Canyonlands Packrafting Trip

Parma

@parma26
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Feb 12, 2014
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731
Here's a brief gear review on a couple things I used on this trip for the first time

Big Agnes UL2- http://www.rei.com/product/865389/big-agnes-copper-spur-ul-2-tent
This is a pretty well known tent for most of you but it was a first real test for me.
I used this for a car camping trip, but this was my first time taking it on a backpacking trip. I didn't take the rain-fly.
This tent was great, and exactly what I hoped it would be. It was roomy and light. When packing it up I just stuff it back into the bag and crammed it into my pack...loved it.

North Face Blue Kazoo- http://www.rei.com/product/864546/the-north-face-blue-kazoo-sleeping-bag
This also packed up nice and even though it's rated for 15 degrees, and it was no where near that cold, I still liked it. When it was warm for a night I unzipped it and was fine. During a cold night (36 degrees) I zipped it up and did the whole mummy bag experience and was warm.

JetBoil Zip
- http://www.rei.com/product/813623/jetboil-zip-cooking-system
This thing boils water amazingly fast! I was really impressed. And it's the right size for what I need/use.

Kokopelli Nirvana Packraft- http://kokopelliraftco.com/collections/packrafts/products/nirvana
We got this from Kokopelli to test and it did well. It was the first time I've use an inflation bag to blow up a raft, and it took some getting use to, but once you get the hang of it it didn't take long. This raft has two air chambers instead of one large chamber. To top off the air it has a long tube for each chamber to blow it up with your mouth. The nice part with those tubes is that they are easily reached while sitting up in the raft. The seat cushion would deflate after a couple hours of sitting on it, but by then you need a break and it's easy to re-inflate. Strapping a backpack on it was awkward and made it feel too tipsy, so I just set it inside of the raft in the front to help balance out the load. It had an optional inflatable floor, but it was too cumbersome to pack so I left it at home and didn't try it. With it I'm sure it would keep you a little warmer by giving you a buffer space off the water.
Overall I liked it and would definitely use one again.

Mountain House Scrambled Eggs with Peppers- http://www.rei.com/product/693933/m...-green-peppers-single-serving#tab-description
Decided to try this for a dinner. I also brought some flour tortillas and FANCY ketchup packets from McDonald's. This is a just add hot water and wait meal, no additional skillet cooking necessary like some similar meals. My tortillas were a little beat up after a couple days so I tore them up and dropped them in the meal with some ketchup for a tortilla breakfast stew like meal...and I liked it.

PackTowl- http://www.rei.com/product/830600/packtowl-ultralite-towel
This I didn't like and will probably never use it again. When I got it, it was cheap and thought it would be better than my regular bandanna I typically bring. This was too thick and stayed dirty too easy. I used it tucked into my hat as shade for my ears/neack and it felt like it was made of wool. So back to the trusty ole bandanna.
 

WasatchWill

Ready For More
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Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
1,639
Fantastic report Parma! Looks like it would have been a great trip to be a part of, minus the bits carrying the heavier packs up and down sketchy looking slopes and getting low on water. Getting low on water, especially in an area like that, can be a scary thing. Glad you all found a hospitable couple, by the sounds of it. Also, isn't it great when you brace yourself for the disappointment of finding all good campsites in a popular area occupied only to find no trace of anyone else in the area?

the mouse-proof sacks were opsaks

http://www.loksak.com/products/opsak

This reminds me of the Opsak failure I had at 5th Water in January. I had a mouse that was persistent in visiting me all night long, trying to get at my Opsak. When I got home, I discovered there was a small hole in it. My advice with these, be extra careful with what you put in them and how you pack them. Do all you can to protect them from sharp edges, inside and out. Would't hurt to have an extra one on hand, just in case. You can fill them up with water to check for leaks back at home to determine if it would be effective to keep and reuse again.
 

Kullaberg63

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2014
Messages
557
Good one! Thanks for sharing.

And good to get reminded about the wag bag thingy. Backcountry regulations I understand as a longtime user, but the river side of the rule book seem a bit complex, and, as mentioned above, maybe not quite worked out yet as pertaining to packrafts.
 

Ben

Member
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Sep 12, 2014
Messages
1,873
i suppose the real question is how the kokopelli compared to the alpackas.
 

Parma

@parma26
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Joined
Feb 12, 2014
Messages
731
i suppose the real question is how the kokopelli compared to the alpackas.
The Alpackas rolled up smaller and have the storage area in the back end to zip in your pack inside the air chamber.
@steve can speak to how they handle, I never used the Alpacka.
 

steve

Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2013
Messages
2,140
I didn't paddle the kokopelli yet, but here are my thoughts after inflating it in my house and watching @Parma on it:

Things I love about the Alpacka:
- I prefer the directional shape of the hull of the alpacka. It's a little narrower, a little sleeker, and the big butt stern is cool. The kokopelli looked more like a symmetrical raft that didn't fully capture the benefits of having a bow vs stern, and it didn't seem quite as sleek since it was wider. (not sure if that makes sense)
- it's lighter than the kokopelli by about 1lb.
- the alpackas pack down a little smaller than the kokopellis


Things I love about the Kokopelli
- The PRICE! It's 1/2 the price of an alpacka
- awesome new inflation bag. The wooden sticks in the alpacka bag are heavy and kinda pointless. Kokpelli just introduced a new bag that's pretty rugged, with handles on it, and it seems to be a lot better.
- dual air chambers (I especially like this for the zippered verson). It takes longer to inflate with two chambers, but it also gives you peace of mind should you have a puncture. On the zippered versions, you can stash your gear in the front half of the boat without worrying about internal dry bags. The separator keeps your gear from sliding all over inside.
- very cool material it's made of. The material seems to be more like a reinforced plastic than a rubbery raft type like the alpackas.
- the inflation blow tubes are long enough that you can inflate a chamber while in the boat. This is AWESOME. I predict we'll see these on Alpackas soon since it's such a great idea. WHen you get in the water, the air pressure changes in the boat. In the shade it gets a little flat, and in the sun it gets a little firm. With the kokopelli, you can reach all the valves with your mouth without having to lean at all. The alpackas require you to flip over on your stomach, lean towards the back, and hope you don't fall in the water while topping them off. It's doable, but the kokopelli definitely wins in this area.
- great tie-down points. They're more substantial than the alpackas.
- construction is fantastic, equal witg the alpacka.


Other comments
- on flatwater, they performed almost the same. The alpackas may have had a tiny bit more glide and required a little less work to get going, but it was negligable.
- the kokopelli is wider and a little longer than the alpackas, so if you're a bigger guy, you may prefer that.
- there's only one size for kokopellis. This makes ordering easy, but some people will prefer the options to get an alpacka that's exactly their size. Since I don't do big water, I think a one-size-fits-all option would be fine for me.
- construction quality on both boats is fantastic. Both feel really well made.


I think if the kokopelli were the same shape as the alpacka (pointier, narrower, big butt stern), it'd be a no-brainer. For the price, nothing comes close to the kokopelli. I'm excited to test out their newest model and see what improvements they've made.

For flatwater, I'd go with the kokopelli. For class 3 and above, I have a hunch the alpacka will be the more agile craft. Is it worth an extra $600? time will tell.
 
Last edited:

Devo

Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Messages
152
What an awesome trip! Sounds like a lot of fun and variation. Can't wait to see some video from this as well!

PackTowl- http://www.rei.com/product/830600/packtowl-ultralite-towel
This I didn't like and will probably never use it again. When I got it, it was cheap and thought it would be better than my regular bandanna I typically bring. This was too thick and stayed dirty too easy. I used it tucked into my hat as shade for my ears/neack and it felt like it was made of wool. So back to the trusty ole bandanna.

I have the REI version of this and I have to say I have really liked it. Maybe it would be a better alternative. I was up in north west on bike trip a few weeks ago and it was very nice to come back from rides and clean up before getting in the tent. Did a good job soaking up moisture and cleaning up dirt, then the dirt shook out fairly well and it is soft to the touch as well.

IMG_5172.JPG


As you can see I got a little bit wet lol.... put through a good test. Important note however; I do have a version that is older then the current ones (bought it 6 years ago or so) so I can't speak for the latest version for sure.
 

Dave

Broadcaster, formerly "ashergrey"
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May 5, 2012
Messages
1,722
One question - what is the water level like? Is it high / low / average for this time of year? Is eastern Utah is experiencing the same drought problems as I read about further to the west?

At the rate we're going, flow levels will crash early. Outflows from Flaming Gorge are pretty low (which, combined with the Yampa, determines Green River flow) for this point of the season. Once the Colorado snowmelt peters out, river levels are going to fall quickly.
 

HomerJ

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
1,199
Awesome trip!!!

Am I the only one drooling over that sandwich? That thing looks yummy!!! Looks like pepperoni, cucumbers, and spinach?
 

Parma

@parma26
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Joined
Feb 12, 2014
Messages
731
i'm still finding red grains of sand in my cell phone case!
 

steve

Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2013
Messages
2,140
hah, I'm not surprised at all. I'm about due for another packraft run.
 

steve

Member
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Dec 11, 2013
Messages
2,140
Soon... I hope. My goal is to have it up by March 1st. Keep bugging me about it, I'll get it posted eventually. :)
 

Jimmy

Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2014
Messages
98
soooo jealous of you guys!!! What an awesome trip!!!!
I have plans on exploring the Maze a bit more next year , but only as a backpakcing trip.
I'm not willing to carry 40+lb like you did on this trip.

Awesome trip report. I really need to get a pack rafting trip into my schedule.

I did 4 days in the Needles last year, and my pack was probably close to 40 lbs with water. Due to our chosen route/permits, the rangers at the Needles station scared us into hauling water for all 4 days (we anticipated carrying 2 days)...20+ lbs/water per person. UGH! That first day was a brutal hike. Our route did not bring us close to water for 2 days, but on day 3, there were some really nice pools on the side trip to Druid Arch, which was the only water source on our entire route (the rangers told us NOT to count on water here, but it seemed like those were some very deep pools). We encountered an elderly solo backpacker who had run out and had to walk a few miles out of his way to get to that pool; he seemed scared when he encountered us, and we refilled one of his bottles.

If we had to do it over again, we'd probably change our permits/route to avoid having to carry so much H20. After multiple Utah trips during the past few years, I'm REALLY excited to be headed to some water-rich destinations that will enable me to get that pack weight down.
 
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