Backpacking rafts?

Posted by: labrinth

Backpacking rafts? - 03/07/11 06:06 PM


I am looking for an ultra-portable, preferably light weight boat/raft to take backpacking. After a short search, I am not sure these exist. Does anyone have any information on these?
Posted by: lori

Re: Backpacking rafts? - 03/07/11 06:19 PM

Actually, there are about half a dozen makers of pack rafts. Plus a forum out there somewhere, unless it disappeared.

Did you google packrafting? Alpacka Rafts are the first hit on the list. Can also look up Sevylor and a couple others...

Posted by: labrinth

Re: Backpacking rafts? - 03/07/11 07:59 PM

Thanks a bunch!
Posted by: Paulo

Re: Backpacking rafts? - 03/08/11 08:44 AM

Been eying those for some time. Unfortunately $800 is pretty steep. Or you could lug around a heavy hard to pack $30 plastic one... ok so maybe not an option.
Posted by: phat

Re: Backpacking rafts? - 03/08/11 09:22 AM

However the latest rumour I heard is that they seyvlor is no longer made - it was a cheap piece of junk but still light.

I've not seen a lot of options other than alpacka out there.
Posted by: midnightsun03

Re: Backpacking rafts? - 03/08/11 01:28 PM

The Alpacka is expensive because it was designed for wilderness racing in Alaska and it's durability is literally a matter of life or death. It is an investment, but one that is worth it if you are going to be doing alot of wilderness/remote rafting. If you just want it for tootling around on mountain lakes you might want to think about other options. IIRC, Jimshaw has discussed how he uses his air mattress as a raft to laze around on remote lakes.

Posted by: Trailrunner

Re: Backpacking rafts? - 03/08/11 01:43 PM

I have used the Sevylor on lakes for years and I'm very happy with it. With practice it tracks fairly well and you can't beat the price. But I wouldn't take it on any kind of white water or even much current at all. I too have heard that it is out of production. It's not an Alpacka but it is a step above the pool toy category.

I need to cross the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon on a trip I have planned next year. I wish there was something between the Sevylor and boats like this. I have an inflatable kayak but it weighs a ton.
Posted by: Paulo

Re: Backpacking rafts? - 03/08/11 03:10 PM

Nice to find someone that has one. How many times would you say you've used it? Any fishing in it?
Posted by: Trailrunner

Re: Backpacking rafts? - 03/08/11 05:04 PM

I've had it out at least 20 times. Mostly backpacking to lakes. But it also goes to the beach and we tow the kids (one at a time) behind a kayak. And sometimes it actually is a pool toy!! I don't fish any more but if I did, I would be very careful with sharp things around this boat!!!

I posted this picture somewhere before in another thread about these boats but since the subject came up again here it is:

As you can see it does very poorly in the snow. It's much better in the water!!!

With the sides deflated and just the floor inflated it makes a fair sleeping pad too. I also propped it up against the door of my SMD Lunar Solo one blustery night and it made an excellent windbreak.

Posted by: Glenn

Re: Backpacking rafts? - 03/08/11 06:02 PM

You might want to re-read your Colin Fletcher: he describes crossing the Colorado with (if I remember correctly) a life jacket wrapped around his pack - he discussed it in both the Complete Walker series and The Man Who Walked Through Time.
Posted by: ringtail

Re: Backpacking rafts? - 03/08/11 06:21 PM

Was Colin Fletcher before or after the Glenn Canyon Dam?

Big difference in crossing the Colorado.

I bet Trailrunner will figure out a way to get across, but that is not a "Hold my beer and watch this" trick.
Posted by: Glenn

Re: Backpacking rafts? - 03/08/11 06:59 PM

I'm not real familiar with the geography of the Canyon, but since he was walking through the gorge in the national park, I'm assuming he was downstream of the dam? (In his book River, he talked about floating down through the area he had walked, and I think he mentioned that the release from the dam had an effect on the river level.)

I gave away my copy of Man...Time, so I can't pull it out and verify that.
Posted by: Paulo

Re: Backpacking rafts? - 03/08/11 07:54 PM

Thanks for confirming my concern. Mind you, I've been fishing on a lake with one of the thin walled inflatables, but I didn't have to lug it in.
Posted by: skcreidc

Re: Backpacking rafts? - 03/08/11 11:22 PM

If you have smooth water, are a strong swimmer, you only need something to float your gear while you tow or push it across. Smooth water that you can judge the velocity is the key. Toss a leaf in the water out from shore and see how it moves relative to the fastest current. At the right spot, its not that big a deal, but at the wrong spot it can get ugly.
Posted by: phat

Re: Backpacking rafts? - 03/09/11 09:54 PM

I've had trouble finding a sevylor - while they certainly aren't an alpacka - all I'd want it for is crossing rivers (not rapids) - I heard they were no longer made but haven't been able to confirm one way or another.
Posted by: Paul

Re: Backpacking rafts? - 03/10/11 12:27 AM

The Sevylor Trail boat is not shown on the Sevylor website as far as I can tell, and a web search for it came up with lots of out of stocks and a few discontinueds, so I think it is gone. I haev one, which I have only used a few times, and it is fun to paddle around a lake in. I'd be leery of any moving water, as the thing is pretty hard to control.
A lot more expensive, but looks like a lot more boat for even less weight:
Posted by: Trailrunner

Re: Backpacking rafts? - 03/10/11 12:58 AM

The FlytePacker Packraft linked above looks like a nice boat and the price is much more affordable.

I think prospective buyers should note that this boat, and the Alpackas for that matter, have floors that do not inflate. They are simply a sheet of fabric. A sleeping pad needs to be added for floor insulation unless you want a cold ride. But then again most of us carry a sleeping pad anyway.
Posted by: phat

Re: Backpacking rafts? - 03/12/11 07:01 PM

Yeah, thanks for the link - I hadn't seen the flyweight designs boat before..

I'm really keeping an eye out for something that can just be used to get me across stuff too deep to wade.. not do any whitewater stuff.

Posted by: dylansdad77

Re: Backpacking rafts? - 03/12/14 07:07 PM

If anyone paid attention to the Discovery Channel series "Surviving Alaska", there were a few episodes featuring packrafts during the expeditions. Prior to watching, I had never heard of packrafts before so needless to say I was intrigued. Of course, I am 10 days away from purchasing 14.5' so the packraft will have to wait. HOWEVER, they have made their way on to my wishlist. Perhaps when I am ready to purchase, there will be more options.

I suggest checking Netflix for some episodes to see them in action.

See you on the water!
Posted by: lori

Re: Backpacking rafts? - 03/12/14 10:17 PM

Now that you have revived a three year old thread, I'll add one to the list.

Actually thinking of getting one for those slow easy fishing trips.
Posted by: bluefish

Re: Backpacking rafts? - 03/13/14 11:12 AM

I used Sevylors for quite a few years, then a Flytepacker and borrowed a Klymit. Trouble with light rafts is controlling them why you try to cast. If you're trolling, fine. As a fly fisherman, I find them not worth the effort, as I spend more time trying to straighten them out. They also will pull towards even small fish, taking all the fun of the fight out. I've used a mesh anchor and a drag sock, which helped but miles and miles behind the effectiveness of using a float tube with fins. Rather than spend the money on a UL float tube, I cut the front floor out of my Flytepacker and reinforced the edges and corners. It now is controlled by my Force fins and works very well to fish from. A number of lightweight float tubes exist, along with some light options in packable waders and fins.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Backpacking rafts? - 03/13/14 03:26 PM

Trouble with light rafts is controlling them why you try to cast.

Thanks for the info! I have wondered about that!
Posted by: CamperMom

Re: Backpacking rafts? - 01/12/16 01:05 PM

Here we are 10 months after Lori's addition to the thread, the Klymit LWD. They weigh about 2 lbs and inflate via their stuff/dry bags. I recently acquired a used one and bought a Klymit Splash 25 backpack, which is a floating dry bag/backpack. I hope to get out with these in the spring. I'm not even tempted to use them in New England during the winter. During a recent visit to see friends in FL, one took me kayaking. Not anticipating a lot of opportunities to kayak with friends here and not wanting to store one, I see great possibilities for the LWD and meeting up with my kayaking friends. Will I keep up with them? Unlikely, but I may catch up when they stop as I do when we hike...