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Old 06-17-2016, 03:37 PM   #1
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Kayaking In Alaska

Leaving soon to camp in and see Alaska for a couple of months. Trying to think of everything to pack and find space to put it. We are considering packing our inflatable Kayaks. Wondering if any of you who have been to Alaska could give me your $.02 worth about whether there will be many opportunities to Kayak and if it would be worth the precious cargo space available to pack them?
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Old 06-17-2016, 04:31 PM   #2
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No. Inflatables are slow on the ocean. Ocean screams drysuit. The current speeds with those tidal currents are quite remarkable.

Sea kayaks do better. I have kayaked Glacier Bay and the Yukon River. With sea kayaks.

If you are looking to just float in a lake.. maybe. Ready for 40 degree water? you definitely will need immersion gear.

Inflatables are used in Alaska but they are not the ones found in sporting goods stores. What kind do you have and where in Alaska are you going?

Pros and cons on Inflatable Kayaks
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Old 06-17-2016, 04:45 PM   #3
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Alaska

We have been to Alaska camping and going back this year. I would not take an inflatable
Maybe a zodiak. The water is to cold. Sea kayak maybe.
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Old 06-17-2016, 06:04 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Kim Gass View Post
No. Inflatables are slow on the ocean. Ocean screams drysuit. The current speeds with those tidal currents are quite remarkable.

Sea kayaks do better. I have kayaked Glacier Bay and the Yukon River. With sea kayaks.

If you are looking to just float in a lake.. maybe. Ready for 40 degree water? you definitely will need immersion gear.

Inflatables are used in Alaska but they are not the ones found in sporting goods stores. What kind do you have and where in Alaska are you going?

Pros and cons on Inflatable Kayaks
We have Sea Eagle 330 Kayaks.
Plan to follow the Alaskan Hwy to Whitehorse, Dawson City, Chicken, Tok, Glenallen, St Elias, Valdez, Seward, Anchorage, Homer, Fairbanks, Denali Nat Pk., Haines. We're mostly going to "wing it". Not in a hurry. 2-3 months trip?
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Old 06-17-2016, 07:28 PM   #5
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I live here in Alaska. If you want to bring the inflatables, they will be fine for the many lakes we have (we make jokes about Minnesota being the land of 10,000 lakes... we stopped counting at 100,000.) In many of the lakes towards mid summer the water temp is nice for those not fed by glacier's. Otherwise, do bring warm suits.
If you want, save some space, many places rent kayaks and canoe's.
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Old 06-17-2016, 08:20 PM   #6
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We have hard kayaks and have taken them to Maine and enjoyed them there in the lakes...er..ponds.
I think I would save the room and rent them when I felt the desire to hit the water if ever getting to Alaska.
Just me.

Enjoy the trip!
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Old 06-17-2016, 09:23 PM   #7
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Lots of the destinations the OP has on the list are on the Yukon River. It flows 8-10 miles an hour. Getting back upstream requires a motor.

Yes have done it..downstream.

Some places near Anchorage, and Prince William sound will rent to sea kayakers with experience.

Teslin and Bennett Lakes near Whitehorse are possibilities on a good day but I would be always prepared to spend a night out in case the wind comes up.

Its always disheartening to hear of fatalities caused by unpreparedness for not getting back.

Three just died in Connecticut from that. Hypothermia.
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Old 06-18-2016, 07:22 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by NVGun40 View Post
I live here in Alaska. If you want to bring the inflatables, they will be fine for the many lakes we have (we make jokes about Minnesota being the land of 10,000 lakes... we stopped counting at 100,000.) In many of the lakes towards mid summer the water temp is nice for those not fed by glacier's. Otherwise, do bring warm suits.
If you want, save some space, many places rent kayaks and canoe's.
X2!! If you Kayak as a big part of your activities, Maybe take them but if you just paddle when the urge hits, save the space and rent for the day. Most of the modern inflatables are just as good as hard sides. But tidal and glacial waters are not something to mess with unless you are prepared. Ak is beautiful and mind bending with all its mountains, glaciers, wide open wild places etc. Your travel plan is aggressive even for a 2 or 3 month trip. Alaska is more than a been there done that kind of place. Keep your schedule open and spend time where your interest and inspiration is peeked. Also keep in mind that you can stop when and where you want and don't need to target specific destinations and CGs. Highways have pull outs [like rest areas w/o amenities] usually just gravel loops or sidings but many offer postcard quality views and breathtaking opportunities to stop for the night or longer.

For what we were looking for, Fairbanks wasn't on our list, so we chose the Danali highway as an alt route for the northern part of your plan. It runs between Cantwell and Paxton is 100+ miles of the most beautiful narly rutted pothole filled gravel road in the world. Go slow and plan at least 2 nites to cross. It will rattle your teeth but will absolutely blow your mind. The drive from Glenallen to Valdez will take you 3 times what the milage would normally require because you will be stopping around every turn just to ponder the views in 2 or 3 directions all from the same spot.

Ok got off topic there, back to the kayak thing. Unless you are avid kayakers I would leave them at home.
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Old 06-18-2016, 07:55 AM   #9
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I am always leery of the construction of a $250 kayak. Pardon me but its a pool toy to be used in pool like water.

Not designed for remote or cold water use. It lacks the safety backups of better constructed inflatables. In the Mediterranean this might not matter.

We did a two month trip with sea kayaks no trailer, and only saw part of what is on your itinerary.. Of course we have to go back to finish the Yukon and go on the Noatak and get to the Seward and Kenai peninsulas. We spend a week in Denali alone.
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Old 06-18-2016, 08:22 AM   #10
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Thanks for the feedback! Glad you got off topic - I need all the "must see" recommendations I can get. Never thought about taking the Denali Hwy. but I think I will add it to my itinerary. I am taking my Truck Camper for this trip - hopefully it will allow me to be a little more flexible about where I go and where/when I can stop for the night.
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