Alpackalypse 2014

We were lucky enough to fondle the new white water boat last winter, and made this little tribute to our packrafting evolution:

Awesome vid!

I’d love to hear your review shoutdiggity compared to other Alpackas. Is it that much better than say a Yak with a seat moved forward and added rigging installed? Is it still packable enough with the new outfitting? How much gear could you stow in cargo fly, significantly less than a Yak??

This thing has been shrouded in mystery for so long that inquiring minds want to know!!!

I think the experience of the Alpackalypse is a little different depending on whether you have a kayaking background or not. I don’t, so for me, there was a steeper learning curve to get used to the new boat, and I was tipping more often than I would have in a Yak, and choosing the Yak for runs that were more at the edge of my comfort level and using the 'lypse on more familiar runs–at least for a while (though I haven’t been paddling lately, so I’ll probably need to warm up to the bigger stuff again). It is tippier side to side than the regular Alpackas, and I had to relearn my balance points and learn to keep my hips looser and more relaxed (and I’m still learning this–there is a reason I was behind the camera for that last video). Though tippier side to side, it is less tippy than a kayak and easier to keep upright with the right corrective strokes, which is why my friends who kayaked before switching to the light side took to it quickly. When you are used to it, I believe it is better in whitewater: you have more control of the craft through weight shifting and edging, and its shape and size and stiffness allow you to push through bigger hydraulics with better control. It is easier to roll than a Yak with thigh straps, but not nearly as easy as a kayak. It is a tougher to self-rescue and get back into in mid-stream than the Yak. Gearwise, I think you should be fine for longer trips. It has the two dry bags you stuff in the tubes, and room around those for other stuff. I have only used it for day runs around the PNW, so don’t know for sure how it stacks up to the Yak, but my guess is you can pack enough for longer expeditions in the tubes and have a few accessible items in the small bow bag. Another big improvement for me was the seat, which is more comfortable than my Yak with thigh straps and backbend and more comfortable than the stock seats in the regular Alpackas. My lousy back often got sore on long days before, but is much less so in the new boat, plus I feel more secure inside when things get squirrely. As far as packability, we were using a prototype with more of a frame than the final version–it took up more room than the standard boat and has more components, but was still great to take places, and I think the final version is a little easier to pack than the one we had.

Is it that much better? It is better for sure, and definitely changing the caliber of river packrafts are able to run, but probably not by that much–we are still limited by bigger hydraulics, and, for myself anyway (I am still learning the Alpackalypse, and don’t want to speak for those more talented than me), I am still wary of running big continuous drops that I wouldn’t want to swim due the uncertainty of rolling. That said, this is an important step in the progression to open up more rivers, and there are many positive changes on this boat that help out in whitewater. I would recommend upgrading for packrafters who paddle a lot and are addicted to exploring whitewater rivers and want to push the sport, and for kayakers who are exploring remote whitewater or traveling and don’t want the difficulties of transporting a hardshell. For the majority of people packrafting, I don’t think it fits the bill as much as the standard packrafts, which are marvels of all-purpose exploration, including substantial whitewater capability.

Hope my opinions help clear up some of the mystery, and hopefully we will get some more input and ideas as the boat gets out there a little more.


Thanks for the in-depth review Shoutdiggity, that’s what I needed to hear.

While I live on a whitewater river, you’ve convinced me that my Yak is a perfect balance between running whitewater, and backcountry adventures. I"m not boofing 10+ footers at this point so I’ll save my pennies.

Great Vid and review!

Is there a release date on these new Alpackas?


Cool video and review. I think I may get myself an Alpackalypse. I loved in the video when you went into the caves. Can’t wait to get back out on the water…

Awesome video and luvd the review!

I loved in the video when you went into the caves.

The video looks awesome but also darn scary, not for the faint of heart.