Pack 'N' Paddle

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

September 4, 2019 Sports and Outdoors By
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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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Tanner Bowden

Tanner Bowden is a staff writer at Gear Patrol covering all things outdoors and fitness. He is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School and a former wilderness educator. He lives in Brooklyn but will always identify as a Vermonter.

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