Bike packrafting a question for the weekend

Talk about anything.

Moderators: Bearbonesnorm, Taylor, Chew

Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 3542
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:41 pm

Bike packrafting a question for the weekend

Post by JohnClimber »

Don't forget that you need a paddle and a PFD (life jacket)

But if there was a light weight bike carrying packraft built like the Alpacka Caribou (that own and love) that is very bike carrying specific but only costs around £350.

It will be made of a similar lightweight single sided TPU with a few different features and benefits, it may be a fraction heavier than the Alpacka Caribou (and I mean only a fraction heavier).
Please can I ask how many would be tempted to try one to explore the blue bits of their maps as well and biking around them?

Please note this is not a Neris question.
I'm just asking for a (different) friend
Last edited by JohnClimber on Fri Jan 21, 2022 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 3321
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:27 pm
Location: Brizzle

Re: Bike packrafting a question for the wewkend

Post by Taylor »

£350 is a lot more sensible price.
User avatar
lune ranger
Posts: 2249
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2016 7:52 pm
Location: Peoples Republic of Devon

Re: Bike packrafting a question for the wewkend

Post by lune ranger »

The price is fine. I suppose I am curios to give it a go but I won’t be buying a raft and everything thing else at any price probably.
I really don’t think I would get use out of it. My location doesn’t really offer much in the way of navigable non-white water except the sea and the odd canal. Canals have tow paths and I don’t fancy dipping my bike in the sea too often.
If you are going through hell, keep going.
User avatar
Posts: 1862
Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:57 pm
Location: Peak District

Re: Bike packrafting a question for the weekend

Post by Richpips »

My location doesn’t really offer much in the way of navigable non-white water except the sea and the odd canal.
Yep that was my thought for round here too.

I'm also going to say that they if you live in the Northwest Territories, Alaska etc they will facilitate journeys that wouldn't be possible by bike alone.

In the UK they are a solution for a problem that doesn't exist.
User avatar
Posts: 7000
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:20 am
Location: Skipton(ish)

Re: Bike packrafting a question for the weekend

Post by whitestone »

It's a qualified maybe from me.

The price looks good but we'd need two so with paddles and PFDs we'd be looking at a grand.

Usage is odd: unless I/we went out of our way to find a body of water to paddle on the only area in the UK that I'd see a need for a packraft would be the Highlands: areas like Assynt that are as much water as land; those old tracks that have been cut in two by hydro schemes; linking up stalking tracks from different estates that stop at either side of a loch.

If I had a lot of disposable income then the price is low enough that despite the lack of local possibilities I'd probably take a punt (pun intended).
Better weight than wisdom, a traveller cannot carry
User avatar
Cheeky Monkey
Posts: 3476
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 1:48 pm
Location: Leeds ish

Re: Bike packrafting a question for the weekend

Post by Cheeky Monkey »

I'd imagine it would be popular among the (guessing) small group of people that would want to do things involving a lightweight raft (walking or riding). How big that general group is is possibly the nub of it.

I agree about the contrived nature of trips as described. However, I suspect there is scope for more out and back style jaunts e.g. ride away from parking up a river or to a point on the river then paddle down, back to home or car, or close, then ride a bit more. You certainly dont often need one in the UK as you might in somewhere like the Alaskan wilderness.

In hindsight I kinda wish I'd bought the BugFun in TPU and then a smaller Lotafun in PVC for WW mucking about. However, the tracking made me plump for the former and being new to it meant price influenced choice. I suspect I'm probably being princess and pea about performance and it'll be a longtime if ever that I could do justice to a second raft (doesn't stop me looking or possibly buying though).
User avatar
Posts: 3322
Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:05 pm

Re: Bike packrafting a question for the weekend

Post by voodoo_simon »

Couldn’t be bothered with one on the bike but would certainly give it a go if I was out hill walking :-bd
User avatar
Posts: 7969
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:56 am
Location: Cairngorms

Re: Bike packrafting a question for the weekend

Post by ScotRoutes »

I'll just agree with the general sentiment.

Personally, I've only used my packraft for day trips, sometimes with a bike. That's partly due to the added weight of carrying it when you add it to the load required for an overnighter. For sure I can contrive various local(ish) adventures to use it more than I do but I think any multi-day trip would be by foot and paddle rather than bike and paddle.
User avatar
Dave Barter
Posts: 3098
Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2013 6:21 pm

Re: Bike packrafting a question for the weekend

Post by Dave Barter »

I am definitely a foot rafter. There’s loads of opportunity near me to explore nooks and crannies via a ramble paddle. I have little interest in bringing the bike. My lotafun is used for van rafting and the occasional trip by bus. So I would definitely be up for something lighter and more compact for a decent price.
Elite keyboard warrior, DNF'er, Swearer
User avatar
Posts: 22129
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:53 pm
Location: my own little world

Re: Bike packrafting a question for the weekend

Post by Bearbonesnorm »

Despite having had a raft in one form or another for a few years, I've yet to 'bikeraft'. I know that unless I planned a special trip (in my case that might be paddle down the Wye and ride home as opposed to flying to Alaska), then I couldn't be doing with the convoluted nature and faff.

As others have said, walking with a raft holds much more appeal, so in that case a lightweight yet capable raft would be of interest. In fact, I may consider selling my current raft in order to purchase such a thing.

Yes, I think price is perhaps the biggest turn off for potential owners. There must be a magic figure, that below which people can justify buying one. I'm not sure what it is but £350 sounds a lot less than £400 :wink:
May the bridges you burn light your way
User avatar
Posts: 1068
Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2015 10:46 am
Location: Helensburgh, Scotland.

Re: Bike packrafting a question for the weekend

Post by Jurassic »

I've had an Alpacka 42 for quite a few years now and only used it once for overnight raftbikepacking. By the time you carry the raft, paddle, pfd and all your normal bivi kit it's quite a load. It was a trip I would never have bothered with otherwise though so I'm glad that I did it. I've done a few walking/rafting trips which were fun and I have a few more in mind that are on the to do list. That being said my packraft hasn't seen as much usage lately as I was finally convinced by some friends (who are existing users) to indulge in an iSUP and I've been really surprised how much I've enjoyed using it. Not suggesting that an SUP is a replacement for a raft but it I've found it far more enjoyable for short day paddles than the packraft.
User avatar
Posts: 1934
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2016 6:07 pm
Location: Newcastle

Re: Bike packrafting a question for the weekend

Post by thenorthwind »

whitestone wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 10:03 amI'd probably take a punt (pun intended).
I think you'd probably find carrying it difficult, and I'm not sure if you can get 12-piece carbon poles :wink:

This is not really answering John's question, but in response to some of the other answers...

Before I bought a packraft I think I tried to convince myself that there was more of a "need" (and that's still a very strong word) for it to make certain routes possible, and that's sort of true, but you have to go looking for them. They are contrived, and they are a solution looking for a problem.

But so are mountain bikes for the most part, and routes linking several disparate bits of Welsh tussock bog in an arbitrary, but round, number of kilometres. Pretty certain we all have a house, or at least some sort of permanent dwelling, so a tent/bivvy bag/tarp is also a solution looking for a problem. Looking for the problems is the fun bit!

Like my sweary namesake, I'm more likely to combine walking and paddling (which is nice, because it gives me a good reason to go for a proper walk, which I don't choose over the bike very often). Combining biking and paddling is an extra layer of faff, but I do particularly like the concept of using the bike (and sometimes the train as well) to paddle a river without using the car or messing around with shuttles. It's partly an environmental thing, but that doesn't feel like a particularly strong argument, so I guess the feeling of freedom, and the idea of a linear journey (in the same way that I prefer a big XC loop to driving to a trail centre).

Biking, paddling, and camping is yet another level of faff, but I have done it and enjoyed it.
Post Reply