Packraft Care: How to clean and store your packraft.

Man Packrafting on a still lake with mountains in the background


You've just gotten back from your first packrafting trip. It was everything you wanted it to be! (Well, we hope it was!) And you can't wait until your next one, but you've got this damp, folded packraft sitting in your garage... 

Here's how to clean and store your packraft, (hint: it's not folded damp!) so you can have amazing adventures again and again and again and get the most joy out of your pack raft. 


It is super important to clean your pack raft after every use (or at the end of a trip if you're away for multiple days). This not only prevents the boat from getting moldy, but also stops the spread of things like didymo between rivers. 

Most of the time, your packraft will only need a rinse and a wipe, but it can be cleaned with mild soap if needed (if cleaning with mild soap make sure you rinse with tap water).

And make sure you don't let water, or any liquids enter the hull. 


1. Blow up the packraft (it's so much easier to get everything out this way!) You can shake out any bits that have stowed away or remove them with a low-powered vacuum. 

2. Lean your packraft up against something so you can hose it down - you may need to use a cloth to wipe bits and tip out any water to get any remaining bits of mud and dirt out. You may also use mild soap (dish soap works well - please don't use detergents containing tough chemicals) for any oil or stuff that isn't coming off with only water. Please don't use rough cleaning sponges or scourers; they will damage the raft. 

3. Run your hand along the inside of the raft (along the seams) to check that it is clean. 

4. Leave your raft leaning outside in the shade (the direct sun can damage the packraft coating, seams, and valves), and soak up water pooling to the bottom of the packraft inside with a cloth. Rotate as it dries, so you're getting an evenly dry raft! 

5. Make sure the pack raft is 100% dry before storing, or it will get moldy and damage things like zippers.

NOTE: Be cautious using high DEET mosquito replant as it can corrode plastic products and leave marks in the polyether polyurethane that is used on some packrafts.   

Tents and packrafts with mountains in the background.


How to Store your Packraft:

The beauty of a packraft is that it takes up way less space than a traditional boat! To store, make sure it is left hanging, loosely rolled or folded, and out of direct sunlight.

If the raft is stored somewhere cool and dry with some airflow and kept out of the way so it can't get damaged during day-to-day life activities, it will be ready for your next adventure. If it's packed away for a long time, you'll need to check it and inflate it to ensure it's ready to go. 

Packrafting on an NZ river


Top 5 tips to keep your packraft in good condition:

1. Remove any bits of sand and dirt from the pack raft using a low-powered vacuum. 

2. Hose your raft down while leaning against something. Use a mild soap if you have some gunk that won't come off. 

3. Let the pack raft air dry out of direct sunlight, rotating as it dries.

4. Make sure the raft is 100% dry before storing. 

5. Store your raft hanging or loosely folded/rolled out in a dry space with no direct sunlight - that has airflow. 


 For additional information and diagrams, please see the MSR User's Manual.

If you found this post useful, be sure to check out this one we think you'll love: Packraft paddle size guide.  

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