Gear Spotlight: Ranger by Alpacka Raft

It’s been a fantastically wet summer in southern Colorado. For our family, that means a lot of time on the river. We’ve floated the Rio Grande on everything from SUPs to fishing frame-equipped rafts to wooden and fiberglass drift boats. But if there’s one thing I personally love floating and toodling around the Rio and our surrounding high country lakes, it’s a packraft.

A few years ago, I had the amazing opportunity to demo an Alpacka Raft Forager, so when I had the chance to check out that raft’s “little brother” (in a sense), the Alpacka Raft Ranger I was equally excited! 

If you’re looking for a solid packraft to chase some more adventures this season, read on!

Why we love it

Surprisingly spacious

Alpacka Raft’s Ranger features a scaled down design, compared to the Forager, making it perfect for solo outings but large enough for low-key outings with kiddo(s). With that said, I think it’s worth mentioning the actual size specs and letting you all know that we fit an adult and 2 children comfortably for a few short river runs this summer. So, the spec: this rig is 112×40.75 inches long (external) with 58.75×16 inches available in the cockpit. It was the perfect size for a solo day on the water, but big enough to still get the kids out to explore (when I was willing to share my space, of course). When fishing solo, I fit a dry bag, small cooler backpack, my fishing pack and myself with room to spare – perfecto!

Simple & fast

We’re weekend warriors, so having an efficient setup and breakdown gets us on the water faster and let’s us stay out longer. I truly love the way Alpacka makes their rafts. They are quick and easy to inflate – even my kiddos love helping – and they deflate and roll-up insanely fast. The longest part of the process is lacing the paddling seat (which I strongly advise because it is cush).

Fully capable with the option to keep it chill

The Ranger features perfectly placed handles, grab loops and a self-bailing floor qualifying it to handle big water from Colorado to Alaska (up to Class III). With that said, however, it’s also a stellar rig for mellow floats on the Rio and even lazier rivers back east (ever float the middle Delaware?!). It tracked relatively well and the 12.5 diameter tubes weren’t at all intrusive when paddling and fishing in a knee stance or while sitting down.

Where to find it

Finding the Ranger and the entire Alpacka lineup is also another favorite feature of mine! Alpacka Rafts is a Colorado company, designing and handcrafting their boats in Mancos, CO. To check out this and any of their other packrafts, visit

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