Bergans Ally fording canoes

9:59 a.m. on January 19, 2012 (EST)
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Thinking of getting one of these, wondering if anybody out there has any experience with them (Erich?).

We're looking at the 815 17' DR and the 811 16.5' DR. The first has nearly plumb bow and stern like our Old Town Penobscot, the latter has curved over ends and maybe a little more tumblehome and is a bit wider. For some reason I like the look of the plumb stems better, but maybe the curved ends are better in waves? Not sure about other details of the hull shape. We'll be mostly in quietwater, probably with a dog in the middle, maybe on some windy lakes with waves.

1:29 p.m. on January 19, 2012 (EST)
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Oh, you mean folding canoes not fording. I was wondering what a fording canoe was?

I read about a guy who paddled down the entire Yukon river in the late 70s in a Folbot folding kayak. His boat was made of different lightweight woods with a nylon cover.

There is also the Alpacka packraft inflatable rafts that weigh less than 5 lbs and pack to the size of a sleeping bag. 

4:40 a.m. on January 20, 2012 (EST)
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We have had a Klepper folding kayak for about 25 years. We want a canoe because we can take the dog in it, it is better for portaging, and it weighs less than half as much as the fully-oufitted Klepper. We used to double-carry the Klepper with shoulder on lake-to-lake trips in the Adirondacks, and I've portaged our 60+ lb. Old Town canoe up to 2 km at a stretch, but I'm too old and wise to do that kind of stuff now.

11:33 p.m. on January 24, 2012 (EST)
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Big Red, folding canoes are becoming quite popular, especially for some NWT and Nunavut rivers where flight cost for external loads are getting pretty high. The two that you will find are the Allys and the Paks. The Allys, as you mentioned, are produced by Bergans. The Pak Canoes are based here in the US. The Pak Canoe founder was once the US distributor for Ally. Both boats have good reputations, though many of the hard core folks like the Pak boats better. I do not have either, and still prefer a rigid boat, though I might see myself with one or the other in the next few years for a specific river like the Anderson, or the Thompson on Banks Island in the Arctic.

The Allys require a tight fit of the frame to stiffen the skin, while the Pak boats rely on inflatable bladders to increase rigidity. The bladders will soften blows so the chance of frame damage is lessened on a Pak boat.

I have a good friend who likes his Ally, an 811, I think, though it could be smaller. It has the rounded ends. He did a 45 day trip on the Kazan with another couple paddling an OT Tripper. The Ally was drier on some of the big drops, but much slower on the lakes. Folding boats bend a bit in waves, so they don't punch through as much. My friend's boat now needs some new frame sections because of dents from impacts, and it has several holes and a tear, all from the Kazan trip. If you are looking at flat water and Class 1 moving water maximum, the plumb stem model would be my choice. If you live in an apartment, or want a boat that is easily transported in the trunk of a car, a folding canoe could be the way to go. However, if you have a place to store and transport a rigid boat, you will save the hassle of assembly, and can probably find a nice lightweight Royalite or kevlar boat in the same general price range.

Pros: Easily transportable, lightweight, depending on model, very good in rapids to Class 3 or Class 3+.

Cons: Not inexpensive, not good for boney rivers, slow in flat water, seats can be a hassle(getting them to stay put, usually requires some modification) require assembly and spare parts are definitely needed. Portaging when assembled, except for the light weight, is more of a hassle than a rigid boat because of the removable yoke and the flexibility of the canoe.

Regarding portaging: Portaging is mostly art with some moderate strength part of the equation. My paddling series coming up has a section on portaging. Using a properly fitted yoke, as well as knowing how to use a tumpline, will allow even the smallest paddler to portage canoes of moderate weight. I had a Penobscot 16 up until a few years ago, and with outfitting it was still quite light and easy to carry. Until about 80 lbs, any canoe is relatively easy to carry with proper technique.

12:31 p.m. on April 12, 2012 (EDT)
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they look nice

September 26, 2018
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