– my personal views on all walks of outdoor life

Recommended read: Packrafting

I’m waiting my Alpacka Denali Llama packraft to arrive from the States and to pass the time while waiting I’ve been reading about other people’s packrafting trips. So this list of recommended reads is mostly about packrafting blogs and trips.

If you find yourself asking “What the hell is a packraft?” then it might be good idea to start with Alastair Humpreys’ great Packrafting, an Introduction post in Rohantime blog.

The book: Packrafting!

Before listing the blogs, I’d like to remind you that the printed media also still exists and has things to offer. The best resource for getting introduced to the techniques and possibilities of packrafting is likely Roman Dial’s book Packrafting! It’s also available directly from the man himself for US $24,95 including postage anywhere in the world. It’s very inspiring book and highly recommended. Though I’d liked to see more illustrated and thoughtful advice on techniques required when in the water. Now the book is more about ways of combining water and land travel, introducing the basic, giving some tips and a lot of inspiring  stories. Still, highly recommended!

definitely worth reading!

The blogs

Roman Dial’s blog The Roaming Dials is maybe the ultimate packrafting blog including historical aspect as well as the latest cutting edge development, trip reports as well as tech talk and links to incredible videos! Check it out!

Erin and Hig have been utilizing packrafts on their journeys and about everything in their life seems to worth reading and admiring. They have a blog full of interesting things. Erin has also written a book about their great 4000 miles journey on the Wild Coast. There is also an award winning movie but it’s not yet available on DVD. But here’s a little teaser to get you excited:

The Ed behind the Edventures blog is Alaskan based, so no wonder that the blog has a lot of nice packrafting related posts.

Eric Parson, who also makes the cool Revelate Designs bikepacking gear, lives in Alaska so also his Captain Swallowtail blog includes packrafting (and bikerafting!) stuff.

David writes the Bedrock & Paradox blog which covers – in addition to many other cool things – also packrafting.

The Republic of Doom blog is full of inspiring bikerafting trip reports. I wish I has a decent bike…

Brooklyn based Packraft and paddle blog is also worth checking out as the name already implies.

Phil Turner from Edinburgh UK and the man behind the Lightweight Outdoors has also a packraft. And for variation it’s not an Alpacka raft but very lightweight Flytepacker from Flyteweightdesigns. I’ve heart that Flyteweightdesigs are coming up also with a new more durable design…

Chris has an interesting site about Adventures Inflatable Kayaks & Packrafts. There are very good writings about Alpacka Denali Llama and Yukon Yak rafts.

Hendrik Morkel who is the man behind Hiking in Finland blog lives, as the name implies, in Finland. There are already some packrafting related posts in his blog and I think that there is more to come…

Sven Schellin and crew have just put up a new blog about Packrafting in Germany, Europe and beyond. Unfortunately it’s only in Germany.

Sabone Schroll is also about to do very interesting packrafting trip in Finnish Lapland this summer, so it’s good idea to keep an eye on her blog.

Alastair Humpreys has a blog covering also packrafting trips in Scotland and in Iceland. In 2010 he and photographer Chris Herwig crossed Island unsupported on foot and packraft. The journey is also covered in Alastair’s blog . But what is even better is that they made a great video about the journey. There are several version of the video. This 10 minutes version is the longest (and best) I’ve come up with. It’s highly recommended so give it a go:

In addition to blogs I’ve also stumbled upon some nice packrafting galleries. For example Sven Schellin’s and Mark Kreinacker’s trips in central Europe and Harald Iggesunds trips in Northern Scandinavia.

And a packrafting related epicness

The well known long distance wilderness traveller Andrew Skurka has also been utilizing a packraft. His Alaska-Yukon Expedition wasn’t exactly a classic packrafting trip but a lot more! 1270 miles of packrafting is really quite something! There is a great video of Skurka’s presentation on National Geographic live. I highly recommend getting a cup of coffee and spending the half an hour watching the video if you haven’t yet seen it. Or even if you have, it’s worth watching again! 🙂

If you know other packrafting related blogs or books or similar, please share them with me and other readers!


11 responses to “Recommended read: Packrafting

  1. Hendrik 04/06/2011 at 18:29

    Actually, Dave (David) is the name of the author of Bedrock & Paradox 😉

    Sabine will likely not go near anything white water, as I know her =)

    Finally, regarding the new Flyteweight Designs Rugged Raft, I bet it won’t be Phil who’s gonna test it!

  2. korpijaakko 04/06/2011 at 18:45

    Hendrik: Man you are fast! =) Thanks for the info. I stand corrected. Pity that Sabine isn’t interested in white water as at least Näätämöjoki could provide some really cool rapids (don’t know abaut Pulmankijoki) but her trips sounds very cool even without white water…

  3. sabi 06/06/2011 at 22:09

    moi Jaakko and Hendrik
    I have a packraft so that I can hike around the white parts 😉 Just a few ripples and small waves are enough for my daily adrenalin. But maybe I will have to increase the dose?
    Another interesting blog about packrafting is Joery’s from Belgium: http://dzjow.wordpress.com/

  4. korpijaakko 06/06/2011 at 23:18

    Thanks for the link Sabi! Everyone should hike their own hike – but class I with packraft is (almost?) 100% fool proof. A lot easier than with canoe or kayak. Basically you can just sit in the boat without doing anything and it will just qlide through the faster water. At least I’ve noticed that I have to increase my doses on regular basis… I’m a bit afraid to see where it leads to. 😀

  5. sabi 07/06/2011 at 09:09

    Yes, I know that! And I also know how easily and fast you can get dropped out of your packraft – bander-snatched when in a hole or a big wave is coming in front of you 😉
    For a longer solotrip whitewater means also more weight: spraydeck (which I don’t have on may PR), helmet, PFD, self-rescue gear and skills … and more risk.

  6. korpijaakko 07/06/2011 at 16:52

    That is very true! Though I’m not sure what it takes to bander-snatch a packraft, especially with load on the bow. We tried to flip the boat last autumn but couldn’t even while fooling around with it. With extra gear you can lower the results of risks but the risk is always there. Though white water up to class II is pretty safe to swim in. Unpleasant and you may loose your gear for a while but… Every outdoor activity has a certain risk level and it’s good to be aware of it and accept it before going out and doing things. As a solo I wouldn’t want to do anything bigger than class II at this point. Maybe not even hard and continuous class II if in the middle of nowhere…

  7. korpijaakko 07/06/2011 at 23:40

    For some reason I forgot Jörgen’s great blog FJÄDERLÄTT from the list. Jörgen did a recent packrafting trip to the Voxnan river with 55 rapids and is apparently up to somethign special for the summer. His blog is a recommended read anyway.

  8. Sven 16/06/2011 at 18:36

    Hey Jaakko,

    this is a great compilation! Although I knew most of them, I am overwhelmed by the reading opportunities. If you keep up with this review of content, we can stay in the German niche (and google translate for rare things 😉 However, I ‘d especially noticed your demand on illustrated and thoughtful advice on techniques required when in the water 😉 Originally coming from a paddling background, less backpacking, I think could contribute something on that. Will see, if I can cover this. Currently I am buried in work and personal obligations. You also mentioned the Galleries from us, just one hint, deeper in them albums are also videos with some comparisons kayaks/packrafts and situations on edge (capsizes ;). Take care, Sven

  9. korpijaakko 16/06/2011 at 23:51

    Thanks, Sven! My paddling experience is thus far limited to only occasional recreational paddling with kayaks and canoes and a weekend of white water basics training with kayak. And many packrafters don’t necesseraly have even that experience so a well illustrated (video, video, video and maybe good and simple pictures) technique advice would be very welcome! Maybe as a bilingual series starting from the basics (how to self rescue and effetively paddle the thing) and moving on to more advanced stuff. The backpacking aspect of the sport is quite well covered allready but there’s not much abotu technique anywhere. I was thinking about updating this list always when I found a new packrafting blog but I’ve started to find a bit too many already! 😀 I also found the videos. Good stuff! 🙂

  10. Sven 17/06/2011 at 00:53

    I just commented some stuff at Jörgens Voxnan report on that issue. To continue for here for now:
    1. Catching eddies!!! Reference on http://tinyurl.com/3fherzx (Minute 0:35 )
    2. Boofing drops!! Refrence on http://tinyurl.com/3n4kv49 (Minute 1:30)
    3. Utiliesing side strokes! Reference on http://tinyurl.com/6gaa4hv (Minute 2:45)
    It is an combinaton from fluid dynamics, paddleling technics and packraft specifics.
    Time and market for a new book?

  11. korpijaakko 20/06/2011 at 23:12

    Thanks for the tips! I think there really would be a market for a new book. Simple illustrations and good text would work but video would be even better…

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