ally or pakboat

-- Last Updated: Oct-01-11 3:38 PM EST --

I need/want a bag boat so I can fly in or drive sm car on trips and assemble there but cannot find boats to trail so I need info.


kayak or canoe?
are you looking to compare the kayak models or the canoes? What kind of paddling do you plan to do and what are your main parameters? Size and load capacity? Ease of assembly? Performance? Durability?

I was going to ask the same question
as above?

We did a fifteen day trip on the Noatak River in AK where we had to fly in and out, and we used Ally Pak canoes.

I was very impressed with them. The ones we used were tandems, and could hold a bunch of gear and were rugged. We went through several rapids that they took very well.

They are in a back pack that is about two feet wide and two and half feet long, and the weight was about thirty or forty pounds, (not sure)

We had to put them together and take them apart for a couple of portages, and the first time putting them up takes a bit, but from then on it was easy.

If I were doing a lot of trips like that on my own, I wouldn’t hesitate to get one.

Jack L

ally or pakboat canoes
Tripping Boundary waters, and river paddling mostly as a tripper,

also good reports on Pakboat
We bought a Pakboat kayak from an outfitter who guides fishing trips on wild rivers in Alaska, the Yukon and Patagonia using Pakboat canoes – he swore by them for that purpose. I have no experience with the Ally boats but have read that although they perform very well they can be time-consuming to assemble. We’ve found the Pakboat 'yak to be very simple and fast to set up. I’ve been impressed by the whole design of the boats. There are a number of YouTube videos of people using them on a variety of waters.

Yes, it is a shame that it’s so difficult to arrange pre-purchase trials of a variety of boats. I don’t know what the answer is to that. I doubt you’d go wrong buying either the Pakboat or Ally. You may want to post your inquiry over on

to get first person feedback from more owners of folders.

Think about a hard shell
for accessible water ways like boundary waters etc. The boats in a pack are great if you are flying in to remote arctic rivers and the like - but if you can drive to the put in, or even if its just a short float plan ride - you might be happier with a nice hard shell boat. Just something to consider.

you’re entitled to your opinion…
…but the OP doesn’t want a hardshell, for clearly stated and legitimate reasons. Honestly, I own both high quality hardshell and folding boats, and the folders are my favorite performers in most conditions and also the most comfortable. I keep the hardshells mostly for loaners and as beaters (situations like low water in rocky streams where I don’t like scraping up the folders.) If I could only own one boat it would be a folder. I tend to suspect some of the instinct to try to talk people out of bag boats arises from not having personally experienced how nice a well-made folding boat can be.

Assembly difficulty is greatly over-rated. With one exception among the 4 folders I have owned (Feathercrafts and Pakboats), they were simple to set up, usually under 30 minutes, with 10 to 15 minutes to break down. Compared to the headache and time consumption of dragging a hardshell out of the walkout basement and loading and lashing it on the car, setting up a bag boat really doesn’t add that much time and effort to an outing.

Add to that the security for traveling (having the bagged boat locked in the trunk) and the fact that you can load your car the night before a trip (a porblem for those of us who don’t have a garage and would have to leave a boat on the street overnight) – there are manifold reasons to find a folding canoe (or kayak) a great convenience. And they are nearly always lighter weight that comparably dimensioned hardshell boats.

I love bag boats. Guess that makes me a bag lady…

2 cents
I’ve paddled the pak-boat 17’ a fair bit, and now own one. I’ve never paddled the Ally, but was just looking at one in a store that has been assembled for a while.

My impression, from looking at the Ally, is that it would work OK, but that it is almost a first-generation version of the pak-boat. The pak-boat has inflatable chambers in the side which tension the skin nicely, and give more flotation in the event of an upset. The pak-boat has elastic bands that hold the clips down, and the pak-boat has optional better seats.

The pak-boat I have used has blown away my expectations for toughness. As for whether a hard canoe is better, well, they are different. I prefer the comfort and handling of a hard canoe. However the pak-boat handles much differently, but not really worse. It snakes over waves and bends when it goes into holes, which is disconcerting but actually keeps it pretty dry. It is also much faster than I would have expected, keeping up with any “standard” canoe like a prospector or Grumman or Old Town Discovery. Obviously, it isn’t in the same category as a MinnII or the like, but it would sure beat it in the rough stuff.

Finally, one thing to consider is that even though they are tough and light, they do have a bunch of finnicky parts. It is true that everything could be repaired or replaced easily enough, but I prefer simplicity when I can get it.

I’m thinking about getting a Feathercraft K-Light as an adjunct to my Caribou. I’ve not paddled a K-Light or any other folder and the K-Light is Feathercraft’s least expensive model. Beside your Wisper what other folders do you own? I think a bagboat will be my next purchase. Jake

one who would know
Another person who contributes occasionally on here (when he is not out guiding canoe fishing trips in Alaska and Argentina) is Charlie Snider (csnider) who has used Pakboat canoes in his guiding livery and swears by them, even in rocky Alaskan Class 3 rivers. We bought the XT-15 on his recommendation and have not been dissappointed.

Pack- boat
I was always very apprehensive about pack-boats until a friend of mine took on a Missinaibi River trip. I was really impressed how well it handled. I was so impressed that I purchased one last year (17ft). This summer we had our maiden voyage down the Pigeon River in Manitoba. Yes, the boat is very tuff, we had the canoes equipped with spray decks and were able to handle voluminous CL3 rapids with no difficulties. They flex significantly in holes and in waves but stay fairly dry. I am a tall guy and the seat arrangement was not comfortable, it is hard to kneel and slide the feet under the seat. I also felt the boat did not maneuver as easily in tech rapids as a hard shell does. Of course we were loaded with gear for a two week trip. The beauty of this type of canoe was we were able to all fit in one plane (six of us )3 canoes gear and all. Not only did we save a significant amount of money but it made the trip affordable. I still prefer to paddle my hard shell canoes but for flying-in trips this type of canoe will pay for itself.

Also check…
the Innova inflatables. They are the best inflatable designs I have paddled as they actually have hull shape and they have several great options for different applications.