Solo Vehicle Dependent Exploration, Travel & Adventure

Alpacka ‘Denali Llama’ – 1st time out (UK)

I managed to pick up a Denali Llama here in the UK for reasonable money considering it is new. As far as I know there are less than a dozen of these in the UK at present but their popularity is increasing due to the low pack size and possibilities for extended adventures.

The raft only weighs 2.4kg and packs down to the size of a small 2 man tent. Mine has a factory fitted spray deck which is a nice addition. The rafts come with an inflatable seat and backrest as standard and using the supplied ‘inflation bag’ it can be up and running in under 5 minutes. Along with the raft I have a 4 piece Manta Ray paddle.

So last night, with longer daylight hours I decided it was time to get it wet. I teamed up with my good friend Simon (who I travelled in West Africa with) and we dropped off our Land Rovers in Keynsham and Kelston around 1900hrs. The rivers are running high around here as it continues to rain throughout our sprummer (is it spring or summer?) and the weir’s at Saltford and Swineford were pushing big volumes. We shifted downstream in no time and stopped for a beer and a chat around half way.

Floating the River Avon

After the initial push off I realised I had too much gear inside the raft. I thought I would try out lining the floor with a thermarest but I don’t think it was necessary. I also had a dry bag holding some bits and the other dry bag that the raft packs into. I should have sorted out some cargo holding on the bow, but I never got around to sorting a good solution. I wasn’t uncomfortable as this was just a short trip but it does need resolving before the next outing.

Because the raft does not have a skeg it is very twitchy when paddling but this is fine if your travelling downstream. Its very nimble and responds quickly to shifts in body weight or paddle strokes. The spray deck was a godsend and works really well. Overall the raft is easy to use and the spraydeck is easy to open and close in a hurry.

As the sunset we made it to Keynsham around 2130hrs, I managed to deflate and roll up the rafts in around 2 minutes. Handy hu’? Fully recommended for an upcoming packrafting adventure.

Simon mulling over the packraft concept

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