Help a short guy out!

Hi there, I’m considering picking up my first packraft and have come to a serious problem deciding between two rafts, and not two that perhaps are often compared: The Alpaca vs. Fjord Explorer

I’m a short guy (5’ 5") and so for my best all around raft I would definitely choose the Alpaca, but herein lies the problem:

I am a fly fisherman and will be spending a good deal of time using the craft as a fishing vessel on lakes, but I am also an avid backpacker and want to take my raft to various high altitude backcountry lakes as well as use it as a means of travel down rivers, creeks, and across lakes while out backpacking the Sierra.

I really like the idea of rowing when I’m out just fishing, and would enjoy unrigging my Explorer to take it with me in the backcountry. My concern is how well I will be able to handle the larger Fjord Explorer when using it kayak style in the backcountry.

Being a small guy, will I run into issues maneuvering and controlling the larger Explorer? Any of you shorter members have experience with the explorer? I love the idea of the tiny alpaca but think that a larger boat with rowing capabilities will offer me more enjoyment when out just fishing lakes. I could use all the help I can get deciding between these two boats.

  • Ryan

Hi. I am 5’ 8" I have the 2011 Fjord explorer wih rowing kit. I have not tried any of the other Alpacka models. I only rowed the boat once and I get from A to B good but I didnt love rowing it for some reason. However using the boat with a kayak padlle was great. Apparently, according to Sherry on the phone, the new Fjord explorer tracks the best out of all of them and I read here that it is more stable than an Alpaca. When ever I go out for a couple of hours, I always have a small bag in front of my feet. I appreciate that I have room to put junk in the boat, that way it feels like a real boat.The boat is comfortable. I like having the 2 seats, and I also add another one as well to raise me even higher. For my purposes (floating around on a lake) the boat serves me well and If I wanted too, I could do a lot more with it. I have never hiked with it, so it been slightly heavier than an Alpaca is not an issue for me. Also, I havent done any white water with it yet. Hope that helps.