Packrafting for Dummies – Part 2

By Deliverance Team on 2013.05.22 In Equipment

Equipment for Packrafting.

After writing about the actual packraft in Part 1 it is now time to focus on the different equipment that  I use when I go packrafting. There is a growing market out there for different types of drybags and waterproof backpacks etc. You will have no problem of finding the right gear that suits your kind of packraft activity.The Five 07

The most basic sidearm to the packraft is of course the paddle. The lighter the better and it should also be divisible so that it can be carried inside or outside your backpack. (Nothing symbolizes packrafting more than two paddles sticking up from a backpack.) I use the Sawyer paddle. That version is exclusively made for Alpacka Raft. It weights 875 grams and is made out of carbon fiber and cedar which gives it a very beautiful look. That is the only negative I have to say about the paddle, if you do a lot of white water, it will get scratched. Shame on such a beautiful piece of art. The paddle can be broken down to five pieces that easily fit inside your backpack. You can also adjust the length and the andle of the paddle. The Sawyer paddle can be purchased  here.The Five 15

The life jacket is as important as the paddle. When I hit large open water or white water I always wear the life jacket. But for calm water close to land I honestly have to say that I don’t. The whole packraft is one big giant lifejacket and it is impossible to unintentionally flip over in calm water. I use the GUL Pro 50N. I am not pleased with it though because the nylon has started to show signs of wear and tear efter only one season. The GUL Pro has a nice large pocket in front but I miss a backpocket for a waterbag. Because of that I use the very rough and heavy-duty Source Tactical Canteen instead. The GUL Pro 50N Life jacket can be purchased here. Deliverance 01

I do not use a waterproof backpack. I am not particular into ultra light backpacks either. I use the Norröna Para Ranger 120. Yes, it is incredible heavy, but it lets me carry about 25 kilos of gear with no problem.  I don’t like getting my backpack wet so before i hit the water i put the backpack in a large Berghaus 70 L drybag. It fits as long as the sidepockets are removed from the backpack. Another cheaper way of keeping your backpack dry is to wrap it up in a tarp. That way you have protection from splashing and the tarp can be used as a shelter at the campsite. The load is then secured at the bow with a cargo net. (Make sure that you don’t buy the cargo net that is made out of rubber cord.) Gear 01

The reason why I use a net to secure my load, is that a net gives me the possibility to clip on other equipment like waterbottles, axe/saw, map cases, GoPro Cam, etc in the mesh.

Remember to always pack the raft so that it holds a low profile. In that way it will get much easier getting under fallen trees that blocks the river.

I use carbine hooks with screwlock to secure the net to the packraft. I use screwlock because if the spring breaks on the carbine hook I can still use it.

Things that i need often, like food, gas stove, clothes etc I put in the smaller Berghaus 35 L drybag and secure it to the stern mounts of the Alpacka Raft. Note that the BayLee1 doesn’t have stern mounts! The 70 and the 35 liter drybags can be purchased here.

Videocamera and mobilephone are stored in a small 3-5 liter drybag that is clipped on to my life jacket, Source Tactical Canteen or cargo net for easy access.

I use a paddle safety line, not just for the sake of losing my paddle, but it is handy to be able to drag the packraft with it and to make sure it doesn’t float away from you wile exiting.  I made the line myself from materials purchased at Biltema. Here is a video on how to do it.The Five 19

Safety line and waders in action.

Like I said in Part 1, if you use the cruiser spray deck on the Alpcka Rafts, you will get wet. That is easily overcome by wearing rain pants. For that solution I also recomend waterproof socks. I have good experiance from wearing Sealskinz. Most of us in the Deliverance Team use waders so that we also can stand and walk in the water. The best is of course to wear a drysuit if you got the money and will for it during hot summer days.

Tims01 v1.0One more important thing. If you are doing any sort of serious whitewater paddling, wear a helmet.

Well, that’s all for this time!


9 Responses to "Packrafting for Dummies – Part 2"

    Comments (9)

  1. dietervh wrote:

    Hey guys

    I really love what you’re doing and I would like to feature some of your blog posts on an outdoor website I’m setting up. Please contact me at dietervanholder@hotmail.com

  2. Walle wrote:


    Thanks for writting and sharing this 🙂

    I was trawling the Internet for information before placing my purchase order at alpaca, ( which by the way have excellent service) and would have enjoyed reading this site before the purchase.

    Although I picked up some good advice here – the purchase list in my Biltema app has been updated with some few more items !

  3. Greywolf wrote:

    You forgott to write about the need of bow and arrows…

  4. josia wrote:

    Can you write a third part about learning how to packraft?

  5. Mike wrote:

    Hur spänner ni fast och reglerar bagagenäten? Man vill ju kunna lossa och spänna beroende på hur stor packningen under är.

    • Deliverance Team wrote:

      Genom att färsta S-biners eller karbinhakar på olika platser i nätets maskor.

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