Frame packs & Alpacka cargo fly

mattkearnswv

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Jul 9, 2021
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5
Hello,

Longtime lurker here from WV. Been using the Rokslide forums to help me narrow down my choices for my next backpack. Moving on from an old Gregory, want something made in America, and the idea of a separate frame and bag seems like the best route for my needs, which includes packrafting.

Anyway, there is one important question I haven't been able to conclusively find out yet. Pretty much a deal breaker depending on how it shakes out. I really need to find out which packs are compatible with an Alpacka cargo fly - meaning that I can stuff the empty frame inside the raft and keep my gear dry and my boat streamlined.

I found this video (start at 0:40) that shows how a Seek Outside frame can be dissembled and fits inside the raft. So that obviously works and has me leaning that way. But I'm aware there are other great packs and don't just want to stop my search there if I don't have too. Been looking at Exo too.

Based on Exo's measurements for the K3 frame it'll be a close thing. It looks like the width will fit through the zipper, but I'm worried about the length. I've been using the big triangle shaped "butt" area of my Alpacka Yak cargo fly to store my Gregory 70L. The Exo frame is a few inches taller than the Gregory and I don't want it to be rubbing any holes or stressing the cargo fly zipper. The internal shape of the raft changes a bit from inflated to deflated, so I don't think it's as simple as measuring.

Anyone have an Exo K3 frame and Yukon Yak and interested in helping me figure out if it fits? I know I could order both, but if I can save the hassle, expense, and impact of return shipping it'd be appreciated.
 

sneaky

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Feb 1, 2014
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You realize that lengthwise the Seek frame and Exo frame are almost identical, right? Longest the Exo goes is up to a 26-26.5, Seek makes options up to 28 I think. All of the frames are going to be about the same size-wise.

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mattkearnswv

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Jul 9, 2021
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Sorry, I wasn’t clear: the Seek frame splits, and that’s how the guy in the video gets it in his packraft. So instead of one big frame, it looks like I can take everything apart and the two l-shaped rods will slip down inside the packraft tubes.

With the fixed height/width of the Exo frame I’m just wondering if there’s space in the very back of the boat.
 

scp

Well Known Rokslider
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Apr 29, 2019
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I have both the Caribou (11.7 tube diameter—same as your raft) and Forager (13” tubes). I can get my Exo frame in the Forager ok. Your Yak is the medium-sized Classic raft, which is smaller in length dimensions than the Caribou. Though I can squeeze an unloaded Exo into the caribou, it is tight and I’d rather not stress the seams and cargo fly zipper on the raft.

Sure, you can take the Seek frame apart to stow it. Why not just empty the pack and store all contents in a dry bag in the fly while tying the empty pack frame down to the bow of the boat? Stuff stays dry, frame gets a little wet (maybe). When you get there just load up and go.

Typically I just put my ‘must stay dry’ contents in a dry bag in my pack, throw a pack cover over it, and lash it down to the bow of the boat. Unless your paddling rapids, this setup works just fine.

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mattkearnswv

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Jul 9, 2021
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Thanks scp. Appreciate the insight.

I do regularly run up to Class 3 rapids in my packraft and prefer stowing gear inside the boat if at all possible.

As much as I like the looks of the Exo system, I think I’ll get a Seek pack and hope it fits well. It’ll do all I need it to. From everything I’ve seen on here it’s hard to go wrong with any of the high-end packs and comes down to fit. Fingers crossed.

Thanks again for your time.
 

tdot

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Aug 18, 2014
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BC
You wont go wrong with fhe Seek packs, they are excellent packs and I think from the ones I've tested they probably fit the widest range of body size/shapes.

I played with a Forager last year and it would easily take my Seek Pack fully assembled and while I didn't have my Kifaru, I figured it would fit.

I have Alpacka's newest model, the Ranger, on order and should know in a month or so what packs will fit in there.
 

thinhorn_AK

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Jul 2, 2016
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7,471
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Alaska
Thanks scp. Appreciate the insight.

I do regularly run up to Class 3 rapids in my packraft and prefer stowing gear inside the boat if at all possible.

As much as I like the looks of the Exo system, I think I’ll get a Seek pack and hope it fits well. It’ll do all I need it to. From everything I’ve seen on here it’s hard to go wrong with any of the high-end packs and comes down to fit. Fingers crossed.

Thanks again for your time.

You are correct about the high end packs. While all of them have their own selling points they are all excellent and in most cases it’s just splitting hairs over what features you want.
 

akAbe

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2019
Messages
12
I wouldn't worry about strapping a mostly empty pack to the bow of my boat. Sounds like you know what you are looking for and the Seek packs seem like the best option for pack rafting anyway because of their waterproof materials(I bought one!), but for other folks who might be reading this thread, the important part about the cargo fly is getting the weight down in the boat and better distributed, so if the pack itself doesn't fit and you have to strap it on the front, you'll be fine. Even if the pack does fit, depending on water levels and geology of the river I would probably strap my pack to the bow, as hard objects inside the tubes tend to wear holes when rubbing against rocks/ice/the bottom. Is the cargo fly and whitewater spray deck a huge improvement over older boats? Definitely, but plenty of wilderness class 3+ has been run and will be run with loaded packs on bows and cruiser decks.
 
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