Tips For Going On An RV Packrafting Trip

With Dustin & Sarah Bauer
Dustin and Sarah preparing their packrafts in front of their Tiffin Wayfarer.

One of our favorite things to do on RV trips is go packrafting. Packrafting is essentially a combination of backpacking and rafting. You use a small, inflatable raft that is designed to roll up and fit inside a backpack. Packrafting not only allows you to cover distances more quickly but you can also access new places that you otherwise might not be able to just by hiking or biking. And best of all? Packrafting is a great compliment to RVing since the gear is so compact and minimal.

If you’re interested in taking your own packrafting trip or looking for a new hobby to complement your RV lifestyle, here are some tips to help make your next RV packrafting trip a success.

  1. Look For Blue Lines

    One of the quickest and easiest ways to find places to packraft is by scouring physical maps. Specifically, anything that is marked in blue, as this usually indicates a water source. We like to use local maps and guidebooks to find various rivers, lakes and streams, and then plan our camping trips around those waters. And since packrafts don’t have motors, you’ll have a lot more places to choose from.

    If you’re new to packrafting and need some specific guidance on where to start, you can always ask for recommendations at a local rental shop or outfitter. You can also search for rafting or float fishing tour companies and see if they have recommendations. These places should be able to tell you about water conditions to make sure you’re packrafting in a spot that matches your skillset. Even if your preferred lake or river isn’t directly next to your RV campsite, the beauty of packrafts is that they only weigh about six pounds so you can easily bring them with you.

    Dustin and Sarah look at a map sitting in the dinette inside their Tiffin Wayfarer

  2. Start Slow And Work Up

    If you’re new to packrafting, we recommend starting out at a local lake or pond. This will help give you a feel for the raft and the paddles, without having to deal with river currents or sudden rushes of water. Packrafting is a very buildable sport. This means that once you’ve gotten comfortable with your equipment and certain bodies of water, you can slowly start to increase your adventuring into more complex waters, such as swift rivers and rapids.

  3. House Your Gear In Outside Storage Bays

    As we mentioned, packrafts are extremely compact and lightweight, so they won’t take up much space inside your RV. Even the paddles can collapse down into a few short pieces. However, the rafts and paddles do get wet and dirty. We always try to give our packrafts a quick rinse once we’re done using them, and our outdoor shower is perfect for doing just that. Once they’ve been rinsed off, even if they aren’t completely dry, we can put them in our Wayfarer’s exterior storage bay. Our storage bays are rubberized and waterproof, so they’re extremely easy to clean and help keep dirt and mess outside of our RV. Most RV exterior storage bays also lock, so you can feel good knowing that your gear is safe and secure.

    Dustin and Sarah rolling up their packrafts to put into their Tiffin Wayfarer

  4. The Packrafting Essentials

    In addition to any camping and hiking gear, here is a list of packrafting essentials that you should always bring with you:

    - Packraft

    - Paddles

    - Seat cushion

    - Backrest

    - Personal flotation device (PFD)

    - Helmet

    - Dry bag

    - Backpack

    a top down view of dustin and sarah bauer's packrafting gear spread out on the ground

  5. Important Things To Carry In Your Packraft

    In addition to the packrafting essentials, we always bring an extra backpack of supplies that we’ll place inside of the packraft. Our backpack will have things like:

    - Emergency air pump

    - GPS tracker

    - Raft repair kit

    - First aid kit

    - Whistle

    - Sunscreen

    - Bug spray

Class C Motorhomes

Class C motorhomes offer outdoor experiences for larger families at a lower price point than Class A Motorcoaches. Recognizable by their raised sleeping or storage areas which extend over the cab of the RV, Class C Motorhomes offer more living space than Class B Motorhomes but are smaller in size and can offer better gas mileage than Class A Motorcoaches.

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