Purchasing a Packraft.....advice

Looking at buying the Mule with a Cruiser spray deck, not sure which paddle to buy as yet. Any advice on paddles would be greatly appreciated. Is it possible to buy the same paddle in oz for a similar price? What are people’s opinions on the different models that alpacka sells quality and durability wise any regrets on paddle choice? Also postage,taxes and duty etc any tips and advice here would be great being the weak dollar and all that.
Thanks in advance

Hey Dallas - I bought both a Manta Ray fibreglass (3 years ago) and a Splat Carbon paddle (2 years ago) from Alpacka when I bought my raft(s).
I would go with the fibreglass one as it was a fair bit cheaper and has proved pretty durable enough for me in my outings so far.
The carbon one is very good as well but for me as an occasional rafter I dont think it is worth the extra premium price.
In fact I have a couple of buddies who just use locally sourced secondhand fibreglass kayak paddles and they say they are fine for beginners as long as they are not too long - so I would buy a paddle locally if i were buying now and looking to save money.
Weak dollar is a bummer but as you probably saw Alpacka have their Christmas 10% off sale on now till Dec 15th…so if you are going to do the deed I would do it now while the sale is on.


Hello Dallas:

I paddle a Denali Llama (2015) and it’s durability continually amazes me. My last trip was on a local river (the Wilderness section of the Rio Chama in New Mexico) at pretty low water. Lots of bumping and scraping in the shallow rapids & riffles. I was pretty sure there’d been some serious mischief done to the bottom, but when I hauled out there was nothing more than the usual scuffs.

Two friends with whom I regularly paddle have Yaks or Alpacas and they are equally as tough. My boat also has the cruiser spray deck and I’m very happy with it. You mention the Mule which is slightly longer than the Denali. I’m 6’ (183 cm) and the Denali is actually a bit long for me - I need to keep something in the bow to push against when I’m in whitewater and want to have a tighter feeling boat. If you need the Mule to carry lots of gear, that would make sense, but otherwise you might consider a smaller model to have a better fit (depending on your size, of course).

If you plan on doing trips carrying gear I’d recommend the cargo fly. It works perfectly.

Paddles! I started with a carbon Werner Cyprus 2 piece that I’d picked up with a used sea kayak a few years ago. Great paddle, but I wanted a 4 piece for packing so I tried a Werner carbon Ikelos 4 piece. Wonderful paddle, but I started doing more whitewater at the same time and the Ikelos isn’t holding up so I’ve added a Werner Shuna 4 piece. That’s a great paddle although I like the shape of the Cyprus and Ikelos blades better, but the Shuna blades are stronger for the whitewater. When I picked up the Shuna I looked at the Sawyer and the Werner Sherpa. The Sherpa would be great if you weren’t packing a lot of gear on your back, but it is a pretty heavy paddle. The Sawyer is beautiful and the adjusting length works well. It didn’t feel as robust to me as the Shuna and the diameter is slightly less. However, I think I’d of been happy with the Sawyer.

Good luck with your shopping,


I have just imported a yukon and paddle. You will get stung for import duty 5% & GST 10% regardless of if you buy a paddle locally or not.

Wow another 15%’ on top, ouch that hurts…I may be putting off my purchase for a while(unless the au goes nuts)thanks for the feedback and advice.

Hi Dallas,
Have you looked at Kokopelli packrafts? Their service is excellent and worth emailing or calling them first to discuss your options and see if they are offering any deals in relation to the import duties (they helped me out with this when I bought two ‘hornet’ rafts which is the ‘renegade’ without spray deck). The NRS floor is a great addition to these rafts and Kokopelli also sells them (worth doing as separate order perhaps to ovoid going over the $1,000 import threshold).
I bought a cheap two-piece carbon paddle from BCF for around $150, happy enough with it for the price.
Cheers, Matt

Just remember that the $1000 is in AUD and includes the postage cost, unless you are looking at a raft that is $500US you will be hit with duty. Yep it sucks but it also should motivate you to 1) get the raft you really want & 2) use the hell out of it to get your moneys worth.

Hi, new here from New York and looking for the same paddle and I am getting it here from a local store in 900$ but I think I can buy it around 500$ as you said here. I am going to Google it but anyone can help, will be appreciate!


I’m not sure which paddle you are referring to, but those prices ($500 & $900) seem exorbitant (especially in $US). If you go to the Alpacka website they have the Werner 4 piece Carbon Shuna for $335 and a new 4 piece Werner, the Pack Tour M, for $335 also. The Pack Tour M looks interesting as it can be used in either of two lengths (210 or 225cm). With those offerings from Alpacka, I wouldn’t consider $500 for a packraft paddle - and certainly not $900.