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BackPacker Plus


NOTE: Backpacker (below) and Backpacker Plus (pictures at right) plans are in a single package. You will receive both plans when you order either one.

I should have expected this. As soon as I put a minimum size boat on the website I start getting emails about a version "just a foot or two longer"! Builders like the shape but want to tweak the size just a bit. The original Backpacker was 5 feet, so we made this expanded version 6 foot 9 inches and a full four feet wide at the chine. As shown it weighs 43 pounds--little attempt was made to build it lightweight and it has solid mahogany gunnel strips, large compartments, the bottom is sheathed with six ounce glass cloth and seams are taped with 3 inch wide 10 ounce tape. A lightweight version would go under 40 pounds making it an easy car-topper for the smallest of compacts.

The Plus is just the midship section of a much larger dory. It has the same rocker as the smaller BackPacker but the shape is spread over a larger hull so it rows and motors somewhat more efficiently, and the smallest of electric trolling motors provides sufficient power as long as you're not in a hurry. The beam at midships is 58 inches which along with rocker provides maximum stability in the small boat. The Plus makes an easily managed solo fly-fishing design and is also a nimble compact drifter for small streams. As a drifter it will spin easily to position or hold the boat in current. Rigged as a lightweight duck boat there is room for a six footer to recline between the compartments. Oars as short as 4 feet work best for maneuverability when drifting and six foot oars are often suitable for open water.

As a recreational family boat it handles two normal sized adults on flat water and provides enough stability to make it enjoyable for kids. The angled sides and wedge shaped hull becomes more stable as it settles into the water to increase beam and length when loaded. Two can sit on opposite sides on the compartments with their feet up, or there is room for two adjustable seats between the compartments.

The Plus is easy to build with a few simple tools and no butt-blocks or scarfs are required and no critical woodworking skills. The sealed compartments provide hull support in the open, easy to clean interior, secure dry storage and a safety factor of positive flotation even if the hull unexpectedly fills with water from waves. Access to each compartment is provided by flush fitting Beckson screw-out ports which install in minutes.