Best fit Alpacka for bike-rafting/touring?

I was hoping to get some advice from the bikerafters. I have some experience bike packing/touring but adding some water travel to that or hiking, a packraft looks like the way to go. I’ve seen many of the blogs, pictures and videos of your badassery, and now I have the itch. I am going to scratch it but I haven’t decided to the best equipment to get started.

I probably won’t be doing any water too nuts ( at least for a while), and I want the ability to carry my salsa fargo and eventually a fatbike with all the bikepacking trimmings possibly on some longer tours. Dream trip is to bike and raft the Mekong river and find some badassery of my own up here in AK along the way before I get to that.

I’m 5’7 with a 30’ inseam, 170-180 any given sunday… Alpacka’s size chart says I should be in an Alpaca but I think this might be small for my uses except hiking. I am leaning toward a larger model something like the Mule and I think the Yak would be the absolute smallest I would go. Would the larger raft be unruly to paddle? By the measurements they are mostly just longer making them track straighter, right? And the mule also a couple inches wider at the bow which I think would be more stable with a bike? If the mule or LLama wasn’t loaded with a bike would it be hard to control for my size?

I realize you could pack a bike on any of these but what would the most useful system be? What has worked for you? If you rafted with a bike on a smaller model did you wish for more size? Any thoughts, advice, and experience would be welcome. Thanks, Nick

I’d get the Alpaca, or Yak at the most. Plenty of space for anything you can possibly carry on your back, but no added fabric bulk/weight to pack and haul on the bike. Llama and Mule are just huge in a relative sense, with no real benefit for what you want to do.

My GF is 5’7", in an Alpaca, and she has heaps of room with her fatbike on the bow.

Good luck,


Thanks for the thoughts Mike. I just learned a friend of mine is going to be leading packrafting trips out of Homer this summer and the company he works for has geared up with a bunch of new models so it looks like I might be able to get to run some trials with him.

I do try to pack light on bike touring trips but I think at most I would carry on a super long tour would be a seat bag, handle bar gear roll, gear from anything cages on the front, possibly rear panniers (if I needed more gear) and the triangle bag. I guess with the new cargo fly I would have less issues with fitting all of that gear plus bike in the raft but I wouldn’t want to go too small.

I have the Denali Llama and I can’t imagine having a packraft any smaller to bikeraft. I’m 5-8 and 190 and I would at least look at the next size up. Will you have a backpack too and how big?

I just looked at the size chart and I think you would be delighted with the Mule. The cargo fly is a must and it holds a lot. I just tried to purchase two more storage bags for inside the cargo fly and could not purchase any. They have to hold what they have just for new purchases. I suggest trying to purchase a couple more bags for the cargo fly as part of the deal, you pay for them but at least you have 4 then instead of two.

I have the camo… if there was a choice it might have been woodland. One looked camo and the other didn’t for whatever they are titled.

I’m wanting to do the same with a electric fat with as many gears as I can get and electric hub on the front I think would be a blast. Have not figured out yet how to charge it in the wilderness.

I am so looking forward to visiting Alaska, I’ve lived in Wyoming 4 years and in a high-rise on the Lake front in Chicago 30 years so I’m ready to get back to WY and MT and living in Alaska in Winter.

All the Best

Thanks for the thoughts Doug. I’m thinking either yak to mule size is for me, but its good to hear someone about my size with a bigger raft. Do you find the LLama cumbersome in rivers? I imagine it tracks pretty well in flat water but does it behave ‘slowly’ in the rivers.

Gear will depend on the trip. I try not to use a backpack if touring but some shorter bikepacks, yeah.

Ideally, the boat that can cover long bike-touring/packing scenarios to hike in raft out a day( or couple) is the one for me. I think my uses are more toward the lower class waters but It would be nice to still have that potential to do some decent white-water as skills develop. The mule did appeal to me at first. I had another friend recommend a llama. Honestly, whats an extra 3 oz in weight for a couple inches length and width in the front with the mule? It would be great to hear from someone who has already got their hands on a mule.

I don’t know. Time to test a couple