Alv's Blog
More on Canoes in Bush Planes Print E-mail
Tuesday, 10 August 2010 11:58

I just received the following from Bob O'Hara who has canoed northern rivers for many years. Since Pakboats supplies folding canoes to many expedition canoers (including Bob), this is of obvious interest to us. It will also be of interest to many who read my blog. By the way, a New England group of 8 paddlers with 4 PakCanoes has used a Twin Otter to fly to remote Canadian rivers - people and gear in a single flight.

"Air Tindi, my favorite company, a few years ago sold their major interest to a company that was collecting small charter companies. This new company has made some changes in how they will fly canoeists in their Twin Otter.

The other news: Air Tindi no longer flies Twin Otters with passengers AND 3 stacked canoes inside due to a “safety concern.” Apparently this is not a Transport Canada ruling, but a corporate liability concern. The problem they are citing is the lack of a clear aisle to use as an emergency exit in the event the plane needs to be evacuated. I asked if this is a big problem since we’ve been flying with three stacked canoes and 6 people for 40 years. Now that Tindi is part of Discovery Ltd, they are worried that a single crash could wipe out the whole company. I talked to some canoeists in Yellowknife who are going with Sunwest, since they are cheaper and will still fly with 3 canoes and 6 people. For Air Tindi crews, people are either taking Pakboats, or more often, flying a Twin Otter filled with gear and the Cessna…going with either groups of 4 or 10 in a party."
 

 
Some special uses of Pakboats Print E-mail
Thursday, 17 June 2010 16:26

In the last few days I have received information about three very different trips (one of them was actually many trips) that involved Pakboats. One was an exploratory trip on the Quoich and Lunan rivers in Arctic Canada, and the story occupies its own space under Canoe Adventures.

The next note was about a very unusual way to use a Puffin. Here it is:

Dear Pakboat,
I just wanted to let you know that I purchased one of your foldable kayaks a year ago and have been using it when I train an open water swimmer that I am coaching.  Her name is Eva Fabian, and she is from Keene, NH.  She is on the US national team and is competing in World Championships and the Pan Pacific championships this summer. 

I have brought the Kayak to Florida, California, Dubai, Chile, Washington, Minnesota, and Argentina when we have traveled for competitions.  There is a great deal of interest among other coaches about your product.  Your company was featured on a blog and website for open water swimmers.

http://www.dailynewsofopenwaterswimming.com/2010/06/pakboat-just-right-for-serious-open.html

http://www.thewaterisopen.com/news/full/pakboats_serious_gear_for_serious_swimmers

Using a Puffin this way makes perfect sense. Puffins offer a combination of very light weight and compactness for easy travel - and it has the speed to keep up with a serious swimmer. That boat sure got to see some interesting places!

The third story was just as unique. The trip covers a year of travel in North America by truck camper and canoe - in part written from the dog's perspective. It is very nicely done, and the paddled distance is over 1000 miles! Here is the link to the quite extensive story from Doug and Cathy Hull (and the dog Miles):

http://sites.google.com/site/canoehull/

Greetings,
Alv 

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 June 2010 17:00
 
Closing out the Puffin Sport Print E-mail
Tuesday, 08 June 2010 12:40

puffin-sportThe Puffin Sport 10.5' was the original Puffin, and it is now in its second generation after a face lift a few years ago. Since day one, the Puffin Sport was a favorite with customers who wanted an extremely lightweight, yet functional boat. In fact, US Fish & Wildlife has been buying them for years for their survey work in Alaska.

The Puffin Sport is still a great boat, but it can no longer stand up to the competition. When we redesigned the 12 ft Puffin, making it open like the Puffin Sport, most customers decided that the resulting Puffin Saco was a better option. It is faster, roomier, and only about 2 pounds heavier. It is hard to argue - we too like the Saco a lot.

But at the closeout price of only $595 the Puffin Sport is a really good deal. Where else can you get a super light (18 pounds) kayak that performs really well too?  For another $69 you can even outfit it with a deck.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 June 2010 13:48
 
Deck Bag Sale Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 June 2010 14:11
I have just posted a brand new Wilderness Systems deck bag for sale on our "Specials" page. This is one of those waterproof ones with a bomb proof zipper, and I looked it over when I was developing the PakPod. Truthfully, I prefer the PakPod, but at $15 less, this Wilderness Systems bag may be worth a look - if you are into waterproof zippers. After all, this thing was well over $100 when it was still on the market. It is looking for a home where it can be more useful than it is now.
 
Rudder System Revisited Print E-mail
Monday, 10 May 2010 21:36

snap-hookIf you scroll down a few entries you will see my original description of the XT rudder system - and if you look closely you will see that it uses a number of very small parts. The system is well designed and works really well, but it was designed for hardshell kayaks. Those small pins and springs are more of a problem in a folding boat that needs to be assembled and disassembled in the field where small parts can easily get lost. So we needed to devise an alternative. After looking long and hard, the solution turned out to be a spring hook that is secured to the cable so it can't get lost (see picture).

We also wanted an easy and adjustable way to  connect the control cable to the boatball-chain-adjustment frame at the bow end. Here the solution is a ball chain. It is not quite like the key chain you are familiar with. This ball chain is stainless steel with 1/4 inch balls. The length of the cable can be adjusted in increments of less than 1/4 inch, and once locked in place, the cable will not slip. We think we finally have a system that works really well for folding kayaks.

For a more complete description, please see the installation description posted with the assembly instructions on this site. 

Last Updated on Monday, 10 May 2010 21:59
 
Rolling the XT-15 Print E-mail
Monday, 10 May 2010 20:00

dubside-hand-rollingdubside-paddlingSometimes I get asked if the XT-15 can be eskimo rolled. It can, and we have known that from the start. But I got a new perspective on it recently when I got together with Dubside. Dubside took the XT-15 out for a spin and found that it paddles pretty well. Then he checked how it rolls - first with a paddle. Since Dubside can roll almost anything, rolling with a paddle was predictably quite effortless. So he dropped his kayak paddle and got his little hand paddle (which essentially just increases the surface area of his hand). Rolling with the hand paddle looked just as effertless, and the hand paddle too was put away. Dubside went on to perform several rolls with just his hands. If that was any harder, it sure was not apparent to me.

One detail of the XT-15 that Dubside really liked was the lack of a thwart behind the seat. He was able to lay back on the stern deck with nothing getting in the way.

Last Updated on Monday, 10 May 2010 20:52
 
PakPod as Camera Bag Print E-mail
Friday, 30 April 2010 18:51

I received the following message from Steve Piragis this morning:

"Alv,
Would you send me a PakPod? I need a camera deck bag for Greenland this summer. I remember seeing yours and being impressed.  
Thanks,
Steve
Piragis Northwoods Co"

This is interesting because I have used my PakPod the same way. It actually makes a very functional waterproof camera bag if you don't have to keep a lot of items organized. The PakPod has welded seams and a convenient waterproof roll-top closure.

I know some other deck bags have all that, but the PakPod opens wide enough to fit a full-size SLR with a long lens. Unlike other deck bags, the PakPod is very quick and easy to remove and reattach to the boat because it comes with a mounting harness that stays on the kayak. You simply disconnect four quick-release buckles. Carrying the PakPod by the handle that is formed by the roll-top closure, there are no loose straps flapping around.

The PakPod makes a very functional paddle float, but it justifies its place in my gear collection just as a deck bag. A less common use for the PakPod is in a canoe, but it actually offers a very convenient and secure way for the bow paddler to carry a camera - and whatever other items should be easy to access.

Last Updated on Monday, 10 May 2010 20:50
 
The XT-17 is here Print E-mail
Sunday, 25 April 2010 06:26
The XT-17 is a new and larger (17 ft) member of the XT family of touring kayaks from Pakboats. It has been mentioned inxt-17-touring other places like Canoe & Kayak Magazine's Buyers guide, but not on our web site. That is changing. The XT page is being updated. The XT-17 is now in stock and ready to ship from our warehouse.

The XT-17 is a "stretched" version of the 15 ft XT-15, and the two share almost all components - including steep stems that give the XT family waterline lengths similar to other kayaks that are at least a foot longer. If you are a large person or need to carry a heavy load, the XT-17 will be good news. This really is a "full-size" touring kayak. But it does not make the XT-15 obsolete. For paddlers under 200 pounds, the -15 has a nice and sporty "feel" that I really like.

I generally like smaller boats so it is not surprising that like the XT-15 for day trips. The XT-17 may well work better for you. They are both really nice, "friendly" kayaks with great paddling performance, excellent stability - and the most comfortable seat we have found in a kayak!
Last Updated on Monday, 10 May 2010 21:13
 
Puffins go to the Olympics! Print E-mail
Friday, 12 February 2010 09:01

Starting today and continuing until the end of the Olympics, two Puffin models will be on display (and offered for sale) at Lonsdale Quay public market in Vancouver, Canada. This is at the Seabus terminal, by the fountain - "you can't miss it". If you have a chance, visit "Dreamcatcher Boats" under the tent roof outside and talk to Brian Chandler. His Puffins are the Puffin Kayak 12 and the Puffin Swift - both of them offered at very favorable prices.

We have worked out an arrangement with Brian so that we will ship boats directly to customers outside Canada from our base in New Hampshire. Brian will take care of shipments to customers in Canada. We can ship to most countries for much less than the rates normally quoted by UPS. This way, you can save money on the purchase no matter where you live.

Here is your chance to get a real folding kayak for the cost of an inflatable!

Last Updated on Friday, 12 February 2010 10:07
 
Old PakCanoe "tuneup" Print E-mail
Friday, 06 November 2009 09:40

An old PakCanoe 140 just came in for a tuneup. We do not often see a PakCanoe built in 1996, so this was quite interesting (at least for us). Some of what we see is actually quite surprising. This particular canoe "lives" in Rhode Island and has seen its share of salt water. When it arrived, it had not been disassembled in several years.

In 1996 we had not started anodizing the aluminum frames, and many years of exposure to salt water have left the frame looking less than presentable. Surprisingly, Mike could fold up the longitudinal rods with only a couple of the joints really badly corroded. And even those joints came apart after Mike had soked them with vinegar (don't ask me why that works). Even more surprising - the rubber shock cords still work. Not only are the shock cords not broken, they are still elastic! Some rivets are badly corroded and need to be replaced. The stems and some rod sections need to be replaced, but the cross ribs are still ok.

Five of the six inflatable cells in the air tubes still hold air, but the material has faded quite a bit. We think the leaking cell can be repaired with two patches.

The skin is in fine shape. The fabric seems a little stiffer than it was 13 years ago, but it should be ok for many more years. That is not a great surprise because we know of PVC hulled boats that are 20 years old or more.

I think anodized aluminum parts would have made a major difference to this boat. Anodizing is probably the most significant product improvement we have made since this old 140 was made. It is nice to see that even the original PakCanoes are holding up really well.

Last Updated on Friday, 06 November 2009 15:00
 
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