I want to get a lightweight pack boat,but want to paddle kneeling and leaning back on a seat.I think this rules out a Hornbeck type boat,but what would my lightest options be?The placid Flashfire looked like one although a little heaver than I want,but it’s way out of my price range.I am a fairly experienced solo paddler.



These are the lightest boats I’ve seen. Don’t know about paddling them kneeling.

I use a Geodesic-Airolite boat…
and I paddle it kneeling almost exclusively. Built the Snowshoe 14 a few years ago, and even though I “overbuilt” it (more floorboards than the plans called for, heavier dacron, and a heavier-duty seat) it came in at 35 lbs. I love it.


Pack canoes

– Last Updated: Feb-28-07 2:24 PM EST –

I too am interested in pack canoes. It looks like you could kneel in the Hornbeck 12 or 14 footer using the thwart that serves as a back rest to rest your butt against. I read on another forum where somebody added a traditional canoe seat to a Hornbeck. They claimed it worked fine. The PBW boats are gorgeous and the new Wildfire and Flashfire look great, but they are priced out of my league. I hope to be adding a Hornbeck to the fleet very soon.

what is a packboat canoe?
pardon my ignorance.

pack boat sites

Pack Canoe definition
Pack canoes seem to be indigenous to the Adirondacks. They started as 12-14 foot hunter canoes for paddlers sitting just off the bottom and using double bladed paddles.

Then G W Sears, pen named Nessmuk, commissioned a series of smaller hulls from Rushton in the early 1880s. It is important to remember Nessmuk weighed 110 lbs and died of TB in 1885.

There are several current builders, including Bell, Helmock, Hornbeck, Native Watercraft, Placid boatworks and Savage River. Size, materials, construction, design, weight and price are highly variable.

As they are designed for a paddler’s weight to be born by the bottom, no existing pack canoe will support a rail-hung seat or kneeling thwart without additional re-inforcement in the sidewalls. Some manufacturers will/can do this some will/can not.

The traditional flared sides of Rushton based models yield a relatively wide paddling station for kneeling single stick paddlers. While less an issue with a double blade, it is hard to get a single stick shaft vertical in the water.

Tumblehomed models require stiffer sides to support rail hung seats.

Pack canoes are neat boats - basically ultra light, open-topped kayaks. They can be had with footpegs and back bands.

They also are much easier to load with gear - camping or fishing - than traditional kayaks and are usually quite seaworthy, as long as the lee shore in a big blow is not France.


so it’s a cross between a kayak and canu
but not a Rob Roy. sweet.

Not a Rob Roy
McGregor’s Rob Roy was developed, on England about the same time and was leter made by Rushton before he tweeked it into the American Traveling Canoe. [Marketing blunder?]

The Rob Roy family was/is 15-16 feet long and semi decked - with a large cockit like a modern rec kayaks. In fact, since RR was also paddled with a double blade stick…

Hunter and Pack canoes were/are open topped to save weight om portage and aid in rolling that big buck into the little hull. Again, Adirondack lakes are mostly small, a lee shore never far away.

kneeling in a Placid boat
Charlie’s not saying this outright, but his company can make a kneeling pack canoe. I have a RapidFire with an extra band of carbon around the middle and a seat hung from the rails, and it works just fine for this 205-pound kneeler. It’s a little too weak for sit-and-switch paddling; I probably should have gotten a second band of carbon, or else I should lose 30 pounds, or else – this is Charlie’s opinion – I should just learn to sit on the floor and use the double paddle. (Never!)

It’s a lot of fun but pricey, as you say.

– Mark

kneeling pack boats
Actually, Mark is the guy who made us change our kneeling protocol. We now add two carbon bands and a second, double, 9.5 oz, kevlar twill blanket to make damn sure the thing is stiff enough - same layup as FlashFire, WildFire.

A little heavier than some may need, but we can be sure it will hold up.

I had no idea a diet was a possibility???