10 things you should know about packrafting

6 min read

10 things you should know about packrafting

If you love the great outdoors and exploring new waterways, you might want to consider getting a packraft. These inflatable rafts are lightweight, portable, and versatile.Making them ideal for adventure seekers who want to hike, bike, or backpack to remote locations. For then to paddle down rivers, lakes, or rapids.But before you invest in a packraft, there are a few things you should know to make the most of your experience and stay safe on the water. In this article, we'll share ten essential tips and insights about packrafts. From their history and design to their features and accessories. All this to help you make an informed decision and enjoy your next waterborne adventure.

1. What is packrafting?

Packrafting is an activity that involves paddling a small, lightweight, and inflatable boat that can be easily carried in a backpack. Packrafting allows you to access places that would otherwise be difficult to reach by other means. It often combines paddling with other outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, or multi-day trips, providing a unique experience in nature. If you're curious to learn more about what packrafting is and how it works, check out this resource for more information.

2. How to inflate a packraft? 

Inflating a packraft is a relatively simple process. Most packrafts come with a pump sack and two valves, an open valve and a one-way valve. To inflate the packraft, connect the pump sack to the open valve and fill it as much as possible. Then, disconnect the pump sack and attach it to the one-way valve, and continue to inflate the rest of the packraft with your lungs or a hand pump.

It is important to note that warm air in the packraft's tubes will contract upon contact with cold water. Therefore, it is recommended to inflate the packraft and let it cool for a few minutes by the water before giving it a few final puffs. Also, remember to release some air when taking the packraft out of the water on a warm summer day.

It is important to be cautious when using electric compressor to inflate a packraft. Smaller, rechargeable pumps are generally safe to use, but larger compressors can potentially damage the packraft, and in the worst case, cause it to rupture. It is recommended to use a hand pump or inflate the packraft with your lungs for safety reasons.

For a step by step guide, take a look here.

3. How stable is a packraft?

Packrafts does have high buoyancy, which is due to their voluminous side tubes and wide, short hulls.These design features make packrafts very stable and maneuverable on the water, even in challenging conditions.Packrafts aretherefore popular not only on calm lakes and rivers but also in white water andswiftly flowing streams. But, it's worth noting that packrafts have a lower weight capacity than some other types of boats. Which can affect their stability if wtheyare overloaded.It's important to choose the right size and weight capacity for your packraft based on your body weight, gear, and intended use.And to practice proper paddling techniques and safety precautions to stay upright and avoid capsizing.

4. What can you use a packraft for? 

A packraftis used for explore rivers, lakes, fjords, and other bodies of water, as wellas to combine paddling with hiking or multi-day trips. It's also useful for fishing, hunting, and camping, as it caneasily transport you and your gear to remote locations. Packrafting allows you to access terrain that would otherwise be inaccessible. It's opening up new possibilities for outdoor adventures. Whether you're looking for aleisurely paddle, or a thrilling white water experience, a packraft can be a versatile and valuable tool for your outdoor pursuits.

5. What kind of gear do you need for packrafting?

The basic equipment you need for packrafting includes:

In addition to these essentials, it's also helpful to have waterproof dry bags, repair kits, fishing rod holders, and other accessories. The specific gear you need may vary depending on whether you plan to paddle on calm water or in white water, so it's important to choose equipment that meets your needs and skill level. For example, if you're going to be paddling in cold water, a dry suit or wetsuit can help keep you warm and dry. Ultimately, the right gear can make a big difference in your comfort, safety, and enjoyment while packrafting.

6. Can you fish from a packraft?

Yes, packrafting is a great activity for fishing enthusiasts. With a packraft, you can easily paddle to remote fishing spots that would otherwise be difficult to access, providing a unique and memorable fishing experience. There are several accessories available for fishing from a packraft, such as elevated seats, rod holders, and anchors.

Some people may worry about the sharp hooks near the packraft, but there's usually no need for concern. The sturdy material of a packraft makes it difficult to accidentally puncture, and as long as you're careful and observant, there should be no problem with fishing from a packraft. Whether you're fly fishing in a mountain stream or trolling for big game in a lake, a packraft can be a valuable tool for any angler looking to explore new waters.

7. How much does a packraft weigh?

A packraft typically weighs between 1 to 7 kg, depending on its size, shape, and the materials used in its construction. The average weight of a packraft is around 3 kg. The purpose of packrafting is to have a lightweight boat that can be carried with other hiking or camping gear. 

It's important to keep in mind that the weight of the packraft will increase when you add accessories like paddles and life vests. However, even with these extra items, the overall weight of a packraft setup is still relatively light and manageable for most outdoor enthusiasts. So whether you're hiking into a remote alpine lake or exploring a network of backcountry rivers, a packraft can be a valuable tool for accessing and enjoying the waterways of the great outdoors.

8. How to choose a packraft

When choosing a packraft, there are several factors to consider. First, you should determine your budget and what your specific needs are. You should also consider the materials the packraft is made of and whether you want a sprayskirt or not. Some packrafts also come with an internal storage system called TiZip, which is worth considering. You should also consider the size and weight capacity of the packraft. We have a more detailed article on these factors that you can read here.

9. What are the benefits with a packraft? 

Packrafting is a unique and exciting way to explore areas that would otherwise be difficult to access, such as untouched rivers and lakes. It is an activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels, making it a perfect family activity. Additionally, packrafting allows you to experience nature in a new and thrilling way.
The benefits of packrafting also include the ability to easily transport the lightweight packraft to remote areas, as well as the versatility to use it for fishing, camping, and other outdoor activities. Packrafting is a low-impact and eco-friendly way to enjoy the great outdoors, and with the right gear and preparation, it can be a safe and enjoyable experience.

10. How though is a packraft? 

Packrafts are generally tough enough to handle a variety of water conditions, from calm rivers to Class III rapids. Even some Class IV or higher rapids can be navigated with a packraft, but it's important to have advanced skills and a whitewater-specific packraft with features like a spraydeck and skirt. In terms of durability, packrafts are designed to withstand impact due to their inflatable nature, scratch-resistant polyurethane coating, and tear-resistant fabric. However, it's important to note that there are limits to what a packraft can handle, such as the type of rocks it encounters and its weight capacity. To ensure the longevity of a packraft, it's also recommended to avoid placing hard objects inside the boat that can increase mechanical stress. As with other safety products like parachutes and mountain bikes, packrafts are subject to high demands and should be chosen based on their ability to meet those demands.