The first DIY Packraft I offered was the V1, which was phased out after I introduced the V2. (The V1 wasn’t my first packraft design, just the first one I thought was good enough to sell.) I have since released the V3, but V2 plans are still available in the shop, and the Ultralight DIY Packrafts are based on the V2 design. So what’s the difference between the V2 and V3, and why would you choose one over the other?
The biggest difference between the V2 and V3 models is that plans are not available for the V3, only kits. I’ve had some issues with people using the V2 packraft plans and instructions to try to make money for themselves, so I haven’t made the V3 plans and instructions public.
Compared to the V2, the V3 design is updated for slightly better balance and tracking, fewer wrinkles when inflated, and better bottom protection (the floor fabric extends slightly farther up the sides and significantly farther back).
The most noticeable difference is the floor material. The V3 floor material doesn’t retain water and is more abrasion resistant in the because it’s coated with TPU on both sides, and it’s available in either 420D or 1000D fabric, while the V2 can be made with either one or two layers of 210D fabric. The V3 floor material makes it a bit easier to create airtight tubes with less reliance on glue at the corners.
The V3 cross-section looks slightly different due to the different floor material and the way the tubes are attached to the floor, and the order of putting things together is changed somewhat compared to the V2 instructions.
The V3 is a bit heavier because it uses heavier floor material and because it’s slightly longer overall.
The V3 kits have pre-cut seam strips, while the V2 kits had seam fabric that you had to cut into strips yourself, which was a significant time sink for many people.
The longer stern of the V3 means there’s more room for installing a zipper, which makes it a bit easier to do, and it means there’s more room for storage inside.
When you’re paddling, you might notice slightly better tracking in the V3, but the experience is pretty similar overall.
Both the V2 and V3 roll up to about the same size, though the Ultralight model packs significantly smaller. For the V3, the 420D floor material is easier to pack than a thicker 1000D floor.
I’m committed to improving the DIY Packraft designs based on my experience and feedback from other builders and paddlers, so the V3 will not be the final model, though I’m not sure when I’ll be able to release a V4.