New Packrafter here...some gear questions?

Hey folks! My name is Benjo and I’m from Alabama.

I’ve had my eye on the alpacka rafts for some time now and I finally have the funds to support this new addiction!!! I picked up the yukon yak and I’m now acquiring more gear so I can start checking out the fine rivers of Alabama. I actually have it inflated now and have been sitting in it watching march madness sipping on cold ones!!!

Ok, back to the gear. I am going with a simple setup for now and will add on as I’m able (upon the wifes approval in this case). I have a helmet and now I’m on the hunt for a decent paddle and pfd so I can at least start floating and get the hang of the craft. I am not rough on equipment but I’d don’t like treating gear gingerly either if you know what I mean. As a seasoned cyclist I know the value of investing in quality components that don’t break down easily and that’s why I am taking it slow and reading up on the forums to educate myself. I am been back and forth on the paddle selection…carbon vs wood (sawyer) and I gotta tell ya I’m not sold on either one. I know carbon fiber has come a long way in the cycling world but I am still a skeptic and as far as the sawyer paddles are concerned I hesitate on it based on what I have read here on these forums. I am bypassing rei, dicks, and gander mt stuff as I know the quality is lower and I’ll be dissatisfied in the end. So, shoot me some thoughts and help guide me along in this hunt if you will.

Thanks so much,



I’ve had an aquabound splat for 4yrs. It’s been treated quite roughly with the only problem being sticking ferules, which is covered elsewhere in the forum. It’s been great.
Andrew A

thanks for the feedback. yeah, i think i’m leaning towards the aqua bound paddles but they have so many to choose from. what kind of pfd are you working with?

I’m not the person to ask about pfds!
I have a home made inflatable vest, made using wine bladders for floatation in a nylon shell. It suits me, but that doesn’t mean it is suitable or recommended!
The paddle I’ve got is the model called the “splat”.
Have fun. Glad you’ve inflated it in the living room - im sure we have all done that! Get out there and float in it asap.
Andrew A

I have a four piece Aquabound Shred. Very tough. If you get one, don’t use anyones Werner. You’ll realize how much stiffer the Werner is and want one yourself.

I don’t know how the Sawyer stacks up in that respect. The weight is certainly nice. But I want a Werner now.

Oh, really. Which Werner paddle are you referring to or the brand in general? Keep the feedback coming folks as it is helpful for those of us just starting out!!!

Forrest had some fancy all-carbon Werner on the Selway last year, and it was night and day stiffer than my Aquabound. Massive, massive difference. Not sure of the model.

I am currently negotiating a 220cm werner carbon camano via craigslist. If the price is right I may just get it and pick up a pfd on the amazon so I can get floating.
Can’t hardly wait!!!