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®!
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.