Are we commercial now?

Despite no official announcement here, it is no secret anymore. We officially sell. Our web shop opened on Febuary 15th. Packrafts and third party accessories are now conveniently available in the European Union.

First question to come: Who is "we"?

Well, that is indeed a good question. Physically it is the same guys, but legally a different entity. Even in our mind, we  clearly separate business and logistics on one side, theme and editorial work on the other. Some times it is overlapping, often not. We love to live the schizophrenic nature of ourselves ;)  

The blog remains the theme of packrafting with our subjective posts plus objective pages on research topics.
The Store is a logistical operation. 

Classic Packraft with hatch deck
The possible (!) money we earn is for the investment and risk as well as handling and service. We think in added value, not participation on an upsurge of the theme. The value is that of ease in supply (free of customs), lowering buyers risk (right of revocation) as well as services of repair and modification (no shipping overseas). By all means, it shall be no more expensive than it would apply for direct order overseas. This however can be some percentage under or over the equivalent Dollar sales price at times due to a varying exchange rate. Major jumps will be taken into account, but other than that we like stable prices in €. 

To offer this service occurred to us from the very beginning, to be honest. It would make no sense to promote the activity in Europe without a convenient supply. And we did not feel comfortable having such in a warehouse or general outdoor supply. Likewise, we could not handle the organisation of collective orders anymore. Either there is an offer or there isn't. 

We even try to find a different language on both sides. More formal and objective in the Store, community based and private in the Blog. Feel free to contact us following your preferences.

To promote the sport keeps our main goal. We sell to blog. Our vision is an activity beyond fashion and current trend. Packrafting as an open source mix of activities is such a wonderful concept, that provides to live creativity for many, quite the opposite of consumption.

Current article in Czech Hydro magazin, issue 1/12 
As intermediates we fulfill a role in both worlds (this of the theme and the products offered). All data are remeasured and evaluated. We are independent representatives and save them customer support.

But don't have a misconception of scale of our operation ;) We will see if it is feasible to extend into third party accessories (for example the life vest issue!). There might be potential for specific developments. 

However, is this an affiliated blog by that? Well, it can't be denied, there is a connection. But again, the separation is meant seriously. To summon, yes we are commercial. So what? It will not affect the the status quo. 

Marc and Moritz
And if you think we are packrafting nerds, rest assured, we are. Nevertheless, for distraction I head off to the Maldives on a sea kayaking trip. A folding sea kayaks of 30 kg and 5 m length should get me a different perspective. Well, maybe I bring back some open water basics for packrafts ;) Marc is on maternity leave and will take care of his boys. Also quite a challenge! Hope he will not  mix up packages of equal size. Be content with him!


Visiting Alpacka

Edit February 2015: Due to our opening for other manufactures, Alpacka choose to withdraw from our cooperation and service, unless we support the brand solely. As we want to represent the Packrafting as a theme, this is no option. So we no longer work together.

I love the humble setting, so un-American ;)
The reason for a trip to Alpacka is pretty obvious. What role Alpacka plays in the packraft evolution is well known and shall yet be covered in the coming Part III of the History series. They did not invent the concept, but resemble a modern synonym with many inventive steps. 
The purpose for seeing Alpacka in real live simply was to get to know the crew, the people behind the tubes. In order to drive the packrafting road partly together we wanted to exchange ideas and learn on the workflow and workmanship. Many things needed to be covered in decent talks and practises impossible over the phone. This was to alter into a collaborating relation. Reflections on change of status beyond this blog are to come in a following post. As a European outpost we want to share our impressions and give a short outlook.  We feel being intermediates.

Besuch bei Alpacka Raft

Edit Februar 2015: Durch unsere Öffnung für andere Hersteller, hat sich Alpacka dazu entschieden, uns die Zusammenarbeit und Unterstützung zu entziehen. Da unser Engagement dem Thema Packrafting gilt, ist die Vertretung einer einzelnen Marke jedoch nie eine Option gewesen.

Ein Treffen mit Alpacka Gründerin Sheri Tingey
Ziel dieser Reise war der Firmensitz von Alpacka Raft in Mancos, Colorado/USA. Der Grund Alpacka zu besuchen ist ziemlich offensichtlich. Welche Rolle Alpacka in der Entwicklung von Packtafts spielt ist weithin bekannt. Sie haben nicht das Konzept erfunden, aber viele innovative Entwicklungsschritte geleistet.
Der Zweck Alpacka einen Besuch abzustatten war ganz einfach die Leute persönlich kennen zulernen. Wir wollten Ideen austauschen und den Workflow kennlernen, um die Entwicklung des Themas z.T. gemeinsam bestreiten zu können. Viele Dinge bedurften eines intensiven Gespräches bzw. der praktischen Umsetzung,  was per Telefon unmöglich ist. Es sollte in eine echte Zusammenarbeit münden. Eine Reflektion zur Veränderung des Status über diesen Blog hinaus kommt in einem folgenden Beitrag. Als Sprachrohr Europa wollen wir unsere Eindrücke teilen und einen kleinen Ausblick geben. Wir fühlen uns dabei als Intermediäre.


Packrafting in Czech Hydro Magazin (1/2012)

V dalším příběhu vás Marc Kreinacker, Sven Schellin a Ricarda Kleint seznámí s disciplínou zvanou packrafting. Z názvu je asi patrné o co se jedná, ale... Jen si článek přečtěte a nechejte se překvapit. Packrafting je určitě vynikající věc, když chcete zkombinovat vodačení s pěší turistikou, víc už opravdu nevyzradím. Více...


What I have seen from the European Scene

The theme of the "European Scene' was never meant a regular report like 'The Week in Review' from Hendrik of Hiking in Finland. It just happened to come by after the initial introduction. Unconscious inspiration not unlikely of course, but no chance to match his pace anyway ;)  No guarantee it holds either. If we manage a quarterly report, I 'd be happy. More likely to be a irregular series upon collected content. So we go here with:

Planned Trips

First of, Libertist from ODS is organizing an open Packrafting trip in Austria (Kärnten) over Easter holiday (April 5th-11th). The 4 guys (currently) are about to run Class II-III rivers (Möll, Gail, Drau, Isel). If you want to join, follow the (German) discussion on ODS. I think they would be open to international participants too, if you don't mind the journey to Austria. We would help out with used boats, if needed. 

Schluchten des Balkan.
Second, the American pioneers think of Europe. Roman is dreaming about it and Forrest McCarthy  is coming for sure. Forrest will be heading to the Balkan region (Creotia/ Bosnia) for Packrafting in between (after skiing in the French Alps and before sea kayaking in Greece).I am very keen to hear what he says on Packrafting in Europe. There might even be chances for a meeting, as we are considering a packrafting trip to the Balkans in May too (Albania again, picture to the right).

Third, us in the US. Marc and I will be heading to the States next week. See if we can bring news :)

Winter and the British

Other than that, there is a lot of other folks active despite being winter. Above all the British:

Rob's Youtube chanel contains "Chilled Cairngorms packrafting with mountain bikes", which I can't watch being banned by GEMA in Germany :(

Colin from Tramplite went on a winter hike and paddle along the river Spey in Scotland.

Nik's new Bike blog has a lot to do with packrafts. He uses winter for reflection on his summer trip.

Chris continues to look for the limits of cheap Sevylor inflatables as Quasi-Packrafts: "Testing the Sevy Slackraft"

Packrafting Variations

I call it "Trailscouting". Jo combines jogging or trailrunning with one of the most packable boat. Joggypaddle qualifies likewise, as the paddling remembers of doggy style swims ;)

In the last scene review, I reported on Jens, who took his boat to Dubai and the Seychells, rather unusual packraftig destinations (not the reason he got arrested). He now provided me pictures from beach hoping and surfing (some see to the right).

Same kind of replenishment did Sebastion on his video channel. He finally managed to work up his former trip to Greenland and Patagonia.

With Jaroslaw Zygmunt Wieczorek we again have a paragliding variation in packrafting.

Steve an Kattrijn from Belgium got their Packraft "Water Walker". To do so, they roll out the two person, one boat theme and tried it out as a double right away. Go on!

Lastly,  Alex shared some of his MYOB plans with me (sketch below):

"I'll be trying a design of my own. I come from sea kayaks and paddle only flat water. I can't make an inflatable hull faster but can make the ergonomics more efficient for paddling. So I'm designing a Sit-on-Top Packraft (2,5 metres by 70 cm) with a minimal frame made out of a part of a walking pole and sections of ski poles."

Undisclosed Participants

There is a lot of other guys too, mainly from France lately, who checked in on the Facebook Group of Packrafting in Europe for non public identification and informal discussion.

Missed anyone? Comment here or check in above!