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Powerful or playful, addictive or intimidating, enlightening or terrifying, clean or chaotic. Whitewater can be the ultimate in contradictions, but the Gnarwhal will be there when you need it most so you can get to the bottom of the run with more laughing and less swimming. Advanced paddlers get the most from the Gnarwhal by setting up early and paddling hard, making it ideal for high volume rivers and messy features that require speed, power, and stability to clean. Novice and intermediate paddlers will get the most from the Gnarwhal’s unmatched stability and forgiveness, which makes rapids fun so that you can focus on honing your technique and building confidence without worrying about getting flipped every time you make a mistake.
The Gnarwhal is built with the Rally Hull, high-performance whitewater rigging, Cargo Fly zipper internal storage system, and either a Whitewater Deck or Self Bailing configuration. The Rally Hull is the highest performance whitewater hull with a center panel stern for stability and forgiveness and a rockered bow for punching over holes and carving eddy turns. The Gnarwhal is higher volume than the Wolverine to maximize stability, forgiveness, and weight capacity. The whitewater rigging includes an adjustable foam backband, ¾ length seat and foot brace and patented 4-point thigh straps.
Trying to choose between the high-volume Gnarwhal and the mid-volume Wolverine? You’ll love the Gnarwhal if you want a forgiving and easy to paddle packraft that takes the intimidation out of paddling moderate whitewater, if you want to charge hard in bigger water and features, or if you need to carry a large cargo load on a long trip. You’ll love the Wolverine if you want to squeeze as much as you can out of every run with our most engaging whitewater packraft that likes to hit every eddy and play feature, and boof off every lip. Both the Wolverine and Gnarwhal can be reliably rolled by skilled boaters with thigh straps, but the Wolverine roll is a bit easier for most people. The Gnarwhal and Wolverine are sized to fit most average sized adults, but larger and heavier (over 6’0” and 200lbs) paddlers will fit better in the Gnarwhal while smaller and lighter paddlers (under 5’7” and 150lbs) will fit better in the Wolverine.
The Gnarwhal is available in Self Bailing and Whitewater Deck configurations. (See the other tabs for additional details and recommendations). Removable whitewater decks are available by special order.
Self Bailer: The Gnarwhal Self Bailer is perfect for warmer conditions, quick entry and exit, and anyone that prefers a self bailing setup. It is slightly slower than the WW deck version when punching through waves and small holes, but it tends to stabilize in these situations which helps boaters navigate through tricky spots. If you swim, no dumping is required and you can just self rescue right back in. The seating systems in the Self Bailer and Whitewater Deck are identical except the Self Bailer features a 7-inch thick seat versus a 5-inch thick seat on the Whitewater Deck.
Cargo Fly Zipper: The Cargo Fly internal storage system comes standard on the Gnarwhal and includes roll-top dry bags. The Cargo Fly features an airtight zipper installed in the stern of the boat to allow you to store your gear inside the tubes. The system provides drier and more secure gear storage and improved paddling performance due to a lower center of gravity. The included roll-top dry bags clip in place along each side of the tubes with a side release buckle and allow for better organization and weight balance than placing the contents of your pack loose inside the Cargo Fly. They also act as additional balanced air chambers for increased safety (even over a two-chamber packraft) in the event of a puncture.
The chart below shows the recommended size based on your sit length and the Gnarwhal’s fit profile. To determine your sit length, sit against a wall with your legs flat (wearing your preferred paddling shoes) and measure the distance from the wall to your heels. The Gnarwhal is sized for a whitewater fit, meaning that a typical paddler in the recommended size will be able to deeply bend their knees for maximum engagement in the thigh straps for the most secure high-performance fit. You can size up or down for a more performance or relaxed fit.
*Max Capacity is the maximum total weight (paddlers and cargo) that the boat can reasonably carry in flatwater under ideal conditions. Actual capacity for any given trip will vary widely based on the paddler’s skill and water conditions.
*Weight includes all components except inflation bag, repair kit, and internal dry bags for Cargo Fly.
**Packed size is a reference measurement based on folding each lengthwise edge of the boat to the center and rolling from the bow. There are many other methods of rolling and folding the boats that will result in a different packed size that may be more or less efficient for packing depending on the situation.
Floor: Proprietary 840-denier ballistics nylon, laminated on both sides with polyurethane film (Made in USA).
Seat: 200-denier oxford nylon, with single side polyurethane laminate (Made in USA).
Accessories: All grab loops and similar attachments are manufactured in house in Mancos, Colorado out of scrap floor materials and USA made webbing. Small parts and fasteners are Made in USA, when available, and sourced from industry leaders like Duraflex, YKK, and ITW-Nexus.