Alv's Blog
PakPod on an open Canoe Print E-mail
Tuesday, 02 August 2011 16:01
pakpod-on-pakcanoe
This summer I canoed in the Lapland area of Norway and Finland where we ran two shallow and rocky rivers with lots of rapids - including a mile-long rapid that dropped 60 feet!

One challenge in preparing for the trip was to figure out a way to keep my new SLR camera safe, yet easy to get to. I decided to install the waterproof PakPod deck bag that we developed for use on kayaks, and it became my camera bag for the trip.

The installation was easy - I simply attached the webbing harness to two cross ribs so that the PakPod rested on a thwart, which placed it conveniently just in front of me about 2 inches below the gunwales. This gave me quick and easy access to the camera and kept it safe and dry while not in use. A nice enhancement to the setup was to keep my journal in the PakPod under the camera, thus creating a stiff floor under the camera. The PakPod was easy to remove from the canoe for portages with four quick-release buckles, and the roll-top closure made a comfortable handle.

On our trip we had PakPods on two solo canoes, running without spray covers, and we were very happy with the arrangement. I believe the PakPod will be just as useful and convenient on a covered tripping canoe - at least for the bow paddler. Give it a try sometime!
Last Updated on Friday, 12 August 2011 21:09
 
My Summer Trip - with a Twist.. Print E-mail
Monday, 20 June 2011 17:00

I am leaving in a few days for a whole month in North Norway and Finland. The main feature of our trip is to canoe 3 rivers. Three guys in 15 ft solo PakCanoes - and one in a 14-footer that I saved for my own use when we stopped making the 140. We will put in as high in each river as you can float a boat. Actually, in the first river we will put in a few miles higher than you can paddle - except intermittently. As we work our way down each of the rivers, we will get into some excellent and fairly technical whitewater in a pretty spectacular part of the largest wilderness in Europe.

The trip is not all that long - just 170 miles or so, but the rivers drop well over 3000 feet from start to finish! I will tell you all about it when I get back about the end of July.

One special point of interest in the equipment: We are planning to change the Puffin kayaks from PVC to Polyurethane fabrics. Our first samples seem great, and we will do as much testing as we can this summer. But we need to put the new material through a real torture test - so I will paddle a canoe made of the new stuff on our Lapland trip. We will drag the canoes across the tundra, bang into rocks and lower the canoes by ropes down cliffs - all to make sure next year's Puffins will be even better.

I can't wait!
 
 
Adventure Paddling Partner Print E-mail
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 09:08
Dear Paddlers,

I have never done a blog entry like this before – trying to help a group find a paddling partner. But the trip description is interesting – exploring a new canoe route in the far north. Even if you are an armchair adventurer at heart, you may enjoy reading it. If you are a real adventurer, here is your chance to do something exciting this summer!
You can reach Brian here: Brian Johnston [ This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ]

Greetings from Alv


Hi there,

Our party lost our 6th paddler and we are actively looking for a 6th person to join our crew. Help us find a suitable 6th member.

We are planning a descent of the Lorillard River. We are chartering a single otter from Baker Lake. Most of us will assemble in Winnipeg on July 8 but we could meet you in Baker Lake if that is easier for you. It is a 3 week trip, returning to Winnipeg on July 30. The Lorillard was named by Lt. Frederick Schwatka of the American Geographical Society in 1880 while leading an expedition to find the lost papers of the Franklin party. He embarked by dog sled, adopting Inuit style for clothing and travel for what became the longest unsupported sledge trip up until that time. He went overland up the Lorillard to the Back River and on….for nearly a year.

Our plans are less ambitious but challenging just the same. We have scoured maps and believe the Lorillard can be paddled. Water Survey of Canada has a gauging station that shows a flat line most of the year….with huge flow in July. There are some steep section which we believe will require lining, rock hopping and portaging, but also some lake-like sections. It is about 280km from the upper reaches to Hudson Bay. We are trying to find an Inuit with a boat in Chesterfield inlet to come and pick us up and take us ~60 miles down the coast. If not we will consider paddling and portaging overland and before crossing the inlet. The last option out would be to fly out from the mouth back to Baker Lake.

We have folding Pakboats with covers and Gerry R and I are buying and packing the food. We have all the group gear so you’d need paddle and PFD plus your personal stuff. The cost is up there, $2000 for commercial flights, $1000 air charter, plus all the other stuff, so I'm guessing it could climb to $4500 total out of Wpg.

Let me know ASAP if you are interested.

Thanks,
Brian

 
 
Bush Flying and Canoes Print E-mail
Tuesday, 03 May 2011 13:23
Cliff Jacobson sent me information about a discussion he had with Alex Hall of 'Canoe Arctic'. The discussion centered on the cost and difficulty of flying canoes to remote Canadian rivers. Canoe Arctic has run canoe trips on northern rivers for many years, and Alex Hall knows the situation first hand – so does Cliff Jacobson after a lifetime of canoeing northern rivers.

I was aware of most of the problems the pretty gloomy discussion touched on. We all know that the cost of bush flying is high - and rising. And it is not a secret that regulations for flying external loads are getting tighter. But a few items in the discussion were less familiar to me:
1.  Air Tindi pilots have voiced concerns that canoes carried in the cabin of a Twin Otter could shift and block the exits in a crash. Air Tindi will no longer carry canoes and passengers on the same flight in their Twin Otters.
2.  To carry external loads, each airplane operator has to go through an approval process and be inspected. Many operators may not go through this process for the short canoe season, so fewer float planes will be available to carry canoes on the struts.
3.  The recession is hurting the canoe trip market hard, and 2011 will be the third slow year.
4.  The weakness of the US dollar has turned the canoe trip marked from a majority of US customers to a clear majority of Canadians.
5.  Commercial trips focus on relatively accessible rivers to reduce air transportation costs.

While most of these developments may have a positive effect for folding canoes that simply travel in the luggage compartment, we are not happy to see wilderness trips becoming more and more expensive. The result can only be that fewer people feel that they can afford the cost of a wilderness experience.

Alv
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 13:31
 
Puffin Saco in the Adirondacks Print E-mail
Monday, 25 April 2011 16:41

Adirondack fishing guide Scott Gardner just received his new Puffin Saco, and he likes it - a lot! We think it is neat because the Saco's is just like the 'Wee Lassie', a small canoe that was popular in the Adirondacks a hundred years ago - although the 'Wee Lassie' was not a folding boat.saco-on-taylor-pond

Alv,
I just wanted to let you know that I got my new Puffin Saco on the water this weekend and I love it! Ice is almost out but couldn’t wait!

Taylor pond is a 4 mile lake in the High Peaks region that holds Lake trout, LL Salmon, Bass and Pike. The winds were strong and waves were moderate but constant. Boat handled great! I trolled and fished for 4 hours and was more comfortable than I have ever been!

spring-brookieLove the concept, love the boat! Will start hiking with it as soon as the weather is right for the remote ponds and lakes! Almost there! I will keep you updated with fishing photos from my guided trips and personal adventures.
--------
Last weekend was beautiful in the northern Adirondacks! I took my Puffin Saco to one of my favorite remote ponds and caught the first of the season's brook trout. The boat was perfect for the hike in as well as comfort and fishability!!

I can't wait to guide my first Pakboat trip with clients!

Thanks!

Scott Gardner

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 11:48
 
Pakboat Repair and Paddling Trips Print E-mail
Tuesday, 05 April 2011 15:38
This e-mail from Tom Welander solicits some information that many of you may find useful, and he provides a link to pictures from a great looking river trip in Alaska. Enjoy!

Hi guys. Could I get some advice please?

We spent a week on the Verde River in Arizona last month, which had a nice snowmelt flow this year. We worked the boats pretty hard, choosing the meatiest lines through the rapids and catching eddies for fun. The canoes (solo 150s) were terrific but we bent up the keel rods pretty well. I can get them reasonably straight again. Do you suppose the aluminum will be significantly weakened by the bending? Should I consider replacing them?

On a separate note, here are photos and notes from our Pakboats' first journey...the Tlikakila River in Alaska:
https://picasaweb.google.com/tomweland/TlikakilaRiver

Regards,

Tom Welander
Atlanta


And my response:

I don't think you need to worry about the keels. Straightening them is ok, and the canoe does not seem to care if the rods are bent a little - so long as there are no kinks.

Even a broken keel would not be a serious problem. It can be repaired temporarily with duct tape to complete the trip. There is enough redundancy in a PakCanoe frame to allow extensive field repairs. Once you are home, any part can easily be replaced.

You may find this article on PakCanoe maintenance useful: http://www.pakboats.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=90:repair-and-maintenance-of-pakboats&catid=29:articles&Itemid=123

It looks like you had a neat trip in Alaska. Thanks for sharing.

Greetings,
Alv
 
Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 April 2011 15:49
 
North American Fishing Club Test Print E-mail
Friday, 11 February 2011 16:35
nafc-sealWe have had the Puffin Saco tested by the North American Fishing Club. The format of the test is that boats are shipped to three members who put their boats to a few weeks of use. Each tester rates the tested product on a set of criteria, each on a scale from 1 (poor) to 10 (excellent). Then the testers comment on their evaluation of the product. If the product passes, the manufacturer is allowed to use the Seal of Approval in promoting the product.

The Saco passed with flying colors, receiving an over-all rating of 9 out of 10. Here are some comments from the testers:

"I would recommend this product to anyone who likes to access hard to get to places. This kayak is extremely portable and very easy to set up and operate. It is an overall great design." CH

"I was very amazed by how well I was gliding across the water with little effort. I was able to move around and make sudden movements without fear of being dumped in the water." CM

"Light and functional. Easy to fish out of and was really durable and tough." TB

"My wife was amazed by how small it packed up and how light it was." CM
Last Updated on Monday, 14 February 2011 11:41
 
XT-15 paddling to Timbuktu Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 February 2011 15:01

Sometimes we get involved in trips that are out of the ordinary. There have been researchers from MIT canoing in Siberia to do their research, a French customer who needed to bring a kayak to Tahiti - and then there is Bernice Notenboom who is now in the middle of her expedition to West Africa - arriving in Timbuktu in her XT-15. To me, the name Timbuktu was always associated with the ultimate out-of-the-way place. I never thought someone would take one of our kayaks there!

Bernice is doing research on climate change, and I think many of you will find it interesting to look at her blog (http://www.desertalert.nl/blog/the-expedition-so-far-english). You will find both written reporting as well as some nice video. Enjoy!

Last Updated on Monday, 14 February 2011 11:37
 
Cockpit Cover for XT and Puffin Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 February 2011 12:25
There is now a cover available for XT and Puffin cockpits - or there will be as soon as our shipment arrives. The cover iscockpit-cover-for-xt-and-puffin made of the same fabric as the decks with a more flexible gray fabric around the perimeter for the draw cord. Unlike many other cockpit covers, we decided to use regular cord instead of elastic and secure it with a wedge lock that tightens as you pull on the cord. As you can see on the picture, we have added a large Pakboats logo for good measure.
 
River Trip in Thailand Print E-mail
Monday, 31 January 2011 15:42
It is getting close to the canoe season - even on our still frozen northern rivers. In other places, paddling never ends. Here is a note that I just received from a customer in Thailand. I want to go!

pakboats-in-thailandAlv,

Our Canoe trip started in the deep jungle of Northern Thailand. From a small village called Sobkhong, we paddled along Mae Ngow river (translate to river of reflection from its crystal clear water). There some rapids up to level 2-3 on the first day. We paddled for 3 days and camped along the river for 2 nights. 

We had one PakCanoe 150T, 1 Puffin Saranac and 1 Puffin Saco carry 5 people, our gear and food. These boats performed extremely well both in rough water at the beginning and calm water toward the end of the journey.  

We are planning a few more trip in Thailand's rivers with these boats very soon.whitewater-on-mae-ngow-river

Best Regards,
Tatrawee

 
Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 February 2011 15:16
 
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