Nobody says it better than our Fairbanks counterpart, Northern Alaska Packrafts. In its words, here’s why to packraft:
The packraft has evolved into a fine-tuned, lightweight, and unbelievably versatile watercraft over the years. Simply stated, it’s a raft that can challenge nearly any body of water, be used as a shelter during a storm, double as a cargo ship to haul game during a hunt, and yet still be carried on your back.
Packrafts satisfy the human desire to travel light and compact, either in the backcountry or during a quick afternoon trip on a local lake or river. They weigh a mere 4-5 lbs and pack down to the size of a standard backpacking tent. Packrafts are nearly bomb-proof and can take loads of abuse if handled properly. Even some of the most gaping wounds in the tube can be repaired in the field with a roll of Tyvek house tape. In addition, basic control and maneuvering of the raft are relatively intuitive. The responsiveness and overall stability of a packraft allows even an inexperienced boater to feel comfortable and in control after a short
Packrafts can be inflated in less than 5 minutes without the use of a heavy, awkwardly shaped pump. A lightweight bag constructed of sil nylon is used to scoop up air and inflate the boat. An additional mouth valve is then used to top of the boat. The rafts also have an inflatable seat and backrest. So functionality and comfort have not been compromised at the expense of making the boat as light as possible.
So here is just a small list of some packraft uses. Please feel free to share with us if you have more suggestions or personal experiences.
1. Easily fit into a backpack, small plane, boat, or the trunk of your car.
2. Be used to cross a river that would otherwise be impassable on foot
3. Provide shelter during a heavy down poor or during an all night rain
4. Serve as a heavenly, soft ground pad for an afternoon nap or full night’s sleep
5. Facilitate travel during endurance races
6. Get you to that hot fishing hole on the other side of the creek
7. Haul your bike or skis during a multisport adventure
8. Be paddled around a pristine alpine lake
9. Carry your sheep or caribou as you float out from a seldom visited hunting spot
10. Be filled with water and let to sit in the warm sun – voila, your very own hot tub
11. Be used for many other reasons…
Jackson Hole Packraft has one more use to add to the list …
Use it in the winter to ferry across rivers to ski untouched powder. Lately, some folks have been laying down turns on the far side of the Snake River in the Grand Canyon of the Snake River south of Jackson.