Hardsided protective packraft cases???

Your pipe idea might work, but since weight is not too big of a deal, I would suggest getting a steel “open top” drum and putting your rafts in it. They are pretty cheap (I think I paid $40 or so for a 30 gallon open top drum) and available in 15 gallon, 30 gallon, and bigger sizes. I think the 15 gallon size would work for just 2 rafts, the 30 gallon would work fine for rafts plus pfds, etc. Plus - just think how cool it would look strapped to the your boat! In Fairbanks you can them at Arctic Fire & Safety, and you might be able to borrow one from the Fairbanks Alaska Public Lands Information Center (http://alaskacenters.gov/fairbanks.cfm) … not sure where you could find them in the Anchorage bowl…

Good luck!

I am sure the drum idea would work but that is pretty bulky to carry in additon to my gear for a week plus of backpacking and my packrafting stuff. Weight is a bit of a consideration I guess.

How about one of the newer/lighter backpacking
cache-bear barrels? The Garcia barrels are 2.2 pounds and 8.8"x12", probably a little small for a decked llama. I bet there are bigger and lighter barrels available though. You could always hang it like food. Put it in a cheap camo duffel and use some rope.

I would probably carry the raft, but the intellectual problem of caching the ride safely is intriguing.

It seems to me that I would want the hard-sided case to be of a sufficiently large diameter to prevent entry into a bear’s mouth, so it wouldn’t be carried off or crunched. I would also want the case to be sufficiently stiff so that a body slam wouldn’t pop a lid or end. For example of an appropriate diameter, Bearikade carbon fiber bear canisters are 9" diameter http://www.wild-ideas.net/ I would not go any slimmer. (No bear cannister made is long enough for a raft.).

How much lighter and smaller than a small barrel do you expect to get by with? 9’ in diameter times 24" * 2 = 1.75 cubic feet or about 13 gallons. Sounds like a 15 gallon steel barrel is the way to go. The best alternatives seem to be (1) to buy the drum and then to use it as a form for making a carbon-fiber barrel that would weigh less or (2) convince Bearikade to make 2 24’ canisters for $700 or so – if their tooling allows.

Sure you want to store wet rafts in a barrel for a week?

Thanks guys. yeah I thought about the diameter being big enough to prevent it getting in the bears mouth. I guess I should have mentioned I was going to cache them in a tree so I am just as worried about squirrels as I am bears. As far as being wet in a barrel for a week…I have to admit I have abused my packrafts worse than that and they are no worse for the wear yet. :smiley: Just not crazy about hauling a steel dream around with me, but it may be the answer. I really don’t feel like hauling an extra 10 lbs of raft around while we are hiking all over the place for a week.

Whilst I realise that I live in a country where there are no bears (Koala’s only), we do have possums and rats, which try to get into our food. Presuming that bears and squirrels don’t go out of their way to eat Alpacka rafts, what about the idea of just hanging them from a tree in a stuff sack (perhaps camo. pattern, if you can be bothered)…or have I missed the point here. Maybe there are no trees…

Beyond this, what about a canoe drum…hung from a tree, if possible.


Yeah Andrew its above treeline which isn’t all that high here in AK, but its high enough that the hanging option would be able 3’ off the ground at the most. :smiley:

Another option would be to use a Yeti cooler. I wouldn’t look at it as a waste of money because they are great coolers as well as bear-proof packraft cases


Yeah I thought about the cooler route, but then decided against it as it would be very awkward to carry on my back (bulky) and quite heavy (lightest one weighs in at 17 lbs of the Yeti line). Plus if could essentially accomplish the same thing with a standard action packer and a ratchet strap and be money and weight ahead.

A standard action-packer weighs almost exactly 10 pounds empty, plus I highly doubt it would stop an angry bruin even with a ratchet strap.

You said the initial hike with rafts is not that far. What about rigging the cooler with wheels and poles. I used a bob bicycle trailer rigged to a climbing harness to transport a black bear once. I imagine you could do something similar with a cooler or large bear-proof box.

On a recent packrafting trip I came across a bear destroyed cache. They really like to do a number on camping items. The foam thermarest and tent were shredded. I understand why you would want some significant protection for your $1000 raft!