PackRaft Practice Outing

| June 5, 2010

After seeing an inflated PackRaft in Alaska Mountaineering & Hiking last year, it was love at first sight and I ended up buying one.  PackRafts are burly little personal rafts that are capable of carrying things like skis, bikes, packs or bloody chunks of moose on them.  Deflated and folded up, they weigh in at about four pounds and are about the size of a small two-person tent. There are a variety of paddles available, but I went with the four-part carbon model which is light and compact.

When getting into a new sport, I usually over-estimate my abilities and under-estimate how difficult it will be, which has led to lots of exciting times, especially with kite-skiing.  But, Rick Angell came up with the novel idea of trying a mellow float & bike on the lower Provo river, which turned out to be an excellent idea.

Load'em up cowboy. Rick Angell lashes his bike to the deck.

It works! Rick drifting down the Provo with Squaw Peak in the background.

Utah's scenic underbelly.

The PackRafts handled amazingly well considering the ungainly loads on the bow. By true PackRafting standards, this is a fluffy, light load.

Take out and pack up. My deflated raft and paddle are in the foreground.

On the road. We floated for about 1.5 hours and made it back to the car in 25 minutes.

PackRafting is one of those sports where the overall experience is way more fun than the individual components that make it up.  Floating down the Provo is done hundreds of time a day in the summer, but there was something really cool about doing it in a mini boat with a bike, and then riding back.

I’ve got a ski PackRaft outing coming up next week, which should be a blast!
Help support and stuff your PackRaft in a Mountain Hardwear Superscrambler Backpack from Click on the photo below…


Category: Trip Reports

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (9)

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  1. Smokey says:

    Curious as to which raft you bought? I’m thinking about picking one up for trips here in Montana…the Denali Lama? Or…


  2. Mark H says:

    Love how you called the trailer park “Utah’s scenic underbelly”. One time I hooked a fish near the trailers and it took me downriver. One of those rednecks saw this from his trailer and promptly jumped into the hole I was fishing before I could get back. Nice.

  3. Andrew says:

    Hi Smokey – I have the Yukon Yak, aka The Yak. There was a smaller, lighter version and a bigger version (the Lama), but the Yak seemed just right for general usage – at least for what I have in mind for it.

  4. Andrew says:

    Hi Mark – we saw a bunch of people fishing, but they didn’t seem to be catching much, if anything. Slow morning on the Lower Provo.

  5. Mark H says:

    That sounds about right. When the river gets high the fish will spread out so the catch rate goes way down. Some fishermen will say it’s cause “they ain’t biting” but actually the fish are feeding aggressively (due to prime water temp and extra food in the high current). And yes, I’ve spent WAY too much time fishing that river…….

  6. Mike T says:

    Looks like fun….

    Great way to combine a couple of sports.

  7. wfinley says:

    Now that you have a nifty packraft that was developed in an Anchorage garage you need a nifty bike packing system that was also developed in an Anchorage garage. Check out Revelate Designs ( Eric makes killer bike / rafting gear and has done some crazy trips ( with the gear.
    [FTC Disclosure… I am affiliated with both Alpacka and Revelate ; ) ]

  8. Adayak says:

    That’s the best trailer park property I’ve ever seen.

  9. Hi Smokey,
    I have the Llama and it’s perfect for me. I am 6’1 and carry quite heavy loads on my trips:

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