“Packraft” and “trail boat” are colloquial terms for a small, portable inflatable boat designed for use in large and/or natural bodies of water, including technical whitewater. An inflatable boat is a lightweight boat constructed with its sides and bow made of flexible tubes containing pressurised gas Whitewater is formed in a Rapid, when a River 's gradient drops enough to disturb its Laminar flow and create Turbulence, i Packraft history is difficult to trace or verify, as relatively little print material is available, and many packraft ventures are not well documented and/or unverifiable.
A packraft is raft designed to be light enough to be carried for extended distances, along with its propulsion system (usually collapsable paddles or lightweight oars). A raft is any flat floating structure for travel over water It is the most basic of Boat design characterized by the absence of a hull. The entire package is designed to be light and compact enough for an individual to negotiate rough terrain while carrying the rafting package as well as other vital supplies, such as food, water, clothing, shelter, and other survival or backcountry equipment. Durability, cost, and capability are highly variable.
"Pioneering" use of packrafts is difficult to trace, as float tubes, inner tubes, and other small boats can in some of their uses be considered equivalent to packrafts, and have been in common use around the world for many years. The earliest known true "packraft" was carried by the Jefferson Arctic Expedition (no Wikipedia Article available on this) during the 19th century, and can be viewed in the museum to that expedition. This packraft was reportedly made out of natural rubber.
Perhaps the most famous packrafting pioneer is Dick Griffith, who used a packraft to descend Copper Canyon's Urique River (Chihuahua, Mexico) in 1952 before introducing them to the Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic adventure race in 1982. The Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic (sometimes called the "Alaska Wilderness Classic" is an Adventure race that espouses purity of style Packrafts are now common equipment in that race. .
A variety of companies have made packrafts in the past including Sherpa, Curtis, and a raft carried 30 years ago by Eddie Bauer (manufacturer and official name unknown). Eddie Bauer ( is a Clothing store chain Headquartered in Bellevue Washington, and a subsidiary of Eddie Bauer Holdings which was formed subsequent to the former Furthermore, aviator emergency rafts have been used for packrafting purposes in a variety of applications for an unknown number of years.
Packrafting has experienced a small contemporary resurgence of interest. Cause of this resurgence is difficult to verifiably credit. Possible sources of this resurgence are 1) media exposure (National Geographic Magazine, Men's Journal, Backpacker Magazine, Backpacking Light Magazine, the movie "Into the Wild" have verifiable documented uses or exposure of packrafts), 2) exposure by high-profile users, 3) organic market growth, 4) growing availability of rafts, and 5) the release of Roman Dial's book Packrafting! An Introduction and How-To Guide. Overview The NGS's historical mission is "to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge while promoting the conservation of the world's cultural historical and natural Men's Journal is an American men's lifestyle magazine focused on outdoor recreation Backpacker Magazine is an American publication whose mission is to provide readers with practical information on wilderness Hiking and Adventure. Backpacking Light Magazine was founded in early 2001 by modern-day Ultralight backpacking evangelist Ryan Jordan (hiker, author of Lightweight Backpacking and For the 2007 film adaption of the book see Into the Wild (film For the Warriors book see Into the Wild (Warriors Into
Recent prominent users of packrafts include: Roman Dial (Alaska), Erin McKittrick and Bretwood Higman (Alaska), Brad Michaeljohn (Alaska), Forrest McCarthy (Wyoming and Yellowstone region), Tom Turiano (Wyoming, other areas), John Waterman, Ryan Jordan (hiker) (Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest), and Sam Perry & Nathan Shoutis (Western United States). Ryan Jordan is a pioneer of the modern-day Ultralight backpacking movement and founder of Backpacking Light Magazine.
More recently, packrafting has become popular in Norway, the locale for an international Alpacka dealership. Packrafts have also been paddled elsewhere in Europe, in Mexico, Southeast Asia, New Zealand, Australia (including its Franklin River), as well as Patagonia and tropical South America.
In the U. S. outside of Alaska, backcountry packrafting is focused primarily in the more remote areas of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (Montana), Yellowstone Ecosystem (Montana and Wyoming), Olympic National Park (Washington), and Mount Rainier National Park (Washington), as well as for canyoneering in Utah and Arizona.
During the 1980s and 1990s Dial pioneered several full-length wilderness traverses of the Alaska Range, Brooks Range, Talkeetna Mountains, Wrangell Mountains, and other Alaskan ranges requiring use of packrafts. The Alaska Range is a relatively narrow 650-km-long (400 mi Mountain range in the southcentral region of the U The Brooks Range is a Mountain range that stretches from west to east across northern Alaska and into Canada 's Yukon Territory, a total distance He is also noted for combining packrafts with mountain bike riding, glacier skiing, and mountain climbing.
Bretwood Higman and Erin McKittrick are well known in the packrafting community for their innovative expeditions that employ the use of packrafts for flatwater river, lake, and fjord travel, notably across the Kenai and Alaska Peninsulas.
McCarthy and Turiano have descended many of the backcountry rivers in the southern Yellowstone Ecosystem (including the upper Yellowstone River near its source), and Jordan has descended many of backcountry rivers in the northern Yellowstone Ecosystem including the Bob Marshall Wilderness and the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, and the Frank Church Wilderness. The Bob Marshall Wilderness is located in western Montana in the United States and is named after Bob Marshall (1901-1939 an early forester conservationist Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness was created from existing National Forest lands in 1975 and is located in Montana and Wyoming, United States. Olympic National Park is located in the US state of Washington, in the Olympic Peninsula. Mount Rainier National Park is a United States National Park located in southeast Pierce County and northeast Lewis County in Washington
Sam Perry & Nathan Shoutis have documented descents of high-class whitewater in the US west coast areas, including Class V and possibly higher whitewater. Whitewater is formed in a Rapid, when a River 's gradient drops enough to disturb its Laminar flow and create Turbulence, i
Distinction from "Pool Toy. " In this article, packrafts/trail boats are differentiated from “pool toys” or similar “flotation devices”, which are intended for use in an enclosed and controlled body of water, such as a swimming pool. A packraft/trail boat is intended for use in open bodies of water.
Distinction from "Man-Portable. " A packraft is distinguished from a strictly man-portable raft insofar as it is designed to be light enough to represent only a fraction of the total weight an individual can reasonably carry. A packraft can be carried for extended periods, along with food, water, shelter, and other supplies that would enable the individual to traverse long distances through difficult terrain. All rafts listed in this article weigh less than (pounds) without paddles.
Packrafts are used in a variety of applications. These include:
The Alpacka company is based out of Anchorage, Alaska. It currently produces 4 packrafts. Alpacka rafts will tolerate hard usage. Weight: 4 lb (1. 8 kg). to 5 lbs. 8 oz. (Dory, 2 lb (0. 91 kg). oar frame not included in weight). Length: 67” (Alpaca) to 83” (Dory) Construction: Urethane-coated Nylon. .
The Sevylor company produces a wide range of inflatable products, including several small hunting/fishing oriented rafts. Only one boat, the Trail Boat, is small enough to be considered a packraft. Their next lightest boats has a 4-person capacity and has a stated weight of 32 lb (15 kg). without oars). (Sevylor) Weight: Approximately 3 lbs. 8 oz. (manufacturer’s quote) to 4 lb 12 oz (2. 2 kg) with plastic oars and inflation kit. (BackpackGearTest. org) (+ quoted as being suitable for slow moving water and well protected lakes). Length: 5 ft 8 in (1. 7 m) Personal Capacity: 1 person. (Sevylor) Construction: Polyurethane-coated nylon and PVC .
Other small rafts have been manufactured in the past, under such names as Sherpa and Curtis. References are needed to present information on them. Unconfirmed rumors also exist of similar Russian-made rafts.