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News Pack Rafts in Outside Mag

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ratagonia, Aug 30, 2014.

  1. ratagonia


    Mount Carmel, Utah

    Pack Rafts You Shouldn't Hike Without
    Who says you have to chose between land or water?

    Once upon a time, planning an outdoor venture meant you had to make a simple choice up front: land or water? Now the wet/dry divide is starting to crumble, thanks to recent advances in lightweight pack rafts.

    Small enough (in theory) to fit in a backpack, but tough enough to ferry you and your gear across a lake or down a mellow river, these one-person inflatables are opening up new horizons in the backcountry. But is adding a float option to your next backpacking itinerary worth the added space and weight? We took the latest models for a paddle to find out.


    Supai Flatwater Canyon II ($299)

    Best for: Minimalists

    With a design honed on trips down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, where every ounce saved means one less to hump back out of that deep, steep ditch, the Flatwater Canyon II is a watercraft stripped down to the bone. A single layer of lightweight nylon (available in red or black) is welded using a process that makes the seams stronger than the fabric. The seven attachment points around the edge are extra tabs of material with holes through them, and there's a single air chamber.

    One clever design feature is the attached hose valve that lets you fine-tune the inflation while you're still floating, so you don't have to pull over every time you need to add or release air when the air or water temperature changes.

    What you get: a 24-ounce raft that packs down to about the size of a widemouth Nalgene water bottle. I wouldn't take it down a snag-strewn glacial stream in the Yukon, but the ultra-simple Flatwater is hard to beat on, well, flat water. (And for what it's worth, the kiddos took to the traditional oval "raft-y" design the quickest, playing Whitewater Madness in the campground stream in no time flat.)

    This is what a pack raft should be: small and light enough to bring along "just in case," but useful enough to get you to some very cool places.

    Size (inflated): 68.5" x 42"; Size (packed): 8" x 4"; Weight: 1 lb 8 oz; Capacity: 250 lbs
    Tayres likes this.
  2. Tayres


    I love my alpaca raft. Heavier for sure then the Supai referenced here but tough. We did a great 60+ mile canyonlands trip in may this year along with a 117 mile trip through the bob marshall wilderness this past August. It's really something mixing the land and water travel techniques. I can't wait to canyoneer with the packraft.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  3. Tayres


    Does anyone have experience with using floating devices such as a packraft in a slot canyon to help young children with the cold elements? With my youngest being 4 we are very cautious with getting her wet while in canyons and have been brain storming the last month or so how to keep her dry in the event we came upon unexpected water. Thoughts and suggestions appreciated.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Wes1 likes this.
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