Packrafting

Bushwalking topics that are not location specific.
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Packrafting

Postby Suz » Fri 21 Jul, 2017 10:09 am

I would like to bring out into packrafting (and also rock climbing one day). How does one go about this?

I would be rafting alone. Obviously I would start on fairly still water.

I have a canoe food bin that I can use for dry storage - but what packraft should I get? (I would be aiming for something lightish but sturdy). I have a full suite of camping gear. Do I need any other equipment in addition to the raft. I don't want a life jacket as they seem bulky and uncomfy. I have a PLB that floats.

Is there a forum for packraftign that someone would recommend to a beginner?
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Re: Packrafting

Postby andrewa » Fri 21 Jul, 2017 2:18 pm

Look up packrafting forums. There's an American one, and I think there's an Australian Facebook page, but I don't use Facebook. Alpacka rafts were the best when I bought 2 10 yrs ago. Highly recommend using a PFD - even small stoppers are unpleasant to be sucked in to, and if you come out with a PFD you'll at least float down the rapid, rather than risk getting a foot caught in something. You can unofficially make your own floatation vest using inflatable pillows/wine bladders as bouyency to keep weight and bulk down, but obviously such a device is not going to guarantee to float you . I find about 5-6l of air provides adequate floatation for me.

A
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Re: Packrafting

Postby Lizzy » Fri 21 Jul, 2017 6:39 pm

Check out the Sydney/NSW packrafting page on Facebook.
You will need a paddle- 4 piece breakdown is good for packing. It u can also use s regular one.
Definitely get and use a PFD- you never know.
dry bags are easier than a barrel
The Alpackas are great but there are now others such as Kokopelli & packraft.com.au & even myog kits available.
If u paddle whitewater a helmet, knife and throw bag.
Look out for a packraft course- they give a great insight into the possibilities- paddle NSW or paddle Tas
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Re: Packrafting

Postby Tortoise » Fri 21 Jul, 2017 7:45 pm

Suz wrote:I don't want a life jacket as they seem bulky and uncomfy.

+1 for using one anyway. I was surprised at what's available these days - still effective, but not nearly as bulky and uncomfy as older ones. A decent knock on your head without one and you're dead. Your life is worth more than that, I reckon. :)
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Re: Packrafting

Postby Suz » Sun 23 Jul, 2017 9:20 am

Thanks guys!
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Re: Packrafting

Postby Nuts » Sun 23 Jul, 2017 6:21 pm

packrafting.de have an inflatable vest. I doubt meets any standards but they pack up small with adjustable bulkiness when wearing. I like it.
The US packrafting forum has a lot of info, though seemed to fizz a few years back. I'd suggest even a weekend in a kayak with a club basic skills course would be valuable, if you cant make the Packraft courses (which i'd imagine are ideal). Moreso than bushwalking, cant imagine anyone suggesting solo is a good idea, but each to their own.
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Re: Packrafting

Postby andrewa » Sun 23 Jul, 2017 7:33 pm

US packrafting site fizzled for me when they became the American Packrafting Association, with all the associated legal issues - someone told me I could get sued for posting my home made inflatable PFD on the site! As soon as it became APA, all inventive changes to packrafts/ing went out the window, as did my interest.
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Re: Packrafting

Postby findbuddha » Mon 24 Jul, 2017 11:39 am

Suz, I know nothing about packrafting, but you also mentioned rock climbing:

I'd recommend spending a couple of months at an indoor climbing gym to get your strength, technique and confidence up (maybe do an intro course). Then join a local group that does outdoor top-roping sessions (eg. in Brisbane the universities have good groups that are open to all). Getting your own harness and shoes early on will increase your comfort too. Get beginner shoes. They should feel a little tight around the toes, but not painful.
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Re: Packrafting

Postby davidf » Mon 24 Jul, 2017 2:30 pm

Buy one now. Alpaka or theAus /NZ selfbailer. PFDs are you friend. They are worth the price of admision, rarely climb or bike with one but always if not wear have a stack hat on hand. You will, end up with a house of dry bags. . Self taught but should and will do a kayak course. Have met people who know what they are doing and suck up tiops.

Climbing. Shoes and a chalk bag. find a local bouldering area, go climb a rock. ropes and stuff come next. Gyms are the antithesis of ROCK climbing
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Re: Packrafting

Postby danman » Sun 24 Feb, 2019 9:43 am

Has anyone had a go with the ultra cheap k-mart type jobbies? Not for whitewater obviously but I'm thinking it could be pretty fun just to putter around on some alpine lakes.

https://www.anacondastores.com/water/bo ... BP90118646
one of these kinda things?

i'd like to get a proper alpacka one at some stage and tackle some rivers, but it's a big upfront cost.
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Re: Packrafting

Postby Lizzy » Sun 24 Feb, 2019 12:38 pm

Yep I started with a cheap Kmart one. Pretty easy to put holes in or lose the floor but fun & a good way to start out. Once you are in a proper packraft there is no looking back! They are tough, fun, awesome little craft :)
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Re: Packrafting

Postby Lizzy » Sun 24 Feb, 2019 12:45 pm

Some little rapids on the Kangaroo River a few years back...
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Re: Packrafting

Postby farefam » Sun 24 Feb, 2019 8:25 pm

Yep, go for it Lizzy. I'm a recent convert to packrafting (combining it with bushwalking) and it has opened up a whole new world of opportunities and big adventures.

A PFD is essential at all times on or next to the water. You can never have too much personal buoyancy in my opinion if you go overboard in whitewater or a big swell or surf as it's not always quick or easy to be able to get back into an overturned or flooded raft. A helmet is essential. A PLB worn on your body is essential. 4 piece paddle is very good if you need to walk in to start a trip or have to do big portages. A sleeveless wetsuit and spray jacket are useful in whitewater or coldish sea water as are wool socks and thermals (if you're not going the drysuit route).

Decent safety equipment isn't expensive and sooner or later you'll be very, very glad you were wearing it.

Agree about getting some instruction as well (I learnt on bigger rafts and in a sea kayak before I purchased my Alpacka).

Ideally find a rafting buddy but if you do go out on your own (as I usually do, not by choice I might add, just due to a lack of adventure buddies) tell someone where you are, keep your wits about you at all times and take a very conservative approach to risk taking like I do and you should be alright.

One other thing. If anyone owns a raft with a zipper for storing gear inside the raft tubes, then it is absolutely essentially that you take a supply of zipper lubricant with you on any multi-day trip. Because in my experience, if the zipper becomes dry it may not close properly anymore, making the raft unable to be inflated and thus completely useless. Ti-zip is the usual recommended lubricant but isn't easy to find in stores (can order it on line though), but a tap lubricant such as hydroseal from hardware stores is readily available and works sufficiently well as a substitute for Ti-zip. You can also use a solid lubricant stick such as you can get from auto stores, although the solid lubricant did seem to allow some air to slowly leak through the zip on the one time I tried that product. A roll of Tyvek tape or Gorilla tape is also essential in case you get a tear in your raft. Having said that, on two recent 12 and 17 day trips I did find the Alpcacka Yukon raft incredibly tough and no repairs were needed (just zip lubrication from time to time). But you must always have the repair kit as it would be hellish to try to walk out of some remote destinations!
Last edited by farefam on Tue 26 Feb, 2019 5:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Packrafting

Postby Mark_O » Sun 24 Feb, 2019 10:39 pm

Just a heads up that there is likely to be a Women Only Packrafting Course being held in NW Tasmania in another 5-6 weeks time. I believe it will be an Intermediate Level Course with hopefully information coming online on the Paddle Tasmania website soon: https://tas.paddle.org.au/whitewater-packrafting/ It will be run by experienced and highly skilled female whitewater instructors.

An open Beginners Course ran last weekend out of Hobart. The next open courses (Intermediate and Advanced) won't occur till October/November.
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Re: Packrafting

Postby Nuts » Mon 25 Feb, 2019 7:46 am

danman wrote:Has anyone had a go with the ultra cheap k-mart type jobbies? Not for whitewater obviously but I'm thinking it could be pretty fun just to putter around on some alpine lakes.

https://www.anacondastores.com/water/bo ... BP90118646
one of these kinda things?

i'd like to get a proper alpacka one at some stage and tackle some rivers, but it's a big upfront cost.



I bought a cheapish intex 'raft' for my nephews and they managed to pop a seam on it that very first day. Not like Lizzys floor, the side blew out. Just be really mindful of needing to swim (or walk) out. There are a few lightweight cheaper raft 'things' from Klymit & Advanced Elements (eg) that may be useful for some carried lake trips and that, useful to have even when you do buy a better/heavier raft? Anyhow, you can hire Alpackas and there are now available some cheaper options using similar materials.
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Re: Packrafting

Postby danman » Tue 12 Mar, 2019 12:45 pm

https://www.packraft.com.au/product-pag ... ather-sale

this looks a good deal for someone starting out? unfortunately the price is still a little high for me at the moment. anyone familiar with PacKraft equipment? looks like they are aussie made.
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Re: Packrafting

Postby Suz » Wed 03 Apr, 2019 10:12 am

I ended up getting one from PacKraft Danman :) Still yet to get it out on the water but I'll get there!

Mark O, I really wanna do a course but its so expensive to get from WA to Tassie!
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Re: Packrafting

Postby farefam » Thu 04 Apr, 2019 2:55 pm

Suz,
If you live in the Perth area, perhaps PM me sometime in July-Aug when the Avon River is running. I usually take my packraft there for a training run and the section from Syds Rapid to Bells Rapids would be a good whitewater section for you to learn on if you wish to join me for a few hours. The Avon is not as technical as some of the rivers in Tasmania, but it's fun nonetheless. If you need any gear, check out the Yak Shack in Rockingham for helmets, lifejackets, paddles etc.
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