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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 1:44 pm 
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Hi everyone,
We're looking for the lightest folding kayaks possible, and came across the Feathercraft Kurrent and the Puffin Saco. Does anyone have experience with either, or (preferably) both?
The idea is to carry the kayaks along with camping gear to a distant river(s), and then most of the time having the kayaks carry us along with the camping gear. For the most part the rivers we intent to travel are easy (we'll find out better from locals and change our plans accordingly if necessary). There may be some up-river travel as well. We also intend to fish while kayaking for some of our sustenance.
Are the two kayaks mentioned suitable? Is one better than the other - what are the advantages/disadvantages of one over the other? Are there other kayaks more suited for the job (lightweight is very important since it may be many miles of hiking to the river)?
Thank you very much!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 2:42 pm 
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I would suggest packrafts (and similar craft by other manufacturers), instead.

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~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: '84 Hobie 16; early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 10:54 pm 
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I totally agree. Kayaks of any kind aren't suited for your intended use. I suppose you plan to backpack the whole thing to your destination. The weight of the kayak, its gear, plus camping gear, food, water and clothes would be too much for anyone to carry. Unless your plan is to hire a half dozen porters of course.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 4:37 am 
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Thanks you. We'll look into pakrafts and similar.
* Wouldn't it be much harder to paddle up-river (even an easy one) in a raft than a kayak though?

* Say the 20lbs or so (as advertised) of the kayak and 35lbs of camping gear is something we can deal with, wouldn't it be much better/faster than a raft?
* Another question on the same note - say even 30-35lbs of a "touring kayak" is doable (for some of us - probably not for me on a long hike with the camping gear), is there a big advantage to one of those over a Saco or Kurrent?
* is a touring kayak much faster than a Saco for example, or not too significant (if one/some were to use a touring kayak and the other/s a Saco maybe)?
* What other advantages to a touring kayak? There is a feature of the pakboats (Saco) that seems very suited to fishing, and that's the optional deck (can be taken off). Is that really an advantage, or not necessarily?

* As far as longevity - I saw on this forum someone considering to sell his folding Klepper (if I remember correctly) of 35 years! What we buy we hope to use not only on this trip, but also other trips and local use, and hope they can last a long time. We'd be happy for any input on that as well.

Hopefully not too many questions for one message.
Thank you!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 8:04 am 
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I've owned the Kurrent 2 for a couple of years and like it a lot but for your implied purpose I'd go for the Puffin Saco. It's very light weight, easier to assemble than the Kurrent and can be used as an open boat which might work out better if you do much fishing. It's also much less expensive than the Kurrent. Good luck!

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2015 11:27 am 
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Thank you Jake!

Anyone know answers to any of the other questions?

Any info is appreciated


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:20 pm 
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You mention klepper at 35 years old, yes they do last even longerf if looked after. It was probably a two seater AERIUS 2, i have two, one is well over 40 years old with the well patched original "skin", BUT these kayaks are heavy, very bulky and almost impossible to portage. Paddling up stream is a slow time consuming plan unless the river is very slow and deep, if faster and shallow which is on many rivers then you have to get out and pull the kayak through the shallower section which is slow progress. There are light kayaks but they may not carry all your equipment.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2015 8:41 pm 
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As others here have already suggested, I think that you might find a packraft more to your liking, or at least, better suited to purpose. The reasons are not complicated. Even with a lightweight folder such as a Feathercraft Kurrent, (a very nice folder by the way and one that I have eyed a number of times), by the time you add the weight of a split paddle and perhaps a PFD too, you could be looking at the best part of 11kg (24lb) and that's before you even begin to think about adding any camping equipment and something to actually carry your camping equipment in. Between the paddling, you would be looking at carrying a backpack with your camping gear and a backpack with your folding kayak, split paddle & perhaps a PFD. You can see where I am going with this: you could be looking at carrying 2 packs. You will also need to factor in the time to assemble and disassemble the folder each time you want to swap from paddling to walking, or walking to paddling. This could often be more than once a day on some trips; you can spend a lot of time doing it. I know.

A day trip might be manageable, but an extended multi-day trip? If you were to take a packraft (say, one of these: http://alpackarafts.com/product-categor ... ose-boats/), your camping equipment and packraft will already be in your single dedicated backpack. When you come to a river or lake, you simply take your packraft out from inside your backpack – it packs down small and weighs a measly 3kg (6lbs) - inflate it, throw your backpack in, snap your split paddle together and away you go. Packrafts are very popular amongst remote walkers down these parts and they take them on some very difficult journeys. They also fish from them and yes, they paddle them upstream too. Portage them as well. I don't know anyone who has attempted to use a dedicated folding kayak for same and done so willingly more than once or twice. One experience of manhandling a couple of bags with a combined weight of at least 25kg (55lb), repeatedly assembling and disassembling a folder and camping equipment along the way is usually enough.

I have a Klepper Aerius Expedition single and I do not portage it willingly. It's relatively heavy and that's just the beginning of it. I use my Klepper for touring (and remote, extended wilderness touring too), for which it is eminently suited and the very reason that I bought it in the first place. I often walk off-track from a kayak base, but avoid disassembling or portaging my Klepper along the way. I think that I would be looking at a packraft for the purposes that you describe; it will be much easier and much, much cheaper. I have watched a paddler attempt to stuff lightweight camping gear inside his lightweight folder's backpack. That backpack was not made for carrying the added weight, nor the increased volume, (much of which then ended up being strapped on the outside). The paddler finally bailed on the trip after abandoning an attempt to portage over a particularly steep and sustained mountain ridge between two remote rivers. The others in the party had packrafts and happily pressed on. Just saying. Good luck though, whichever way you decide to go.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2015 8:54 pm 
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Google "Roman Dial" and "Andy Skurka".

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~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: '84 Hobie 16; early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 8:17 am 
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Apologies if posting same (similar) message twice - thought I posted it already, but don't see it:

Thank you John Allsop for the info.
Thank you Scribbler for your first-hand experience. Our idea is to pack the kayak on top of the regular camping-gear pack. Also, the hike would be just a small part of the trip - seems about a 20mi. hike, and then about a week or two at a time on the river. 6lbs though (maybe a little more with PFD and paddle?) sounds amazingly attractive! Thanks for the link as well.

* If weight weren't an issue at all (which besides this trip, it probably usually won't be such a big factor), what are the advantages/disadvantages of a kayak over a raft? And of a touring kayak over a little smaller kayak?
* Is there a big difference in speed between a kayak and a raft? Between a touring kayak and a little smaller kayak (Saco maybe)?

Thank you Chrstjrn for the reads. They look interesting.


Last edited by brillythekid on Mon Sep 21, 2015 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 5:39 pm 
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Skurka has a lot on Youtube as well.

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Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: '84 Hobie 16; early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:12 am 
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Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
brillythekid wrote:
* If weight weren't an issue at all (which besides this trip, it probably usually won't be such a big factor), what are the advantages/disadvantages of a kayak over a raft? And of a touring kayak over a little smaller kayak?
* Is there a big difference in speed between a kayak and a raft? Between a touring kayak and a little smaller kayak (Saco maybe)?


Hi there brilly,

Firstly, welcome to Folding Kayaks.org - this is nicest forum on the entire web :D

To answer your questions:

Folding kayak advantages over a raft: Much faster, bigger payload, usually more rugged (usually when outfitted for expedition use), easier to paddle in a straight line

Packraft advantages over folding kayak: Much, much lighter, usually cheaper, much simpler to set up - blow and go.

Having said that, there are some caveats.

1. Some folding kayaks (such as the Pakboats Saco are cheaper than a mid-range Alpacka packraft - I know because I have been doing some research this week myself.

2. Some folding kayaks have very little payload once the paddler is aboard.

3. The Feathercraft Beast - probably the Humvee of packrafts - looks like it would survive a nuclear attack. At $2500, it's not cheap, but it is handmade by people who know a thing or two about folding kayaks and inflatables.

As for kayak speeds, the longer a kayak is, generally the faster it goes. So the Saco is not a fast boat compared to an 18-foot Klepper. Much depends, of course, on the skill and stamina of the paddler.

I have just sold my Klepper double for some of the reasons other posters have mentioned above. I needed something that I could portage and use on shallow rocky rivers without worrying about breaking it (and as tough as Kleppers are, they are not recommended for whitewater or shallow rocky rivers ... :shock: ).

I was looking for a boat that was light, rugged, backpackable, reasonably fast and affordable. I also need a boat that was practical to carry on my longtail cargo bicycle. Kayaks, like most things in engineering, are compromises.

I looked at a lot of boats. In the end it came down to the Saco, the Innova Safari (made by Gumotex in Eastern Europe) or a packraft.

The Saco was the best deal on price but is not a boat for whitewater. Also the dollar is beating up the South African rand and once shipping and postage were added, the price was less nice. The Safari is a great whitewater/river boat, excellent price from the manufacturer, and is quite light but at 12kg, it is not truly backpackable.

So, a packraft it is. Drooled over the Feathercraft Baylee and Beast, as well as the Alpacka Denali, but both much too expensive, especially once shipping and customs are factored in.

Then saw a review on apaddleinmypack on the Nortik Trekraft. 500 euros. Made in Russia. Price OK, service from the dealer excellent. So, ja, it's on the way to me even as I write this. I just hope it's not a dog.

Good luck with your quest. The kayak that can do everything has not yet been made. But the boat that is almost perfect is out there waiting for you.

Happy paddling.

Paul

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Nortik Trekraft, awaiting the river's embrace
1960s Klepper Aerius II, now gone be the star in a Special Forces movie
Folbot Greenland II, now at a new home on the Southern Cape coast


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 7:00 pm 
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Thank you again Chrstjrn. Seem like some very interesting videos. Some may be very relevant to our idea - or may give us new ones.

Thank you Paul for the warm welcome!
Best of luck with your Nortik Trekraft! Took a look at their site - they look nice.
A question about your findings: the Safari, Saco and rafts were your final candidates. If you didn't need your boat for shallow rocky rivers, but long distances on deep rivers, would you go for the Saco, or something else? The Saco is the compromise that seems the best to me, but I (we) don't know enough about kayaks or rafts yet, and somehow people don't seem to recommend it often (the trip is planned for next summer, or maybe even only the following, so we'll have plenty of time to practice once we buy what we finally decide on - we have some sporadic experiences here and there).

* Is the Saco much faster than a raft, or not significantly? How is the Saco's payload compared to a raft or other kayaks?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 2:07 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 6:42 pm
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Have you seen this thread just posted? Another alternative, if you're interested in build it yourself:
http://www.foldingkayaks.org/WP/?page_id=223


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 4:44 am 
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Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
brillythekid wrote:
A question about your findings: the Safari, Saco and rafts were your final candidates. If you didn't need your boat for shallow rocky rivers, but long distances on deep rivers, would you go for the Saco, or something else?


For that specific use, I would either look at one of the Pakboats' XT kayaks or search around for a Nautiraid 416. But that's me - those are the boats that appeal.

For long distance paddling on flat water you want the most efficient hull shape you can get. How fast are your "deep rivers" flowing?

brillythekid wrote:
The Saco is the compromise that seems the best to me, but I (we) don't know enough about kayaks or rafts yet, and somehow people don't seem to recommend it often (the trip is planned for next summer, or maybe even only the following, so we'll have plenty of time to practice once we buy what we finally decide on - we have some sporadic experiences here and there).


The Saco idea works for me because it is light and packs down small enough to (I believe) fly with as carry-on baggage. But it's not a kayak I would choose for expedition use. Pakboats' other kayaks - and their canoes especially - would be much better suited for that.

brillythekid wrote:
* Is the Saco much faster than a raft, or not significantly? How is the Saco's payload compared to a raft or other kayaks?


Pakboats claim 130kg payload for the Saco. Packraft payloads vary, but the Trekraft will be about the same.

I haven't paddled a Saco so can't say how fast it is compared to a packraft. But I have a lot of river and flatwater time in the two-person inflatables that most South African river operators use and they are slow and draggy pigs. Paddling my loaded Klepper AE II was like travelling on a TGV by comparison.

Inflatables by their nature have higher profiles and are highly susceptible to wind. Paddling them into a headwind across open water is one of the least fun things on the planet.

I'm pretty sure the Saco would be a faster boat.

Keep us posted on how your quest goes.

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Feathercraft Airline Java
Nortik Trekraft, awaiting the river's embrace
1960s Klepper Aerius II, now gone be the star in a Special Forces movie
Folbot Greenland II, now at a new home on the Southern Cape coast


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