002.jpg

So will this paddle Handle 4+.
We are attempting a fast and lite accent of granite peak in MT and pack raft exit via the still water river. So exposed 5.7 and 50 deg. snow slopes I dont want any extra weight but i do need a level of durability.

So what is the verdict Class 4 or what?

Thanks for input.



Thanks for your inquiry. Sounds like you’ve got a pretty sweet trip planned!
As I mentioned in my earlier response about our packrafting paddle, it’s probably not quite up to the task of heavy class IV & V whitewater, though we haven’t really taken out on much IV+ it has been tested on some class IV rapids such as Blossom Bar on the Rogue and has done fine. It’s probably not going to hold up on “creek” style rapids. Use your best judgement.
Have a great trip!

  • Shaggy
    Sawyer Paddles and Oars

After my first Sawyer paddle broke on its second day on the water, I’ve been hesitant to tout this paddle for hard and rocky whitewater. Last year the Sawyer stayed home on the harder and longer trips, displaced by my trusty fiberglass Manta Ray. This year, though, I’ve been taking the Sawyer more often, including a two-week outing to the western Arctic, down the rocky Happy River, and some other bony Class IV rivers. I am starting to trust it more, though, as it has been taking a pretty good beating with no damage yet. I still use the Sawyer with some trepidation, which is awkward when faced with a “must-make” move on a rocky river. But I am slowly gaining confidence that this beauty will stand up to the beast.