-- Last Updated: Jan-06-13 8:37 AM EST --
If you really want a pack boat, look to the Hornbeck type design. My definition of a pack boat is one meant primarily for carrying to remote ponds... although I have done just fine on plenty of big and rough water with my Hornbeck. I paddled the entire NY section of the NFCT in my 10.5' Hornbeck and it did very well. The disadvantage is you are stuck with a double blade paddle with the Hornbeck bottom seat design. The route I took started considerably west of the official start of the NFCT in Old Forge, so i put on 185 miles in 7 days. That distance includes 62 miles of carries. Now that is a pack boat.
But if you want a boat that is designed more for open water that will let you maintain a good cruising speed all day, then go to something like the Rapidfire. While you can use a RF as a packboat, its length is really not the best design for that - too long to efficiently bushwhack through dense forest. And it is nearly 10 pounds heavier than a Hornbeck.
Regarding RF seats, I originally had all three - low, mid, and high nesting seats. I told Joe that I wanted something higher, so he installed a high rail mounted seat. I love it, especially for single blade paddling, which is my preferred mode of travel. The RF with the high seat is very responsive to body motion, as an aid to making the boat do exactly what you want it to do. And it is just plain fun to do with single blade. I have no trouble keeping up with others in tandem canoes or kayaks, even when loaded with camp gear.
I've paddled the 90-Miler Adirondack race for several years in the RF. Unfortunately (IMO), the rule for the class that was created for that boat requires a double blade paddle. But I can still out-maneuver most other boat classes in the tight winding river parts of the race. I have also paddled the RF several times in the Cannonball-90, the unofficial all in a single day version of the 90-miler. No rules on the cannonball, I prefer a single blade. I don't think the Hornbeck would get me to the finish in less than a day.
Yeah, go see Joe. Go see Pete Hornbeck too - he has several new models to play with.