Pack 'N' Paddle

Now You Can Get an Ultralight Raft Originally Designed for the Military


September 4, 2019 Sports and Outdoors By

We’re accustomed to hearing the lightweight and packable story attached to tents, sleeping bags and down jackets. But rafts? Those are huge; even the lightest and smallest of them should require a pickup to move. Uncharted Supply Co., a gear company that focuses on emergency preparedness, recently made its argument to the contrary — by making a packraft that deflates down to the size of a football.

Packrafts — single-person, lightweight rafts designed for expedition use — are small by definition. But the Rapid Raft hyperbolizes the idea; it weighs three pounds and shrinks down to a wad small enough to fit in a backpack. And yet when it’s inflated — through a process that takes less than a minute and is similar to that employed by those strange blow-up chairs you’ll see at beaches and festivals — it can carry up to 400 pounds across any body of water. Uncharted designed it to fill a military request for a vessel that deploys and packs quickly, and only recently adapted it for the public. Soldiers have a version that’s even smaller and lighter, but with a weight of three pounds, we’re not complaining.

The Rapid Raft is currently funding on Indiegogo — it’s already surpassed its goal — with an expected ship date of November 2019.

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