5 Ways You Have Probably Never Thought About to Use Your Packraft!

Posted on Posted in General

One of the great things about packrafts is that they are just so versatile.  Here are 5 ways that you may not yet have thought of to use your packraft.

As a Sledge

Packrafting in New ZealandNo, we’re not talking about down-hill sledging (although that might be fun…), we’re talking about using your packraft as the more functional kind.

Intrepid cold weather adventurers have been using this trick for decades, and why not?  Pulling a sledge has long been a part of winter travel, so if you’re trudging through the white stuff on snowshoes or skis en route to some fabulous river or even just a back-country hut, why not press your boat into double duty and avoid having to carry a pack at all!

The boats will hold up well on most snow, as long as it isn’t too icy, but keep in mind that this isn’t what the boats were necessarily intended for, and overuse in this manner could eventually shorten the life of the packraft.

As a Bed

Seriously, if you’re short, or you’re also using the packraft as a sledge to say, tow your 4-year-old along while you snow-shoe or cross country ski, then we’re talking about pure bliss.  But even for adults looking to take a solid nap on or off the river, the boats are pretty darn comfy.

People have been known to actually full-on overnight in or on a boat too, and methods here vary from curling up inside the boat and using the back tube as a pillow, to turning the boat upside down and sleeping on it that way.

Try it out, and if you find something you love, let us know so we can try it too!

As a Toddler Pool

OK, so this one only works if you have a toddler.  Or maybe if one comes to visit, as was the case for me this last summer when my brother and his wife brought their one-year-old over for a few weeks.

The little tyke had just discovered pools and couldn’t get enough. After a couple of hot days and messy splashes in the kitchen sink, my brother was just about to head to the hardware store (we live in a small town...hardware stores sell everything) to get an overpriced one when I remembered that I was a packrafter!

For the rest of their visit, my Alpacka Scout was permanently inflated on the porch and filled with water. Best toddler pool ever!

Cave Packrafting

Rafting through caves is big tourism in New Zealand and essentially amounts to paddling inner tubes through calm water in stunningly beautiful underground locations.  Alternatively, there are also a handful of sea caves that are accessible by boat. But wait, you have a boat, don’t you?  While we highly recommended that you do any first-time cave exploring with someone who knows the area, packrafts certainly open up the possibility of being able to access some of these places in smaller groups and on self-guided trips.

Packraft Surfing

Yeah, we’ll be honest--packraft surfing as a stand-alone activity won’t stand up against either surfing on a board or in a kayak on either ocean or river waves, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun.

Sure you could go out and buy a kayak or surfboard and learn to use them properly to participate in these activities, but if you’re not quite that hardcore and just want to have a spot of fun during Christmas holidays at the beach or at your local park and play river hole, then why not?

Yeah, you might get trashed (I usually do), and salt water might drip from your sinuses for hours afterwards (like it does from mine), but hey, that’s all part of the experience (or my experience, anyway). Self-bailing boats tend to work better if you’re getting after bigger holes or waves, and for any conditions, we recommend not using a spray deck that is attached to the boat. This way it’ll just be you that gets a thrashing, not your packraft!


Have you ever used your packraft in an ingenious way?   We would love to hear your stories and see your pics.  Enter them in the comments below.