Sigma TXL Index (latest first)
• Sigma TXL: On the Jurassic Coast
• Sigma TXL: My Top 10 Mods
• Sigma TXL: floor skeg and foam backrest
• Sigma TXL: Sailing and more skegs
• Sigma TXL: Air-floor and front skeg
• Sigma TXL: Footpath to the Shore
• Sigma TXL: Bow skeg and thigh straps
• Flextailgear Max Pump Plus
• Sigma TXL: Tandem sea packrafting
• Sigma TXL: Paddling the Dorset coast
• Sigma TXL: First impressions
I quite missed my nippy, 2.9-m MRS Nomad S1 after replacing it with a regular sized, 2.3m Anfibio Rebel 2K in 2021. That was a great boat too, but here we have the 2.8-metre green Sigma TXL, a new for ’22 packraft from Anfibio who are marching ahead to consolidate their position as Europe’s main packraft outlet. Why TXL in a line? A potentially fast solo that will take two and has in-hull storage. The TXL cost me about €1000 from Anfibio in Germany, but I got a discount in return for online translation work.
All TXLs come with those clever TubeBags I first tried on the 2K; to me it’s a better system that a direct-to-hull Tizip, due to the latter’s reported maintenance issues (I’ve never owned a packraft with this system, nor would want to). On the TXL you get no less than 200 litres of in-hull storage. The clever thing with TubeBags is as you inflate the hull your stuff gets pressure-sealed in the zippered pouches and so stays in place. No need for added straps or bags to stop stuff rolling about. Neat.
You get a dozen attachment points on top of the hull, two more at each end of the floor to attach the mat (which is jammed in anyway) or the rear seat (which is also snug); plus a mysterious long loop halfway up the left side.
I ticked the inflatable floor ‘Multimat’ option, something I tried briefly on the Revo XL. I can’t say it was night and day; testing the TXL’s floor pad gives the same impression. The idea is it eliminates floor sag to improve the glide – not something packrafts are known for. We like that, though we like less another 912g to carry and inflate properly. At that weight the Multimat ought to handle firm pressures and will double up as a sleeping mat on overnighters.
I know that longer solo IKs need help to not sag in the middle – most easily done with high-pressure dropstitch floor panels (which Advanced Elements introduced in their Packlite packraft). On the Nomad I found added hull pressure with a handpump did the trick, but that may stress the seams and does not solve floor sag under the seat. A floor pad brings hull-stiffening and floor levelling benefits by spreading the load without over-doing the pressure, though I suspect the TXL (and any modern packraft) could take it. They also say it insulates your legs against cold water and raises you up a bit for a better paddling stance, but the 15-cm thick WideSeat is pretty thick already. They also recommend the optional, 5cm thick foam seat base when using the floor pad.
I would have liked to add what I believe is a much under-rated gimmick: a floor window from Anfibio’s TXV. Of course, it wouldn’t work with a floor pad and adds a possible source of leakage, but if the pad’s effectiveness vs weight proves marginal, adding a sub-sea viewer would greatly enhance the paddling experience along clearwater shores.
The TXL comes with a rear skeg, but I ordered another patch and fin to fit on the bow. Such a setup comes stock on Anfibio’s 3.75m Omega C2 ‘packanoe’. The Nomad actually tracked surprisingly well without its rear skeg, I think because of the pointy, kayak-like ends and small protrusions under the stern and bow which I’m told act like proto-skegs.
The TXL’s floor is completely flat so a frontal skeg may make a difference in sidewinds on open water (actually it didn’t) and when sailing (see here). I have since ditched the bow skeg idea and instead moved the spare mounting patch to the flat floor at the back because the stock rear skeg position was too high on the more bouyant, level-trimmed TXL.
Another nice touch with the TXL is the extension of black 410D floor fabric up the bow and stern where wear can occur.
Will I miss the 2K’s deck? Not so far but I prefered the Nomad’s tension-free, easy-roll up parallel-side-zip design over the 2K’s ‘J’ zipper. If I put my mind to it I could probably make something similar that would only look slightly crap; more for keeping warm and dry than hardcore whitewater for which the long TXL is less suited anyway.
As the TXL may be usable in windier conditions (being longer so a bit faster), I do wonder it fitting knee braces may help with better drive into the wind and control in less stable conditions, especially with the floor pad which has added speed benefits but raises the centre of gravity. It’s worth a go using the knee braces off my IK, or even seeing if the latest 5P Anfibio ones (left) would fit without too much extra gluing.
Although we tried one time; the Nomad was not configured as a tandem boat. The S1 may be 2.9-m long, but inside was just 1.7m with pointy ends effectively reducing foot space still further.
The Anfibio TXL comes with tandem seating, with the all-important backrest for the front/solo paddler which can be adjusted forward. It remains to be seen how well we fit. Fyi: two paddlers don’t make a boat much faster, but do extend the effective paddling range and means one can rest/eat etc while the other keeps the boat moving. Plus it’s fun to chat.
Solo or double, I can visualise coastal sea paddles or even sails, with a few miles walk back if the wind/current is too strong on the water. Like here in fact. That’s not something that’s realistic with any IK I’ve had, nor something I’d consider in a regular-sized packraft which just feels too sluggish and vulnerable at sea.
I’m looking forward to some fun paddles in the TXL this summer. Yes, it will be a bulkier and 450g heavier to carry for overnighters, but it will open up more day paddles at sea. See the latest TXL posts at the top of this page.