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An Ultralighter Paddles on the Dark Side: Packrafting a Remote Canyon "Heavy" Style
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
An Ultralighter Paddles on the Dark Side: Packrafting a Remote Canyon "Heavy" Style on 06/24/2008 17:07:10 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

An Ultralighter Paddles on the Dark Side: Packrafting a Remote Canyon "Heavy" Style

Christopher Kuzmich
(obchristo2) - F
Packrafting is getting old on 06/25/2008 11:08:48 MDT Print View

Okay, let me first qualify myself.

Life long backpacker (since I was 6), 20 years of paddling (Whitewater and Touring as a guide), Backpackinglight subscriber.

I pay money for BACKPACKING information here. If I want paddling information- especially raft supported padding- I can get that for free.

I certainly don't mind these Pacrafting articles if they were free and not replacing content I am paying for- but it's not.

Really, really thinking about not reupping my subscription because I do not feel what I am paying for.

Sven Klingemann
(svenklingemann) - F
Re: Packrafting is getting old on 06/25/2008 11:13:49 MDT Print View

Chris - what content is it replacing?? How do you know that the author would have posted a "true backpacking" article instead? Maybe you can guide us to the (free) articles that talk about pacrafting, including a through discussion of the lightweight backpacking gear that can be used on these trips.
That would be great.

Christopher Holden
(back2basics) - F - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: Packrafting is getting old on 06/25/2008 11:23:20 MDT Print View

In contrast to the previous user's comments, I think I'm on the other end of the spectrum.
Nothing was removed to allow this to exist on the site. As long as it maintains the course, every article is new content as long as it isn't redundant. It isn't replacing anything. It's adding. Personally, I see it as a bonus over what I was expecting to get in my subscription. These articles are about people experiencing ultralight water travel AND/OR their ultralight terrestrial travel. I think it's a good combo. I can't speak for anyone else, but on behalf of this single subscriber, keep 'em coming!

Brett Tucker
(blister-free) - F

Locale: Puertecito ruins
Re: Re: Packrafting is getting old on 06/25/2008 11:27:34 MDT Print View

The fledgling packrafting community absolutely needs the shot in the arm that BPL is attempting to offer it. This point is made plainly by the general lack of forum discussion about packrafting, which is NOT, I conjecture, for a lack of interest or enthusiasm among UL backpacking enthusiasts.

New BPL Packrafting forum, for those who missed the announcement:

Edited by blister-free on 06/25/2008 11:38:48 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Packrafting is getting old on 06/25/2008 11:30:08 MDT Print View

Amazing how just a few months ago you were ecstatic with these articles. Somebody find me that LNT youtube link?

Christopher Kuzmich post from February below:

Wow on 02/29/2008 22:36:28 MST
As a lightweight backpacker, mountaineer and former kayak guide, all I can say is WOW!!!!

One of the best articles I have read here. It opens up some ideas that have been in the back of my head.

I look forward to more Alpaka Packrafting Articles- hopefully some about the New Zealand trip that predates this one.

I may have to add an Alpaka to my fleet.


Edited by jshann on 06/25/2008 15:16:49 MDT.

René Enguehard
(ahugenerd) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland
I agree, somewhat... on 06/25/2008 11:32:19 MDT Print View

I have to agree with the fact that this is a backpacking, and not packrafting, magazine. I agree that packrafting content should be free content. Paying for something you didn't intend to pay for is not necessarily cool with everyone. (I personally don't care either way, but I can see that in principle people could be offended.)

However, in light of the previous comments made by the user in question, I believe I smell a troll. :P

That being said, great article. Definitely shows a different side to the same old ultralight story. Food for thought.

Edited by ahugenerd on 06/25/2008 11:34:39 MDT.

Sven Klingemann
(svenklingemann) - F
Re: I agree, somewhat... on 06/25/2008 11:39:44 MDT Print View

I am bit sick and tired of people complaining about not getting "what they paid for". Do I find all articles useful?
No. Do all of them interest me? No. Hey, make some constructive criticism and write to BPL about specific stuff that you would like to see. Or cancel your membership if you are so unhappy about it. And be a bit less selfish.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: Packrafting is getting old on 06/25/2008 12:32:05 MDT Print View

Some personal opinions on packrafting coverage at BPL:

1. There's much valuable information on BPL's website, far more than enough to make my subscription worthwhile.

2. If there's something that doesn't interest me, I don't have to read it -- nor do I resent its availability since it usually has some relevance to lightweight backpacking.

3. Having read BPL from long before there were any forums enriching the content and sometimes trying to tell BPL how to run its site better, I've observed a variety of topics sprout from the "trunk" of the lightweight packing "tree" that is BPL's core. Fishing is one example; another is paragliding. Oh, my error. No paragliding . . . yet.

4. As one of BPL's "tree sprouts" de jour, packrafting is seemingly clearly relevant to backpacking (after all, it's called "pack" rafting), but even specifically relevant to lightweight backcountry travel where there's a desire or need to go across water without resort to either swimming or praying for the ability to levitate -- hence, equipment and techniques covered focus on rafts that are ultralite.

Seems kind of unreasonable to demand that BPL "hit the bulls eye" of each and every subscriber's own personal interests with every topic BPL covers.

So, how about including a little bit on paragliding? May come in handy when one's pack raft arrives at a waterfall.


Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Packrafting is getting old on 06/25/2008 12:45:38 MDT Print View

This is entertainment. People seem to lose site of that. The content is relevant: Outdoor, wilderness, self-reliant, light-weight approach, self-propelled travel.

To each his own. I am actually thinking about renewing my membership based on this content. I requested the book for father's day, and I am truly exited about learning and integrating this (new to me) form of travel into my outdoor recreation.

After two years of membership, and plenty of gear intense study...I am relatively done with gear obsession. I have what I like...and do not see monumental shifts with gear that necessitate premium content research. I enjoy checking the boards to see what people are up to and into, but not much more beyond that.

Now, I am thinking I may need additional gear if I want to get into this sport. Great! But if you don't...don't. Do you need to do anything more than not renew your membership??? If you think BPL is missing their opportunity, start your own, ultra light weight backpacking site that is exclusively that.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: Re: Packrafting is getting old on 06/25/2008 14:06:52 MDT Print View

On another note,

I've tried to get together a group a few times for backpacking in unique places and for people to meet other BPL'ers.
The first was hours of work to get everything scheduled and a date set.
There were 10-12 interested and what I thought was going to be at least 5 people going turned into 2.

Next attempt everybody whipped out, even after several people saying they were interested.
I still went and it was great.

Now that summers here I will try for strike 3 sometime soon, but it's starting to feel like all but a few here are not willing to move from there chairs writing forums and actually go backpacking.

This is supposed to inspire you to go out and give it a try.
If you're not even going to get off your but and go backpacking then why not shift the interest into something that may be more enticing to the ones who want to try it???

Sven Klingemann
(svenklingemann) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Packrafting is getting old on 06/25/2008 14:15:39 MDT Print View

Maybe you should start a new thread for that entitled "all BPLers are lazy butts". I am sure that will motivate others to join you on future trips. Don't forget to call their mothers lazy butts as well.

René Enguehard
(ahugenerd) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland
I'll go on 06/25/2008 16:07:29 MDT Print View

Hey, I'll go backpacking with anyone, so long as it's within a decent distance from where I live (ie: On the island of Newfoundland, Canada). Considering I don't know of any BPL newfoundlanders, I think I'll have to pass up most of your invites. :)

On another note, and more on topic, I feel it is important to say that I really do enjoy these packraft articles. They are appropriate in the "light" sense of backpacking 'light' and may even fit in with the 'backpacking' side of things.

So long as the articles deal with the outdoors in some way, shape or forms, I really couldn't care less what they are about. However, I can see how other people might get flustered about that. It really boils down to a simple question: What does BPL, as a magazine, want to be? Does it want to be the ultralighter's version of Backpacker magazine? Or does it want to be more like Frommer's Outdoor magazine? Or something else.

As I previously stated, I'll be happy as a clam either way, but I do know that some people won't and as such the editors should make a decision, make it very clear and stick to it. Just my 0.02$ CAD.

Edited by ahugenerd on 06/25/2008 16:08:03 MDT.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Packrafting & BPL on 06/25/2008 16:27:22 MDT Print View

I will concede that Carol's article didn't hit our mission squarely on, but that had nothing to do with her being in a packraft, it had to do with the wine, the easy chairs, and the support ;)

But I will tell you that packrafting has been (since our first article about it in 2004), is, and will continue to be, part of our core mission:

"Backpacking Light promotes multi-day, self-sufficient ("backpackable"), backcountry, multi-day travel in lightweight style."

The "packrafting heavy" emphasis in the past few weeks has been related primarily to the simultaneous launch of the Packrafting Book by Roman Dial, which provides some excellent insight into backcountry travel in a packraft, in the context of both being on the water, and walking with a boat in your pack.

Edited by ryan on 06/25/2008 16:28:28 MDT.

Christopher Kuzmich
(obchristo2) - F
Firt time for everything on 06/25/2008 16:37:54 MDT Print View

First time I've been called a troll, although I guess it's a matter of perspective. Let me say it is not not my intent. I do admit I came off a bit hotheaded about it- but that is my intial reaction.

Excited about Packrafting? Yes. I still want to get one to supplement my Sevylor Trailboat and my WW Kayak. There are some potential descents in the Sierra that would be a heck of alot more possible in Packrafts than in hardshells.

Do I see a dropoff in other content? Yes. Perhaps that's just temporary or coincidence. I sure wouldn't expect snowshoe articles right now. But the fact is, since I wrote my initial support about Packrafting, it seems to be every other article.

Like paying for a "shot in the arm" for packrafting when I paid for BackpackingLight? No

See the relevance for an article about a raft supported trip in the "pay for" section of this site? Definately not.

Just my take. Sorry to ruffle feathers.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Packrafting & BPL on 06/25/2008 17:38:41 MDT Print View

I'll have to side with Christo on this one. I'm fairly new to this site and BPL. I paid a fee to get information about Lightweight Backpacking. I want to get all the information about it I can.
When the packraft article came out a few weeks ago I read part of it and then started looking/googling for a raft I could carry backpacking (instead of a float tube so I don't have to bring waders and all the other stuff). There was maybe one cheap (not well made) at a reasonable weight I found. Yes, the article spurred me to look further. But I didn't need to see a barrage of articles about rafting- I want Lightweight Backpacking INFO! This is the time of year I would like to get it to (I guess I'd like it all year)
Maybe I'll just have to wade through the minutia to get the nuggets that this site is known for.
BTW- (not to hijack) does anyone know where I can get a sub 4 lb super good backpackable raft for a reasonable price?

Edited by bestbuilder on 06/25/2008 17:40:58 MDT.

Brett Tucker
(blister-free) - F

Locale: Puertecito ruins
Re: Packrafting & BPL on 06/25/2008 18:26:30 MDT Print View

The bottom line is that a packraft is a piece of backpacking equipment. It fits either in or on a backpack, and can be carried as part of an overall system of lightweight equipment and techniques that facilitates a journey on foot. In this sense, a packraft is no different from a lightweight tent, sleeping bag, or the latest pair of freakishly lightweight trekking poles.

When the discussion turns to the finer details of lightweight single-wall tent construction and ventilation concerns, we recognize that the tangent, however abstruse and exotic, is a spin-off of generalized camping techniques, and that camping is related to backpacking. How is a discussion of reverse ferrying technique for packrafters any different, when that packraft can reach the far shore of the river, and can be quickly deflated and stowed in the backpack just like a tent when breaking camp? And onward we hike...

Edited by blister-free on 06/25/2008 18:33:12 MDT.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Re: Packrafting & BPL on 06/25/2008 20:13:11 MDT Print View

Yeah, what he said!

Amen, Brett!

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
"...on the dark side: packrafting..." on 06/25/2008 20:44:03 MDT Print View

As a BPL member I do not mind the recent attention given to packrafting, I can elect to read or not read these articles when they are posted. Having said that if this site was called PRL (PackRafting Light) instead of BPL I would never had signed on. I much prefer articles focused on backpacking gear, technique and adventure/trip reports as they relate to backpacking light and ultralight.

Having nearly drowned in the "narrows" of Oregon's Grande Ronde river in my early twenties I have no burning desire to tempt fate a second time when it comes to white water rapids.

Edited by thomdarrah on 06/26/2008 07:25:47 MDT.

Steve O
(HechoEnDetroit) - F

Locale: South Kak
re: packrafting on 06/26/2008 07:22:55 MDT Print View

Brett Tucker said: "The bottom line is that a packraft is a piece of backpacking equipment."
---I'll have to disagree here. If/when you bring a packraft on a trip, the focus of your trip will be quite different. Tents, poles, etc are centered around walking and the necessities that come with that (eating, sleeping). Also, the cost to buy an alpacka setup are well over what it costs to get into backpacking. Many people cant see dropping $1500+ to get into paddling a pigmy raft (tongue in cheek here).

That said, I do find the articles interesting, yet also agree with the dissenting opinions. Backpacking is the reason why I joined and if packrafting content is displacing backpacking content, I feel thats a valid concern.

Edited by HechoEnDetroit on 06/26/2008 07:32:12 MDT.