Model: BAKraft Hybrid
Our take Ultralight packrafts have been around for more than a decade, but the most packable models have not been self-bailing—a key feature for keeping the raft maneuverable and light. This new option from Aire delivers self-bailing performance at just 7 pounds—the lightest on the market with such tech—and packs down to a bundle the size of a three-person tent. The trick? An inflatable floor keeps your butt dry while letting water flow back out. The 7-foot-long craft has two air chambers (insurance in case one of them punctures). On an overnighter to Beaver Lake in Colorado, the raft was easy to strap onto the outside of our packs and, once inflated, afforded a waterside view of the surrounding mountains few hikers see. While tracking isn’t its forte, it turned easily to rescue a dropped water bottle. Nitpick: It takes a good 15 minutes to inflate.
River cred “The inflatable floor stays rigid, unlike the sag you get with non-inflatable floors,” says one tester who stretched its capacity by paddling a passenger under the midnight moon on Beaver Lake. “It also creates less drag in the water.”