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Packraft Weight Capacity

One of the most common questions we get is about the carrying capacity of our packrafts. It’s a good question, but not one that is easy to answer. There is a big difference between how much weight our packrafts can float and how much weight they can safely carry and still perform well. In addition to the boat design, water conditions, paddler skill, and paddler judgment also play significant parts in the evaluation.

Because of the complexity and variability of the issue, we do not provide capacities for our packrafts in all conditions. However, we are happy to provide the following guidelines.

  • All of our packrafts are designed to comfortably carry the intended number of persons (1 for single boats, 2 for tandems) plus everything they can carry on their back on a backcountry trip consistent with the intended use of the boat.
  • In a pinch, you can carry excess weight if you exercise good judgment. For example, the Forager will pack out an entire moose or run up to Class IV whitewater, but you shouldn’t do both at the same time.
  • When paddling whitewater, a small amount of weight (20-30lbs per person) inside the Cargo Fly zipper will actually improve boat handling in almost any conditions. Heavy loads (50+ pounds per person) will reduce handling quickness although they can help drive the boat through larger features that do not require quick moves on big volume rivers like the Grand Canyon.     
  • We provide a Maximum Capacity for all models. This is the maximum total weight (paddlers and cargo) that the boat can reasonably carry in flatwater under ideal conditions, not the recommended weight for best performance.
  • Good judgment is the best skill that you can possess on any trip. Know your own limits (including what you don’t know) and the limits of your gear and use that to make good decisions in the field. It's better to test your gear in a safe and controlled environment (like a swimming pool or near shore in a warm lake) than to find its limits in the field.