The possibilities of packrafting


Vattensporter, Vandring, Paddling by Ilari H., 6.6.2022

Photo©: Jaska Halttunen

Put the raft in your backpack and go – Packraft opens up a vast array of new opportunities for outdoor activities

Finland is famously known as the land of thousands of lakes. In addition to these, Finland's nature is dotted with numerous rivers, rapids, and other water bodies. For this reason, a packraft is excellently suited for Finnish hikers, paddlers, or fishermen.

A packraft is an inflatable raft that can be inflated with a pump sack, weighing approximately 3-6 kilograms depending on the model. When deflated, the rubber raft rolls up surprisingly small, making it easy to carry in a hiking backpack, for example. The packraft is inflated with a pump sack or expedition pump and finished by blowing. Pumping takes only a few minutes. Deflation, on the other hand, is achieved by opening the valve and rolling the raft back into a compact shape.

A packraft opens up a vast array of new route options for hikers. By paddling along a river, rapids, or lake for part of the journey, one can reach places that are otherwise inaccessible by foot. Also, the route options expand when lakes or other water bodies that are impassable on foot no longer interrupt the hiker's journey.

Packraft suits many purposes

Several Finnish national parks and nature reserves offer excellent opportunities for utilizing the packraft alongside hiking. For example, in Oulanka National Park, part of the Karhunkierros Trail can be hiked on foot and part paddled along the Oulanka River. In Isojärvi National Park, one can hike a desired distance and then paddle to Renusuo for the night. This way, the same trip can offer both hiking and traveling on water.

The combination of mountain biking and packrafting is referred to as bikerafting. In addition to carrying the paddler, a packraft can also carry a mountain bike. This significantly increases the number of route options again, as one can combine paddling and mountain biking routes as desired.

Packrafts also work well for pure paddling use. While a regular kayak or canoe is typically transported on a car roof or trailer, carrying a packraft is very easy, for example, in the trunk of a car or even when traveling by bus or train. Packrafts are widely used in whitewater paddling, and a significant advantage of carrying a packraft during approaching rapids is considerably easier compared to a kayak.

Regarding fishing, some caution is required with a packraft to prevent sharp hooks from catching on the raft. A significant advantage of a packraft is that it can be taken almost anywhere, and transporting it is much easier than a conventional boat.

Rodrig Packraft rod holder
 
Aktiviteter‪»Paddling‪»Kanoter och kajaker‪»Packrafts‪»
Rodrig Packraft rod holder
149,00 €
(2)
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What packraft is right for me?

MRS Microraft is, as its name suggests, a lightweight and handy all-purpose model, best suited for paddling on calm waters. The 150-kilo capacity MRS Microraft is suitable for one person for hiking, bikerafting, fishing, as well as paddling on lakes or slow-flowing rivers and rapids. The MRS Microraft comes with a spray deck, which keeps splashing water away from the paddler during paddling.

With a carrying capacity of 250 kilograms, MRS Adventure X2 is an excellent choice as a two-person packraft. In addition, the MRS Adventure X2 is suitable as a single-person packraft for long paddlers who need more legroom or if a dog or bulky gear is included. Like the MRS Microraft, the MRS Adventure X2 is suitable for paddling on calm waters or Class I-II rapids. The advantage of the MRS Adventure X2 is that it can accommodate another paddler, whereas the MRS Microraft can only accommodate one paddler.

The MRS Nomad S1 D designed for one user is an excellent choice for long-distance paddling. The packraft's shape is long and narrow, allowing it to reach higher speeds in long-distance paddling. Additionally, the packraft works well in slightly more demanding whitewater due to its shape. The included spray deck is skirt-shaped, providing comprehensive protection from splashes.

MRS Packrafting Starter Set
 
Aktiviteter‪»Paddling‪»Kanoter och kajaker‪»Packrafts‪»
MRS Packrafting Starter Set
1 279,00 €
(3)
MRS Microraft
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MRS Microraft
1 129,00 €
(9)
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MRS Adventure X2
Aktiviteter‪»Paddling‪»Kanoter och kajaker‪»Packrafts‪»
MRS Adventure X2
1 169,00 €
(7)
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MRS Nomad S1 D
Aktiviteter‪»Paddling‪»Kanoter och kajaker‪»Packrafts‪»
MRS Nomad S1 D
1 399,00 €
(1)
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What other equipment do I need besides the packraft itself?

In addition to the packraft, paddling requires, of course, a paddle. Equally essential for safety reasons is a life jacket.

Advanced Elements Packlite 4-part Paddle
 
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Advanced Elements Packlite 4-part Paddle
109,00 €
(37)
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Melomo Paddle (4 pcs)
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Melomo Paddle (4 pcs)
98,90 €
(18)
Melomo Multi Paddle
 
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Melomo Multi Paddle
209,00 €
(3)
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Baltic Canoe (40 - 130 kg)
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Baltic Canoe (40 - 130 kg)
47,90 €
(72)
ION Booster X Vest
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ION Booster X Vest
99,90 €
(15)
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Baltic Dinghy Pro (25 - 90+ kg)
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Baltic Dinghy Pro (25 - 90+ kg)
67,90 €
(23)
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-25%
ION Vector Vest Amp Front Zip
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ION Vector Vest Amp Front Zip
159,00 €
Outlet-priser från 119,90 €
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Although packrafts are durable, they may occasionally get small holes. Therefore, it is advisable to carry a repair kit with you, which allows you to patch the packraft even during the trip.

Melomo Packraft repair kit
 
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Melomo Packraft repair kit
21,90 €
(6)
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Flextailgear Max Pump Plus
Aktiviteter‪»Kitesurf‪»Drakar‪»Tillbehör‪»Pumpar‪»
Flextailgear Max Pump Plus
44,90 €
(44)

 

On warm summer days suitable for paddling on calm waters, items such as splash-protective shell jacket and shell pants are ideal. If paddling on demanding rapids or in colder weather, it is recommended for both comfort and safety to acquire a cold-protective rescue suit. When paddling in rapids, a paddling helmet should be worn.

Ursuit MPS 5113 Dry Undersuit
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Ursuit MPS 5113 Dry Undersuit
649,90 €
(103)
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Ursuit AWS immersion suit
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Ursuit AWS immersion suit
849,90 €
(17)
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Ursuit Easy
 
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Ursuit Easy
1 459,90 €
(48)
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Ursuit Sea Horse Coastal Gore-Tex
 
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Ursuit Sea Horse Coastal Gore-Tex
1 539,90 €
(7)
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Vappumelonta Merikarvianjoella: 9 koskea ja 18 km Packrafteillä (reppulautoilla)

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