By Martin from 'Vildmark.co.uk'
Packrafts are really durable as they are normally made from TPU, or some models are made from PVC. They are normally inflated using an airbag or foot pump, and depending on the style they can weigh as little as 1.5kg or as much as 7kg. Obviously if you’re hiking a fair way with your raft then the lighter the better. I’ve been paddling packrafts for a few years now and have tried quite a few different brands and types.
The main point I can put across is don’t be caught up with false economy when purchasing a packraft. In general the main producers like Alpacka, MRS or Anfibio are quite a large outlay initially, some from £700 - £1100 but you have to think about what you will get out of using your packraft. You don’t want to buy cheap and then it isn’t suitable for what you want out of it.
Personally I use a PVC packraft from Neris specifically for fishing. This is when I haven’t got to walk far with it as it is heavy but really durable. When i’m hiking and fishing the MRS Microraft is my go to packraft for hiking adventures. Weighing around 2.3kg, it has a splash deck and internal storage.
Internal Storage is a game changer. Basically internal storage is a dry zip on the back or on the tubes where you can store all your gear inside the raft. This is a great way in balancing the packraft and keeping a lot of your gear of the front of the packraft.
Packrafting can really open the doors to adventure by giving you access to many different places, especially normally un-fished areas, allowing you to cross large lakes/rivers and giving you the ability to completely adapt a regular walk along the river.
As long as you’ve got all the gear needed you’ll be ready for adventure. Just bear in mind that 2 weeks worth of food, fishing gear, camping gear and all the bits for packrafting can be fairly heavy. Saying that though if your heading out for maybe 2 or 3 nights it doesn’t need to be so heavy.
So, what will you need? Packraft, PFD, Paddle, waterproofs/dry suit, waterproof bag and a few other small items. Fishing goes side by side in a packrafting adventure, whether you're sport fishing or fishing for food.
Personally for me, the X5 Adventure (Have a look at this video of my travel fishing gear) is the perfect rod as I can fly fish, bait fish and lure fish all with one set-up.
It also packs up really small and I can fit a small amount of tackle, flies and lures within the case. If you're new to the hobby I would recommend you jump on a packrafting course like the Packraft Paddler course by Tirio in North Wales.
This summer I went with a friend to Glaskogen National Park in Sweden for 2 weeks packrafting, fishing and hiking. The trip itself had been put off for a few years due to Covid but finally we managed to get out there. Glaaskogen has over 80 lakes and tarns and over 300km of hiking trails. Once you purchase your fishing and camping cards the whole area is there for you to explore.
With massive lakes, holding monstrous pike to small mountain tarns with a head of land locked Char the fishing is amazing. Now combine this with a being able to hike up to the lakes, spend a night in one of the Dano Huts, walk down, setup your packraft and follow some of the best canoe trails in Sweden to your next nights stop. Glaskogen this summer was an absolutely fantastic trip that I would really recommend to anyone. If you want some further information or would like to see the videos from this trip then click here.
If fly fishing isn't really your thing, and you'd like another travel rod recommendation then you should check out the Smuggler 4. This has 108cm and 154cm fishing options, and packs down to fit into a 37cm travel case.
Short fishing rods are ideal for fishing on any kind of boat, whether it be a kayak, canoe or packraft. Especially if there are trees, bushes and other potentially troublesome vegetation!
The interchangeable tips allow for multiple cast weight options, meaning you only need one fishing rod with you rather than a selection. A priceless attribute when you're out on a packraft, or any kind of holiday!
If you’re in to your travel fishing then I would really recommend having a further look at packrafting.
There’s loads more information on my website, and hopefully we will see you on the water.