Ultralight packrafting gear.

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PVDman
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:21 am

Ultralight packrafting gear.

Post by PVDman » Sun Jul 06, 2014 2:51 am

There is an interesting discussion on ultralight packrafting gear going on over at Grand_Canyon_Hikers@yahoogroups.com. Here is one of the more extensive discussions:
Hi Larry, the best packraft for a Grand Canyon hiker is the Canyon Flatwater 2 by Supai Adventure Gear. The best paddle is the Olo Paddle, also by Supai Adventure Gear:I was involved in helping Aaron Locander and his wife Shannon develop this boat over roughly 5 years and have used it to exit many Grand Canyon slots. Here is why I like it:

1 - weight. Weight. WEIGHT! It's by far the lightest boat available at 24 ounces.
2 - Volume. packs down to the size of a nalgene water bottle
3 - inflation features. You can inflate it on-the-fly while floating down river. This is important because the Colorado is so cold that the air can significantly condense after a a few minutes in the water. Just blow it up on the fly to your desired pressure. Additionally, after hating the long inflation and deflation times of my other packrafts, this one is a gem. You can remove the large value at the base to inflate and deflate quickly.
4 - The Olo paddle is a recent addition to my gear list, but I really like it. In fact, it's allowed me to do a few GC slots where I paddled UPSTREAM to a closer hiking exit. It weighs 12 ounces. I would suggest the 5 piece paddle since it fits in my pack so much better.
5 - PFD: get the MTI Journey class III PFD. It's NPS approved, lightweight at 12 ounces, and can be purchased for around $40 online.

Larry, it's looks like you've got a good plan for your hike, but I should mention a few important caveats for others that might view this topic:
1 - there is a reason the boat is called the Flatwater 2. It's made for FLAT WATER. If you plan to run rapids this is not the boat for you. Alpacka makes great (expensive and heavy) boats with spray skirts and a durable tube material for bashing rocks and taking the meat.
2 - Having paddled the Flatwater 2 for a few hundred river miles in Grand Canyon on over a hundred trips, you wouldn't find me in that river without thermal protection. I strongly suggest a 3x2 (or 4x3) full wetsuit in Spring and Fall and a 3x2 shorty in Summer. I know, it's extra weight to carry, but I've been flipped by invisible eddy fences and small riffles ... and a few rapids I shouldn't have run too. The problem with the rifles is that they all look small from a vantage 6 inches above the water. By the time you realize they're too big for your rig it's often too late. Use your ears and listen as you approach a riffle to decide if it's too big. And don't even think about running a named rapid. It's got a name for a reason. You will swim and may lose your pack and/or packraft!
3 - Planning: I don't paddle in the Colorado without carefully pre-planning what I'm going to do. What rapids exist in the stretch I'm paddling and which side can I portage? Can I portage at all? Sometimes you really can't, in which case a new plan is called for. Just like planning your hike, you better plan your crossing or float.
4 - Experience: work your way up to it. There are some routes in Grand Canyon that involve a short packraft in more difficult water. Do these routes AFTER you've done some easier ones. The way to start is with a calm crossing like Larry intends to do.
5 - Safety: I've found that the most dangerous thing about exploring slot canyons in Grand Canyon are the river exits. NO KIDDING. Have a plan, never packraft alone. In fact, packrafting in three's or four's is far safer. Everyone should stay very close together. If one person flips the others must immediately help with the rescue - usually by grabbing the stray pack or raft and helping them to shore. Unlike a big raft on a real river trip, there is no danger in flipping your packraft IF you're using thermal protection and a PFD. The best thing to do if you go over is to grab your pack. Do not worry about the packraft - your friends will get it. If you lose it (and/or your friends) swim to shore and wait for a river party to help. With your waterproofed pack in hand you can warm up and camp safety. If you go for the raft and lose the pack you have an emergency. Additionally, I've flipped and in the middle of the river I've been able to get back in my packraft and continue. This is something to practice in a swimming pool before your trip. Finally, resist the temptation to tie your pack to your raft (or tie your paddle). The ties can be serious entanglement hazards if you do flip.

PVDman
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:21 am

Re: Ultralight packrafting gear.

Post by PVDman » Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:17 pm

Another one: Bob, I'll second the comments about the Supai riding lower at 250+ lbs. While I paddled one with the former Mike plus gear at about 255 lbs, it does ride low. OK in flat flat flat water, but when the riffles get riffley, it doesn't have a calming effect.

By contrast, the Flytepacker I also use is almost a pound heavier than the Supai, but it's rated at 300 lbs. The extra buoyancy keeps you quite a bit drier when the going gets bouncy.

sweetpimft2524
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:26 pm

Re: Ultralight packrafting gear.

Post by sweetpimft2524 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:12 pm

Want to try it?





royal1688

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