Packraft Care: How to set-up and inflate your packraft.

man packrafting on a lake

It is always a great time to start something new, like packrafting! But once you've got the raft home, how on earth do you get it ready to do all the missions you have planned? We're here to break it down for you (no dancing involved) and give you our top tips to get you packraft ready!

1. Make sure you install the Skeg before you inflate your packraft.

The Skeg is a fin that is removable (on our MSR packrafts) and comes in different sizes that are interchangeable (between our MSR packrafts). The purpose of the Skeg is to keep the packraft stable and help focus the energy you exert on forward propulsion. 

The Skeg comes in two sizes. The small Skeg works in all water depths (including white water) and is more durable when it hits the bottom of riverbeds. It also reduces the swing of the packraft, making paddling more efficient while remaining agile. The large Skeg is for cruising long distances and making the raft more stable, reducing hull swing, and helping to increase paddling speed.

2. The "Internal Storage Bag" can't be accessed while the packraft is inflated - so think carefully about what you plan to store in this. 

It's an excellent system for things you don't need while on the water (tents, etc.). 

Put equal weight in each bag on either side. You can use tie-downs and buckles to keep the bags in place; so they don't move around during travel. 

Dan Shows us how to inflate a packraft using the inflation bag.

3. How to inflate the packraft using the inflation bag. 

- To connect the inflation bag to the valve, remove the one-way valve from the black main valve on the hull. Twist the inflation black male valve into the female valve on the packraft.

- Hold the inflation bag rods (one in either hand) and pull up the inflation bag quickly to fill it with air. Fold and roll the top of the bag to trap sufficient air (an 80% fill of the bag should be possible). Squeeze the air from the inflation bag into the tubes. Repeat this step 4-8 times (depending on the packraft) until the packraft is almost filled. Quickly replace the one-way valve to prevent air loss. 

An Important Note; Make sure water doesn't enter the hull through the valve. If water does enter the hull, dry it with an air pump as soon as possible. Water in the hull can damage the packraft if left for too long.

- Use a micro pump or your mouth to bring the tubes up to the correct pressure. The packraft may lose pressure when entering colder water. If this happens, top up the packraft with more air to bring the pressure back up.  

Another note; In warmer weather, the air may expand. Be wary that the air pressure in the inflatable seat and backrest isn't too high, as these parts will not cool when entering the water and are more likely to become pressurised in the weather. (Lower seat pressure also makes it more comfortable!) 

Women inflating packraft

Inflating a packraft using the inflation bag.

Our three steps for how to inflate your packraft:

1. Make sure you install the Skeg before you inflate your packraft.

2. The "Internal Storage Bag" can't be accessed while the packrafts inflated - so think carefully about what you plan to store in this. 

3. Inflate the packraft using the inflation bag, then top up to correct pressure with your mouth or a micro pump. 

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

If you liked this blog, check this one out: How to buy your first PFD.

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