Pakboats Frequently Asked Questions -- please click on a question to see the answer!
KAYAKS and kayaking
The following few questions deal with kayaks and kayaking. Please click on the question, and the answer will appear.
Can I get a portage yoke for my Puffin?
Unfortunately, we do not have a good portage yoke option. The problem is that the Puffin is not deep enough to give you enough head room if we attach a standard yoke to the gunwales. When I have to carry the boat, I use the seat for padding on top of my head, and that works pretty well.
Can I use a Puffin for a camping trip?
Yes, and many Puffins have been used that way. You have more capacity in a Puffin than you have in a large backpack. The removable deck makes it easy to load your gear (the heaviest gear goes lowest to improve stability). You can even carry some light and bulky items on top of the deck.
Please note that the Puffin is not a sea kayak. Watch the weather and don't get in over your head. Have a great trip!
What happened to the Pakboats Arrows?
The Arrow kayaks were essentially Puffins made with Polyurethane coated fabrics and "spiffier" graphics. Unfortunately, we had problems with some of the fabrics and decided to discontinue the Arrows, at least until we have fabrics we are comfortable with.
Can I get a sail for my Pakboats kayak?
Yes, there is now a sail that works well for both Puffins and XTs. (It works on PakCanoes too.) Please take a look at our accessories pages for more details.
Can I cartop a Puffin or XT assembled?
Yes. If you carry it without a deck, it is easiest to carry it upside down like a canoe. Just make sure the roof rack bars are close to cross ribs inside the hull. Then tighten the straps well. (If a roof rack bar is half way between two cross ribs, you may bend the gunwales when you tighten the strap.) I carry decked kayaks right side up - even without a cradle, but this is not quite as secure.
Can I replace the deck on my Puffin Kayak 12?
There are several options. You can order a replacement like the one that originally came with the boat. We also have some decks that were made for the Arrow A12. They will fit your Puffin. And if you remove the deck support structure from the frame of your Puffin, you can even use the decks that we offer for the Puffin Saco.
How can I repair my Puffin deck?
If your deck is not rip-stop material, you can glue on a patch to the coated side of the deck fabric. Since the coating is the same as on the boat skin, the adhesive in the repair kit will work. If you deck is yellow, you should contact us about getting some patch material that will match the color. There is also a clear polyurethane tape that will adhere well and reinforce your deck. We have that material available as well.
PAKCANOES and canoeing
The following questions deal with PakCanoes and canoeing. Please click on the question, and the answer will appear.
Why are the PakCanoes so much heavier than the Puffins?
Puffins are made as small recreational kayaks, and we have simplified the frames. Each Puffin has only 3 longitudinal rods in the hull. For comparison, PakCanoes are larger boats built for expedition use. Each one has 9 longitudinal rods and a lot more reinforcements.
Can I drag my PakCanoe up a reasonably smooth shore?
Yes. You can pull the boat ashore many times without causing any damage.
How can I get the gunwales in and out of my PakCanoe skin?
If the gunwale sleeves are “sticky” we recommend that you spray silicone into the gunwale sleeves through all the cross rib openings. Wiping some silicone on the gunwale rods is also quite effective. The silicone will not harm the fabric or the gunwales. There is a trick that makes removal much easier: Make the gunwale form an arc. That little bit of torque will cause great friction in the gunwale joints so they will not come apart when you can pull the rods out.
How does PakCanoe compare to traditional whitewater canoes?
A friend who is a much better paddler than I am tells me that he feels he gets more precise control with a hard boat, but the folding (flexible) boat runs drier. Over all, he does not see a significant difference in terms of where he will take a hard boat versus a folding one. I have very little experience with hard boats, but have talked to a lot of people who paddle both. I think people with less advanced paddling skills than those of my friend's may be better off in a flexible hull that is more forgiving. The flexible hull works well in big water rivers as well as small technical streams.
Can the PakCanoe 150 and 150T have a spray cover?
We do not offer a spray cover for the 150T, but we can refer you to a couple of very good custom shops who will be happy to make one for you. Please note that a cover can't fit both the 150 and 150T because the 150T is about 3 inches wider.
Is there a conversion kit for the PakCanoe 170?
No. A conversion kit is simply an alternative set of cross ribs that changes the depth and beam of the hull. Originally, the concept was developed to increase the beam of the PakCanoe 140, 150 and 165 to improve stability. There is no conversion kit available for the PakCanoe 160 or 170 because they are already wide and deep wilderness capable hulls. To minimize confusion, we refer to the wider versions as 140T, 150T and 165T. We have found that the conversion works best in the 15 ft canoes, and the standard version is now the 150T. The narrower 150 makes a great wilderness solo (see story at the end of this newsletter). I find the 140T too small for two people, and the 165T does not do anything that the 160 and 170 don’t do at least as well.
Can I buy a solo seat for my PakCanoe 165?
There is no need. You can install one of the seats in a solo position. To install the bow bench type seat for solo paddling, you need to install some additional plastic rings and get longer aluminum parts for the seat.
Can I use a PakCanoe in Class III rapids?
All PakCanoes do well on Class III whitewater. The 170 and 160 may do a little better than the 150T because of the 150T's lower sides. The 150 is a solo boat, so it is not as easy to compare directly, but it ran the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon very successfully. In general, a PakCanoe will run drier than a similar hardshell canoe.
Where should I place the portage yoke on a PakCanoe?
I’d place the yoke so there is a little more weight behind you than in front. There is a good reason to balance the boat this way: You will be stabilizing the canoe with your arms. If the canoe is balanced to tip forward, you will have to lift with your arms to compensate. If it tends to tip to the back, the weight of your arms will simply act as a counterweight.
Can i use a 2 hp outboard on a PakCanoe?
You can use a 2 hp outboard on the PakCanoes. We offer a motor mount that makes it easy. In addition to the mount, there should also be additional flotation next to the motor - enough to keep the motor afloat.
We also recommend that you load the canoe to balance the weight of the motor. I would not use a gasoline outboard on a Puffin. The motor mount fits a Puffin II very well, but  for Puffins we only recommend use of electric motors. For a balanced load, move the battery forward and place it on the side of the boat opposite the motor.
Is the 170 ok for a family of 2 adults and 2 kids for a 1 week trip?
You should be able to carry your family and camping gear in the 170 if you pack reasonably light. We do not have seats specifically for kids, although we sometimes recommend the inflatable Puffin seats as passenger seats. If you are carrying a load of camping gear, you may be better off having your kids sit on a duffelbag of some kind.
Is it ok to store a PakCanoe assembled for a few months?
Yes, and we often do in our own shop. Mostly, we store the boats on a rack - upside down or right side up, the boats do not seem to care. The same is true of the kayaks.
Do you have spray covers configured for solo paddling?
No. Our spray covers are factory made to keep the prices down, but the catch is that minimum order quantities are so large that we can't make solo covers that way. Instead, we will refer you to a couple of good suppliers of custom covers.
Can I bring my dog in a PakCanoe?
I do not think you will have any problems with the fabric floor, but the dogs might easily scratch up the foam layer that is on top of the fabric. To protect the foam, you can put down some floor carpeting where
the dogs will be. My main concern would be protecting the inflatable tubes on each side of the canoe. The best way to do that is to cover the tubes with sturdy fabric. We can supply the fabric you would need.
Can I paddle a PakCanoe with a kayak paddle from a kayak seat?
Kayak paddle, yes. Kayak seat, no. The sides in a canoe are so tall that it becomes very difficult to paddle from a low kayak seat. But most paddlers can move the canoe more efficiently with a kayak paddle - from a standard canoe seat.
Is any additional flotation needed for whitewater?
All PakCanoes come with some flotation built in. This flotation is ample to keep the canoe afloat even when swamped, and it will help keep you afloat if you are swimming next to the canoe. But we strongly recommend additional flotation for whitewater paddling. There is a simple rule for whitewater play: More flotation is better. The extra flotation will help protect both you and the canoe.
Can the 160 be paddled solo from the bow seat, turned end for end?
It can be paddled solo, but this is not the way you would do it. A thwart would be in your way, and the trim would not be ideal. A better solution would be to install the (wide) bow seat in front of the stern thwart. To do this, you'd need to install some plastic rings on the center cross rib to accept the seat brackets, and you'd need some longer aluminum parts for the seat. Please contact us if you want to do this.
How easy is a wet exit with your canoe cover?
It is quite easy. The skirt is closed with a fold in front of you and secured with Velcro and a snap. Pull on a tab attached to the fold, and you will fall out of the capsized canoe.
Can I stand in a PakCanoe and cast a fly rod?
You can, but you should make some adaptations. If you have one of the narrower models (140, 150 or 165) you should get the wider conversion kit. Then, I’d install a stiff floor between two cross ribs where you want to stand. This will make your footing more secure. 3/8” plywood is a good material for such a floor. Just cut it to completely fill the space between the two cross ribs. You will still be fishing from a canoe, so take appropriate care.
What is your experience with the new wooden canoe seats?
We have had two full seasons with the bench seat as the standard PakCanoe seat and we sold some bench seats as retrofits the year before. The feedback from customers has been very positive. Some paddlers think the new seats literally “make the PakCanoe”. Others liked the old seats and do not find the new ones very significant, but there have been few complaints about the bench seats.
Note: Some of the first bench stern seats were made too wide to fit in the PakCanoe 165. This has been corrected.
GENERAL on folding Canoes and Kayaks
The following questions relate to Pakboats and folding canoes and kayaks in general. Please click on the question, and the answer will appear.
What are the drying requirements before storing a pakboat in its bag?
You can pack the boat wet for transportation, but you should let it dry before you put it in storage. If it has been exposed to salt water, we recommend that you rinse it with fresh water before putting it in storage.
Do the Pakboats come with paddles?
No. We offer several different grades of paddles. It makes no sense to include a paddle that only some of our customers want.
What effect does salt water have on the Pakboat hull and components?
Surprisingly little. We just repaired a 10 year old PakCanoe that had spent years by the sea in Rhode Island, exposed to a salty environment. That canoe was made before we started anodizing the aluminum parts. There was some corrosion damage to a couple of rods, and some joints were hard to separate. The rubber shock cords still worked, and the inflatable tubes still held air (one cell needed a patch). The hull fabric was a bit stiffer than when it was new. The molded plastic components were fine.
Will your keel strip kit work on an old boat with PVC skin?
Yes. Our standard keel strip will work well on any canoe, kayak or inflatable with PVC coating.
How can I repair leaks in the inflatalbe tubes of my Pakboat?
A puncture can be repaired with the materials in the repair kit, just like you would patch the boat skin. If you have a bad welded seam, your best bet is to repair the seam with a hot iron (the one you use to iron your shirts). Turn up the heat gradually until you get a solid bond. The hem around the edge of the tube makes good test material. Let the repaired area cool down before you test your repair.
Can I replace a damaged rod section?
Yes, and you will save yourself a lot of money. The sections are easy to replace, but there is no need to do so unless you have a severe bend. In most cases, you can straighten a rod well enough to be quite serviceable. Note: Straightening a rod where there is a rivet hole will often cause the rod to break at the rivet hole, and you will need to make a temporary repair with a splint and duct tape.