Webbing tie down- A
We use 20mm webbing to reduce weight whilst retaining strength. These tie downs allow you to secure gear and even bikes to your packraft whilst on the water. We'd recommend running a lightweight cord between these tie downs to provide a grab hold should you need to tow your packraft or prevent it from floating away. In whitewater you should always be conscious of the possibility of entanglement - it may be worthwhile stringing one continuous length between the front tie downs so that a single cut anywhere along its length releases all of the cord.
Floor and Hull Material- B
Our packrafts are constructed from:
Floor - 0.65mm 840D urethane double-coated Nylon.
Tubes - 0.4mm 210D urethane double-coated Nylon or 0.4mm 210D urethane single-coated Nylon.
Urethane double-coating means the Nylon core material has a durable, waterproof coating on both the inside and outside. This makes the packraft a little heavier but more rigid and importantly tougher. A sharp object would need to penetrate both coatings to cause a puncture. A single urethane coating on the outside reduces weight. Your choice of double or single urethane coating is dependent on how you intend to use your packraft.
The best analogy is a mountain bike tyre - they're rugged and designed to take abuse but dependent on how you use it a puncture is possible. Packrafts are not inflated to high pressure and so tend to bounce of rocks. If necessary our rafts can be quickly and easily patched at the waters edge or you can undertake a more permanent repair at home using the repair patches. We recommend Stormsure Tuff Tape or Flexible Adhesive for quick repairs and Helaplast PU Glue to glue the repair patches. Packrafts have been mauled by bears and put back in action.
Thigh straps - C
Thigh straps are secured over the knees and anchor the paddler in the boat giving you greater control over how the boat moves through waves. You can release yourself simply from thigh straps by straightening your legs, however we recommend that they are not used by inexperienced paddlers and that you get become familiar with extracting yourself from an upturned packraft in controlled flat water situation prior to use in whitewater or an environment where the packraft might turn over. All our thigh straps are detachable.
Tube diameter - D
All of our packrafts have a 28cm side tube diameter which provides the perfect balance between stability and manoeuvrability. Less diameter would make the packraft more manoeuvrable in white water but less stable.
Backrest, inflatable backband and Seats - E
All our seats and inflatable backrests are made from 0.4mm 420D urethane-single coated nylon.
The inflatable backrest (0.07kg) positions the paddler at the stern of packraft, whilst the adjustable backband (0.17kg) is fractionally heavier but provides more support and enables the paddles to adjust their position within the packraft.
An inflatable U-seat is fitted as standard in all our packrafts, with the exception of the Longshore SB260 which is fitted with a 3/4 length inflatable seat. This 3/4 length seat makes the self-bailing packraft more rigid and lifts the paddler out of the water.
TIZIP Internal Storage - F
Our TIZIP Internal Storage allows you to stow your gear in watertight dry bags, which slide neatly inside each tube. Unlike some competitors, our dry bags come with clips that allow you to firmly secure the bags inside the centre of the packraft tubes preventing them from shifting suddenly in whitewater.
Your gear is kept completely dry and the centre of gravity is lowered, which makes the packraft even more stable. It also means you don't have to contend with gear strapped to the topside of your packraft, obscuring your view. In the unlikely event of a puncture the two dry bags also act as additional flotation chambers and the TIZIP allows you access to the inside of your packraft, enabling a more effective repair on both the inside and outside of the tubes.
The TIZIP adds a fraction extra weight at approximately 150g and requires occasional maintenance with the supplied lubricant.
Boston ValvE - G
This valve is two part. The large diameter section allows for rapid inflation or deflation. The smaller diameter section has a one-way valve, allowing the paddler to top up the air manually. The Boston valve is positioned so that a paddler can even re-inflate whilst on the water in the event of a slow puncture or if you forgot temper your packraft (see below).
Spray deck: 0.2mm 70D urethane-single coated nylon
Two of our models come with decks, a whitewater spray deck with detachable spray skirt or a cruiser deck. The whitewater deck is fixed in place and a rigid tube slides into the rim, forming a coaming that the spray skirt can be clipped over.
The cruiser deck is removable. It is zipped along one side and held in place by a wide strip of velcro on the other.
Whether to use a deck is matter of choice. Some prefer decks, particularly in colder climates because they help to retain heat as well as keep you dry. If you are going to be getting in and out of your packraft regularly to portage or scout upcoming whitewater, extracting yourself from a deck can be frustrating and a self-bailer may be more appropriate.
As with thigh straps, we strongly recommend that decks are not used by inexperienced paddlers. You should become familiar with extracting yourself from an upturned packraft in controlled flat water environment prior to entering whitewater.
Inflating The packraft - H
Our packrafts are inflated using the inflation bag. This is screwed into the Boston valve and held so that it is not twisted. It is then gently scooped upwards to capture air and the top is closed with a twist. Pressure applied to the inflation bag pushes a large volume of air into the packraft and the process is repeated. Once the packraft is full, unscrew the Inflation Bag and close the Boston valve. You can then blow into the one-way valve to top it up.
If you forget your inflation bag you can still blow the packraft up manually, it'll just take a bit longer.
Tempering the packraft
Having inflated your packraft you should lay it on the water which will be cooler than the air for a few minutes. Contact with cooler water will naturally cause the volume of air to contract so you should then remove it a top it up with a few extra breathes before you commence paddling.
Length, speed and Yawing
The maximum speed of a packraft, or any boat for that matter, is directly correlated to the length of its water line. This is known as hull speed. Yawing is the amount any packraft or canoe will move from side to side each time a paddler takes a stroke on a different side. Put simply, the longer a packraft, the faster it is and the less it yaws. Shorter packrafts are more maneuverable and better suited to whitewater.
Most of our packrafts have parallel tubes, a flat underside profile and slightly uplifted bow. This increases the water line and therefore hull speed and improves tracking. The uplifted bow allows them to ride some whitewater. The bulk of a paddlers weight is situated towards the stern; the air chamber behind the paddler is larger to compensate for this and keep the packraft level as it moves through the water. This large air chamber also helps prevent the packraft from flipping over backwards on big waves.
The exception is our Longshore WW250 model which has greater rocker (both the bow and stern are upturned) to allow it to ride waves more efficiently.
If you've got any questions please contact us!