Alv Elvestad, along with his wife, Linda started Pakboats in 1984, primarily to distribute folding canoes imported from Norway. Alv’s involvement with folding boats started a few years earlier. In 1977, he got together with three friends and bought two folding canoes to follow some interesting looking blue lines on a map of Lapland. The trip took them through the northern tip of Finland and into Norway, and since they were all new to canoeing, it turned into an epic adventure. In spite of that difficult introduction to canoe tripping, the group picked another river the next year and did it again (after a bit more research). After that, Alv was hooked, and the group has been on many canoe trips in the same general area since.
After a few years as distributors, Alv and Linda started getting frustrated that it was so hard to get any product improvements done. The boats were mostly used as recreational canoes in Europe, and they worked just fine. But our market was expedition paddlers. So, Alv started tinkering – and the first PakCanoe was sold in 1995. The first PakCanoes were remarkably similar to the ones that Pakboats sells now, but there have been many refinements over the years to adapt the PakCanoes even better to wilderness expeditions.
Pakboats started development of recreational kayaks almost as soon as they started making canoes. The first one was just a scaled down PakCanoe with all the same structural parts, and is was greatly overbuilt. So they started simplifying. The first Puffin came on the market in 1998 and was received with enthusiasm by those who tried it. It was extremely light, and it performed well. For many years the Puffin Sport has been used by US Fish and Wildlife to do surveys in Alaska. Puffins have seen quite a few refinements over the years. Our current models are the Saco and the Saranac.
Mike Jones came on board from the start of Pakboats production, and he has been our production supervisor all along. Mike has also been an invaluable part of our product development effort and often acts as a “reality check” on new design ideas. If it is not easy to manufacture, it is probably not a good idea. Mike’s role became even more crucial as the years rambled on.
On January 1, 2020, ScanSport, Inc. owners Alv Elvestad, now 74, and his wife, Linda, sometimes called “Mr. and Mrs. PAKBOATS”, announced that they would be retiring and ownership of the company would change. After guiding Pakboats through various designs and innovations, Alv hopes to be on the water, paddling a Pakboat more, and behind a desk less.
Manufacturing has been taken over by Out-Trade in Ulm, Germany. They have long been ScanSport’s largest client, distributing folding boats throughout Europe.
Michael Jones, the Scansport shop manager since 1995, has taken over as General Manager and owner. Through the years Mike has made parts, repaired boats, and talked new owners through first-time boat assembly. For the past 15 years he has traveled to the offshore factory to oversee production, which he will continue to do for Out-Trade.
A personal message from Alv:
“ I think we could hardly have found a better solution to the problems we have lived with since last April when our warehouse burned. The 2019 season was difficult, trying to find spare parts for customers and provide boats from a much-diminished inventory (well over 100 boats were lost in the fire). Now we know that customers will find Pakboats in the hands of people who have been involved for decades. Personally, I look forward to retiring from day to day operations. Although I probably should have retired by now, it can be hard to let go. But, I will still be around when needed.” -ALV
234 May Street (UPS & truck freight deliveries)
P.O. Box 700 (Send Mail to PO Box Only)
Enfield, NH 03748
Phone: (603) 632-9500
E-mail us at: email@example.com