We up in Alaska have been working on running whitewater in little inflatable rafts, called "packrafts".

There's a bunch of videos on TouTube of them like this

we can even roll them like this when equipped with thigh straps

They are best for low water runs, we think, like this

Anyway, would anyone down there be interested in trying one out? I'll be down there in January with three boats all with thigh straps and spray decks. Thinking of starting at Murchison and then doing something like Karamea or Landsborough.

Looking for good boaters with an open mind......and a sense of adventure.

Knowing how long it's taken Yanks to look at them as real boats

I'm expecting scorn, but heh, they only weigh 3 kg with thigh straps, so they are super light and surpsingly durable.

handscrape's picture

Not sure how to reply to cold77, but I'll give this a try. I just got my packraft and would love to come along if your open to newbies. I'd be happy just to tag along and watch.

handscrape's picture

I was just down in Queenstown and did a guided, one day, packraft trip with these guys:

It was awesome.

Maybe they'd rent you one.

I just bought a packraft and can't wait to start using it!

Hamilton, NZ via Olympia, WA, USA

Cq's picture

I know this was posted a few years ago, but I'm wondering if any of you pack raft savy people know of a place on the South Island to rent a pack raft. I'm traveling from montana, and my boyfriend brought his pack raft. We'd like to explore a bit, and I'd rather not lug a Duckie around. Any ideas?

Cq's picture

Hi there,
I know this is an old post, but I'm looking for a pack raft to rent around murchison in the next few weeks. My boyfriend and I are traveling from Montana, and he brought his pack raft with him. I am boatless! Any new updates on pack rafting in New Zealand? I'd love some tips.

akpride's picture

roman dial? in NZ?

hugh's picture

Agree with the above guys. I ran the Turnbull - put it on your next trip - in an inflatable kayak about a zillion years ago. Also look at riverbugs.

Hugh Canard

riverplay's picture

Dude, I've enjoyed watching your exploits around the S.I. you make packrafting look very easy, good on you for bringing non-traditional boats with you and taking on most of the classic runs on the West Coast.

I prefer inflatable kayaking for most of the same reasons as you mention about packrafting, fortunately we are a minority, LOL!

Also thanks for your comments concerning our beautiful country, I still don't take it for granted even after having spent my whole life exploring our amazing wilderness. If only a small percentage of the international paddlers were as appreciative as you on this forum instead of trying to hock their river 'junk'.

Be safe out there, hope to see you back in aoetearoa soon.

cold77's picture

After a month on the S Island, gotta say that NZ is likely the best place in the world for packrafting.

It's like God designed it for the perfect weekend packrafting trip: hike 2 hrs to a hut with a light pack, sleep, hike 4 hours, put in for great paddling, pick up your gear, float out to the road and drive to the next run. A $60 six month hut pass is a packrafter's substitute for a helicopter ride at twice the cost for a single run.

And there's the paddling: beautiful water with great weather in summer. Neat stream architecture with steepest/hardest at top, mellowing out to easy lowlands and often times a final Class III gorge before the road. While the sievey nature encourages you to stay in the boat, the exciting drops, plops, and boulder hopping through the stone gardens seem to make every river better than the last.

Then there's the great hiking and "camping". Super fun trails parallel most rivers and lead to a hut. Easy to see why NZ produced so many great adventure racers and paddlers in out of all proportion to its population.

Finally, there's an abundance of local and foreign talent and adventurers up for something novel.

Here's a four minute video of a handful of west coast runs we did in packrafts:

I am hoping to come back again and again. It's a wonderful country full of wonderful people, mtns, and rivers.

cold77's picture

cold77's picture

Here's what we did on S. Fork Mokihinui and down:

etomsen's picture

I'm keen to try out a packraft with thigh straps. Being able to roll it would give you an option other than swimming, which would be sweet in whitewater. I could also imagine it increasing general stability.
I'm traveling the SI right now, so can meet you anywhere, but would prefer the Queenstown area. Oh yeah, and that comment about me being nuts, its probably true. You gotta test the limits to find out what you can do.

PRJ's picture

The more I see of these things the more I'm convinced they can do anything. Might be the Alaskan dude that is paddling it though. Absolutely nuts.

dylan0's picture

Well if your coming up near palmerston north way i would definatly keen to try 1 out have seen them on youtube and been trying to find 1 to hav a paddle in for ages.Let me know if you will b up ths way.