In whitewater kayaking, there are play boats for throwing tricks, river runners for carving lines, slalom boats for precision and speed, creek boats for getting rowdy, and all kinds of specialty models which blur the lines. While whitewater packrafts are a long way from achieving similar specialization, kayaks still provide a great source of inspiration for how we approach packraft performance. Think of the Wolverine as a mashup of the stable, forgiving, high-volume creeker inspired Gnarwhal and the quick, responsive, low-volume river runner inspired Alpackalypse, with a few new school kayak features like a slightly shorter stern and a more pronounced bow rocker. The result is a new standard in whitewater packraft performance that provides both the confidence to hit difficult lines with style and the predictability and stability to ride out the rough stuff when you make a mistake.
The Wolverine is built with our Rally Hull, high-performance whitewater rigging, Cargo Fly zipper internal storage system, and Whitewater Deck. The Rally Hull is our highest performance whitewater hull with a center panel stern for stability and forgiveness and a rockered bow for punching over holes and carving eddy turns. The Wolverine is lower volume than the Gnarwhal for quicker engagement and predictable edging. The whitewater rigging includes an adjustable foam backband, ¾ length seat and foot brace and patented 4-point thigh straps. Self bailing configurations are available by special order within size and weight limitations (See the other tabs for additional details).
Trying to choose between the mid-volume Wolverine and the high-volume Gnarwhal? You’ll love the Wolverine if you want squeeze as much as you can out of a rapid with a quick and easy to edge packraft that likes to hit every eddy and play feature, and boof off every lip. You’ll love the Gnarwhal if you want a forgiving and easy to paddle packraft that takes the intimidation out of paddling moderate whitewater, if you want to charge hard in bigger water and features, or if you need to carry a large cargo load on a long trip. Both the Wolverine and Gnarwhal can be reliably rolled by skilled boaters with thigh straps, but the Wolverine roll is a bit easier for most people. The Gnarwhal and Wolverine are sized to fit most average sized adults, but larger and heavier (over 6’0” and 220lbs) paddlers will fit better in the Gnarwhal while smaller and lighter paddlers (under 5’7” and 150lbs) will fit better in the Wolverine.
Whitewater Series Set-up – Alpacka Raft from Alpacka Raft on Vimeo.Vimeo.
Alpacka White Water Series Owners Manual
Whitewater Deck: The Wolverine comes standard with our Whitewater Deck, which maximizes performance in difficult whitewater. The Whitewater Deck features a large kayak style cockpit, one-piece pex coaming, and an ultralight spray skirt. Because the Whitewater Deck will not fill with water when pushing through a wave or hole, it maintains more speed and can punch through larger waves and stickier holes than the self bailing configuration.
Self Bailer: The Self Bailer is not available as a standard option on the Wolverine due to its lower weight limit. However, it is available as a custom order option by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our maximum recommended paddler weight limit for the Wolverine self bailer is 170lbs and 50lbs of cargo because the boat loses enough buoyancy with heavier paddlers that it reduces handling. For paddlers within the recommended weight limits, the self bailer is perfect for warmer conditions, quick entry and exit, and anyone that prefers a self-bailing setup. It is slightly slower than the WW deck version when punching through waves and small holes, but it tends to stabilize in these situations which helps boaters navigate through tricky spots. If you swim, no dumping is required and you can just self rescue right back in.
Cargo Fly Zipper: Our Cargo Fly internal storage system comes standard on the Wolverine and includes roll-top dry bags. The Cargo Fly features an airtight zipper installed in the stern of the boat to allow you to store your gear inside the tubes. The system provides drier and more secure gear storage and improved paddling performance due to a lower center of gravity. The included roll-top dry bags clip in place along each side of the tubes with a side release buckle and allow for better organization and weight balance than placing the contents of your pack loose inside the Cargo Fly. They also act as additional balanced air chambers to make it easier to get to shore in the event of a puncture.
►How to Choose Your Boat Size
The chart below shows our recommended size based on your sit length and the Wolverine’s fit profile. To determine your sit length, sit against a wall with your legs flat (wearing your preferred paddling shoes) and measure the distance from the wall to your heels. The Wolverine is sized for a whitewater fit, meaning that a typical paddler in the recommended size will be able to deeply bend their knees for maximum engagement in the thigh straps for the most secure high-performance fit. You can size up or down for a more performance or relaxed fit.
Sizing and Specifications
|Paddler Sit Length
||36-41in | 91-104cm
||39-43in | 99-109cm
||42-46in | 107-117cm
||90in | 229cm
||92in | 234cm
||95in | 241cm
||36in | 91cm
||36in | 91cm
||36in | 91cm
||42in | 107cm
||44in | 112cm
||48in | 122cm
|Width at Hips
||15in | 38cm
||15in | 38cm
||15in | 38cm
||8.6lb | 3.90kg
||8.8lb | 4.00kg
||9.1lb | 4.12kg
||18×7.5in | 46x19cm
||18x8in | 46x20cm
||18×8.5in | 46x22cm
||350lb | 159kg
||350lb | 159kg
||350lb | 159kg
*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 each lengthwise edge of the boat to the center and rolling from the bow. 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 depending on the situation.
***Max Capacity is the maximum total weight (paddlers and cargo) that the boat can reasonably carry in flatwater under ideal conditions. Actual capacity for any given trip will vary widely based on the paddler’s skill and water conditions. Please review our weight carrying capacity guide for further details.
In 2008, a group of Alaskan packrafters began installing thigh straps in their packrafts to give them more control in difficult whitewater. The performance improvements were undeniable and many people began self-installing thigh straps, but Alpacka faced a challenging position of not being able to offer them as a factory option due to liability concerns of entrapment. However, the strong community interest in a better performing whitewater packraft led Sheri to begin development of the Alpackalypse.
Over the next six years, we designed built and tested dozens of variations with prototype names like the Witchcraft, the Diva, and the Orca. We tested things like metal frames, plastic knee braces, cross straps with inflatable supports, plastic skid plates, and many more. Like any ambitious design project, many of these ideas failed spectacularly and some were even dangerous, but some turned out to be winners and others had benefits that we hadn’t anticipated. In fact, almost every significant innovation in packrafting between 2008 and 2014 came out of the Alpackalypse design project, including the first extended stern packraft which provided a new level of stability and handling, the first whitewater spray deck which dramatically improved dryness and warmth, and the Cargo Fly system which allowed internal gear storage and optimized stability.
In 2014, we finally introduced the Alpackalypse with a lower volume 10-inch rockered hull, an inflatable backband to keep the paddler locked in place for combat rolling, an adjustable foot brace, and 4-point adjustable knee cups that provided unparalleled levels of control and performance in a packraft. Kayakers in particular loved the way the Alpackalypse handled.
The 2017 Alpackalypse is the next generation of the Alpackalypse design. We took what paddlers loved about the first generation with its precise and playful handling and 10-inch tube design and made it lighter, simpler, and more comfortable with our latest designs in seating, thigh straps, and hull design. The new seating system is derived from our self bailer with a 3/4 length inflatable seat which inserts into a protective sleeve and an inflatable footrest that provides a stiffer floor for better handling and surfing, and a super comfortable sitting position optimized for whitewater. The new patent-pending 4-point thigh straps were also brought over from the self bailer, but those straps were actually designed as a simpler and more comfortable version of the original Alpackalypse knee cups. Finally, the new patent-pending high volume stern design was adapted from our new 12-inch tube Gnarwhal whitewater packraft. This new stern offers better predictability, stability and floatation than a standard extended stern packraft which makes it ideal for staying on top of bigger whitewater and carrying a heavier load.