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UL personal watercraft
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Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
UL personal watercraft on 08/21/2010 17:56:55 MDT Print View

Isn't packrafting really a subdivision of ultralight or packable personal watercraft?

Surely it is not limited to rafts, which are little more than glorified innertubes with floors where your butt soaks in a puddle while it bounces over the rocks - or at least that has been my experience with them.

Maybe we should expand our horizons a bit beyond rafts to include any packable, lightweight personal watercraft.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Rafts on 08/21/2010 22:04:13 MDT Print View

What ultralight, packable personal watercraft are there besides rafts? Inner tubes? I think I saw an inflatable kayak once.

/A .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: UL personal watercraft on 08/21/2010 23:20:09 MDT Print View

inflateable river board

Edited by biointegra on 08/21/2010 23:23:49 MDT.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Re: UL personal watercraft on 08/23/2010 09:57:32 MDT Print View

I'm thinking there might be an alternative to the not-quite-boats like boogie boards and rafts. I guess I'll have to work that out.

Damien T
(dteney) - F

Locale: Somewhere in the Alps
Hydrospeed on 08/24/2010 06:02:56 MDT Print View

A good example of the use of such a watercraft is the expedition of Mike Horn along the Amazon. He crossed the Andes to the source of the Amazon, carrying his hydrospeed, then floated along the river to the east coast of south america. From what I know this was a specially manufactured boat in which he could store his equipment.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
the domain of packrafting on 08/24/2010 12:26:32 MDT Print View

Vick, it sounds like you haven't paddled a real packraft (which at the moment only equal Alpackas, or the NRS boat).

I would indeed argue that the weight, packability, versatility, and range of water that can be navigated in a packraft make them a functionally different category of boat. They look like other craft, but they way they let you travel in the wilderness is quite different.

Packrafts are like skis or mountain bikes in that they're efficient machines for moving through the landscape. All are utilitarian and amusing. Packrafts get special attention because they're the most efficient and universally applicable of technological aids to wilderness travel.

River boards are to packrafts as mountain unicycles are to mountain bikes.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
ul raft on 08/24/2010 13:52:24 MDT Print View

has anyone considered using inflatable innertubes, or inflatable flotation devices. I've found several that are made tough and lightweight.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: the domain of packrafting on 08/24/2010 14:46:37 MDT Print View

I have had one form of UL pack raft or another and inflatable canoes since the middle 70s. They are old tech (including 3# netweight, high pressure units). I have not tried an Alpacka or the new NRS raft, which are obviously top of the line and perform better than most other short-in-relation-to-width inflatables. On the other hand, I'm an experienced paddler, boat designer and builder so my expectations are pretty high.

Edited by vickrhines on 08/24/2010 14:48:20 MDT.

alastair humphreys
(alastairhumphreys) - MLife

Locale: UK
Alpacka on 08/31/2010 06:44:26 MDT Print View

Alpacka rafts are a world away from inner tubes. Seriously tough, impressive little beasts!

alastair humphreys
(alastairhumphreys) - MLife

Locale: UK
video on 02/07/2011 14:54:01 MST Print View

Here is proof: