This weekend I went paddling with some friends on a local lake – they in kayaks and canoes, and me in my newly finished DIY packraft prototype #3. I’m happy to report that it performed well and, just as importantly, I finally managed to take some pictures! Here are some shots of my friend Dylan taking the packraft for a spin:
And here are some detail shots:
I no longer have access to a high-precision analytical balance, but based on the amount of fabric used in this raft, plus the weight of the valve, it should weigh about 900 grams, or 2 pounds! I will have to purchase a drug dealer scale so I can make sure… in any case, it is quite light (my old kayak paddle feels like lead in comparison). [Note: I weighed it and it’s 813 grams (1.79 pounds)!] The packraft doesn’t feel too delicate though, and I’ll be testing it on the local rivers soon. Stay tuned.
Unlike the lightest commercially available packraft, this is a full-size packraft, with 30 cm (12”) tubes, and it’s got a raised bow and an elongated stern for better tracking and whitewater performance. The floor is a double layer of the same fabric used in the tubes (heat sealable ripstop ordered from Seattle Fabrics). This fabric works well and is surprisingly strong, but it’s expensive and is only available in one colour (off-white), which my friends say makes the packraft look like a giant condom. I’ve got samples of more colorful and more affordable fabrics, so I’ll be writing a post about them as soon as I have a chance to finish testing them to my satisfaction. My next packraft will be a nice bright orange.