Have you thought about combining mountain biking and packraft? Wouldn't you like to travel by bike and then ride down rivers? Or maybe you'd like to ride a fatbike on deserted beaches. It's time to introduce you to bikeraft. I'm going to introduce you to this amazing mix of cycling and packrafting that is bikeraft or bikerafting.
The packraft and the mountain bike are an incredible expedition tool. In their own way, they both give us the same thing: freedom. The freedom to travel further and faster than we could on foot.
With a weight equivalent to that of a two-person backpacking tent and a similar footprint, the potential of a packraft is twofold: travelling on water opens up a new perspective on experiences, while the boat's light weight means you can carry it in your bag. Once you understand that a body of water no longer means an impassable barrier, you no longer look at a map in the same way!
Sailing a packraft with a bike is a bit different from conventional sailing. You're probably not going to be running V class rapids with a bike strapped to your bow. However, many packraft are more manoeuvrable on flat water with the weight of a bike (or just a large rucksack) on the bow counterbalancing your own weight on the back. This gives a better weight distribution and minimises the chance of being unbalanced. Boating with a bike on your bow will probably take some getting used to, but so will riding a bike loaded with cast iron the first time...
As with any new skill, some learning is required: how to attach the ATV to the bow of the packraft, maintenance and repairs, and safety on rapids. There is no doubt that adding a boat will add bulk and weight to your touring gear, as well as time when transitioning between modes of travel. You will become more efficient at choosing and storing your gear. The packraft can be integrated into your routine gear as your experience grows. Ultimately, a packraft is a shipping tool, and like any tool, it is up to the user to unleash its full potential.
Although this is a relatively new piece of equipment, there is already a wide variety of models among packrafts. In recent years, several brands have emerged, offering a wider range of choices. As with almost all equipment, you need to decide on your priorities and choose from the following criteria: cheap, light and durable.
What size packraft for bikeraft?
There is no point in having the lightest packraft, it will not be practical to attach a bike to it... The bulk of a bike attached to the bow limits your ability to reach the front of the packraft with the paddle, so it makes sense to use a boat that is slightly longer than normal to maintain an efficient paddle stroke. Preferably a Large size packraft (L) slightly longer for bikerafting. The extra weight is easily offset by the convenience of this length for storing the bike. Lashings are absolutely essential for any boat (not all have them), so that you can grab the boat and pull yourself back in case of a swim - no mean feat when you only have wet, slippery tubes to hold onto!
So would you like to try bikeraft?
With DiscoveRent we organise guided day trips on a bikeraft. The perfect opportunity to try out this unusual sport in complete peace of mind. Our guide Thomas will explain all the techniques you need to know and share his passion for cycling and packraft. The bikeraft is an incredible expedition tool, just waiting for you to set off on your adventure!