The two person Alpacka Gnu is the packrafter’s canoe. For 2017, we added 8-inches in length the original Gnu for more cockpit space, updated the rigging and valve for better fit and inflation, and added a new touring seat option. The C2 seating configuration is an adventure racing favourite that uses the same centre kneeling pillow as our original Gnu, which maximises control, speed, and performance. Add the removable Whitewater Deck to the C2 seat and the Gnu will be ready for whitewater action. If you are looking for something a little more comfortable on flat water and easy rivers, our new touring seating system can be paddled either as a comfortable kneeling saddle or as a classic upright canoe style seat, which is perfect for exploring, fishing, and families. The Gnu is available in 210-denier high count nylon, 100-denier, 200-denier, and 400-denier Vectran®, and a hybrid option which combines 210-denier high count nylon ends with 200d Vectran® sides.
Note: If kneeling and running rapids or shallow areas with the C2 seat, we strongly recommend knee pads or some kind of knee protection!
We also highly recommend our Shred-Apart paddle that converts from a single kayak paddle into two canoe paddles with t-grips.
Check out the Salmon Fly short film below that shows the full feature range of the Gnu!
Open – C2 Seat – The adventure racer’s favorite! The Gnu’s open C2 seating configuration features a single inflatable seat that runs lengthwise down the center of the cockpit, which allows two paddlers to kneel in a straddling position over the seat with their knees wedged snugly between the seat and the tubes. This seating configuration mimics the seating position in a C2 style whitewater canoe and provides maximum edge control and paddling performance. Knee protection is highly recommended for shallow rocky rivers.
Whitewater – C2 Seat – Best for whitewater. The Whitewater C2 seating configuration adds a two position removable WW Deck to the C2 seating configuration. The WW Deck is essential for keeping the boat dry and maximizing performance when running rapids.
Open – Touring Seat – New for 2017, our reversible touring seats are designed to provide a more traditional flatwater canoe style seating setup which is more comfortable on flat and easy water. The two touring seats can each be independently placed either wide side down which creates a one person kneeling saddle with a higher position and more cushion than the C2 seat or wide side up which creates a flat sitting seat on top of the tubes with ample leg room on the underside. The touring setup is perfect for families, fishermen seeking a backcountry drift boat, and more relaxing adventures in flat water and easy rivers. The Touring Seat is not recommended for whitewater.
Note – The C2 Seat and Touring Seats can be purchased separately and used in all configurations of the Gnu.
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. The Cargo Fly is perfect for expeditions, whitewater performance, and keeping your gear dry in any conditions. All Gnu models with a Cargo Fly come standard with our Ultralight Internal Dry Bags (you can substitute our Standard Internal Dry Bags by including a note on your order at checkout).
Introduced in 2012, the Alpacka Gnu is our take on a packraft version of a C2 style canoe. Our founder, Sheri Tingey, was an expert C2 whitewater canoeist in the 1960s and 1970s and always loved the C2 paddling style. Sheri had always wanted to make a packraft version of a C2, but our “stubby” style Alpacka Series packrafts were far more like a raft than a canoe or kayak. That changed in 2010 when Sheri developed the first prototypes of the extended stern in the Alpacka Series that is now the industry standard. The long stern proved to be more like a kayak or canoe than a raft and Sheri realized that she could make a symmetrical hull with an extended stern and bow to be more like a canoe. Our first prototypes were too short and narrow (more like the 2015/2016 Fjord Explorer) to work for two people, but we were on the right path and soon we had the length and width that we wanted.
The next issue was the seat. Unlike the classic touring canoes that everyone is familiar with, a C2 style canoe has both paddlers straddling a saddle like seat in a kneeling position that locks their knees in place. This gives them more control and allows the C2 to be rolled like a kayak. For the Gnu, Sheri found a way to mimic the kneeling style of seat with an inflated seat that ran down the center of the boat and allowed the paddlers to straddle it in a kneeling position. Zippers attached to the floor and the seat kept it in position and it also greatly improved the stiffness of the boat. Finally, Sheri developed a two position whitewater spray deck to keep water out when running whitewater. Thus, the Gnu was born and quickly became popular with C2 enthusiasts, adventure racers looking for the fastest packraft possible, and fisherman who could use it like a mini drift boat.
For 2017, we didn’t need to change much to the Gnu, but we fixed a lot of little things. First, we added 8-inches of length to the original design which gives two people a lot more breathing room when paddling. Second, we replaced the zippers which connect the C2 seat and the floor with a durable aluminum hook system that is quicker to operate and more durable. Finally, recognizing the need for a more comfortable seating positon, Sheri developed a new touring seat that can used either as a padded kneeling saddle if you prefer to kneel or flipped over to create a wide comfortable bench seat just like a classic touring canoe.