When we see packrafts, at the beginning they all seem the same for many of us, with variation on colours. But it’s important to know how to choose a good packraft. If you are thinking about buying one, this article is for you.
CHOICE OF PACKRAFT
Right now there are around 25 different packrafting brands on the market. Some of the brands are actually the manufacturers, others just change colors and print their own brand on the packraft. If you do a research you will know what I mean. If you don`t know any specific brand, Alpacka Raft is one of our partners.
A practical way to decide which packraft is better for you is actually trying different models – borrow or rent a packraft before you spend a considerably amount of money on it would be our advice.
But in case you are a more impulsive person and prefer to buy right away, or because an opportunity to travel has just appeared and you feel exited about it and willing to adquiere your own material, take at least a few moments to read some consideration that may help you to choose the one that will probably suits you best.
We could spend many lines comparing different brands and models for you, but this kind of information can be found on the manufacturers websites or even in any other blog. Therefore, we have decided that would be more useful if we help you by asking the correct questions, so you become aware of what your needs are before going for a particular model. How to choose a packraft according to your needs? Let’s start with:
- What kind of paddler do you aim to be?
- Would you like to do whitewater? or just going for an easy outing to the lake?Or something of both worlds?
- What is your background? Are you a thru-hiker? a former whitewater kayaker? or something in between?
- What kind of trips and where do you plan to go more often? In which season? is it in winter or always in summer?
- For how many days in a row do you plan to go packrafting?
- Are you willing to invest some money in good protective clothes?
Once you answer all these questions, you will narrow the possibilities of how to choose a good packraft.
TYPES OF PACKRAFT
There are as many types of packraft as different types of activities.
- hunting / fishing
- 2/3 person
- canoe types
If for instance you want to go packrafting and enjoy nature while paddling through flatwaters, it is important to decide in which season you plan to go, or at least in which temperature you will be under. Because in warm temperatures, a decked packrraft could be uncomfortable. A solution would be buying a model that allows you to take the deck off or put it back as you wish. Another possibility would be buying a selfbailer packraft, but keeping in mind that you will always be wet (because you’re sitting in water all the time), so good protective clothes would be essential for cold temperatures.
If you aim to become a grade IV whitewater packrafter, we strongly recommend you to take a few courses and then buy a decked packraft specially designed for this purpose. You can check our packrafting courses and join us in our trainings.
- PACKRAFTER LEVEL I
- WHITEWATER PACKRAFTER LEVEL II
- PACKRAFTING ADVANCED SKILLS LEVEL III
- EXPEDITION PADDLER LEVEL IV
If your goal is not precisely going for that grade of difficulty in the river, but still your desire is to perform well in grade III rivers and perhaps combine it with multiday trips, you are going to need a decked packraft to face the rapids. Although some people prefer a selfbailer at all costs, because it is true that exiting and re-entering the packraft is quicker than in a decked one. But for us, maybe because we come from a whitewater background and are used to the spraydeck, or perhaps because we like to travel in cold environments like glaciers and in the four seasons, we find a decked packraft better for us, which true to be said it’s warmer and dryer than a selfbailer.
Take a moment to see you in the future. Choose according to your needs, and enjoy it!