The DIY Packraft Kit Tester program

There are some new packraft designs that I would like to add to the DIY Packraft shop, but building and testing prototypes takes a fair amount of time to do right, and spare time is in short supply around here. Since there are a bunch of you who have already completed one DIY Packraft and have expressed interest in building more, I had an idea for how we might help each other out:

  1. First, you must have already built at least one DIY Packraft. This is important because I’ll need your feedback about the changes, so no exceptions. The previous build can be any model, from a kit or plans. It doesn’t have to look perfect but I’ll need to see pictures.
  2. You’ll contact me to say you want to be a DIY Packraft kit tester, and tell me what type of packraft you’re most interested in building (standard, whitewater, ultralight, 2-person, etc.).
  3. I’ll add you to the official DIY Packraft Kit Tester list, and I may ask you to sign a non-compete agreement, because I’ve already had issues with people trying to make money from my ideas.
  4. When I have a new design that suits your needs, I’ll ask you to send me a refundable deposit (in case you don’t complete the kit), and then I’ll ship the kit to you.
  5. You’ll complete the kit in a reasonable amount of time – say, one month or less – and then ship the completed packraft back to me along with any comments about what you like and what you think could be improved.
  6. I’ll do some non-destructive testing (a.k.a “paddling”) and make my own notes about performance, ergonomics, handling, weight, capacity, packed size, etc. This shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks.
  7. Lastly, I’ll send the packraft back to you and refund your deposit, minus the shipping cost.

How do we benefit from this arrangement? Well, I save time by outsourcing some of my prototype construction to you, you get a free packraft, and everyone else gets better packraft designs – it’s a win-win-win!

What do you think? Can you see any flaws in this plan? Would you want to test a new design? Leave a comment below!

6 thoughts on “The DIY Packraft Kit Tester program

  1. This sounds pretty cool! I would be interested in putting together an updated ultralight. Shipping three times is kind of rough, but I suppose it works…

  2. Sounds a good plan to me Matt. I’d sign up, but as Patrick says, shipping costs for three trips across the Atlantic mean it’s probably limited to North American builders.

    Just starting my v3 kit. Many thanks again.

  3. So I just stumbled across this web site (found it through my wife’s pinterest account) and would definitely be interested in something like this. I haven’t built my first one yet but that’s only a matter of time. I’m not too far away (Houston, TX) so I hope the shipping costs wouldn’t be too outrageous but my insights as an adventurer and skills as an engineer and DIY’er may be of some use to you.

    1. Cool! Shipping within North America isn’t too bad – you can check the actual cost by adding items to your cart and then entering your address on the Cart page. Cheers!

  4. I built a DIY kit last winter. I get good use out of it. I’d be super interested in building another one for friends to use… and to make improvements over my first build. I live in BC, so shipping isn’t too bad. But, I’d like to have my new boat available to use in early March.. so timeline might be tight.

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