NRS Boat

Now, I hope I don’t get banned from this forum – it is after all an Alpacka Raft forum. And believe me I love Alpacka and Sheri and even Andrew. Sheri graciously included me in her chosen group of packrafters for feedback on her boats from the beginning to just about the yellow boats with black spray decks. She even asked me what I learned on our Grand Canyon trip that would make her boat more big-water-worthy. There are a bunch of small features on the boats that I see as contributions I have made to Alpacka. So again, I am an Alpacka fanatic. I even offered to invest in the company…

Anyway, there’s another boat out there and I saw it today. It looks like a good boat and its price is under $650. It’s not sporty but very functional and looks to be about Dory sized, but smaller tubes, almost no upturn, nearly parallel sides. It reminds me of the venerable Sherpa Raft, in both dimensions and in the fact that it has two chambers.

I am excited about this new development. As a packrafter for 25 years who went through the boat-ridicule of the 1980s, the packrafting depression of the the 1990s where I had to make my own boat (in action at, and the flowering of the sport now underway, to have two good boat manufactures on the market – wow!

NRS only mentions their bandit being their latest inflatable, but it’s 17 pounds and $800. Do you know the exact model name?

It is not in their catalog or web site yet. I hear there is one in a store in Anchorage.

Talk to Mark at Alaska Raft and Kayak:

401 West Tudor Road Anchorage, AK 99503

Local (907)561-RAFT


I saw this boat at the Alaska Raft and Kayak booth at the Sportsman’s Show in Anchorage in April. I have wanted an Alpacka for years and was just about to place my order, but upon hearing about this new boat I figured I should check it out before making my final decision. What follows is a completely uneducated opinion, as I have no experience in a packraft.

My first impression is that the boat was too long. As Roman notes, it’s about as long as the Dory. This is their only size option at this point, though, and that’s not the size that I’m looking for. I wanted something a bit longer than the standard suggested size, as one of my primary uses will be hunting, but I didn’t want to go that large. My wife is also getting a boat, and at 5’0" the NRS raft was not an option.

The floor consisted of a large inflatable insert. I know that some use an inflatable sleeping pad in their Alpackas, but this seemed overly large to me. Additionally, the seat design didn’t seem to fit me as well as the Alpacka.

The thing that sealed the deal for me, though, was the size of the raft when deflated and packed. Though only about 1lb heavier than the Alpacka, it was considerably larger when packed. Perhaps someone could figure out a way to pack it smaller, but I figured that their show sample would be packed as tightly as possible since it was being marketed as a packraft. It was still small enough to fit in a day pack, but it would have limited the amount of additional gear that could be easily carried.

Lastly, there was no spraydeck option. Again, that was a pretty large factor in my purchase decision. I agree with Roman’s assessment that another manufacturer can only be a good thing for packrafting in general, but at this point I don’t think there is much of a comparison in quality between the two.

The ice is mostly gone here in Southcentral AK and the days are long. My boats should be arriving this week (or maybe next), and I am EXCITED!

I am wondering if the boat is a self bailer? After seeing that Patagonia video it looks like it perhaps.

No, it’s not a self bailer.

It’s got only a slightly upturned bow. It’s big claim to fame is its length and its two chambers.

Does anyone have any firsthand experience with the NRS packraft?
I have a Llama, but I might order two of these for work and I’m curious what people think about them.