Dreams do come true! Far more than adding thigh straps to our standard packrafts, the Gnarwhal is an evolutionary leap in packrafting performance.
The heart of the Gnarwhal is our new patent pending 12-inch high-volume stern and hull design that maximizes stability, predictability, and foregiveness in challenging whitewater. No other packraft comes close when taking on steep creeks, fast glacial rivers, and Grand Canyon sized waves, boils, and eddy lines.
The Gnarwhal cockpit comes standard with our custom foam backband mounted to lightweight stainless d-rings, our patent pending 4-point thigh strap system, and our whitewater seating system with a 3/4 length inflatable seat and an inflatable footrest, all of which add up to a combat rollable boat with extraordinary comfort. Our Cargo Fly system also comes standard on the Gnarwhal, and the high-volume hull allows you to carry more gear than ever before without compromising balance.
The Gnarwhal is available in Self Bailing, Whitewater Deck, and Removable Whitewater Deck configurations (See the other tabs for additional details and recommendations). Its also available in Vectran®!
Whitewater Series Set-up – Alpacka Raft from Alpacka Raft on Vimeo.Vimeo.
- Handmade in Mancos, Colorado
- Patent-pending high-volume hull design (New for 2017)
- New one-way valve that provides high pressure inflation and easy deflation with a quick twist of the valve core
- Cargo Fly with Standard Internal Dry Bags standard (Ultralight Internal Dry Bags available on request).
- Custom Foam Backband and patent-pending 4-Point Thigh Straps standard
- 3/4 length inflatable seat and inflatable whitewater foot brace
- 4 bow grab loops and 2 stern grab loops
- Available in 210d High Count Nylon, 100/200d Vectran®, or 400d Vectran®Tubes
- 840d Nylon Floor with extended stern coverage
- Includes: Inflation bag, stuff sack, and basic repair kit.
- Self Bailer – The lightest configuration, the Gnarwhal Self Bailer features a 7-inch thick seat and is ideal for warmer conditions, quick entry and exit, and anyone that prefers a self bailing setup.
- Whitewater Deck – The driest and warmest configuration, the Gnarwhal WW Deck features a 5-inch thick seat and a new deck design with a larger cockpit, one-piece coaming, and a more secure spray skirt/deck interface.
- Removable WW Deck – The most versatile configuration, the Gnarwhal Removable WW Deck features same cockpit (seat, coaming, and skirt) as the standard WW Deck but with the increased flexibility of a water resistant perimeter zipper allowing you to convert to an open boat for more relaxing days. However, the regular WW Deck is a substantially drier and warmer choice for significant whitewater paddling.
- Cargo Fly – The Cargo Fly is the ultimate packraft gear storage solution. The three piece system utilizes an airtight and watertight zipper installed in the stern of the boat together with two gear storage dry bags which are clipped in place along the inside of the raft tubes. The system provides drier and more secure gear storage, improved paddling performance due to a lower center of gravity, quicker transitions from packrafting to hiking, and the internal dry bags act as additional balanced air chambers for increased safety (even over a two-chamber packraft) in the event of a puncture. All Gnarwhal models come standard with the Cargo Fly and our Standard Internal Dry Bags (you can substitute our Ultralight Internal Dry Bags by including a note on your order at checkout).
Standard Nylon High Count Fabrics
210-denier High Count Nylon – Our standard packraft tube fabric is a USA woven 210-denier High Count Nylon, which is coated on one side with a highly UV resistant heavy polyurethane film custom developed by our USA supplier for our packrafts. We only coat one side because it provides significantly higher tear strength than a double coated fabric. Made in the USA fabrics and coatings are more expensive than similar materials sourced overseas, but they provide significantly better urethane adhesion, fabric durability, and overall quality. As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.
Multi-Color Orders – Factory Choice means that we will choose a multi-color color combination for you based on what is in stock (at no extra cost). Custom Multi Color means that you pick the colors of your choice, subject to fabric availability and a minimum 4-week lead time. If you place a custom multi color order, please read and follow these Multi-Color Ordering instructions. A custom order costs an additional $75.
Vectran® is a high-performance multifilament yarn spun from liquid crystal polymer (LCP), which is five times stronger than steel and ten times stronger than aluminum. In a packraft, Vectran® fabrics provide exceptional tear strength and rigidity (due to its lower stretch) than comparable Nylon deniers, which results in a stiffer higher performance hull. While a Vectran® hull is much more resistant to tears than Nylon, it has a lower urethane bond strength and its higher rigidity makes it slightly more prone to punctures. Vectran® is extremely challenging to work with and we have spent years developing techniques to incorporate this advanced fabric into packraft manufacturing. We offer Vectran® in the following weights:
400-denier Vectran® – Our 400-denier Vectran® is the burliest tube fabric in our packraft lineup, but its also significantly heavier and bulkier than our other fabrics. It is a great option if you are looking for the toughest boat possible where weight and bulk are not significant considerations.
200-denier and 100-denier Vectran® – For 2017, we have finally been able to source a reliable supply of 200-denier and 100-denier Vectran®. These deniers are our highest performance fabrics and provide almost the same rigidity as the 400-denier, but at a much lighter weight and bulk. The 200-denier version is roughly the same weight and bulk as our 210-denier Nylon, while the 100-denier is approximately 4 to 8 ounces lighter and is our most compact tube fabric. Unfortunately, these fabrics are very expensive (over double the cost of the 400-denier Vectran® and six times the cost of our Nylons) due to their very limited supply. We are working hard to reduce the price and will pass the savings on to you as soon as we can.
Custom Ordering – All custom Vectran® orders are subject to fabric availability and a minimum 4-week lead time. Please contact us prior to your order to determine current Vectran® availability.
||98″ / 249cm
||100″ / 254cm
||104″ / 264cm
||107″ / 272cm
||44″ / 112cm
||44″ / 112cm
||44″ / 112cm
||44″ / 112cm
||41″ / 104cm
||44″ / 112cm
||47″ / 119cm
||50″ / 127cm
|Effective Cockpit Length
||26″ / 66cm
||29″ / 74cm
||32″ / 81cm
||36″ / 91cm
|Width at Hips
||15″ / 38cm
||15″ / 38cm
||15″ / 38cm
||15″ / 38cm
*The Gnarwhal fit does not correspond to the Alpacka Series. The Gnarwhal uses the paddler’s inseam as the sizing is based on the effective cockpit length. Proper fit is based on achieving sufficent knee bend between the backband and the foot brace to fully engage the thigh straps. If you are on the border of sizing, we recommend sizing down to the smaller size as the backband is easier to adjust to a longer inseam.
|| 6lb 15oz.
|| 8lb 15oz.
|| 9lb 4oz.
|| 7lb 6oz.
|| 9lb 5 oz.
|| 9lb 10oz.
|| 8lb 0oz
|| 9lb 11 oz.
||10lb 0 oz.
*Weight includes all components except inflation bag, repair kit, and internal dry bags for cargo fly.
**Packed size is a reference measurement based on folding the boat in half lengthwise and rolling it up to fit in the stuff sack. There are many other methods of rolling and folding the boats that will result in a different packed size that may be more or less efficient for packing.
The Gnarwhal was the runner up name in our 2014 naming contest for the Alpackalypse. After launching the Alpackalypse, we wanted to develop a full sized packraft with thigh straps and a whitewater deck. The problem was that the 4-point knee cup system in the Alpackalypse was too complex and heavy for a full size boat while the two point aftermarket thigh straps didn’t have the level of control that we were seeking.
In 2016, the answer finally presented itself when we finished development of the self bailer. First, our self bailing seating system was perfect for whitewater paddling position and could easily be adapted to a whitewater decked boat for additional floor stiffness. Second, we were able to simplify the concept of the 4-point knee cups in the Alpackalypse into an fully adjustable 4-point thigh strap that offered true combat rollability in a safe and reliable ultralight package that filled the demands of a packraft.
In the fall of 2016, we built three test boats with whitewater decks and a 5-inch thick self bailer style seat and our new patent pending 4-point thigh straps. They were great and we thought we had the Gnarwhal set. But then Sheri, as she’s done so many times in our history, had a new idea to change the shape of the hull by adding an additional fabric panel in the stern. The first prototype with this new stern had the same bow as a regular Alpacka Series boat. In testing we found that this new stern was fantastic in whitewater but didn’t balance well with the bow, so Sheri reshaped the bow to give it more volume and length to balance the load. The result was a whole new level of packraft capability in whitewater, especially in large waves, holes, boils, and eddy lines, and the 2017 Gnarwhal was born.