08.12.2011

News from the European Scene

There are so many things going on, we hardly come to appreciate what people have been doing with their boats. 


'Eiszeit' in Germany, the major meltdown in January this year.

Europeans outside of Europe

Gabriel is back from the motherland (Alaska). As the years before he spent the best part of a summer up north. I particularly  found the reflection and discussion on failure of the original planned trip in the Brooks range very insightful. The three individual shorter trip (4 days Talkeetna, 17 days Denali by packraft and one week packrafting the Gulkana) he made out of the remaining time are stunning nevertheless. Brilliant Pictures! About one statement I had quite a laugh out loud. Sorry to quote in German and out of context:

"Mir blieb noch eine reichliche Woche Zeit, die ich einerseits mit Becky, andererseits aber auch gern in meinem Packraft verbringen wollte"  Sure, one needs to set preferences ;)

A similar venture had Sebastian in the Northern Rockies this summer. I am glad he shared a video with us, as he is one of the guys who do more and blog less ;) I 'd have not noticed, unless I knew from  Sabine who met him in Grönland on the trail last year (small world)

An new nation on the Packrafting in Europe map brings Maurizo Doro from Italy. His focus is on bikes, so he spend the summer in Alaska bikerafting.

The usual suspects

The packraft train on TUFT, by litemountaingear.com
Beni from hrxxlight.com had a reviewlike reflection from trekking ultralight forums meeting (TUFT), the German community of UL-backpackers. This time packrafts played a major role too :)

Mikkel from Norway set out on another funny micro adventure. And so did Gerhard in his backyard (Lechtaler Alpen in Austria)

David probably went out on his last packrafting trip of the season in Scotland. Am I right? 

Also I am happy to see Christian continues his schedual of yearly  excursions  in Norway . Remember,  he is one of the european Pioneers.

Lastly, Jens got arrested in Dubai. He set out to explore the famous artificial Islands. However, where he started of, it is impossible to get to with a normal canoe (from the backdoor of a hotel). Obviously he came from places not allowed (closed shore). Upon suspicion he spent the rest of the day explaining to the police. Jens does not have a blog or alike. He is one of my local buddies and he shared the story with me on a chat.
He later went on the Seychelles for wave surfing and beach hoping. Will see if I can add pictures later.

Belgium 

... is wort an own paragraph. Not only did Willem a superb trip in the French alps  (below) in preparation for his Transscandinavia project in 2012, but also will have more buddies too share with: Joery is about to upgrade with  a new boat (2012 spraydeck version) and become a real boater in the near future ;). Together with soon to be owners Andreas, Steve and Katrijn they already make a small local community. The later also have major plans in the arctic and patagonia in 2012 and 2013 by packraft (patagoniandreams.com). Stay tuned! 


Newcomers

I welcome Joni from Finland. Upon getting his boat he instantly went out on a bikerafting trip, the main purpose of the purchase :) The video is almost an instruction of bikerafting! Any case, a good application in lake infested Finland ;)

Not sure how long Colin from tramplite.com in the UK/Scotland got the boat, but this is the first venture I hear from. His announcement of adventuring for 6-9 months/year indicates there is more to come :)

Matthias, who completed the Pacific Crest Trail this summer (actually from April to August for 4,5 months), 

Quasi Packraft (DIY)

This is an interesting project undertaken by Chris. He cut out a cheap Sevylor inflatable made from PVC to lighten it up (down to 1680g!). PVC sure will not hold up any serious use, such as rocky streams, so to question is the qualification as a Packraft. However, reasonable used in lake and calm river environments it can make a reals inexpensive entry to the sport (~50€). This would be a definition by use: you raft (float) and pack (hike), ergo packraft :)



Photo by Narwhal in courtesy of Chris S./apaddelinmypack

Alternate Packraft (NRS)

I was very keen on hearing from Rob and David about their experience with the NRS packraft. Sure NRS is  a follower and they mainly have their point in price (~500€ equivalent in EU), but this is a fair feature, as long as the material will hold most abuse. Not everyone is willing to get into packrafting to full financial extend. I think there is room for a niche in the niche. To summerize the charakteristics so far as:

by NRS web
- roomy construction (one size fits all)
- striped down/ simple design (basic shape, no spraydeck)
- reasonable material  (it seams to hold) Seems not. It has its limits in rocky streams, we got about notice about. Review to follow! Urethan coated nylon is a generic tern, not a quality lable.  (Edit 30.01.12)
- removable floor (makes a useable sleeping mat)

That makes a good variation of packrafting. One has to love the idea, the product comes second :) We like to develop the theme of packraftig as such. Our main goal is to promote the sport, regardless of the manufacturer. Rob promised to add pictures to this too and confirm on manufactures claimed specs (the 2,2 kg for example).

Sooners & Friends

Last but not least, I like to introduce four more aspirants. We got to know them on our presentation at Bergsichten
There is Torsten and Ilka from Regenzeit.net, a project on conservation in Amazonia. Torsten and Ilka will for the first time use packrafts on their next expedition in Bolivia (Jan-April 2012). Goal and purpose is access to aboriginal communities (Tsimane and Mosetene) for medical help as well as the work with biologists on  reintegration of wild animals. In the remaining time they will try to access the source of the Madidi river with first decent as personal adventure.

On the same event we met Jörg and Claudia, who call themselfs Mini Mulis, for their feel with (too) heavy equipment :) They focus on regional adventures and run a informative blog with gear reviews. Upon return from Cuba, they are very keen on using the new packrafts to combine their outdoor passions of hiking, biking and paddling.

Anyone missing in this overview? Leave a comment and I will add :) Don't have a blog or picture site? Write to us, we like to hear about and try to cover it here.

Kommentare:

  1. Hello :) Torridon wasn't my last boating trip of the year. I was out down the River Spey from Aviemore to Charleston for a few days this week but managed to lose all my photos in a watery incident. Got some poor quality video and might post it up when I get a chance. Some more cold water paddling coming up soon I hope ... brrr :)

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  2. First: Great job for "collecting" the European packrafting scene to one place and keeping it updated. This is really valuabale blog!
    Second: I'm also eager to know the true specs of the NSR raft. It looks that it might be good raft for two people on easy water. The Alpacka Llama was too small for my needs and won't work anyway if I get the 2012 deck on my raft.
    Thirdly: Sorry, no packrafting content from the autumn from my part as I've been busy with other trips (guide school). But couple of friends of mine are probably getting packrafts for next summer... I'll let you know if they do.

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  3. Guys, thank you for the nice words. I was watching your blogs for some packraftig content! I'll continue so. And, there is no such thing as off season for packrafting ;) Will post someting on a good value drysuit I found later on.

    As for the 2-Person theme, I agree, the NRS could make a valuable trailboat for two (1,4m interior). However, I am not fully convinced on the specs according to the manufacturer. So I am eager too to hear from Rob and David (also about true weight, claimed to be 2,2 kg). In general, the use as a double is something I personally favour too. So far, the Explorer was an acceptable solution for me. Lets see whats coming up on this one.

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