About

DIY Packraft
Testing one of the first DIY Packraft prototypes by overloading it with a passenger – success!

DIY Packraft is just me, Matt, and I live in Smithers, British Columbia, Canada. I’m a geoscientist by training, and I’ve also studied mechanical engineering. I’m passionate about the outdoors – mountains, rivers, lakes, and seas – and packrafting is the pastime that takes me to all of these places.

I create all of the DIY Packraft content myself. It takes a lot of time and I don’t get paid for it, so if you find the website useful, please support this project by purchasing supplies through the Shop or by spreading the word through social media (it really helps!).

The DIY Packraft Mission

In the fall of 2015 I was looking longingly at the name brand packrafts, but I couldn’t justify the expense of buying one. There also didn’t seem to be the kind of boat I wanted available at any price – a full size packraft capable of handling mild whitewater made of ultra lightweight materials. So, intrepid Do-It-Yourselfer that I am, I decided to make my own.

At the time I couldn’t find much information about homemade packrafts online – certainly nothing about how to make something the quality of a top-of-the-line boat – but I tend to get a bit obsessive about things, and after spending hundreds of hours researching, testing materials, and designing and building prototypes, I hit on a design that I was happy with. I figured there must be other people who wanted to make their own packrafts and didn’t know where to start, so I launched this website.

 

DIY Packraft
This Ultralight DIY Packraft weighs 641 grams (1.41 pounds). See it in action in the Gallery.

If you’re trying to decide whether to make your own packraft or buy a manufactured boat, here are four reasons why you should consider making your own: cost, customisation, and fun.

Cost:

This is the most obvious benefit of a DIY Packraft. You’ll save a lot of money by building your own packraft – roughly 80% savings. I buy materials in large quantities and resell them in the amounts you need at a small profit. Since there are very few suppliers of technical fabrics who sell directly to consumers, I’m able to offer top-of-the-line products at the lowest prices you will find anywhere. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme, just an attempt to fill a vacant niche – plus I get to experiment with all the products I supply!

Weight:

Because DIY Packrafts are assembled using a unique construction method (heat sealing), they are significantly lighter than than other packrafts made from similar materials, without sacrificing strength.

Customization:

For the most part, all of the best packraft manufacturers make packrafts of roughly the same design, and certain types of packrafts that consumers have been asking for are still not available at any price. I have used 3D modeling software to design my own packrafts, and I have developed my own simple construction methods which require no sewing, no special skills and very few tools. If you’re like me, you’ll find that half the fun of packrafting is in making and modifying your packraft and accessories, and once you understand the basics, you’ll be able to customize your boat and design new accessories yourself.

Fun:

If you’re even considering making your own packraft, you’re probably the type of person who can appreciate the satisfaction of creating something useful from scratch. I get a lot of enjoyment out of making packrafts, paddling them, and seeing the look on someone’s face when they ask me about my boat and I tell them I made it myself.

10 thoughts on “About

  1. Matt,
    This is awesome. I bought a namebrand inflateabke years ago on sale and got lots of use out of it before one of the cheap valves failed. I was able to find replacement material and appropriate adhesive, but not a replacement valve that included flange until diypackraft. My namebrand has been around the US via car but is way too heavy to take where I’d really like to. diypackraft is the solution to my limitations and I can’t wait to get a kit to build with my daughter when she’s a bit older. I’m a mechanical engineer by education and occupation and can’t wait to add to my future aspirations by experimenting with the help of diypackraft. So cool.

  2. Glad to see you turning your ‘do-it-yourself’ ethic into a little business. I’m a beginning packrafter using a cheap ‘China’ craft at the moment (it weighed 16 lbs. out of the box ($150.00)….but have already done some backcountry stuff with it on class 2 and 3 water. Just now want something lighter. Did the lower Linville River in North Carolina most recently. A hike in/float out experience…

    1. Cool! For some reason I am unable to translate it because the translator thinks it is already in English… I do not know why :/

  3. Hi,
    is it possible for you to order a longer super seal tizip zipper?
    it’s for change my dry suit zipper .
    thanks

  4. Thank you for this amazing resource. I own and love my yak, but have been intrigued with building more of a whitewater play boat and integrating some design ideas I have been mulling over. I’ve done some searching for sources of materials and information, but nothing compares to diypackraft.com.

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