NRS PackRaft

The deal

NRS-PackRaftNRS PackRaft

L: 6.8 ft, W: 3 ft; 7.4 lbs
$575; nrs.com

At a fraction of the price of the Alpacka or Feathercraft, we were impressed with how this simple-named craft stood up to abuse. First, on a overnight trip down a shallow creek it took several hard hits to the inflatable floor and 11-inch tubes without sustaining a scratch. Then in big water it crashed through holes and rode over five-foot standing waves like a ducky. The inflatable floor helped stiffen it laterally, creating a platform that surfed a big wave forward and sideways without problem. The airy sitting pad helped lift us off the floor – our keister appreciated it on the shallow creek – out of the puddle and into a more powerful paddling position. But because the seat is fixed at the stern of this lengthy raft (the inside stretches 4’1″), sitting on the seat without a large pack to balance the load and brace our feet against left the boat dangerously stern heavy and us swimming, figuratively and literally. With just a day-pack in the bow, a steep wave flipped us over backwards. A large pack balanced the boat and helped lock us in. Set up like this it felt stable and quick, large bow and stern kicks helping it spin on a dime. It’s not the best choice for flatwater where it felt sluggish, but with two guys and day-packs aboard, it remained stable and highly paddle-able. Overall, not the best at anything, but worthy of everything, including a decent weight for schlepping long distances. And, most importantly, the best deal in the test.

Advanced Elements Packlite Feathercraft Bolder

 

NRS PackRaft -  Photo by Ryan Stuart

NRS PackRaft – Photo by Ryan Stuart

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