tracking, speed, wind resistance

I am thinking of buying a packraft because of its great portability. I would use the packraft for day trips on flat water rivers, lakes and bays. Therefore, good tracking and speed and low wind resistance are important. Has anyone actually compared the 2011 models of the Scout, Alpacka and Yukon Yak for these characteristics? Although the Scout is the shortest, it is more narrow and has thinner 10 inch tubes that might compensate and also offer less wind resistance than the longer models. Can a seat can be added to the Scout? I am 5 ft 9 inches and weigh 160 pounds so I think that I could fit in any of these rafts. Thanks for your advice.


Not on your list, but I believe the Fjord Explorer tracks better than the other packrafts. Please confirm this with Sherry. I am 5,8 and I am happy I chose the FX, but I only use it on casual lakes at the moment.

Thanks. I appreciate your response. Are you paddling or rowing the Explorer?

I tried the rowing kit once and I didnt love it, but will give it another chance this year. Last year, I mostly paddled it with the rowing kit paddles kayayk style and it worked well. I chose the FX cause my primary concern was comfort. I prefer to sit as high as possible. I even use extra seats to sit higher. I did notice that the newer model tracked better(as a kayak) than the old model.

This is just couple of tips that might help with improved tracking and paddling mainly in open water- if you only do day trips etc, it pays to consider adding some weight at the front of the raft- as a ballast if you will, i found this helps tracking and in choppy/ windy conditions helps to keep the ‘nose’ down, especially when you ride biggish swells and waves. I paddle a lot on open waters ( lakes & large bays, coasts) and use a waterproof stuff sack filled with sand or pebbles- materials readily available in situ- on the beaches or shores, and that can be disposed of in situ- upon your return without polluting …tied to the front ( same as you would if you had a pack) for day trips- weighting somewhere around 10-15 Kg/20-30 pounds- depending on wind and waves. i use the waterproof stuff sack to prevent the sand getting wet and heavier then required, but also because the same stuff sack can be used to hold the wet raft after use…
I have the pre 2011 Yukon Yak, and have used it world wide, so although i understand the new models will track even better, i am pretty sure this would work with any raft model. Secondly, if you add a piece of rope, you could if required use this bag also as a sea anchor, so raft and you don’t experience separation anxiety…

Finally, it definitely helps to use the paddles in ‘feathered mode’- far less effort when you are into the wind and chop.

hope this helps

Most packrafts come with a skeg strap on the bottom of the floor. The plastic skeg insert helps tracking trmendously. It requires a depth of 6" or so, which is why we don’t use the skeg on rivers. But, with moving water tracking is better facilitated with weight forward approach.