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Backpacker Magazine – Gear Guide 2014

Gear Review: NRS PackRaft Paddle Boat

Lightweight packraft is also durable.

by: Eugene Buchanan

NRS Packraft (Courtesy)
NRS Packraft (Courtesy)

NRS PackRaft
Hike-and-paddle journeys have become increasingly popular in recent years, and the boats required are improving with demand. Exhibit A: The NRS PackRaft, which at 7 pounds, 4 ounces strikes a sweet balance between portability and paddlability. “I carried it 3 miles over the shoulder of Emerald Mountain outside of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, to float the Yampa River (Class II whitewater) back into town,” says one tester. “I barely noticed its weight in my pack, and when paddling in September’s low flows I found it nimble and dry.”


It’s durable, too, thanks to the abrasion- and puncture-resistant polyurethane-coated
nylon. And unlike other packrafts, which employ a single-air-chamber design, this one has four for added durability and safety (accidentally pop one and the others can still float you to shore). An inflatable, horseshoe-shaped seat keeps your derriere out of any puddles, while a removable, inflatable floor insert adds rigidity. $575; 7 lbs., 4 oz.; 
nrs.com

Be prepared Paddlers need cordage. Make sure you always have some onboard by wearing a survival bracelet: backpacker.com/survivalbracelet.




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