Author name: Iron Raft

Midges, Packrafts & Paragliding – Lochcarron, Scotland

Expedition report: 5-days through the stunning remote landscapes of Lochcarron, Scotland. Three friends take on packrafting, hiking, and paragliding. Built during a creative pursuit, the DIY Iron Raft becomes their vessel for a challenging sea loch crossing and paddling on Loch Monar. Despite forgotten supplies and encounters with nature’s challenges, the trio explores Torridon’s mountains, camping high for breathtaking views and a beautiful paragliding descent…

Tips for PACKRAFTING with your DOG.

Packrafting with your dog can be a fantastic adventure, offering unique bonding opportunities and memorable experiences in the great outdoors. However, it requires some preparation and the right gear to ensure both you and your furry companion have a safe and enjoyable time.

Best LIGHTWEIGHT ONE MAN tents.

There are several lightweight single-man tents available on the market, and the best one for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Here are three options to consider.

1.MSR Hubba NX: This freestanding tent is designed for solo backpacking and weighs just 1120 grams. It features a spacious interior with a vestibule for gear storage.

2. Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL1: This ultralight tent weighs just 1130 grams and packs down to a small size. It has a single-pole design and features a large vestibule for gear storage.

3. Nemo Hornet OSMO: This tent is designed for fast and light adventures. It has a single-pole design and features two doors and vestibules for easy access and gear storage.

Keep in mind that while lightweight tents can be convenient for backpacking and other outdoor activities, they may sacrifice some durability and weather protection compared to heavier, more robust tents. It’s important to choose a tent that meets your needs and will keep you comfortable and protected in the conditions you expect to encounter.

Our Pick

MSR Hubba NX

£427.57

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL Bikepacking Tent

£524.95

NEMO Hornet OSMO 

£434.47
Weight (grams) 1120g 1130g 820g
Pros Possibility to add Hubba Gear Shed vestibule for two times the storage space

Head height is maintained over a wide area

Compact Poles:
“Short Stik” poles, which are an impressive 4 inch (10 cm) shorter than standard poles, making it easier to stash on your handle bars or panniers.

Storage: Number of handy storage pockets inside. 

Ultralight Design: Ultralight and designed for weight-conscious backpackers.

Spacious Foot area:
The triangulated area for the feet again improve the living space and protect the sleeping bag from condensation.

Seasons 3 season 3 season 3 season
Entrances 1 1 2
Freestanding Yes Yes Yes
Front or side entrance Side Side Front

Top 5 packrafting LOCATIONS in the UK.

Packrafting, the perfect fusion of paddling and backpacking, has gained immense popularity among adventure seekers in recent years. While the United Kingdom may not boast the extensive wilderness found in other countries, it still offers a plethora of breathtaking waterways to explore on a packraft.

Behind The Scenes – ‘OWNERSHIP OF ACTIONS’

Scrambling, paragliding, climbing or packrafting, Ed Day seeks the ownership of action through exploring risks in the outdoors. A cost consultant by day, Ed strives for solo adventures around his schedule to acquire freedom, the ability to disconnect and to exercise his knowledge and understanding in mitigating risks in the outdoors.

The first day began with the team assembling at a picturesque launch site in the Lake District. Ed Day, a seasoned paraglider, prepared his equipment, and with a sense of excitement, took off into the skies. The panoramic views from the air were awe-inspiring, allowing Ed to experience the freedom of flight amidst the grandeur of the Lake District’s rolling hills and lakes. Toby Roney captured the exhilaration and tranquility of the paragliding experience, bringing viewers along for the ride through aerial shots captured with a drone.

Once Ed gracefully landed back on solid ground, the team embarked on a challenging yet rewarding hike. The idea here was to capture Ed undergoing a wide selection of activities in a short period of time. We hiked and then setup camp for the night. Due to the stunning conditions we had elevated above the valley floors, Ed decided to unpack his paragliding wing and fly yet again. You can see the two different flights in the short film.

The second day was dedicated to exploring the waterways of the Lake District with the Iron Raft DIY packraft. Lightweight and easy to carry, the packrafts provides Ed with newfound access to remote lakes and rivers that were otherwise inaccessible. Ed and the team navigated the gentle currents, immersing themselves in the tranquility of the water and soaking in the stunning reflections of the surrounding mountains. The Iron Raft packrafts demonstrated their versatility, effortlessly transitioning from water to land. This seamless integration of land and water travel made the adventure all the more captivating.

The short film created by Toby Roney, supported by Iron Raft, and featuring the daring adventures of Ed Day, explores the idea between the mitigation of risk so one can experience the reward. Ed’s journey through the Lake District demonstrated the rewards of venturing into the outdoors, pushing boundaries, and experiencing the beauty of nature firsthand. The adventure serves as a reminder of the incredible wonders that await those who are willing to step outside their comfort zone and embrace the call of the wild.

Have a watch of Ownership Of Actions below…

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phAFLr7GUkA[/embed]

What are packraft TIE-DOWNS?

To enhance the functionality and safety of packrafts, one essential accessory is packraft tie-downs. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of packraft tie-downs, discussing their purpose, usefulness, and the different types available.

Understanding Packraft Tie-Downs: Packraft tie-downs are versatile straps or attachment points designed to secure your gear to the packraft. These tie-downs play a crucial role in ensuring that your equipment, such as dry bags, paddles, and other essentials, stay in place during your journey. They provide the means to carry additional gear and prevent it from shifting or getting lost in the water.


The Importance of Packraft Tie-Downs:

Gear Organisation and Safety: Packraft tie-downs allow you to strategically secure your equipment, keeping everything organized and easily accessible. By properly securing your gear, you minimize the risk of losing valuable items during rapids or rough waters.

Stability and Balance: Packrafts are relatively small and lightweight, making them susceptible to shifting weight distributions. Tie-downs help distribute the load evenly, enhancing stability and balance while navigating water bodies. This stability ensures a smoother and more controlled experience, particularly in challenging conditions.

Increased Carrying Capacity: Packraft tie-downs expand the capacity of your packraft by enabling you to attach larger items to the exterior. Whether it’s camping gear, additional provisions, or photography equipment, you can conveniently carry more supplies without compromising space inside the raft.

Packraft tie-downs are invaluable accessories for any packrafter seeking to maximize the functionality and safety of their gear. By effectively securing your equipment, these tie-downs enhance organization, stability, and carrying capacity.

Before embarking on your next packrafting adventure, make sure to equip yourself with the appropriate packraft tie-downs and familiarise yourself with their usage. With these reliable attachments in place, you can focus on the thrill of exploration while knowing that your gear is securely fastened, ready to accompany you on unforgettable journeys into the wild.

We have 50mm Loop, 25mm Loop, D-Ring and Strap Packraft Tiedowns in stock. All are a great addition to an Iron Raft Packraft Build for securing cargo such as backpacks, bikes and alike!

CLEANING and MAINTENANCE for your packraft.

WASHING YOUR PACKRAFT:

Cleaning it with mild soap is essential for keeping your boat in good condition and preventing the spread of invasive species in waterways.

Ensure proper drying of your packraft: Storing a wet boat can lead to damage to the TIZIP and the development of persistent odors that are challenging to eliminate. It is recommended to hang your boat to dry after each trip before storage. Another excellent option is to let it dry while inflated.

 

STORAGE OF YOUR PACKRAFT:

Once it is clean and dry, store your packraft in a cool, dry place with good ventilation. Hanging it, loosely rolling it, or loosely folding it are all suitable methods. To prevent UV damage, avoid storing your packraft in direct sunlight.

Avoid using “UV-Protectant” or similar sprays on your packrafts: These sprays create a hard outer coating that hinders the adhesion of repair materials and glue to the packraft. If you accidentally apply a UV-Protectant spray to your boat, it will wear off over time.

 

TIZIP CARE AND MAINTENANCE:

After each trip and regularly while in the field, it is crucial to clean, dry, and lubricate your TIZIP. Keep the zipper chain clean and free from sand, dirt, and debris. Avoid applying lubricant directly to the chain, as it may attract sand. To clean the zipper, start with a small brush, such as a used toothbrush, and use warm soapy water for tougher cleaning.

It is important to allow the zipper to dry before closing it. Failure to do so can result in rotting and cracking of the zipper. For long-term storage, it is recommended to clean, dry, and close the zipper.

Proper lubrication technique: The TIZIP-zipper should always move smoothly and effortlessly. If your zipper is difficult to operate or feels sticky, it requires lubrication. Before applying lubricant, ensure that the zipper chain is clean.

  • Close the zipper and apply lubricant to the cloth. Use the cloth to spread the lubricant onto the urethane laminated exterior of the zipper. Avoid applying lubricant to the zipper teeth.
  • Keep using the cloth until the entire exterior surface of the closed zipper is coated with lubricant.
  • Wipe off any excess lubricant from the zipper, as it can attract sand and dirt.
  • Open the zipper and lightly lubricate the chain and sealing edges using the cloth.
  • Apply a small amount of lube to the docking end.
  • Open and close the zipper multiple times. It should now move smoothly and close easily. If necessary, repeat the above steps.

The goal is to maintain a thin layer of lubricant along the length of the zipper, ensuring smooth movement and easy docking of the zipper head.

What is a SPRAY DECK?

The difference between our Paddle Ready and Paddle Ready + Iron Raft Packrafts is the removable spray deck that is built into the Paddle Ready + design.

Do I Need a Spray Deck?

A removable spraydeck on a packraft is a detachable cover that seals the cockpit, preventing water from entering during paddling. It offers versatility, allowing users to choose when to use it based on conditions or preferences. However, it’s important to note that a removable spraydeck is not a substitute for a dedicated whitewater spraydeck.

Looking for a packraft with a spraydeck? Check ours out here!

How do you INFLATE A PACKRAFT?

With an inflation bag – a lightweight alternative to pumps​.

To explain how inflation bags work, imagine holding a bin liner/ large bag open towards the wind and catching all the air that blows inside. You simply catch the air, twist the top of the bag shut, and squeeze the air out of a valve at the bottom of your inflation bag and into your packraft.

As you get towards full inflation, you’ll need to remove the inflation bag and finish off inflating by mouth as hard as you can.

When you enter the water the coldness of the water will cool down the air in the tubes and it will sightly decrease in volume. No problem, just top up by mouth. again to achieve the right pressure. It takes between 8-10 bags to fill the packraft, you’ll be ready to go in minutes!

Looking for an inflation bag – check them out here!

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6XAJ-mW7bA[/embed]

Best HEAD TORCHES for hiking on multi day expeditions

Camping involved in multi-day packrafting trips can be in some of the most magnificently remote locations. Therefore, an essential piece of kit to remember is a torch. At Iron Raft we love the convenience of a head torch to allow you to continue doing tasks at camp like cooking and sorting kit for the next leg of the adventure.

As there are many great head torches available, we thought we would provide you with some of the top picks:

#1 Black Diamond Spot 350 Headlamp:

This headlamp offers up to a bright 350-lumens and a variety of lighting modes, including a red light for preserving night vision. Powered by battery this model uses three AAA batteries. The last notable benefit of this compact and durable model is the fact that it is waterproof (tested to operate 1.1m underwater for 30 minutes), perfect for the wet conditions of a packrafting adventure.

#2 Petzl Actik Core Headlamp:

Alternatively to the Black Diamond Spot, the Actik is rechargeable as it comes with 3 AAA batteries and its compatible with the core rechargeable battery thanks to the hybrid concept design. The Actik also offers a 350 lumen brightness and several lighting modes including a red lighting again to preserve your night vision and to prevent blinding fellow adventurers. Lastly the Actik is compatible with mounting accessories which can be useful for bike packing trips.

 

#3 BioLite, HeadLamp 425:

For a pricer option from the Spot and Actik you could opt for the Bio Lite 425. As it suggests in the name this is a more powerful model offering a brightness of 425 lumens. With 60 hours of life on the lowest setting and 4 hours on high this model could last you on a 3-4 multiday trip without the need to recharge however if needed this model is USB-C compatible. Lastly for ultra-lightweight trips this is a fantastic choice as it only weighs 78g.

 

#4 Nitecore HC60 Head Lamp:

For packrafting adventures that consist of long days covering larger distances you may be looking for a model that can illuminate further and for longer.  With the use of a 18650 Lithium battery the HC60 can last up to 680hours run time and impressively has a maximum beam distance of 117 metres. This model is a perfect match for rugged outdoor adventures with waterproofness up to 1 metre, multiple lighting modes and amazing adjustability. In case of an emergency you can also send SOS signals and has a location beacon.

 




Choosing a head torch can be overwhelming but with the options above we hope you find a model to suit your adventures, just remember to try on options as ultimately the best model for you will depend significantly on comfort!