Hi Everyone! New paddler here… I was wondering if anyone could give some insight into switching from a hard shell kayak to a pack raft? My partner and I are both into hiking and backpacking and we also like to get out on the water, though preferably on lakes/ sea and not whitewater. We are considering switching to pack rafts because it would be nice to combine hiking and floating. Additionally, we are people with a more minimalist mindset in that we want to have fewer things (e.g. not having a hard shell kayak AND a pack raft, but rather one thing that can serve our purposes best). We are also downsizing substantially from a 3 bedroom house to either an apartment or a tiny house and potentially getting rid of our car. These are all reasons why hard shell kayaks are becoming less of an option (i.e. no room for storage and no method of transportation). But after doing some reading, it seems as though pack rafts are not ideal for lakes/sea “kayaking”… is this accurate? If so, could you make any recommendations for other products that might be better suited? Any input would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
Take a look at Ally Pack canoes.
They are made from aluminum tubing and a canvas like material, and they fold up to a back pack.
I was surprised at how durable they are
We used them in the Arctic Circle on the Noatak River! and we went through some rapids with them(https://d3s3k13islrvw7.cloudfront.net/original/2X/f/f67a4bbf1d4cc03cbeda75074b9df122640ce227.jpeg “”)
Not an expert (never Packrafted myself), but pretty impressed by this guy in Kodiak Alaska who has done all sorts of stuff with packrafts.
Look at Pakboat kayaks as another compact option. I have owned 4 of their models and took my 23 pound solo
Puffin (a 12 footer) to the UK with me a couple of years ago. Here it is packed with all my paddling gear in a bag that was within the airline dimensions for free baggage. The kayak by itself fits in a duffel the size of a large gym bag.
And if you are DIY type folks, check out DIYpackrafts.com, who sells kits to make your own custom packrafts.