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M Across Iceland by Packraft

by Alastair Humphreys

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Article Summary:

I am not an equipment expert. I am a relative newcomer to packrafting. But what I do know is how my equipment performs during fairly tough expeditions.

The first time I posted a question on the BPL forum I was initially shot down, suspected of being a time-waster, a joker or, worse, a person who was not going to be backpacking light. My "crime" was to ask the incredibly passionate, knowledgeable community about a backpack capable of carrying 40 kilos of gear. Of course a 40-kilo backpack is hardly backpacking light. However, it was backpacking as light as was possible, which I believe is the true essence of this community. My pack was destined to weigh a crippling 40 kilos because I needed to carry all of the food, equipment, and camera gear necessary for carrying out and filming an unsupported coast-to-coast crossing of Iceland by foot and by packraft. In the end, I received lots of very helpful advice.

The journey across Iceland was a great success. My friend Chris and I encountered waterfalls, glaciers, mountains, rivers, volcanoes, and boiling hot springs during a difficult but delightful month in the high latitudes of an Icelandic summer.

My purpose with this article is twofold: to provide a skeleton of information for anyone considering a lengthy, unsupported packraft trip, and, hopefully, to spur all those many people in the BPL community who know much, much more than I about equipment details to add suggestions and improvements in the comments section below. I am only rarely going to mention specific brands as I am aware that each country has different good quality brands of equipment.


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