Friday, August 9, 2013

Two-Pound Packrafting Kit

Milky Lake, Wind River Range

“Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.” - Dr. Seuss

I recently completed an 80-mile traverse of the Wind River Range that required negotiating several lakes walled-in by massive granite cliffs. The majority of the route was trail-less and crossing these lakes by packraft the most efficient means of travel. The route also involved cross-country scrambling over high alpine peaks and passes where every ounce counted.

Originally designed for navigating flatwater sections of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, the 24 oz Supai Adventure Gear Canyon Flatwater 2 ($299) is currently the lightest commercially made packraft. The floor material is light but not durable and performs best in deep water where encounters with rocks are a non-issue. Regardless, it's prudent to carry a few Tenacious Tape Patches.

FryxellMilky Lake

The Supai performed well. Even with the small main tube the 24 oz packraft carried 240 lb of cargo that included my HMG Porter Pack and a very trusting canine companion.

 Paddle Blades

I fashioned paddle blades from the hull of a broken plastic kayak compliments of the helpful folks at Rendezvous River Sports. I first traced the outline of the blades on the rounded edge of the kayaks hull. I then used a skill saw to cut them out. And finally, I drilled holes to later fasten the 8 oz paddle blades to my trekking poles.

Paddle Blades Fastened to Komperdell Carbon Trekking Poles

Zip-ties provided a secure and lightweight means of both securing my 8 oz Komperdell Carbon Trekking Poles together as well as attaching the paddle blades. These 8 oz blades can also be carried instead of a spare paddle during Lightweight Wilderness Whitewater adventures.

Two-Pound Packrafting Kit

Without counting the weight of my 8 oz trekking poles (that I already needed for hiking) this Ultralight Wilderness Flatwater packrafting kit weighs only 32 oz. These two pounds proved a worthy investment that did not hinder my progress when traveling on foot.

Oh, the Places You'll Go!


  1. Interesting and very usefull post. Thanks for share. We´re gonna post it in our blog about packrafting in spanish.

  2. Sweet! Looking forward to one day doing the WRHR traverse and using a packraft!