Not long ago, I got a packraft. You may wonder what a packraft is, which is a fair question to ask because before my SO talked to me about it, I had no idea this was even an option as a sport. I’ve always loved the outdoors and outdoor activities such as camping, kayaking/canoeing, hiking/trekking, etc. Until a few months ago, I went camping, rented a canoe and explored nature mostly on foot. Considering I live in an apartment where keeping a kayak or a canoe is not an option, it felt very limiting to camp, hike and canoe. This is mostly why I never attempted to backcountry camp, I felt like something was missing.
“Packraft and trail boat are colloquial terms for a small, portable inflatable boat designed for use in all bodies of water, including technical whitewater and ocean bays and fjords. A packraft is designed to be light enough to be carried for extended distances. Along with its propulsion system (collapsable paddles or lightweight oars) and safety equipment (PFD, clothing) the entire package is designed to be light and compact enough for an individual to negotiate rough terrain while carrying the rafting equipment together with supplies, shelter, and other survival or backcountry equipment.”
Isn’t that just wonderful!?
After I finally received my Alpaca packraft in nautical blue from Alpacka Raft, I decided to go backcountry packrafting to test it out. The trip itself was a huge fail due to various reasons such as the weather, but the packrafting part of the trip was fantastic! I enjoyed the hell out of that boat!
I went back to Stratton Lake in Algonquin Park since I had gone there last to practice. The weather was great when I started in early afternoon but by nightfall, it was damp and drizzling constantly. I had a backcountry campsite booked in High Falls for the first night and Stratton Lake for the second night but we ended up spending the first and only night on Stratton Lake. On our way down Stratton Lake, we opted for the “short cut” where we were going to portage the rafts over to the other side. I should have known that the water levels would not allow such a thing in May but it was late, rainy and I was hungry. I just wanted to get to the campsite by then for a warm meal and some rest. After exploring Highfalls for a period of time in the rain, we concluded that it would be too much trouble and risky to portage across and headed back to the nearest campsite thinking we could come back to High Falls the next day to explore and take some photographs of the natural slide.
Once we got to the campsite, of course all the wood was wet already but we managed a nice fire thanks to the cotton balls and Vaseline I had brought as fire starter in case this exact scenario would happen. We set up the tent and had some dinner then went to bed. It was damp and cold all night as it rained quite hard for most of the night. In the morning it had turned into a light rain which was enough to start a fire and have some breakfast. We had brought a tarp so we set up a little shelter.
By the afternoon, we felt pretty defeated. We just kept eating to keep warm and motivated but with the rain not stopping, it was hard. I had made some no-bake cranberry flax energy bites which worked out really well during our adventure. It was disappointing that I couldn’t take out my camera for some shots most of the times. When I checked in the waterproof bag, my equipment was very damp. I got very scared for her during that trip and decided that considering how heavy she is and the weather, I would leave her at home and bring only the point and shoot during backcountry adventures.
In late afternoon, the rain was scattering and I was able to take a few photographs of the campsite. We had packed up our stuff by then and planned to head back to the car. By the time we reached the car, the rain had stopped and the sky was clear. It was an interesting first backcountry camping experience and I would certainly do it again but I would do a lot of things differently.
This post had some spelling/grammar edits done…a few times.